Nicholas Megalis CD 

Praise Be, Hype Machine (Reverse Image Productions)


If Cleveland has anything close to Tori Amos, it's Nicholas Megalis. The 19-year-old singer-songwriter phenom doesn't sound much like the ethereal keyboard queen on his debut — well, he does in "The Holder," a piano vamp about a fizzling relationship — but his literate, hallucinogenic aesthetic of whimsy and strife is the most fully developed, self-assured vision the city's seen since Trent Reznor broke out of the Flats. In theatrical tracks like "I'm Not That Kind of Boy," Megalis rides a Roland RD-300 like it's a mountain bike. The string-fueled "The Fire" gives way to "Do What You Want to Me"'s nerdcore rap. Praise Be, Hype Machine ends with a suite of foot-stomping acoustic numbers that should have YouTube stars running back to the coffeehouses.

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