British singer-songwriter Newton Faulkner sports huge-ass white-guy dreads and one of those beards that comes without a mustache. In other words, he looks like someone you'd hate just on principle. But his debut album, Hand Built by Robots (which comes out next week), is a quite likable slab of acoustic-based alt-rock. It was a huge hit in the U.K. But unlike many lost-in-translation Englishmen, Faulkner writes universal songs (mostly about love and dreams) that sound pleasantly familiar to U.S. ears, combining Jack Johnson's laid-back chill, John Mayer's way with hooks, and classic singer-songwriter introspection.