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Return of Simple bandleader Rob Kovacs turns in one of the year's best vocal performances on "Let It Stay Lost," a single that finds the BWC Conservatory of Music grad singing in a woozy Rufus Wainwright croon as he jabs his piano like Ben Folds. The crisply self-produced debut recalls the glory days of the '70s, before piano rock was totally dainty. Kovacs shares tales of a twentysomething guy who's bright, but can't figure out the women around him. It's not a unique flaw, but it's the only one this disc brings to light.

More by D.X. Ferris

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