The disco hot spots hold no charm for Brian Vander Ark. Older, wiser, and married with kid, the former Verve Pipe leader self-financed his second solo album and recorded it with friends in 11 days. Angel, Put Your Face On is also self-released, available online or at shows only, completing the picture of a guy who grew tired of trying to appease everyone but himself. His monomanias, like his music, mix contentment and cynicism with a solid pop jones
5. “I don’t hear a single”: Never again hearing that phrase tumble from a label lackey’s mouth? Priceless. I’ll add a solo on some archaic instrument to my album if I want to, with only the ears of my baby to answer to.
4. Keane: I like Under the Iron Sea, but of course I can’t remember any of my favorite tracks without the disc in front of me. Damn digital technology. It’s like trying to recall someone’s number after you lose your cell phone.
3. Richmond Fontaine: Effortless lyrics, like the best old Neil Young or even his currently revitalized version. My wife loves 2004’s Post to Wire, but the current Fitzgerald is solid too. Fontaine is never overproduced; even better, they’re never over-poetic.
2. Asia’s first album: The epitome of over-everything. It’s slick, it’s pop, it’s totally prog. But we liked pretentiousness in 1982 — remember: Robert Plant’s lyrics were still fresh in the memory.
1. Seven-minute single: The name of my new band. Every song will be at least seven minutes long, but to ensure radio play 7MS will embed paid advertising into the center of each track. Target, are you reading this? Budweiser? Hello?