New Tune : Rett Smith : Cold Air

OK kiddos, yesterday was fun and all, but it's time to get back to those good ol' soul-crushing ditties that put the pep in my step and the glide in my stride.

Texan Rett Smith raised more than a few eyebrows when his debut, Giving Up On Quitting, hit the bins last year, and rather than risk losing that precious momentum, he's right back on the horse, this time with "Cold Air," the second single off the forthcoming What The Walls Cannot See.

Clearly, the success of the debut allowed Smith to bring in some high-budget hired guns for the follow up, as the record boasts mixing by Tom Soares (Britney Spears, Erykah Badu, Cro-Mags, Biohazard) and mastering by Dave Kutch (The Strokes, Lana Del Rey, Ozzy Osbourne, Iron Maiden), along with a cameo from the always welcome Jessica Lea Mayfield. who lends her dulcet tones to the record's first single, "The Hook."

Stylistically, Smith's stripped down approach reminds me a little of Richard Buckner, who has seemingly fallen off the planet in recent years, but came out of the gate in the late-90s with two phenomenal records that demand to be heard, Bloomed and Devotion + Doubt.

And while it may sound like I'm putting young Rett in rarefied air, he will likely find listeners in fans of the incomparable Dave Alvin, who immediately came to mind due to the tasty guitar noodling throughout "Cold Air." Smith also shares Alvin's storytelling chops, clearly occupies the same emotional landscapes. And like Downey, CA's favorite son, Smith doesn't seem to shy away from ambiguity.

Seeing as how Alvin has never made a bad record, including those with Jimmie Dale Gilmore, The Blasters, The Flesh Eaters and The Third Mind, you're safe dropping your hard-earned on anything with his name on it.

But you were asking about Rett Smith.

Well, I'll leave it at this. This guy appears to have the goods, and if the first two singles are any indication of what the remainder of What The Walls Cannot See (sorry, still no release date) promises, it seems safe to say the dreaded sophomore slump has been avoided, so rejoice if the memory of Neither Fish Nor Flesh or Black Sheets Of Rain still stings. I'm actually looking forward to this one.


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