Saturday, December 20, 2008

Welcome to My Record

Dent May, The Good
Feeling Music of Dent
May and His Magnif-
icent Ukulele, Paw
Tracks [2/3/09]

Joyce and Camus, you know
I've never read them / I'm
here just for the booze.
-- "At the Academ-

ic Conference"

Take Dent May's word
for it: His music will, in-
deed, make you feel good...
assuming you like crooners with a sense of humor, not about his music or "the girls on the square" who make him "feel blue," but about modern life and its myriad idiosyncrasies.

On The Good Feeling Music of Dent May and His Magnificent Ukulele, the singer/songwriter/uke-plucker
avoids irony like the plague. And if his accomplished debut doesn't improve your mood, it won't be for lack of trying.

Based in Taylor, MS, May draws inspiration from the likes of Serge Gainsbourg and Lee Hazlewood, and plies a singing style that re-
calls Aztec Camera's Roddy Frame and the Magnetic Fields' Steph-
en Merritt, but his Tropicalia-influenced arrangements conjure
up bygone days, and he can hit higher notes as the need arises.

"Oh, Paris!" The "luckiest boy" on the Lower...Left Bank?

On subsequent listens, offbeat and unexpected touches assert themselves, like the glam-tastic guitar at the end of "Girls on the Square" and the megaphone on "God Loves You, Michael Chang" (if it isn't a megaphone, May's using some other kind of voice-altering device). Then again, the independent-minded gents
of Animal Collective discovered him while touring the South
and issued his record through their Paw Tracks imprint.

Suffice to say, May sounds nothing like his supporters, so it's to their credit that they saw the value in an artist who doesn't fit in-
to any convenient categories. Plus, May offers invaluable advice
like "You can't force a dance party," adding, "For you, I'll try."

Endnote: Next to Lance Hammer's Ballast, which made my
film top 30, I proclaim The Good Feeling Music of Dent
May the best thing to emerge from Mississippi in 2008. Oth-
er May influences of interest include the Holy Trinity of Tab,
Gandalf, and John Waters. The musician plays Neumos with
the New Pornographers' A.C. Newman on 2/21/09. For more
information, please click here. Images from his MySpace Page.

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