“What the hell is that weird crap on the stereo?” You’re likely to get that if you crank “Reflections: Dogs Without Fear of Dying” in a crowded room. But you’ll also probably get a couple T-Rex or Gary Glitter fans who say, “Wow! What the hell is that weird crap you have on?”

The new release, from the tiny indie label Civil Defense League (founded by Jim Ward from Sparta), is the debut solo album by Clint Newsom, who used to be a part of the Austin band, Rhythm of Black Lines. It features psychedelindie ditties with titles like “Magical Medicine” and “The Doctor’s Work” – which should give you an idea already of what it sounds like. At times it also seems a little folk-y, but don’t let that stop you if you’re an anti-folkster. It’s not folk like The Mountain Goats or old Bob Dylan. There’s nothing like a single guy screaming about war over an acoustic guitar. It’s folk like Crosby, Stills, and Nash or 1966 Grateful Dead albums: Actual songs that aren’t too dark but also don’t make a lot of sense.

The album jumps around a little: “Half Brothers” features guitarwork reminiscent of The Byrds, while Hooghly Through the Howrah skirts the edges of My Morning Jacket covering Donovan. Then “Letter Writing Digital Cash” has an upbeat “Jeepster” groove. Fun to listen to, constantly changing, this is a solid retro release that should grab some bloggers’ ears.

Letter Writing Digital Cash

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