The Mystery Tramps are a bunch of kids. A bunch of young rugrat teenagers who make solid pop/rock, with fun hooks and solid vocals. And they’re from Massachusetts. Their album “We Are The Mystery Tramps,” is a fun, if somewhat shallow, album that hints at better things to come.

If kids can produce this kind of music, then maybe there is hope for the future.

At the complete other end of the spectrum, there’s Jay Crocker, a mature, jazz-trained Canadian who is also in the band Ghostkeeper. Crocker’s second album, Below The Ocean Over, was produced by Craig (Neko Case, Iron & Wine) Schumacher—where The Mystery Tramps’ producer’s pedigree included work with The Cars. Jay’s genre-defining record includes folky pop, poppy folk, and several experimental instrumentals, such as “Your complete Guide,” most of which end too soon because they’re interesting and moody. But it’s not the worst thing in the world to be criticized for leaving the audience wanting more, I suppose.

Crocker’s work is unpredictable and provocative—the antithesis of the feel good party inspired by The Mystery Tramps. I recommend listening to both, alternating song for song, on a long car ride. The experience will either keep you awake or shatter your ability to form linear thought.

She Said-The Mystery Tramps

Tornado Warnings-Jay Crocker

Bonus covers:

In honor of the Mystery Tramps:

The Kids Are Alright (Who Cover)-The Whigs

In honor of Jay Crocker:

Same Old Song (4 Tops cover)-Iron & Wine

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