Today, a two-fer. First, Otis Gibbs, a country folk singer similar to Phil Ochs, Merle Haggard, and Billy Bragg, makes truly American music—the kind you’d expect to hear on an unscreened porch during a long buggy summer. But Gibbs is a cut above the average troubadour, in that the tales he tells have a weathered authenticity accentuated by a voice that’s perfect for the genre. There’s also a welcome but unexpected humorous, optimistic quality to his songs—a sense that the folks he sings about are real, human, and deserve our love. Gibbs’ his latest record, Grandpa Walked a Picket Line, s a true original.
On the other hand, there’s nothing original about the songs on the latest Postmarks release, “On By-The-Numbers,” because they’re all covers. The band turns its sleepy and sweet indie pop skills on a diverse collection of songs that range from The Ramones to the Sesame Street classic joint, “Pinball Number Count” (originally by The Pointer Sisters). Every song is shoegaze style, which makes the tunes almost unrecognizable in some cases. The clearest example of this is Bob Marley’s “Three Little Birds,” which is devoid of the reggae beat and becomes something ethereal.