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ALBUM REVIEW: "Northeastsouthwest" 

Mike Jacoby



Ex-local boy Mike Jacoby does good with his second album, an 11-song extravaganza, "Northeastsouthwest." As he explains it, Jacoby grew up in the Northeast and now resides in the Southwest. And as the metaphorical title alludes, the album comes at the listener from all sides and doesn't let up.

More than merely of the singer-songwriter ilk, Jacoby explains he was looking for the "Sound of an acoustic guitar banging away at a raucous house party." Dude ... mission accomplished. The Long Beach, California-based artist swings seamlessly between the haunting hush of the solo acoustic artist and the righteous rush of the rock 'n' roller. "Northeastsouthwest" opens steady and acoustically leaning with the song "Ready When You Are" before kicking into a relentless four-on-the-floor stomp on "Nevermind Me," only to be followed by a creepy pluck and strum on the somewhat off-putting "Hell if I Know." This treacherous trio of cuts helps set the tone for the power punch of the remaining eight tracks full of beer-and-a-shot barroom rock 'n' roll, Americana, and roots-rock. It calls to mind artists like Soul Asylum, Ryan Adams — while he was in Whiskey Town — and even Paul Westerberg.

And that all makes sense considering the fact Jacoby was a founding member of Los Angeles roots-rock band Haymaker. When the band discontinued making hay (three albums worth), Jacoby continued solo, recording his first LP, "The Big 5-0," entirely on his laptop. On "Northeastsouthwest," he wrote all the tracks, played all the instruments, produced, and engineered everything. Technological minimalism and wizardry aside, it's Jacoby's clever narrative woven throughout, full of wry humor, exasperation, resolve, and deprecation, that really holds your attention long after the music has set the hook.

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