Brooklyn-based singer/songwriterBenji Cossa was cruising along far below the radar, surfacing for only a couple of self-released cassettes, 7" singles, and some comp appearances (including one of the better songs on Magic Marker's A House Full of Friends). Recording in your bedroom, lo-fi and proud, is so 1996, so it's not surprising that no one really picked up on him until now. Magic Marker's Vault, Vol. 1 mines Cossa's seemingly endless store of short, sharp, and melodic tunes and presents a charming and warm collection of songs Cossa recorded between 1995 and 2000 that will warm the hearts of sentimental lo-fi fanatics and lovers of intimate and sweet indie pop. Cossa records very simply, usually just voice and acoustic guitar, sometimes some keyboard or electric guitar. His voice is endearing and tuneful and his songs unfailingly hooky, so much so that you never wish the songs were more fully formed. Tunes like "Four Wheels," "Homesick," "Ferris Wheel," and "Who Took the Rebels?" sound perfect just the way they are, simple and heartfelt. Hearing the record makes you a bit sad that you hadn't heard him before, but mostly there is the joy of discovery and the hope that more is on the way (the "volume one" part of the title would make it appear likely anyway). Cossa is a small-scale indie pop treasure; thanks are due to Magic Marker for unearthing him.
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AllMusic Review by Tim Sendra