Mike Landucci

Oxnard Rain

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In between running Blackbean and Placenta Tape Club and anchoring the Gang Wizard, Mike Landucci still finds plenty of time to record his own solo songs; Oxnard Rain, referring to the city where Landucci made his home for some years, provides a slew of 15 of them. The Gang Wizard's explosions of noise this is not; those familiar with Magnolias Milan will find that a bit more of a comparison point, as Landucci records in a classically lo-fi fashion quiet, warm, and pointed songs of all stripes. That the first is called "Shut up Now" may seem off-putting, but the slow, enveloping sound of the song and its production demonstrate thoroughly why distinctly non-digital multi-track recording procedures can have their own power. Though billed as a solo release, based on the count-off at the start of "When No One Is Around" and some other chatter, he might have some extra help here and there; it's very much his vision through and through, though, and a winning one it is. More than a few compositions eschew or supplement traditional song structure for more exploratory routes, thus the moody tones and backward tape cut-ups of "Cobra," later punctuated by snippets of Landucci's vocals and acoustic guitar alike, and the humming, swirling keyboard breaks on "5 Similar Chords Ago." Gentle solo guitar murmurs like "Sleepwalking" and "Barbados Score" contribute to the charm of Oxnard Rain, as do the soft hiss and audible tape stop and starts that crop up throughout. Secret highlight: "Extra Sadness," which despite the prepossessing title actually has a sweet little swing to it. Landucci's vocals almost glaze over the guitar, even when it freaks out at the end. He deserves credit for this winning lyric as well: "It's the eye of the tiger/Attacking you on rollerblades."