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Troubled Times

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Album Review

Say this for AM: the man comes by his lazy roots rock sound honestly. Born in Oklahoma and raised in and around New Orleans, AM sings with a laid-back drawl and writes songs that rarely rise above a moderate level of emotional intensity or a cruising, middle-of-the-road tempo. Interestingly, his most obvious vocal referent is Ian McCullough — try spinning "Playing the Game" for friends over the age of 35 and ask them to guess the band, and it's a good bet they'll ask you which Echo & the Bunnymen B-side it is. The album's feature single is "Mainstay," which features the program's most aggressive drums along with some really pretty 12-string guitar and the album's only truly indelible hook. "City Syndrome" is also noteworthy, though, with its Weezer-meets-the Beach Boys backing vocals and summer evening vibe. The album closes with the lovely, minimalist "Losing You." A year after AM's release in 2004, the label released a remix EP featuring "Mainstay" along with four drastic (and often aggressively techno) rearrangements of that song, as well as a CD-R video track. It's worth picking up, but good luck finding it — as of this writing, very few online outlets were offering it.


Born: Tulsa, OK

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Singer/songwriter Anthony Miller, aka AM, grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma and in the suburbs of New Orleans before he began writing songs in college. He relocated to Los Angeles, and after he played the South by Southwest Festival, Defend Music took interest and added him to their roster. In July 2006 the label released Troubled Times, a reissue of AM's eponymous debut CD from the previous year; the album includes tracks that made their way into several films and network and cable television shows. AM...
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