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Album Review

As evidenced by his debut Nighttiming Jason Schwartzman's Coconut Records is in the grand tradition of one-man band pop albums, a largely solitary affair in the spirit of Todd Rundgren, Stevie Wonder, and Prince that doesn't necessarily sound like any of those rockers yet shares a similar sense of eccentricity and, more importantly, melodicism. Schwartzman's gift for a persuasive hook is what ties Nighttiming together when it teeters between incandescent pop and halting introspection, but that flittering incoherence is its charm: Nighttiming has both sides of the one-man band mad genius, the pop maverick and the sensitive diarist spilling his soul onto the page. When things gets slower, Schwartzman can sound like a less haunted Elliott Smith, capturing a shimmering gorgeous sadness but never quite sliding deeply into sullenness, but he shows more imagination when he swaps an acoustic for an electric guitar or a piano, knocking out terrific power pop like "Back to You," where the guitars are loud enough to earn the cheekily overdubbed applause that concludes the song. Schwartzman also reveals a knack for re-creating certain '70s sounds — "West Coast" floats on a warm melancholy evoking latter-day Beach Boys, "Nighttiming" cleverly reworks disco-rock, "Minding My Own Business" has the big, open spaces of ELO — but these aren't exercises in clever hipster revivalism, there's a real joy in these songs, helping to buoy Nighttiming through its melancholy moments and indicating the depth and skill Schwartzman has a pop songwriter.


Formed: 2006 in Los Angeles, CA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s

Three years after his departure from Phantom Planet, musician/actor Jason Schwartzman returned to L.A.'s pop-loving circles with the solo project Coconut Records. Schwartzman had launched Phantom Planet in 1994 and served as the band's drummer for nearly a decade, simultaneously furthering his acting career with roles in Rushmore, CQ, Slackers, S1m0ne, and Spun. The offers increased once he left Phantom Planet's lineup in 2003, but Schwartzman nevertheless had trouble shaking music from his system....
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Nighttiming, Coconut Records
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