12 Songs, 38 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

In addition to his duties as Beastie Boys keyboardist, which have made him all but essential to the trio’s sound shapes, Money Mark (Ramos-Nishita) has made four solo albums since 1995. Alternating between globe-spanning instrumentals and singer-songwriterisms, they each bear the marks of his intelligence and humor. Even Brand New By Tomorrow, a full disc of soft-rock tunes released on folkie Jack Johnson’s Brushfire label, often zags where another, less playful writer’s album might zig. The opening “Color of Your Blues” floats on an Augustus Pablo-esque melodica line, while “Summer Blue” grafts a noise guitar solo over its lite-jazz groove. Though Brand New sometimes comes off a bit like what would’ve happened if Elliott Smith had gotten into trip-hop, the songs bear more of a puzzled demeanor than a hurt one. But they sink in surprisingly deeply after a few spins.

EDITORS’ NOTES

In addition to his duties as Beastie Boys keyboardist, which have made him all but essential to the trio’s sound shapes, Money Mark (Ramos-Nishita) has made four solo albums since 1995. Alternating between globe-spanning instrumentals and singer-songwriterisms, they each bear the marks of his intelligence and humor. Even Brand New By Tomorrow, a full disc of soft-rock tunes released on folkie Jack Johnson’s Brushfire label, often zags where another, less playful writer’s album might zig. The opening “Color of Your Blues” floats on an Augustus Pablo-esque melodica line, while “Summer Blue” grafts a noise guitar solo over its lite-jazz groove. Though Brand New sometimes comes off a bit like what would’ve happened if Elliott Smith had gotten into trip-hop, the songs bear more of a puzzled demeanor than a hurt one. But they sink in surprisingly deeply after a few spins.

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