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Tag: James Roseman

James Roseman releases his debut demo tape

I was first knocked sideways by James Roseman’s music back in the summer of 2012. He had just released his debut album, Words and Tricks, where he accompanied himself on acoustic guitar, saxophone and drums. In it, I found a wise and sly old soul trapped inside an 18-year-old body. Wiser and slyer and a few years later, today James releases The Demo Tape, which can be listened to on iTunes, Spotify and Bandcamp.

This is billed as his “debut 3-song demo” and indeed, it’s a stylistic departure from his earlier work. With the same wry, sophisticated lyrics, the music is far more developed and professional. He might call it a demo, but clearly a lot of attention was paid to production values this time around. Fortunately, his warm, intimate and insanely charming style is left beautifully intact. “Wasting My Time” is a pretty, haunting reflection about a one-sided relationship that’s far too jaded and insightful for a 21-year-old. In addition to his spare, sharp and sparkling musicianship, Roseman has a gift for storytelling, as is evident in “Jack Rose.” He uses acoustic guitar melodies, a touch of bass and handclaps to great effect, perfectly highlighting his vocals and harmonies. I’m still working out the deeper meaning of “Croesus Curse” but there seems to be a central theme running through these songs that has to do with what one does in one’s life and the regret of wasted time. “Croesus Curse” uses the same minimalist percussive sounds and handclaps with haunting guitar melodies. Brilliant.

I’ll be on the lookout for any live appearances and will list them here. Meanwhile, James is attending Tufts University in pursuit of a Computer Science degree and continues to explore his creative side, actively looking for gigs in the greater Boston area. Musicians and promoters, take note!

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Introducing James Roseman

A curious thing happened as I listened repeatedly to James Roseman’s debut album, Words and Tricks, a surprisingly sophisticated effort for an 18-year-old with a G4 Powerbook in his bedroom. What first came across as a charming collection of songs about young love and heartbreak from the vantage point of naiveté, after a few spins took on the tone of a wiser and far more jaded jilted lover, looking back with both nostalgic compassion and sardonic disgust. His musical palette varies from whimsically wayward multi-tracked vocals (“Track 3”) to a touch of flamenco (“What Are You Waiting For”) to saxophone and kazoo, bass drum and snare.

In the middle of these nine songs I find myself listening to over and over again, there’s an achingly vulnerable, sweet and melancholy take on Ben Gibbard’s brilliant masterpiece, “Such Great Heights.” James also has some rather stark poetry of his own – “With your feet in the mud, you feel right at home / And it’s in the dark you feel so alone / Yet so at ease, no one to please, hasn’t it ended yet?” (from “Young Blood”). Young blood, perhaps, but an old soul. I mean really, how many 18-year-olds would use the concept of 21 grams in a pop song? (“21 grams I follow for / 21 grams I’m chasing”). I’ll be keeping an eye on you, son.

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