Brock Pytel Second Choice

The overlooked hero of the Doughboys' best records (their first two), drummer/vocalist Brock Pytel often ended up playing second fiddle to mangy-mane front man John Kastner - it's no coincidence that right after he left the band in 1989, things started to go downhill. Eleven years later we finally get to hear from Pytel again in the form of this solo album of material that sounds like what a guy weaned on Minneapolis bands Soul Asylum, the Replacements and Hüsker Dü would be writing in his mid-30s if he moved to the West Coast. The songs are a tasty and eclectic mix of rockers and folksy acoustic ballads. Guest appearances from former Doughboys Kastner (currently part of All Systems Go!) and Jon Asencio, Big Drill Car alumni Mark Arnold and Bob Williams add to the "good ol' days" feel of some of the tracks. About the only thing this album can be faulted for is the spotty production, which at times sounds like the kind of stuff you'd get off a Porta Studio. It's not unlistenable, but certainly with a little more time in a real studio the songs would come across much stronger. (Scamindy)