Mike Hale Lives Like Mine

This is the much, much softer side of former Gunmoll front-man Mike Hale, and while Hale's voice is a common thread, that's about the only thing connecting Gunmoll's Leatherface-cribbing punk rock and Hale's gentle acoustic arrangements. Rarely adding more than a few scant backing vocals and harmonies, Lives Like Mine is minimal and dark, the sound of a guy raised on Hot Water Music records bumming out hard and making an album that honestly captures his stripped-down live sound. While it's easy to suggest some songs would benefit from fleshed-out arrangements, there is no questioning Hale's abilities as a songwriter and his captivating vocal presence, aptly demonstrated by any project he's ever taken part in, from Gunmoll to In the Red. Here he sets out on his own and lets it all out. (Suburban Home)