Blake Miller Together With Cats

Together With Cats marks the coming out of 19-year-old Ohio resident Blake Miller, who has decided to throw his hat into an already crowded singer-songwriter ring. This debut isn’t so much an album as it is a collection of super-lo-fi home recordings released before his first real full -ength comes out in late 2007. While it meanders quite a bit, Together With Cats transitions surprisingly well from slide-driven blues to sleepy Postal Service space-outs to ’50s teen idol cooing. It’s a sparse album, so the vocals are bound to stand out, which in Miller’s case works well for him, as he is in possession of a smooth-as-butter croon that is bound to elicit comparisons to nappy haired hero Devandra Banhart. Superficial similarities aside, Miller proves here that he does not need to ride on anyone’s coattails; his silken harmonies weave effortlessly through lightly strummed acoustic guitars in a way that suggests a decidedly distinctive understanding of melody. A simple, unassuming record though it may be, it hints at heady possibilities for this young troubadour. (Exit Stencil)