Southern Drama's Little Broken is the most compelling recording to cross this desk in weeks. Their debut shoots out from under the radar near where Austin's Erik & the She-Wolves, Luna Tart, and Mr. Lewis & the Funeral 5 come out to play. There's a vague element of Loreena McKennitt twirling with Tom Waits in rich, arcane compositions like "A Killer Waltz on Thin Ice," and kitschiness abounds on "1920's Song," but Little Broken is a marvelous soundtrack for the Friday-night-alone blues. Maggie Walters' Midwestern Hurricane isn't as gale-force as the title suggests. The local songstress kicks up a good bit of dust with solid compositions and traditional themes of love and loss, but it feels as though she's trying too hard with clichéd phrases like "fuck-me pumps." The disc's pristine production comes courtesy of Paul Leary with Walters' breathy promise that while this isn't a sophomore slump (more like the title track, please), her third time at bat will slam it home. Aimee Bobruk presents a notable debut with The Safety Match Journal. It's something to please Cowboy Junkies fans, given Bobruk's dreamy, Timmins-esque vocal languor and the CJ's Kim Deschamps on steel. Bobruk's songwriting recently left the folk-pop cocoon and tries out its muted-color wings with gorgeous instrumentation and a flutter of hesitancy. Like Walters, Bobruk brims with potential and plenty of time to test the waters.
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