No accident Elliott Smith's family trusted David Garza to host a bicoastal tribute to the late pop mystic. Austin's musical polymath shares Smith's lyrical intimacy offset by a restless, amniotic instrumentalism. Lo-fi intent meets surround sound execution, beginning with Garza's overall statement of purpose in opener "Creation," wherein self-reflection turns into sheer human wonderment. A watery, diaphanous float through Nina Diaz's "Weigh You Down," featuring San Antonio's Girl in a Coma herself, should prompt a longer, David Byrne/St. Vincent-like collaboration. Human Tattoo coheres best on the back half, space lock antimatter flying around the distortion motored "Jean Genet" ("she reads Jean Genet/she wishes she was gay") and space station love song "Kiss & Run." Barrelhouse blues funneling a futuristic radioactivity ("All Summer Long"), and cabaret disembodiment ("Rude Eyeshadow") warm up closing piano ballad "Heavens in Your Heart," a great American songbook-sounding triumph of smoky mood and soul. Produced by Adrian Quesada (Grupo Fantasma, Brownout) with indelible album ink by Amy Cook, Human Tattoo sticks. (CD release: Cactus Cafe, Wednesday 28 & Thursday 29.)
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