Mike Nicolai

Rooster Nudes

Summer Jams Clearance Sale, Part 2

When Minnesota-to-Austin-and back (and forth) transplant Mike Nicolai released his third album Rooster Nudes in 2003, the Chronicle savaged it. A decade-and-a-half later, now remastered on vinyl, it deserves reappraisal. Part of a wave of solo auteurs more influenced by Paul Westerberg and Jonathan Richman than Bob Dylan or Joni Mitchell, Nicolai marries bar band melodies to lyrics that sound stream-of-consciousness, but affirm their craft through multiple spins. Deep dives reveal a sensitive heart behind the allegedly glib "Broken Window" and "I'm On to You" (guesting Replacements axe dude Slim Dunlap), with stunning album-closer "Rope" channeling its author's soul directly into the grooves. Once Rooster Nudes achieves traction, its charms won't let go.

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Mike Nicolai

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