Artist: Frankie Sparo
Search Term: "Crummy" [This song is from the album Welcome Crummy Mystics]
This is an absolutely stunning slice of drizzling jazz-pop moodiness that draws equally from Portishead's noir fixations and Radiohead's cranky urge to unpredictably push notes out of place. The piano and upright bass keep the song grounded in a recognizable melodic theme, which allows the strings and horns to flirt with (but never succumb to) squeaky dissonance. Sparo's voice is more nondescript and reedy than you'd expect to be paired with such cinematic surroundings, but it's not at all a liability. Rather, it brings a sense of proportion to the otherwise oversized atmosphere: One small human ruefully making his way through a booze-soaked world of dreary folly. Gorgeous.