Since 2001, Boston/Philly/NYC’s Tim Howard has been churning out albums under the moniker Soltero. The band has covered the gamut, from big rock records, to intimate, precision-picked folk, to ’60s-styled sunshine pop. The constant throughout is always Howard’s ability to turn a phrase with lyrics that can equally cut to the bone and make you smile, plus his well-crafted arrangements—he’s a musician of the first order, no matter what genre he chooses to embrace. His latest, 1943, is a lovely pop record with a few tricks. Check out “Bobby O” for what feels like the soundtrack to a French New Wave spy flick. Or the dreamy “World of Fantasy,” which will take you on a ride through the clouds. “Mercenary Heart” moves at a pace that’ll leave you bobbing your head as you make your way down the old beach road, but don’t discount its lyrics: “In a world of Jesus Christ, I’ll be praying to the dice, that they fall my way.” Damn.
Here’s the video for “Wondering,” the fifth track, which has been stuck in my head for months: