Hollis Brown (Vibe Theory Music)
The eponymous debut album from New York’s Hollis Brown (named, presumably, for the old Bob Dylan ballad) is bluesy and hard rocking, with more than a hint of punk rebellion. Mike Montali’s compelling lead vocals recall acts like Tom Verlaine and Green on Red. The band is tight, the lyrics can be inventive and memorable and the sparse production is just right. Certainly not everything here is a home run, but there’s a sense of urgency to these performances that keeps me coming back. Best tracks: “Walk on Water,” “Carolina, Carolina” and “Without Your Love,” all of which are infectious enough to make me want to crank up the volume—always a good sign.