High Land, Hard Rain
roddy frame was slightly ahead of his time. in 1983, when he wrote, arranged, and—with the help of his band, aztec camera—recorded high land, hard rain, he was just 19 years old; and britpop, the genre aztec camera in part inspired, wouldn't become popular for another decade. there is certainly more to high land, hard rain than britpop, however. frame, a stellar acoustic guitar strummer, fills the 13 songs with jazz chords, and aztec camera's grooves foreshadow british jazz popsters the style council and everything but the girl. whether making you dance ("oblivious," "queen's tattoos") or reflect ("the bugle sounds again," "we could send letters"), frame proves a master craftsman. a bonus tip: the sing-songy "walk out to winter" is a fine addition to any holiday mix.