Thursday, July 23, 2009

You Should Hear: Laura Tsaggaris

Those jonesing for solid singer/songwriter pop-rock should look no further than the music of Laura Tsaggaris. A Pittsburgh native who now calls D.C. home, Tsaggaris (pronounced, as she's fond of pointing out, suh-GAIR-iss) has made a strong impression both around the web and in touring throughout the country, using sharp hooks and insightful lyrics as her weapons of choice. She recently released her sophomore album, Keep Talking, a decidedly upbeat affair that's catchy and fun but still makes time to discuss weightier matters within its pop boundaries. Though it might be easy to lump Tsaggaris in with her many female songwriter peers, and while her sound certainly has a very familiar, radio-ready sheen, she proves herself worthy of distinction by tackling an eclectic set of songs with generally great results.

Highlights include the bouncy opener "Warning Signs," the driving rock tune "The Politician," and the lovely "Get Yourself Right." Incorporating dashes of synth, slide guitar, and other subtle embellishments into the basic guitar/bass/drums/piano formula, Tsaggaris gets good mileage out of the record's 40 minutes, never settling into any one groove for very long and keeping things interesting throughout. It's obvious she prefers rock 'n' roll to dreamy balladry, and though there are certainly some restrained, quiet moments, they don't always last long - as evidenced by closer "Pilots," which begins as a slow acoustic track before erupting into electric guitar solos and crashing percussion. In listening to the 13 tracks, Keep Talking often sounded like the work of an artist still attempting to establish her identity, but as Tsaggaris figures herself out musically, the material she produces along the way is easily strong enough to make for a very effective introduction.

Make sure you download "Get Yourself Right" below and check out Laura Tsaggaris on MySpace to get better acquainted.

Get Yourself Right