The fall’s best new singer-songwriter

Starting early next month, when Chris Garneau performs at the CMJ Music Marathon in New York — the cool-music record-industry convention where artists ranging from R.E.M. to Eminem got some of their earliest exposure — watch for a ripple effect: As usual, music journalists will be descending on the conference looking to anoint the best new talents, and Garneau will be one of them.

Actually, he already has serious momentum: He’s signed with an A-list indie label called Absolutely Kosher Records, where his poignant, spare, orchestral songs about love and loss fit right in. His patron and producer is hot-again performer and composer Duncan Sheik. And Garneau’s delicate crooning connects nicely with the ongoing male singer-songwriter renaissance that began in the ’90s with Jeff Buckley and Elliott Smith and is currently embodied by chamber-pop star Sufjan Stevens — i.e., sensitive boys not afraid of sounding real pretty.

But most helpfully, Garneau’s first single, “Relief,” teetering on the edge of melancholy and hopefulness (“I love the way you dance / We can work it all out”), has an equally lovely music video.

arrow3 The fall’s best new singer songwriter“>VIEW the music video for Chris Garneau’s “Relief,” directed by Dori Oskowitz and Daniel Stessen // alternate link here

arrow3 The fall’s best new singer songwriter“>LISTEN to four songs, as free streaming audio, from Garneau’s upcoming debut CD, Music for Tourists. (Absolutely Kosher Records, employing the sort of pent-up-demand limited-edition marketing approach that’s worked so well lately for the likes of TV On the Radio, is doing a limited release later this month of Garneau’s Music exclusively through its website, National retail and digital release is set for January.)

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