Val Emmich: Little Daggers

Val Emmich is a name you may not recognize, but here’s a dude (yes, Val is a man) that has released five albums and an EP, one on a major label and a few on indies. And years of touring with the likes of Butch Walker, Gavin DeGraw and Better Than Ezra has helped to shape Emmich’s current style and songwriting on his latest, Little Daggers. Emmich played most of the instruments on this effort, and it’s filled with anthems and rockers, heartfelt lyrics, and hooks that are sometimes subtle but usually engaging. It’s the kind of album you probably won’t hear on the radio, but you’ll find playing in some cool record store or, if Emmich is savvy at marketing, in a motion picture. You can take the songs on which Emmich tries a bit too hard, especially on “Hurt More Later” and “Darling Denise,” the latter of which sounds kind of like emo whining. But the bulk of the tracks are very good, bordering on really, really good. In particular, the first few rocking numbers, “The Lucky Ones” and “Get On With It,” will have you quite possibly dancing on the roof of your car, while the best track of all, “Down,” sounds like a cross between Butch Walker and a more somber Bruce Springsteen. Despite a few clunkers, this is still one of the better albums by an independent artist in 2008. (LABEL: bluhammock music)

Val Emmich MySpace page