Glen Phillips, Blue Merle

Phillips used to front Toad the Wet Sprocket--or Toad and the Wet Sprockets, as people familiar only with the Santa Barbara pop-rockers' jangly 1991 hit "Walk on the Ocean" remember them. On his new solo disc, Winter Pays for Summer, Phillips remodels himself as a good-natured roots-pop troubadour, singing mildly about friends and lovers over lots of acoustic-guitar arpeggios and tasteful organs. (Liner-note nerds will appreciate contributions from sideman Jon Brion and former Jellyfish member Andy Sturmer.) Nashville's Blue Merle play wistful Coldplay-style rock with a guy attacking a mandolin instead of a piano.
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Mikael Wood