Rhythm & Views

Adam Marsland

The first song on Adam Marsland's 20-song collection from his solo career and his former band, Cockeyed Ghost, is called "My Kickass Life." His Web site's bio is also titled "My Kickass Life."

Marsland ain't kidding: He used to share a practice space with Weezer; Cockeyed Ghost appeared in a made-for-TV movie, and opened for Third Eye Blind and Shonen Knife; and his solo career (with his supporting Chaos Band) is quickly becoming another success story about a musician supporting himself without the backing of a "real" label.

The actual song is definitely kickass. It begins with a country sensibility transmitted with punk-rock vigor, and by the chorus, that vigor sweetens into pure pop. Marsland combines the satirical glee of Brian Kenney Fresno or Jonathan Richman with the pop enthusiasm of Fountains of Wayne--he's one of those songwriters who's able to write a lyrical and melodic hook every 10 minutes.

There's "At the Bookstore," "Married Yet" and the Beach Boys-esque "Portland." (Marsland and his band recorded an album called Long Promised Road: Songs of Dennis and Carl Wilson Live in 2007) "Big Big Yeah" rails against mediocre bands, and "Halo Boy" rails against hipsters with messy guitars.

Not all songs stand out as much as the above-mentioned songs. But the best of Marsland's greatest hits are pretty great--and they're helping Marsland to continue having a kickass life.