JERbear | Junior Jer 

15 Entries Prents Presents (self-released) | (self-released)

JERbear and Junior Jer are the folk and hip-hop alter-egos, respectively, of Washington University philosophy major Jeremy Weissman. The albums (both available at Vintage Vinyl) have some problems: An obscure musician giving himself two different bizarre names is never a good idea, for one thing, and the clichés of the college-student mindset flow perilously through his hip-hop lyrics (from "Opening Remarks": "Suburbia spills across government-owned land/The ozone layer falling like hourglass sand"). But beyond these surface irritations is some very solid musicianship. The production on the hip-hop album features a diverse array of sounds, and its pace is deliciously varied. But it's Weissman's folk album, 15 Entries, that really stands out. His workmanlike vocals and understated guitar-strumming are reminiscent of the work of Southern Illinois native Jack Logan. When he sings folk, Weissman sounds older than his 21 years. And that's hot.

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