Karen Kosowski Optimist Party (independent) Rating: NNN
Prairie rocker Karen Kosowski works a lazy, rugged blues-rock vibe that strikes me as quaintly anachronistic amidst the current barrage of overprocessed, sickeningly soaring radio singles by Michelle Branch-slash-Vanessa Carltonesque chirpy rock-starlets. Kosowski snarls sweetly like Bonnie Raitt or Joan Armatrading sipping café au lait on an up day, and her tunes have enough quirky hooks to reel you in. While her lyrics unthreateningly tread the typical territory of womanly empowerment, I dig the low-key production and bare-bones arrangements - a wisp of Hammond organ here, a horn lick there - that complement her strumming.
Karen Kosowski hits the Reverb Wednesday (August 6).