JONASAY

"Spare Dimes for Dust"

Abray

THE LLOYD DOBLER EFFECT

"The Mossman Sessions"

Independent

"Spare Dimes for Dust," Jonasay's sophomore release, sounds more self-assured and polished than its predecessor, so credit producer Jeff Juliano, who has worked with Dave Matthews, John Mayer and David Gray, for the sonic upgrade. But what stands out most on the album is singer-songwriter Justin Sheehy's knack for writing smart pop-rock songs with killer hooks. Juliano clearly had a lot to work with here.

Although Sheehy leads the local quartet through a series of songs inspired by lost souls ("Gone Away"), yearning emotions ("Goodbye") and soured relationships ("Call My Name"), his tuneful songcraft and appealing, falsetto-flirting voice prevent the album from sounding dour or dull. He even manages to pull off "Wish," a song that deals with an overwhelming sense of inadequacy, without sounding as if he were solemnly churning out yet another fashionable portrait in self-pity. Best of all, though, are "Stay," "Valentine" and other cuts that readily reveal Sheehy's impressive gifts and the strong support he receives from his bandmates: drummer Mike Leach, guitarist Mark Williams and bassist Michael Alban.

By contrast, "The Mossman Sessions," the latest release by the Wheaton-based Lloyd Dobler Effect, is pretty raw stuff -- a live, unmixed studio session featuring eight original tunes that brightly fuse elements of rock, funk, punk, hip-hop and world beat. It's a curious, kinetic and frequently amusing disc, enlivened by party chants ("Kangol Black"), foreign excursions ("Akbar's Bed") and cleverly offbeat lyrics ("Tequila Worms"). All the while, the band, which features singer-guitarist Philip Matthew Kominski, violinist Javier Godinez and percussionist Rusty Williams, merrily celebrates its myriad influences.

-- Mike Joyce

Both appearing Saturday at the 9:30 club with Welbilt. * To hear a free Sound Bite from Jonasay, call Post-Haste at 202-334-9000 and press 8104; to hear the Lloyd Dobler Effect, press 8105. (Prince William residents, call 703-690-4110.)