NPR

First Listen: Aaron Lee Tasjan, 'Karma For Cheap'

Aaron Lee Tasjan is a lifelong student of cool rock moves, and could fit the every-rocker part if he weren't such a relatable oddball.
Aaron Lee Tasjan's Karma For Cheap comes out Aug. 31. Source: Curtis Wayne Millard

Aaron Lee Tasjan is not your typical rock everyman. But then, in 2018, who is? Some musclebound would-be scion of Metallica's James Hetfield, hawking satellite radio-ready blend of guitar crunch and libertarianism? Or the emulators of the inescapable standard-bearer Springsteen, himself so somber and Steinbeckian, selling $850 seats on Broadway?

Tasjan, who's from Ohio and spent his early 20s as part of Brooklyn's's kissing cousin – is a lifelong student of cool rock moves, and could fit the every-rocker part if he weren't such an oddball; or, maybe, being an oddball is what makes him so relatable. His two previous solo albums have been hazy meditations on the Bohemian lifestyle, shot through with humor and morning-after existentialism. Those qualities still surface on , but Tasjan displays a new vigor you could call a sense of mission, forming a connection with classic rock that's both more personal and more expansive than what he's achieved before.

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