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.

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from NPR

NPR1 min read
Imogen Heap: Tiny Desk Concert
Imogen Heap takes us through her many musical talents, from her Frou Frou musical partner, Guy Sigsworth — and their first new song in 17 years — to an extraordinary performance with musical gloves.
NPR3 min readPolitics
Biden Defends Comments About Working With Segregationist Lawmakers
"You don't have to like the people, in terms of their views," Joe Biden said Wednesday night, as other Democratic candidates piled on criticism.
NPR3 min read
This 'Spectral Hue' Has A Shimmering Life Of Its Own
Craig Laurance Gidney's debut adult novel is set in a marshy, mysterious rural town where a community of artists, students and townspeople are united by visions of a strange, pinkish-purple color.