Local CD Review: You Just Don’t and the Ashtray Life

Joshua Manis' swooning vocals stand out on Monsters and Bird Monsters (Missing Words).

You Just Don’t is the solo name of Joshua Manis, who also serves as frontman for the local indie band Gamenight. On this split with California singer/songwriter the Ashtray Life, aka Derrick Jennings, Manis offers up five tracks of slightly skewed bedroom alt-folk featuring oddball—but compelling and occasionally genuinely moving—arrangements and instrumentation (pedal steel, banjo, strings). Manis’ swooning vocals and the unexpected twists and turns of his songs work in his favor; his eccentric ballads and lo-fi noodling stand out next to Jennings’ more polished but ultimately less interesting side of the split disc.

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