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One of these days we need to make a trip to Oxford. Not the one over there, though we're sure it's nice, the one down there. Oxford, Mississippi, at least as fans of independent 21st century music are concerned, has to be considered the Magnolia State's crown jewel. Not only is it home to the exceptionally great Fat Possum Records, and the rather legendary Sweet Tea recording studios, but it's also home base for Cats Purring Dude Ranch, the performance space/ arts collective/ living quarters of Dent May, maybe Mississippi's closest equivalent to eccentrics like Daniel Johnston, R. Stevie Moore and Ariel Pink, only less obstintately lo-fi, and without the out-there-ness of the former or the darkness of the latter.
After a youth which included, his bio reveals, playing Creed covers and Elvis Costello-influences power pop, May has since ventured down several varied paths: a psych-country rock opera, dance releases, and most notably, his 2009 Paw Tracks debut, the uke-based The Good Feeling Music and his Magnificent Ukulele. And while that record certainly lived up to its name, there's even more "good feelings" to be had on Do Things.
Some of the croonier, even plaintive moments on the last album give way to smiles all around, whether in the form of sunny Beach Boys harmonies and lush production on "Rent Money", the swaying confection of"Tell Her" and the title track, which is pure "In My Room", or as funk-lite with synth trills on the charming "Don't Wait Too Long" and the lovely closer "Home Groan" whose hook explains why Dent doesn't really fit in either Southern California or New York, so "this town is where I'll stay".
So long as he keeps turning out pop as lush an likeable as this collection, recorded both at the Dude Ranch and at a "friend's rural cabin by a cotton field", who cares where he makes it? Let's have more of Dent May, discover Do Things today, and then do things like book a visit to Oxford, MS.