Richard X. Heyman is a New York City boy who's been making independent, original records with trophy genes since the late '80s. In love with the British Invasion, Heyman records in his living room ("Tabby Road Studio"), building on the sounds of the Beatles, the Searchers, the Zombies -- the high end of classic British rock of the early-to-middle '60s. He performs frequent "house concerts" and works some radio stations and the occasional club. He's coming to Cleveland on September 9, promoting his wonderfully, appropriately titled Basic Glee
, his fifth full-length album and the best Beatles record of the new millennium. Not only do such tunes as "When Evening Comes," "Waterline," and "Broken Umbrella" evoke Carnaby Street (oh, yes -- another influence is the Hollies), they do so without being slavish. Released on Heyman's own Turn-Up Records label, Basic Glee
is one of the freshest discs of 2002, the kind whose tunes you can't help humming. If this sounds simplistic, it's not: Crafting indelible pop was never easy, as Heyman's influences (and sensibility-relative Marshall Crenshaw) well know. Leavening Basic Glee
with darker, more Byrdsy tunes and the occasional soul track ("Wishful Thinking" sounds as if McCartney wandered into the Stax studios) gives Heyman's album unusual, delightful depth; his energy and affection for the many ways a guitar can sound make his work distinctive. Power pop usually condemns its creators to zero sales and runty reviews in collector magazines. In Heyman's hands, however, the term is anything but an oxymoron.