Thomas Comerford Credit: Jim Newberry

Singer, songwriter, and filmmaker Thomas Comerford is all about the fundamentals. To teach his cinematography students at the School of the Art Institute about lighting, he has them re-create images from their favorite movies—you can see some of their picks, drawn from the history of monster movies, in the video to Comerford’s song “Lord of the Flies.” That song, which kicks off his latest LP, Blood Moon, shows how his core influences come into play: it combines a stark, pithy guitar lead that’s close kin to the one on the Go-Betweens’ “Part Company” with soulful backing vocals reminiscent of those on Van Morrison’s Saint Dominic’s Preview. But while those antecedents make the music go down easy, it’s the mystery at the heart of the song that proves Comerford’s mettle as a writer. Even though each line delivers a lucid image, it’s the unanswered question of whether the narrator is alive, dead, or somewhere in between that keeps me coming back. The personnel on Blood Moon vary from track to track, the better to suit each song, but to support the album Comerford has assembled a band of new associates—drummer Eric Sowa, singer Crystal Hartford, and guitarist-bassist Kip Rainey.   v