This Friday, September 10, at the Aura Nightclub in Studio City, my good friend Spencer Kent will be performing songs from his new album, The Optimist.

In fact, he and his backup band will be performing the album all the way through.

I don't expect you to have heard his music before. He isn't on a fancy label and his music hasn't been featured in some flashy TV show. Yet.

But the tunes on The Optimist have such an authentic, musically rich feeling to them that I wouldn't be surprised if he finds a bigger audience sooner rather than later.

Just listen to songs like Must-See TV, The Optimist, You Never Say Anything Nice, and Spoiled Gut and you'll realize just how talented he is.

Spencer would tell you himself that his music has been influenced by Thrice, Radiohead, Jimmy Eat World, Elliott Smith, and Brand New, among others. You can hear all of these elements in the songs on The Optimist, from the haunting elegance of the instruments in Cliches (which is my personal favorite from the album) to the somber tone of Dead as a Dog.

The album, the end result of about two years of diligent writing and recording at Kokopelli West studios in the San Fernando Valley, is just fantastic. I know I'm his friend and all, but the songs are so rich and powerful that they should be able to resonate with anyone.

If you like the whole DIY movement and talented songwriters who do their own thing without the intrusive hands of big fancy hit-making power music labels, then you'll dig this.

You would think the album came from one of the big companies, it sounds so good. It definitely doesn't have that "tinny high school band" sound to it; instead, each song is crisp, full, and powerful, just as it should be.

The album isn't available on iTunes just yet, but you can either pick up a copy on Friday at the Aura or stay tuned to his official site for information about future gigs and events where you can get a little of his music into your life.

You can also "like" the fan page on Facebook if you wish. And you do wish, trust me.

Harris Grade, the LA rock band I reviewed a while back, is opening the show, so get there early-ish.

Tickets are only $5 at the door, but if you spend $12 you get a copy of the album thrown in too, in a sort-of jumbo bonus pack of fun. Check out the deal here!

So yeah, see you on Friday! And consider yourself informed about the music of Spencer Kent. :)