Jake Ewald is one half of the songwriting team behind Modern Baseball, a band whose emotionally transparent, ripped-from-the-Mead-notebook rock songs have made it the poster child for the umpteenth emo revival.

Jake Ewald is one half of the songwriting team behind Modern Baseball, a band whose emotionally transparent, ripped-from-the-Mead-notebook rock songs have made it the poster child for the umpteenth emo revival. Slaughter Beach, Dog is Ewald's solo outlet, and while Modern Baseball is the natural point of comparison, a songwriter like John K. Samson of the Weakerthans is an even better starting place. Just as Samson's songs give picture-window views into the day-to-day struggles of his characters, Ewald's songs are pop-rock portraits that transform otherwise mundane scenes into intricate vignettes of the human condition.

On LP Welcome, Ewald is no less personal than he is in Modern Baseball, but instead of putting himself under the microscope, he embodies a character in the fictional town of Slaughter Beach on each song. It may be make believe, but these songs feel as real as can be. "In a dream I am 14 all again / Watching my big brother talk to them / Saying, 'She ain't half your height, pick on someone else tonight,'" Ewald sings on "Monster," evoking gut-punching scenes of