You may remember the mono-monikered Stew as frontman for the Negro Problem, a nifty pop combo from L.A.'s Silver Lake district. While that group defies expectations with its neoclassic L.A. pop sound, Stew, solo, moves further toward psychic Malibu; he sounds like he’s spent a lot of evenings alone, soaking up the gospel according to ‘60s pop icons Burt Bacharach and Jimmy Webb. And Guest Host is a real treat—Stew’s voice vacillates between a warm rasp with a sharp edge, à la Graham Parker, and a smoother croon, and songs such as "Cavity" and "The Stepford Lives" are crafted with loving and thoughtful Bacharach-esque detail. His lyrics are often wry, as on a twisted and quite funny sing-along character study titled "Rehab," which opens with the line "When she got out of rehab for the very first time / She was very very very optimistic"—and goes straight to hell from there. All in all, a stunner.