As my alter-ego HearSay first reported a couple of months ago, before any other local media source, former frontman for the defunct glam-pop quartet Black Tie Dynasty Cory Watson has been working on a new project. Mon Julien is the duo of Watson and multi-instrumentalist Brian McCorquodale (ex-Black Tie, ex-Telegraph Canyon), and the sound, based on a couple of un-mastered tracks, is still retro –– harking back specifically the second Brit-pop invasion (circa 1983-87) –– but now a bit grittier, earthier than Black Tie. “Darkest Hour” is a mid-tempo ballad of casually strummed acoustic guitar (!) against an ethereal synth background with a brief (!!) hook. “The Inventor” rocks around a huge Tears for Fears-inspired chorus –– Watson’s voice, incidentally and evidently, has matured into a soulful, booming instrument not far removed from Roland Orzabal’s.

Mon Julien is in post-production on an album to be released this fall, engineered by Mark Pirro (The Polyphonic Spree, Tripping Daisy), mixed by drummer McKenzie Smith (Midlake), and featuring contributions from Smith and bassist Blake McWhorter (ex-Black Tie).