Jay Flash refers to his style as "experimental folk music," even if the 25-year-old Milwaukee pianist sounds as influenced by Philip Glass, Sufjan Stevens and Ben Folds as Leonard Cohen and Nick Drake. As indicated by the title of this debut album, The Loser overflows with despair, though it's as articulate as it is achy. Flash's resigned vocals sound akin to a fresher-faced, Midwestern Lou Reed. His occasionally apparent gift for narrative detail puts him in the same league as indie-pop storytellers such as Pedro the Lion's David Bazan. Flash's catchy, downcast songwriting could earn him a following of disaffected acolytes a la Dashboard Confessional.