If you can’t think of anything wry, sly, faintly ironic, or even mildly amusing to say, then just signal that some really good albums have been released in the last few weeks and leave it at that.
Wye Oak – The Louder I Call, The Faster It Runs
The more you listen, the better it gets. For Wye Oak’s new album isn’t quite as immediate as some of its predecessors. Nonetheless, it’s well worth making your way up a very large sand dune in what aren’t the world’s most sensible shoes to listen to.
Kacey Musgraves – Golden Hour
There’s a lovely languorousness to much of Golden Hour, including the title track itself. For an album with country roots and acoustic melodies, it still knows how to get into a slightly spacey groove. And there’s a beautiful song about mothers too.
Laura Veirs – The Lookout
The Lookout is Laura Veirs’ best album for quite some time. Produced by Mr Laura Veirs, the great Tucker Martine, the arrangements are impeccable. And as if that’s not enough, there’s a cameo from the Oscar-nominated Sufjan Stevens as well.
Simone Felice – The Projector
Some artists can tell great stories, but Simone Felice is the master. “Billy Sinclair with the willowy hair, Breaks into Trinity Church on a dare, Where the pastor hides a camera, To capture the rapture, The day that it comes”. But something has changed. On his self-titled solo album six years ago, the tales were told to their often bitter end. Now, though, they tend to take an elliptical turn, leaving you alone with just your imagination for company. “Billy gets afraid and he runs, Don’t look in the back room until you get older, Let the projector run over and over, Over and over”. It’s every bit as compelling as before. But scarier. To help keep him safe, Simone Felice is accompanied here by Four Tet and Natasha Khan, whose own album he recently produced. Their presence fleshes out the strum of the guitar. The plaintiveness of the voice. And adds to the density of the story. Whether it’s a serious song about human trafficking. “You know all the orphan girls in those desert towns, Change their old names to Crystal and Destiny, There’s a man they call ‘The Prince’ and they pass his number around, Says he can get them on an airplane to Kennedy”. Or an equally serious song about everyday life. “Fix the lights, Fix the fridge, Fix the faucet, Fix the kids, Fix my worries, Fix my brain, Hang me out like a scarecrow, In the wind and the rain”. Whatever the subject, Simone Felice is the master story teller. And The Projector is a wonderful collection.