40 Watt Sun ‘Perfect Light’ 2022
From the opening guitar in “Reveal” you are aware that ‘Perfect Light’ by 40 Watt Sun is going to be a very special record. “I’ll cross the distance in your eyes” is a beautiful lyric within the opener and it sets the stage for what’s to come. “Behind My Eyes” is otherworldly and quite perfect, reminiscent of the seminal Red House Painters work. The centerpiece “The Spaces in Between” has an eloquent piano and strong vocals that contain gorgeous melodies and perfectly drawn out syllables. It’s hard to believe the track is almost 10 minutes long because it seems to be much less and also endless at the same time. “A Thousand Miles” has the most enjoyable instrumentals on the album, with the masterful percussion matched with the understated guitar work and you can get lost in the song very quickly. The vocals are wonderful and they grow on you with each listen. “Of all the days of my life, I knew you here beside me” is a heartbreaking lyric in its delivery. This is another instance where the 9 minute plus runtime feels like it could be 5 minutes or 15 minutes depending on your mood when listening to it. The songwriting on this record is second to none so far this year and fully encapsulates the imagery within.
Nick Cave & Warren Ellis ‘CARNAGE’ 2021
Nick Cave has been releasing some of the best music of his career lately and honestly it’s a lot better than most current artists and bands. The music is heartbreaking and strong willed. The songwriting is glorious and exquisite. ‘CARNAGE’ contains the best song of the year so far in “Albuquerque” which is written around the 2020 lockdowns. “Shattered Ground” is another perfect song with the end singing “goodbye, goodbye” tears my heart out of my chest. Nick Cave is used to creating music for soundtracks with Warren Ellis, and this album’s songs could be featured in virtually any great, emotional film and would be the highlight of the scene. I personally traded in 3 Rolling Stones records to get this beautiful album on vinyl.
Loney Dear ‘A Lantern and a Bell’ 2021
After we named “Habibi (A Clear Black Line) premier music, there has been no album we have been more exicted for! Loney Dear has not unimpressed us in any possible way, the production is intimate and beautiful, the songwriting is close to the vest and heartbreakingly personal. I love how he has taken this album in a much quieter direction then his last effort, much less electronics than used before as well. The piano notes and bells make for a theatrical listen, and with endings in songs like the perfect “Trifles” the experience only gets better as the song goes on. Another example is the excellent “Interval / Repeat” which carries the best instrumentation on the album. I am extremely impressed with this just under a half hour album from one of my favorite current songwriters.