Bob Dylan, “Murder Most Foul” (streaming track) – Leave it to Dylan to suddenly release a 17-minute opus on the assassination of JFK being the bellwether for the Antichrist era, a perfect salve for self-quarantine. The release is offered without context, though it’s Dylan’s first new work since 2012, and given its listing of a half-century of music — possibly a last testament?
Pearl Jam, Gigaton (Republic) – Eddie Vedder deserves credit for aiming for continued relevance on the 30th birthday of Pearl Jam, and the dozen songs on this new album are edgy, tense, and hopeful at times, with tracks like “Dance of the Clairvoyants” seemingly perfect for a coronavirus era (though final mixing took place late last year). The only disappointment is Republic’s decision to charge absurdly high prices for CD and LP versions, an indication that Vedder must make a better effort to walk his talk.
Waxahatchee, Saint Cloud (Merge) – Katie Crutchfield has a reputation for making each Waxahatchee outing a leap beyond the last, and her newest does not fail. But where the last two albums were loud rockers, this ode to sobriety is a folk-roots masterpiece, underscoring what an exemplary songwriter Crutchfield has become.