Eric Bachmann, No Recover (Merge) –
Eric Bachmann, No Recover
The Georgia founder of Crooked Fingers has delivered his fourth solo work, and his first since becoming a father. Wife and collaborator Liz Durrett joins him for beautiful songs of surreal contemplation, while Bachmann’s former bandmate in Archers of Loaf, Eric Johnson, adds some guitar sizzle. This solo work is the perfect teaser while fans wait for a promised Archers reunion in 2019.
Mandy Barnett, Strange Conversation (Thirty Tigers) -
Mandy Barnett, Strange Conversation
Barnett has become a true Nashville renaissance woman of late, expanding beyond her stage as Patsy Cline to avoid any country pigeonholing. The 10 songs here take her from wall-of-sound Ronettes-style doo-wop to blistering electric guitar riffs. Her cover of Elvis Presley’s “The Fool” may be overdone, but her duet with John Hiatt covering Sonny & Cher’s “A Cowboy’s Work Is Never Done” is sheer genius.
We Were Promised Jetpacks, The More I Sleep the Less I Dream (Big Scary Monsters/WWPJ) –
We Were Promised Jetpacks, The More I Sleep the Less I Dream
Edinburgh’s We Were Promised Jetpacks were, along with The Twilight Sad, courtiers of Scottish downer-rock during the same era that Scott Hutchison’s band Frightened Rabbit ruled the genre. In the aftermath of Hutchison’s suicide earlier this year, Jetpacks here aims for a more majestic sound. These shimmering, insistent riffs carry hints of Death Cab for Cutie, Morrissey, and even U2, which shows the band’s ambition, although it may come at the risk of losing focused sincerity.