Johnny Marr, Call the Comet (Sire) –
Johnny Marr, Call the Comet
On this solo equivalent to The Smiths’ Louder Than Bombs
album, the band’s former lead guitarist combines the lyrical concept of a world where kindness still matters with ringing riffs that are more Smiths-like than any of his previous solo recordings. Layered harmonies complete the picture on tracks like “The Tracers,” evoking shivers in the process.
Lump, Lump (Dead Oceans) –
British folkie Laura Marling’s “experimental” new album with Mike Lindsay is actually surprisingly melodic. Granted, there are bits of electronic strangeness throughout, but tracks like “May I Be the Light” are among Marling’s most beautiful.
Arthur Buck, Arthur Buck (New West Records) –
Former REM guitarist Peter Buck assembled a stunning pop group for last year’s Filthy Friends album, but much of his solo output has been loose and lazy. Fortunately, Peter Gabriel associate Joseph Arthur has now paired up with Buck for a duo album as powerful as his filthy friends. Songs like “American Century” are explicitly political, but all 11 tracks are power-pop classics that would make Michael Stipe proud.