catching up – April 2019

Oh. Hey there. Hi. Hello. It’s a new month so let’s talk about last month, the first month in 2019 that I was employed and the first month in almost a year in which I had a regular commute and went into an office and talked regularly face to face with people I wasn’t related to. It was a good month, guys. Anyhow, let’s talk about the stuff that I either a) played very loudly in the car while driving to/fro work or b) listened to at a reasonable volume in the car and felt things while driving to/fro work.

I Love You. It’s a Fever Dream. – The Tallest Man on Earth
Gotta say, I really wasn’t expecting to say this, given my love of The Wild Hunt and Shallow Grave, but The Tallest Man on Earth just put out the best record of his career (and my favorite record of 2019 so far). This is, as my wife told me, what he should sound like, what he’s been trying to sound like the last few records and didn’t start to really get his footing on until the demo project a few years back and the EP he slowly dripped out last year. There’s an urgency to it, but a considered one, one that comes with time and heartbreak and rebuilding your life and figuring out what exactly matters. It’s lush in all the right ways and at all the right times, and bare in all the right ways at all the right times, and a combo of the two in all the right ways at all the right times. It’s an astoundingly gorgeous and engrossing album, and I’m so glad we finally hear the sound he’s seemingly been chasing for over a decade.

Cuz I Love You- Lizzo
I mean, I knew this Lizzo album was gonna be rambunctious and raucous and fun and ridiculous and insightful and important and full of bangers, but this, you guys, is more of all of those things than I had really anticipated. Bonus: my daughter loves dancing to it (“Juice” and “Tempo” are her jams, because she is a small human lady of taste, duh). Anyways, this is as good as everyone has been saying and I have played it very loudly in my car and that has been a lot of fun.

“Oh Weather”- Damien Jurado
Damien Jurado’s new album, The Shape of the Storm, is a truly stunning set of stripped-down tunes, and, for me, the best album he’s made in a number of years. “Oh Weather” is the tune I keep coming back to on it, a minute-or-so love song that’s all of three stanzas, but that packs a perfectly concise haymaker to the feelings within. He’s still got it.

“Hello Sunshine”- Bruce Springsteen
Well, I suppose in the year 2019- a year when all sorts of weird shit keeps happening and somehow making sense- maybe we should have expected for The Boss to start making lush, sweeping, late 60’s/early 70’s-era country songs (and for it to sound good and natural and not at all out of character). 2019 is…something.

They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us by Hanif Abdurraqib
I don’t read books. My wife refers to me as ‘functionally illiterate,’ actually. (It’s not true, I can read. She is just rude sometimes and for sure not very funny. WHATEVER. I love her.) Anyyyyyyyhow, I read a book this last month, and it was this one. And I still can’t stop thinking about these essays, a vast number of them about music, all of them about the messy intersections of life and music and race and culture and place and time and grief and love and living. It’s full of staggering, intensely beautiful writing, the kind that sticks in your brain weeks after reading and causes you to look at and listen to life a little differently. It’s so, so good, and I can’t recommend it enough (and I’m not just saying that because it’s the first book I’ve read cover to cover in a few years).

…time to talk about playlists

what I liked in April 2019
Cool. Yeah. So, this was a good month. We got that stuff I mentioned before (one additional note on Damien’s album: I can’t believe an official version of “Newspaper Gown” is finally out in the world- it’s been one of my favorite tracks for forever and I’m so, so happy we have it now), but we also got so much more. There’s another new jammmmm from Carly Rae Jepsen, Noname continuing to show that she’s operating on a different level than just about everyone, a new one from Spanish Love Songs that makes me feel 17, a John Hiatt cover from Dan Mangan that will knock the wind out of you, a stunning new one from Lucy Dacus just in time for Mother’s Day, a new one of those tremendously wordy, terrifically poignant songs that only Josh Ritter could write, and, lastly, the fantastic lead track from the fantastic debut album from Jade Bird (who is a powerhouse, just FYI). Anyhow, here are all those tracks and more- all the ones I liked best that came out in April. Listen below or click here to listen/follow on Spotify.

So this guy is still chugging along, still sounding like spring in all it’s many forms. It’s got 131 songs as of this very moment, each one of which I’d ride hard for/think should be part of your spring soundtrack. Listen below or click here to listen/follow along on Spotify.

good morning. good luck and if you carry the good news show me
I haven’t made a real, sequenced mix in a good long while, but the mood finally struck me and so I created the below two mixes for my friend Matt, who runs the superb LINERNOTES & SEASONS. One was made for those slow, grey spring mornings that feel slower and greyer than any before, one was made for bright spring days when you can hear the kids playing down the street, and both are full of tunes I’ve found a lot of comfort in during the last part of winter and this early half of spring. I hope you find some comfort in them, too.

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