I’m surprised Bill Ryder-Jones has not been on my radar at all until now, but it’s been excellent delving into his old music with the 1990s\2000s U.K. band The Coral, and now his solo work. This new record, West Kirby County Primary, is gorgeous and mellow but is also a colossal bummer, with songs about depression and mental illness and crumbling relationships. Check out what I wrote about the record as part of NPR Music’s First Listen series.
Few bands sing with the kind of earnest, live-in-the-moment feels quite like Beach Slang, which has become one of my favorite new bands of the year. These songs crackle with energy, while getting into some pretty heavy topics of depression and escape and heartbreak, while also being anthems for people don’t fit in and find community in the punk scene. It’s a tremendously powerful album.
Check out what else I had to say about the record as part of NPR Music’s First Listen series.
Here’s a long piece I wrote about Deerhunter’s new album, Fading Frontier, that never saw the light of day — so dropping it here for posterity.