The first of this week’s six peaches is And In The Darkness, Hearts Aglow, a celestial-influenced folk album that is Weyes Blood’s follow-up to the acclaimed Titanic Rising, an album that Pitchfork, NPR, and the Guardian admiringly named one of 2019’s best. While Titanic Rising was an observation of doom to come, And In The Darkness, Hearts Aglow is about being in the thick of it: a search for an escape hatch to liberate us from algorithms and ideological chaos. “I was asking a lot of questions while writing these songs. Hyper-isolation kept coming up,” Natalie Mering says. “Our culture relies less and less on people. Something is off, and even though the feeling appears differently for each individual, it is universal.”
On a similar theme, pop in your earpiece, close your eyes and embrace the wonders (and horrors) of augmented reality, and prepare to travel 500 years into the future as Richard Dawson returns with The Ruby Cord. These seven tracks plunge us into an unreal, fantastical and at times sinister future where social mores have mutated, ethical and physical boundaries have evaporated; a place where you no longer need to engage with anyone but yourself and your own imagination. It’s a leap into a future that is well within reach – in some cases, already here.
World Record – the follow-up to last year’s acclaimed Barn – was recorded live, like many of Neil Young’s albums with Crazy Horse. The album finds Young reminiscing with gratitude about the gifts the Earth has given him and sets his sights on an uncertain future with hope that we can right this big blue-and-green ship. “Now, with this recording, something special is happening and we know we have a good one,” he wrote. “Real magic lasts, and we think we have it.”
The title Sonder, a word with the sense ‘the realisation that each random passer-by is living a life as vivid and complex as your own’, instantly resonated with Dermot Kennedy and transformed into the perfect way to encapsulate the feeling in a record. Speaking on the thinking behind the title, Dermot explained: “The meaning behind ‘Sonder’ has resonated with me so much for years. I exist in an industry where we’re encouraged to constantly only think about ourselves and I find that exhausting and uninspiring. I want to learn about you. Let us share all of our triumphs, all of our troubles. Let this music belong to all of us, to find our own stories and our own solace within it.”
Although Panda Bear and Sonic Boom are no strangers to each other’s music, Reset marks their first collaborative release. When Pete Kember (Sonic Boom) pitched an idea to take their working relationship to the next level, he reckoned Noah Lennox (Panda Bear) might reject the proposition outright; but, in the nine gloriously, feverishly hook-bound tracks of Reset, you can hear exactly how much he loved the prospect. The kernel of Reset emerged not long after international lockdowns began. If making this record supplied temporary medicine for the duo, it is now permanently so for the rest of us, a reminder that sometimes playing and singing along to old favourites with friends can be enough to make the world feel a bit better.
Our release of the week is CAZIMI. In February 2020, singer-songwriter Caitlin Rose settled in at Nashville’s Sound Emporium Studios for a week of tracking with William Tyler, Brian Kotzur, Jack Lawrence and Luke Schneider. After a seven-year absence – a self-described Sisyphean nightmare of false starts and career blocks – following the release of The Stand-In, Rose was ready, with the encouragement of close friend and producer Jordan Lehning, to give the rock a final push. “It happened so fast that there was no time to worry about what could go wrong; all I walked in with was the excitement,” she says. When she and Lehning planned to return for overdubs in early March, neither expected that the world would turn on its head in little more than a week, that a tornado would soon wipe half of east Nashville off the map, or a global pandemic would, as it has for so many others’ projects, further delay its completion.
Click on an image to order your copy.