Ellen Arkbro & Johan Graden "I get along with you very well"
Ellen Arkbro & Johan Graden embody the limitless curiosity and fearless innovation of the Swedish and Berlin new music scenes they inhabit. Arkbro is a composer and musician whose work has been presented around the globe at prestigious institutions such as the Barbican in London, GRM in Paris and the Kölner Philharmonie in Köln. Graden is one of Sweden’s most sought-after pianists, moving freely between classical music and the European contemporary jazz scene. Currently living in Amman Jordan, he is an active member of the Jordanian experimental pop scene. Following their collaboration on the acclaimed for organ and brass released on Subtext, new album I get along without you very well expands on the duo’s intoxicating exploration of meditative, spiritual sonics in unexpected ways. It is a beautiful meeting of two friends and inventive musical minds, resulting in the most affecting and surprising of pop albums.
No Age "People Helping People"
No Age’s ethos sings to us from beyond the clouds, with words and without, a conceptual boost to everyone helping everyone. Ensconced in Randy’s Garage without a clock to spit on ‘em, Dean and Randy composted drums and guitar and life on planet earth into a stream of miniatures, vignettes and reembodied images – an infinity of hits.
Brandi and the Alexanders "Reflection"
The Mountain Goats "Bleed Out (Merge)"
Maybe you are just like John Darnielle: In the depths of the pandemic winter at the end of 2020, the Mountain Goats frontman passed the time trapped at home in North Carolina watching pulpy action movies, finding comfort in familiar tropes and sofabound escapism. But you are not really like John Darnielle, unless the action movies you found comfort in included French thrillers like 2008’s Mesrine, vintage Italian poliziotteschi, or the 1974 Donald Pleasence mad-scientist vehicle The Freakmaker. Or unless watching them brought you back to your formative days as an artist, when watching films fueled and soundtracked your songwriting jags and bare-bones home recordings and in turn inspired your 20th album to be a song cycle about the allure—and futility—of vengeance. But there’s no shame in not being like John Darnielle; few people are.
The resulting performance is Bleed Out, a cinematic experience unto itself. One song about preparing to exact bloody revenge begat another song about the act of exacting bloody revenge and then more songs about and the causes and the aftermath of being driven to exact bloody revenge, each delivered with the urgency and desperation deserving of their narrators and circumstances.