February 24, 2021


By Kristi Kates | June 30, 2018


DawesPasswords – HUB Records
On its sixth album, Dawes stretch out a bit, pulling song topics from internal matters to those about relationships and communities, which makes the overall record more widely appealing than previous efforts. A pensive mix of piano and steel guitar anchor first ballad “Crack the Case.” The band does a complete audio about-face with second single, the garage-pop “Living in the Future,” but both coexist on this set nicely. ***

Barns CourtneyThe Dull Drums – Capitol
English singer-songwriter Barnaby George “Barns” Courtney is juuust starting to catch ears stateside, thanks to slow-burning 2015 single “Fire” and its follow-up, “Glitter and Gold.” His voice is older than he appears, in both experience and tone. Those who enjoy the sounds of Rag’n’Bone Man will also likely appreciate Courtney’s takes on tracks like the energetic “Hellfire” (similar in many ways to “Glitter” —a good thing), and the more pop-inflected “Little Boy.” ***

Ray LaMontagne Part of the Light – RCA
Sticking to his folky, ’70s-inspired sounds — perfectly suited for, say, a long, dull afternoon drive through Ohio — LaMontagne’s textured tunes waver back and forth between being pleasant background tracks and compelling, lean-in listeners. “Such a Simple Thing” and “It’s Always Been You” are certain to draw you in; numbers like “To the Sea” are quieter presentations that might take additional listens to appreciate. ** ½

The RevivalistsThe Revivalists – Wind-Up Records
The band has been knocking around since 2006 or so, but it’s only the most dedicated of underground music fans that have managed to dig out what The Revivalists has to offer, and that’s a shame. Its unique fusion of roots rock, funk, and R&B shows off hints of the band’s New Orleans roots, modernized for a sleeker contemporary folk audience. Opening with the catchy “Concrete (Fish Out of Water),” the album immediately hooks you in. ** ½


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