album review

Sit and Spin

Caleb Landry Jones’ The Mother Stone


Artist: Caleb Landry Jones

Album: The Mother Stone

Reason We’re Cranking It: It has always driven us crazy when we hear people tell actors to “stay in their lane,” as if anybody is supposed to identify – or enjoy – being just one thing on their life journey. Thankfully, Jones – known for roles in films like Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri and Get Out – is swerving out of “his lane” and all over the creative road, giving us an album that is two parts Lennon – John and Sean – and is as fun of a ride as you could hope to have in extended quarantine.

What The Album Tells Us About Him: Jones, who has been writing and recording music since age 16, clearly has been influenced by the Beatles, but not only from a writing standpoint. The production quality on The Monster Stone is a mother of feat – a carnival of sweeping sounds, crisp in each crackle, that lifts you up and drops you down on a roller coaster ride that is both classic and unconventional, at least by today’s standards.

Track Stuck On Repeat: With 15 tracks to choose from, it’s easy to get lost in the selection shuffle, but it’s “You’re So Wonderfull” – an early arriver off of the record – that sets the tone and steals your harmonious heart.

And that means…

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Sit and Spin

Bonny Light Horseman’s Self-Titled Debut


Artist: Bonny Light Horseman

Album: Self-Titled

Reason We’re Cranking It: Hooks abound, it is Anaïs Mitchell’s mesmerizing vocals that grab hold of you, luring you into the music as a third party contributor, somehow making you feel as if you’re a part of the experience and not just a distant set of ears wrapped in headphones.

What The Album Tells Us About Them: Although we weren’t around at the time to be early listeners on Pet Sounds from the Beach Boys or Abbey Road from the Beatles, we imagine it was a lot like giving this self-titled debut its first spin. Sure, it may end up being one of of the best albums of the year when all is said and done, but if Bonny Light Horseman stays the course, they could easily create one of the “Best Of” albums of all time.

Track Stuck On Repeat: We’ve gone through the entire album so many times at this point that we’ve found new things to love in each track, but currently it’s the vocal back and forth between Mitchell and Eric D. Johnson on “Blackwaterside” that has us returning for more.

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Sit and Spin

Wylder’s Golden Age Thinking


Artist: Wylder

Album: Golden Age Thinking

Reason We’re Cranking It: There’s a lot of noise coming out of DC these days, but if you can look beyond the politics, “Golden Age Thinking” is a sound that’s literally music to our ears. Reminiscent of 90s era indie mainstays Guster and Wilco, Wylder blends sentimentality with substance in a way that both rewinds and fast forwards the genre at the same time.

What The Album Tells Us About Them: Folk and pop influences bubble to the surface in the quartet’s writing and they have the ability to build towards a moment, not only with individual tracks but with the album as a whole. If “Golden Age Thinking” were a balloon, it would become fully inflated by the midway point – “Winter” – and pop with punctuation by completion – “Right to My Head.” Pacing is an art form and Wylder has figured out the formula.

Track Stuck On Repeat: The vibe of “If I Love You” brings us back to our teen years when we contemplated less complicated matters of life in a way that gave them far more weight than they deserved. Young love was high stakes, and “If I Love You” goes all-in on our 90s nostalgia feels.

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Sit and Spin

Ian Ferguson’s State Of Gold


Artist: Ian Ferguson

Album: State Of Gold

Reason We’re Cranking It: With what seems to be a countless number of boutique record labels focused on the quality of their releases and not the quantity, it’s easy for the DIYers to get overlooked in what feels like a modern day songwriting renaissance. But, like all good things, the cream rises to the top, and while “State of Gold” may never reach that status in terms of sales, the antiquated ways of valuing music – and experiencing it as a listener – do very little to stop an individual, in this case Ferguson, from bringing their own quality-over-quantity to the masses.

What The Album Tells Us About Him: Not only did Ferguson play all of the instruments that can be heard on the album, but he also recorded, engineered and mixed the entire collection on his own, capturing his artistic vision in a way that few artists are capable of. And while some songwriters may go this path to control their own destiny, for Ferguson it feels more like the music is in control and he is ushering it where it needs to go as opposed to the other way around.

Track Stuck On Repeat: Beatles fans will feel the Sgt. Pepper’s pop of “Deep Beneath the Waves,” which like the name suggests, flows in on a current of psychedelic movement that picks you up in one place and drops you off in an entirely different one.

And that means…

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