ALBUMS OF THE WEEK: Clem Snide and White Owl Red

I knew when I started doing just one album recommendation per week I’d get backlogged, but I didn’t realize just how backlogged. I can’t help it–I just love new music too much. So, this week, I’m knocking off my list several that have been pending for a while.

Let’s start with the new one from Clem Snide, which starts with “Roger Ebert,” in which we learn (supposedly) the last words he said before he died. It’s a serene way to launch an indie folk/rock journey into the meaning of God, death, and trying to “get back to the womb” (quoting a line from Sorry, Charlie–one of the best songs on the album). But despite the theme, this is actually one of the lighter of Clem Snide’s albums, which always lean towards the deep and heavy. It’s almost an antidote for the constantly dire COVID-19 world we live in: An album with depth and weight, but gentle on the ears.

As a result, diehard fans may find this album a little too “mainstream” or light for their tastes. But for me, I like it just fine.

Next, for my second album of the week, it’s Afterglow by White Owl Red. This band skews Americana rather than folk, and as a result is instantly pleasant, warm, and accessible at every level. Overall, it’s just a nice collection of simple, back-porch style song that swing between classic Wilco and old-time Johnny Cash. Cash is particularly present, of course, on “I Walk the Line (For You).” It’s not a cover, it’s a tribute, starting with the line, “Johnny was a train wreck, looking for his eternal June. She took his ring of fire and wore it like the moon,” over a chicka-boom beat.

Very nice album.


Cindy Lee’s new experimental rock album is very, very good.

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