@@@ John Depew: Self-titled (Self-released, 2021) I got to this old school midwestern man and his stringed instrument record via Ted Gioia’s end of year list which I usually check out but it’s behind a paywall this year and he’s just giving out crumbs. Hath he no shame! Mr. Depew sure can play and he gets into on the second track Hog Killing. He can also sing really well — I’m not a huge fan of the reverb they put on his voice but it’s not enough to sink my liking of the record. He switches from mandolin to acoustic guitar on the third track Indian Blanket Flower and I’m really feeling this track more than the second after really liking the first. I think he might be a tad too literate for me at certain points. There are some quite beautiful passages at points here and a few places where it gets a bit lyrically clogged. I see he’s trying to update some very established sounds and I appreciate that effort, it’s quite difficult. I prefer his playing to his singing but that’s just me.
@@@ Milan Ring: Hide with You (Astral People, 2021) I got to this track via this week’s Line of Best fit email. Here we have a young female Australian musician and this is the opening track off a just released record. It’s a chill r&b track with singing and rhyming and a lot of vocal tracks. I don’t know if there should be a maximum number of vocal tracks to a song but it’s an idea worth considering. The arrangement here is chill pop with funky but not trap beats, nice thick basslines without menace and the aforementioned lots of vocal tracks. Surprisingly to me the outro comes together to chug out on a funky wave. Overall, it’s all right and whoever did the basslines here did a very good job.