Neil Young ends prolific year with Barn, produced in Colorado | Music
Neil Young fans empty themselves bank accounts this year, following their prolific hero. After releasing a second set of archived works in late 2020, Young released three live performances in ’21, then brought back his band Crazy Horse for barn (Replay), a powerful studio release recorded in a Colorado barn.
We could praise the new album for its fresh lyricism, but then again, the same could be said of 2019 Colorado, or 2015 The Monsanto years. Young is nothing if not consistent, which makes the potlatch of new records and Vault Relics just exhausting.
barn the loose aesthetic of the recording fits the Crazy Horse members perfectly, especially in the opening track “Song of the Seasons”. Young’s blend of sincere radical politics and ironic libertarianism is present in âChange Ain’t Never Gonnaâ and âCanericanâ. Even though the songs carry familiar guitar hooks from Neil, it’s obvious the singer isn’t short on ideas. Once the listeners have caught up with this new screed, they can dive back into Carnegie Room 1970, Young Shakespeare Where Down in the bucket of rusks, until they ran out of money or ran out of patience.
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Aeon Station, Observatory (Sub Pop) – Fans of New Jersey band The Wrens may need to weigh their guilt when listening to this outing from Wrens co-founder Kevin Whelan. At least half of the 10 tracks were to be on a long-delayed Wrens album, and the resulting acrimony likely ensures the band’s demise. Whelan’s solo rendition of the songs he wrote is much more piano-oriented and intimate than a Wrens rendition would have been, and more lively songs like “Everything at Once” allude to the Jayhawks or to the Killers. It’s sad the Wrens died with a whimper, but this coda is easy to enjoy.
Lotic, The water (Houndstooth) – American soul-electronica experimenter J’Kerian Morgan, living in Berlin and recording under the name Lotic, has come up with previous EPs and an album that is both ethereal and downright scary. The water maintains an otherworldly sense through transcendent sounds, but Lotic’s falsetto voice and his outspokenness on queer politics leaves tracks like “Come Unto Me” and “Always You” much more human and grounded than anything else. which is on the first album.