Bluesky Bullet Points: April 14, 2024

Katie Pruitt leads this week’s batch with a strong contender for the best album of 2024.


Aaron Lee Tasjan

Stellar Evolution

The ties to country are missing here, and that’s at least a little bit of a bummer, but am I mad about getting what amounts to a Fountains of Wayne record that foregrounds queer experiences? Absolutely not: Wear whatever you want to. This type of outsized power-pop suits Tasjan perfectly.


Zach Top

Cold Beer and Country Music

What he lacks in originality, he more than makes up for in gumption, on an album that sounds like it was unearthed from 1992. That the singing and songwriting actually merit the comparison to that era’s best is high praise, and he’s the best of the current revivalists.


Leyla McCalla

Sun Without the Heat

A genre-spanning tour-de-force that highlights McCalla’s refusal to have her gifts for country and folk song conventions reigned-in, this record finds McCalla at her most ambitious. And that fearlessness suits her just fine. An essential listen.


Various Artists

My Black Country: The Songs of Alice Randall

Tremendous. The Adia Victoria track was already one of the year’s best singles, and the rest of the collection is no less inspired or riveting. An important re-centering of the voices of black women in country music, via Randall’s extraordinary songwriting.


Chayce Beckham

Bad for Me

A solid debut, even without a “for an American Idol winner” qualifier. The likable and not-overbearing rasp to his voice does a lot of heavy lifting, and the songwriting shows room for further development of a distinct POV. But the bones are pretty good here.


Katie Pruitt


An ex-vangelical treatise, made all the more powerful because it’s not delivered as a sermon but as a collection of tuneful country, folk, and pop songs that display a once-in-a-generation command of melody, structure, and language. A triumph of radical empathy.


The Frontmen

The Frontmen

There’s some phenomenal vocal harmony work on this set, which elevates some pedestrian songwriting and arrangements that are less “inspired by” their prime eras than are just dated-sounding. The vibe here is very WILD HOGS (2007).


John Moreland


Jettisons the purist-upsetting electronic flourishes of his recent work, settling back into a less challenging aesthetic. Which is fine for a writer of his caliber: Songs this good don’t really need additional sonic textures because they’re dense enough as-is.

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