LOST IN THE TREES AND OTHER RECORD EXCHANGE CD RECOMMENDATIONS

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The woman who stares out at you from the cover of Lost in the Treessecond album resembles a Renaissance muse more than a photographed subject. She is the mother of the band’s frontman Ari Picker, and she took her own life in 2009. That loss naturally haunts the musician, as such a tragedy would anyone, but A Church That Fits Our Needs addresses her death in a roundabout way, favoring allegorical storytelling over straightforward eulogizing. Picker infuses his lyrics with North American magical realism, full of dark forest, dead birds, mysterious churches and ominous lakes, and the band soundtracks them with florid arrangements that stop just shy of fussy.

The loss of a loved one has inspired some solid indie albums over the past few years, from the Arcade Fire’s Funeral to Jennifer O’Connor’s Over the Mountain, Across the Valley, and Back to the Stars. While it’s all too easy to assign such releases more import and impact than the music actually achieves, A Church That Fits Our Needs complicates that tendency: it’s a deeply guarded album, one that deploys its bleak whimsy to keep the tragedy private. Picker allows the death of his mother to drive but not define the music, balancing confession with confabulation. The album is stirring without wallowing; it can move even the listener who knows nothing of the backstory.Paste

OTHER NEW CD RECOMMENDATIONS:

Esperanza Spalding Radio Music Society (deluxe edition also available)
Jerry Joseph and the Jackmormons Happy Book
Lee Ranaldo Between the Times and the Tides
Various Artists Hunger Games: Songs from District 12 and Beyond (deluxe edition also available)
Anti-Flag General Strike
Birdy Birdy
Odd Future Of Tape Vol. 2
Brad Mehldau Trio Ode
Tanlines Mixed Emotions
Ozzy Osbourne Diary of a Madman (remastered)

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