Stephen Malkmus, Traditional Techniques (Matador) – Pavement founder Stephen Malkmus has released consistently interesting albums with his backup band The Jicks. His solo efforts, though, like 2019’s Groove Denied, have tended to be self-indulgent. This new album, described as acoustic, is more a dabbling in unamplified instruments than Americana folk. Early tracks, particularly the opener “ACC Kirtan,” have the raga feel of The Beatles’ “Within You Without You.” Malkmus meanders later in the album, albeit with beautiful flute backing, but he proves his acoustic side exceeds his EDM.
Will Sexton, Don’t Walk the Darkness (Big Legal Mess) – Will Sexton, with his older brother Charlie, defined Austin session work in the ’90s with musicians such as Joe Ely and Stevie Ray Vaughan. He hasn’t released a solo work since suffering a stroke in 2009, but he moved to Memphis in 2013, giving this new work a distinct Southern feel. Producer Bruce Watson opts for an intriguing dirty lo-fi sound, suggesting Lou Reed at Muscle Shoals, particularly in horn-rich tracks like “Oh the Night.”