NATURAL SWAY: Sweet Life: LP

On first listen, I pictured the “shabby chic” diner that would play this album while charging me fourteen dollars for tofu scramble and dry toast and five dollars for a cup of coffee served in a mason jar. A few more listens, the frigid aloofness and irony of instant-everything-nothing-matters internet culture melted away and I was reminded of life without Instagram and Pitchfork. Camping. Falling asleep in the backseat. Dancing barefoot in the kitchen. Ten songs about fireflies, alcohol, highways, tea with honey, dancing, nostalgia, and sweaters. Sweet Life is what you want to hear at an open mic but rarely actually do. It’s kind. Folky and raw but self-aware. A little reminder when memes are taking over, that not everything needs to be flippant, perfectly posed to look effortless, or cynical. For those who could get down in a country bar (maybe secretly like their drinks in mason jars), and had a time where they really loved Ben Gibbard. Not for those who think crying is weak. –Griffin Wynne (Self-released, naturalsway.bandcamp.com)