Baltimore Sun

Mabel captures whirlwind night

- — Steven Wine

If you’ve ever sent a

“So, about last night” text, Mabel’s new album is for you. A follow-up to the English singer’s

2019 debut album, “About Last Night...” is a blend of disco, dance and pop that captures every emotion experience­d during a cathartic night out.

One moment she’s confidentl­y showing off on the dance floor with her new man (“Animal” and, ironically, “Shy”), in another she’s giving a bathroom pep talk to a friend (“Good Luck”) or crying in the club herself (“Take Your Name”).

Mabel rallies with “Let Love Go (feat. Lil Tecca),” only to fall victim to the emotions that stir when going out and seeing an ex on “Overthinki­ng” and “Crying on The Dance Floor.” By the time the party comes to an end, it’s morning already, and there’s the question of “what now?” on the aptly titled “When The Party’s Over.” This wrap-up to a whirlwind night could be a metaphor for any exciting chapter of life coming to a close.

As far as takeaways, while there is an awful lot of focus on ex-partner drama, there’s an accompanyi­ng fair share of empowermen­t songs that stand out like “Let Them Know,” an encouragem­ent to go out and show ’em your worth, or “LOL,” a delightful slap in the face for an ex who is trying to come back into your life.

Conceived in lockdown, this album is a snapshot of a simpler time and is just one of many products of female pop artists who have been able to create party anthems during a pandemic. Is that strange? Resilient? Strangely resilient? Jury’s still out on that one, but for now, maybe we can just enjoy joining

Mabel (Polydor Records)

Mabel on her night out. — Kiana Doyle, Associated Press

Coming from a queer, 6-foot-4, 300-pound

former high school football captain who went on to sing Midwestern punk rock, pursue poetry in New York and then earn a fellowship to teach literature in the Ozarks, this album is what you’d expect: different.

It’s terrific, too.

Like the prairie pioneers who inform his muse,

Willi Carlisle has navigated remarkable terrain to arrive at “Peculiar, Missouri,” a collection of campfire folk that celebrates love while railing against capitalism, meritocrac­y, our political divide and the designated hitter.

Carlisle’s sharp satire and literary bent separate him from the populist pack. He draws on the work of Carl Sandburg and e.e. cummings, rhymes “Bugatti” with “Passamaquo­ddy,” and employs such words as “fractal” and “chlorophyl­lic.”

His range of styles also helps put the album on the musical map. The anthemic “I Won’t Be Afraid” will bring goosebumps with a singalong chorus aided by the vocals of Ordinary Elephant, before Carlisle pledges to “love whoever I well please.” The title cut is a talking blues that takes a pivotal turn in the cosmetics aisle at Walmart, while the banjo-driven “Your Heart’s a Big Tent” proposes a group hug. “Life on the Fence,” a weepy waltz about a conflicted bisexual, describes a love triangle in 3/ 4 time.

The former football captain deserves a highfive for this entertaini­ng, thought-provoking snapshot of America. — Steven Wine, Associated Press

Jazz pianist Sam Reider can sound reflective

or restless, pensive or playful, sometimes in adjacent measures. “Petrichor” is the solo debut album from Reider, who sings and plays accordion for the jazz-bluegrass group Human Hands. His new release features eight original instrument­als that echo Debussy, Chopin and Gershwin, among others, but the end result is delightful­ly distinctiv­e.

Reider says the music was inspired by San Francisco’s landscape. He mixes melodic moments with discordant intervals, serving up splashes of color in a range of registers. His exploratio­ns lead to subtle undulation­s, modulation­s and rollercoas­ter runs as notes tinkle, thunder, sing and shimmer before reaching satisfying conclusion­s.

Choice cuts include the title tune, an up-tempo gem with a rollicking bass line, and “Land’s End,” a blue waltz built on a wandering threenote rhythmic pattern.

It’s never certain where those notes will land, and on “Petrichor,” that’s one more reason to keep listening.

‘Peculiar, Missouri’ Willi Carlisle

(Free Dirt Records)

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‘About Last Night...’

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