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M. WARD - BEST ALBUM OF 2016 SO FAR?


M. Ward is a Portland-based singer-songwriter - a description that will either worry you, or not. Eyewear, the blog thinks he may have just under-the-radar delivered one of the best albums of 2016, already. Ward is known to his fans, and has been making albums like this, more or less, for 15 years; this time, he is accompanied, as all reviews elsewhere also note, with subtle support from Neko Case, Peter Buck and k.d lang - and indeed the overall effect is a bit like a languorous twangy lang album, or the quietest R.E.M. LP ever.

With effortless charm and aplomb, More Rain manages to capture precisely what made albums by Lloyd Cole & The Commotions, The Blue Nile, and more recently Boy & Bear so impactful - the holy trinity of superb vocals with a hint of doo-wop, expertly deployed Americana melodies just shy of early Smiths (with some country echo-chamber), and whip-smart lyrics easily the equal of prime Elvis Costello.

With simple but effective production that balances a sense of authenticity with stylish panache, the 12 tracks (the opener is mostly rain sounds; there is a Beach Boys cover) establish a likeable, never-too-melancholy slow-paced mood that feels timeless, and could be set on replay for dreamy hours or days, rain or shine.

The standouts are early on: synthy 'Girl From Conejo Valley' and stunner 'Confession' - the first songs I have heard in the past few months that sound like they will be played (without irony) in university dorm rooms in 25 years, with a candle, red wine bottle half-killed, and some weed in the foreground. I love this. Go get it today.
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SEXTON SHORTLIST!

Announcing the Shortlist for the 2016 Sexton PrizeSeptember 13, 2016 / By Kelly Davio
Eyewear Publishing is pleased to announce the shortlist for the 2016 Sexton Prize. The finalists are, in no particular order, as follows:


THE BARBAROUS CENTURY, Leah Umansky
HISTORY OF GONE, Lynn Schmeidler
SEVERE CLEAR, Maya Catherine Popa
GIMME THAT. DON’T SMITE ME, Steve Kronen
SCHEHERAZADE AND OTHER REDEPLOYMENTS, David McAleavey
AN AMERICAN PURGATORY, Rebecca Gayle Howell
SIT IN THE DARK WITH ME, Jesse Lee Kercheval

The shortlist was selected by Eyewear’s Director Todd Swift with Senior Editor Kelly Davio. Don Share of Poetry Magazine will select the winning manuscript, which will be released at the 2017 AWP conference in Washington, D.C. The winner will be announced in October. 
Congratulations to our finalists!