John Prine, "Summer's End." The video for this wistful, bittersweet highlight from Prine's exemplary The Tree of Forgiveness, his first album in 13 years, is an understated tale of the human cost of the opioid crisis. The clip is directed by documentarians Kerrin Sheldon and Elaine McMillion Sheldon, makers of the Oscar-nominated short film Heroin(e). It's a heartbreaker.
Blaze. Ethan Hawke's subtle biopic about the late country singer Blaze Foley — the inspiration for Lucinda Williams' "Drunken Angel" — stars unschooled actor Ben Dickey, formerly of fine Philly band Blood Feathers, in a terrifically tender performance alongside actress Alia Shawkat. The movie also makes excellent use of musicians Charlie Sexton and Alynda Segarra in key roles, and Dickey shines on a soundtrack that argues that Foley's minor legend status is well deserved and based on much more than simply dying young. Showing at the Ritz Five.
Richard Swift, The Hex. Speaking of early, tragic losses, highly regarded sideman and studio whiz Richard Swift died of complications from alcoholism at 41 over the summer. The producer and multi-instrumentalist who toured with the Shins and the Arcs was working on music at the time of his death, and his posthumous album The Hex is a gorgeously delicate collection of orchestral indie pop, full of jaunty melodies that mask the desperation apparent in the lyrics of songs like "Black and Blue."
Bob Moses. The Brooklyn house music duo of Jimmy Valance and Tom Howie, a DJ tandem who grew up together in Vancouver. Upon coming together in New York, they for some reason named themselves after Robert Moses, the controversial urban planner who's the subject of Lyndon Johnson biographer Robert Caro's epic The Power Broker. Aussie trio Mansionair open. Wednesday at Union Transfer.
Lana Del Rey, "Mariners Apartment Complex" and "Venice Bitch." Two new songs from the queen of California beach noir, produced by ubiquitous New Jerseyan Jack Antonoff, who's worked with Lorde, St. Vincent, and Taylor Swift of late. Both find Del Rey — who was in the news last week for calling out MAGA hat-wearing Kanye West on Instagram — at her moody, swoony best, and both are expected to be included on her 2019 album, which as of now is called Norman F- Rockwell.