FILE UNDER: Heartfelt, stripped-down folk-rock
WHAT'S DIFFERENT: Unlike Pryor's last proper solo studio album (2013's Wrist Slitter), Memento Mori eschews electric guitars and aggressive tempos. Instead, the record is full of stripped-down meditations on life and death, based around antique-sounding piano (“Stay,” “Is This Home?”), loping banjo (“Risk”) and dusky folk guitars (“Mary,” “Sidney”).
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE: Pryor's heart-on-sleeve demeanor ensures all of his projects (Get Up Kids, New Amsterdams, podcasting) overflow with sincerity. However, his songwriting has never sounded as wrenching as it does on Memento Mori. “Long after you recognize you could build any space to suit/Words need to be actualized or else they can bury you,” he intones on “Risk.” The wisdom he displays while responding to every tiny heartbreak (and victory) is illuminating—and gorgeous.
OUR PICK: “A Small Explosion”
Equal Vision Records http://www.equalvision.com/