The contradiction of Bill Callahan’s 2010s output is how an artist seemingly so stoic and withdrawn could be so completely in love with everyday life. His performances get more nuanced and his metaphorical power richer every album, whether it’s the image of his infant daughter suspended angelically above the ground because everyone wants to carry her around (“First Bird”), or the way a horse inside a house reminds him of the way we have to ”bow our heads to get in and out of what we’re living in”—a mix of American surrealism and Buddhist humility he can safely call his own. And for a singer who once said that the only time he felt part of the world is when he was alone in his room (Smog’s “Ex-Con”), now he can’t wait to get out with the stroller for another trip around the neighbourhood (“Natural Information”) with a horn section and backup singers in tow. Peace, love and fun—and evidently hard-won.

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