There’s nothing better than a return engagement with a favourite artist. This double bill features performers who routinely win the ‘never let me down’ award from me and today is no exception. If they’re your thing, get ready for maximum enjoyment.

He’s the lord of deadpan cool. He’s Ben Vaughn meets Chuck Prophet. He’s Eytan Mirsky and he’s back with a fabulous new LP, Lord, Have Mirsky. The ten new tunes here resurrect familiar Mirsky personas: loveable loser, overconfident pleaser, half-serious life sage. “I Don’t Wanna Brag” opens the show with a kind of MexTex slow dance, Mirsky’s lyrics perfectly floating over the spartan guitar and organ accompaniment. No one does this sort of overconfident desperation quite like Eytan. Female trouble, as usual, defines the album, informing the pleading (“Halfhearted”), the complaints (“What Took You So Long”), and the emotional conflict (“You’re Getting It On Me”) that populate the songs. Clever wordplay? It’s back on “Smart to be Stupid,” a track that is kin to the pithy song stylings of John Hiatt and Richard Thompson. But Mirsky can also be serious, as in evidence on the somber soul vamp “It’s All Right to Be Alone.” The song is so obviously, eminently cover-able, it should be heading for a status Nick Lowe once described as an ‘earner.’ Overall, I’d say the album is perhaps a bit more laid back that previous efforts, pushing back the stylistic frontiers from prior new wave and 1980s indie vibes to a more post-pub rock 1970s feel. That’s illustrated nicely on the gently swinging “The Waiting is the Easiest Part.” Then “Don’t Be Afraid” breaks out the pedal steel guitar to good effect while “Watching from the Balcony” takes things in a more Rockpile direction. The verdict? Lord, Have Mirsky delivers what we need right now: some wry wit, a bit of earnest self-reflection, and melodies that will make you smile.

With the release of It Should Have Been Tomorrow Pale Lights leading man Phil Sutton is finally ready to prime time his new project Love, Burns. Some tracks here were rusticly previewed on 2020’s Fiftieth and Marlborough but now it’s like somebody turned on the lights, they’ve been given a fine new shape and sonic sparkle. “Dear Claire” opens the record with a giddy intensity, the combo of organ and electric guitar seemingly relentless in their aural assault. From the instrumental break the vibe is so Lord Huron while vocally I can’t help but hear a bit of Lloyd Cole or Roddy Frame. “Gate and the Ghost” and “Stormy Waters” are jangle heavy numbers cut with some seductive organ work. “It’s a Shame” takes a turn into an early, jazzy Everything but the Girl direction while both “In a Long Time” and “Oh, My Beloved” have a pastoral 1960s folk rock vibe. “Wired Eyes” is the unrivaled choice for hit single in this collection, combining the sixties pop psychedelia of The Strawberry Alarm Clock with the indie cool of The Velvet Underground. Country gets a look in on “Come in the Spring” and “Drive Down to D.C.” And then everything wraps up with the glorious Bond-esque “Something Good,” a rumbly guitar workout that should inspire a whole new generation of go go dancers.

You better snap up the tickets if Eytan Mirsky and Love, Burns do a return engagement in your town. These new albums are a preview of what you might see. Things are looking very good indeed.