Tons of great albums are out today, and to turn your attention towards yet another: NYC musician Ben Seretan has just released his third solo album, Youth Pastoral, and it's clearly a very special album. Ben's yearning delivery and earthy melodies are a little alt-country, but the songs are covered in an atmospheric indie rock haze (think Yo La Tengo or Broken Social Scene), and sometimes things can really come crashing down in a louder alternative rock kind of way (not unlike, say, early Manchester Orchestra). Ben also explores his personal relationship with Christianity throughout the album, and gospel is at least somewhat of a reference point here too. The song that auto-plays on Bandcamp is the seven and a half minute centerpiece "Am I Doing Right By You," which is probably the obvious standout, but the whole album is great. Stream it below.

Ben celebrates Youth Pastoral with a hometown release show at Union Pool tonight (2/28) with Gemma (members of Ava Luna, Dirty Projectors) and Scree. Tickets are still available. It's his only upcoming date at the moment.

Ben (who also plays/played in Duchampion and Fayaway) records under his own name, but this is way more than just a solo singer/songwriter album and it includes a handful of guests. Here's more on those:

Nico Hedley - who released an excellent 7” under his name in 2019 - returns once again on bass. Dan Knishkowy - guitarist and songwriter in Adeline Hotel, in which Ben also plays guitar - hammers on crash cymbals and bashes out disco hi hats. Alex Lewis - radio producer and guitarist from Philadelphia’s the Early & Flat Mary Road - adds some heartbreaking lap steel and guitar cacophony that matches (or bests!) Ben’s playing. Dave Lackner - composer and reed wizard from Blue Jazz TV - contributed the final sprinkles of flute and sax from his home in New Haven and noted studio whiz and finger style ace Will Stratton mixed down the album.

Tragically - and there’s no elegant way to mention this - the sculptor Devra Freelander also appears on the record with her buoyant, full-hearted harmonies. Her performances are wonderful, but she did not live to see the album completed. Though the songs themselves have nothing, really, to do with losing a friend, it’s something from which the entire community of people involved with these songs is in the process of processing and the project is dedicated to her memory.

Please check out her work:

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