City Music, is about a city — maybe the archetypal “City” — and it’s as deep and complicated as that title demands. But Morby’s city feels more like the home of Jonathan Richman than of Lou Reed, with the dirt and desperation balanced by a kind of wobbly, stayed-up-till-dawn romance and even a stubborn sense of innocence. Reed could do that, too, but City Music pairs particularly well with that first Modern Lovers LP and its sentiments about worlds old and new. At times, City Music also recalls Robert Quine’s glittering guitar, Leonard Cohen’s last-call Ladies’ Man charisma, even The Urinals’ desperate-but-righteous DIY rattle ’n’ roll. Opening is L.A.’s Shannon Lay, about to release an album on Morby’s own label; her voice and spare acoustic guitar make songs somehow both gigantic and intimate at once.
Kevin Morby’s latest album,