Richmond Fontaine Lost Son

Like a revelation, an instantly familiar new best friend, Richmond Fontaine drops out of the sky to arrive in my lap, fully formed, as the best band I’ve never heard since Damian Jurado. If you wondered what happened to Jay Farrar’s Son Volt project after their brilliant debut, Trace, look no further than Lost Son for that fiery combination of punk energy, incisive lyrics, and a knowledge of American music history beyond three chords and an attitude. Even their mini-legend is full of tantalising tidbits — Richmond Fontaine is either named after a character in a short story the lead singer wrote, or after a real-life down and out character he met in Mexico. And that singer, Willy Vlautin, is the bearer of no insignificant handle himself. He may or many not be the subject of “Fifteen Year Old Kid In Nogales, Mexico,” but he breathes life into that tale in few enough words to do Hemingway proud. Guaranteed to break your heart after two listens — one to catch each nuance of driving chorus, subtle slide guitar, and aching vocals, and one to get to know the desolate cast of characters that populates it. Then jump for joy when you find out that this album is the band’s third. (Cavity Search)