What a day for new releases!

Charlie Sexton’s new album Cruel and Gentle Things gets a big fat rave from Thom Jurek at the All Music Guide.

Jurek goes out of his way to celebrate individual tracks. For example:

“Gospel,” a slippery, languid acoustic blues testament to faith in times of trouble. The sheer skeletal beauty of the track is striking, and Sexton’s vocal is full of a relaxed conviction that gets right at the heart of the lyric. Daniel Lanois would kill to have written this.

And he concludes:

Ultimately, Cruel and Gentle Things is a series of postcards from various places and people in the songwriter’s life. It comes across as an interior kind of travel record, one that charts, exposes, lays bare, and celebrates the years as the revelations of everyday life, lived in space and time but not bound by them. It is easily the finest and most poetic and musically realized record in Sexton’s catalog.

Meanwhile, Tim Sendra at All Music is raving about the new collaboration between Iron & Wine and CalexicoIn the Reins.

The record manages to blend the best aspects of the two groups and comes off a winner in all respects. You get Iron & Wine’s melodicism, emotional depth, and literary grace backed by Calexico’s desert-bleached C&W orchestral splendor.

And it doesn’t stop there. Nigel Godrich, the brilliant producer of works by Radiohead and Beck, has produced the new Paul McCartney album: Chaos and Creation in my Backyard.

And the new Switchfoot album? All Music Guide’s reaction basically amounts to “Not great, not awful…”