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MJ Lenderman, 'Toontown'

Jake Lenderman, who plays guitar in the indie-rock group Wednesday, can keep things light in his solo music as MJ Lenderman — but he also knows when to bring heaviness into a song. With the latter in mind, alt-country vibes meet slowcore tempos on the heartbroken "Toontown," a mini-epic swaying with lumbering guitars and weeping lap steel. Lenderman takes the role of a down-and-out clown, face paint fading and pants down for all to see, unable to hide behind a familiar façade any longer. Glimpses of pain, whether about the state of the world or a relationship gone awry, are equally felt in the song's sudden feedback squalls as in Lenderman's voice, a forlorn twang that's felt the dust of the rodeo arena one too many times.

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