On record: Big Bad Luv, by John Moreland 

When I first learned the title of Oklahoma singer-songwriter John Moreland's fourth and latest record, Big Bad Luv, I immediately thought of writer Larry Brown's collection of short stories, Big Bad Love. If the shared name is coincidence, then the universe is playing tricks on us. Moreland and Brown, both Southerners, bear similarities, despite practicing different forms. Like Brown's stories, Moreland's songs are full of heartbreak and loss, and relate tales of normal people just trying to make a go of it in a world that seems hellbent on breaking them.

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Big Bad Luv picks up where 2015's High On Tulsa Heat left off. Moreland now delivers his songs primarily with a full band backing him up, as opposed to the solo voice-with-guitar of past records. The sonic fulsomeness suits him better in this case—these songs feel like they were written with a band in mind. Big Bad Luv leans toward being a rock 'n' roll album, and features more songs with upbeat tempos. Since his last record, Moreland has had some success, landing on Stephen Colbert's show, among others. But don't think that's made the man too happy just yet. In "Ain't We Gold," for instance, he proves he's still got what it takes to write a good line when he sings, "If church is learning how to hate yourself, ain't grace a wretched old thing."

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