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Stream: Lawrence Rothman, ‘Decent Man’ (feat. Lucinda Williams)

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Avant-pop auteur Lawrence Rothman proved there was nothing out of reach with 2017’s “The Book of Law,” a genre-fluid debut in which the artist took on gender identity, family conflict and social alienation in nine songs inhabiting nine alter-egos. What on earth could one do to top that?

Today, Rothman announced that the follow-up will be a two-part album, “Good Morning, America” and a spoken-word counterpart “Not a Son.”

The former will be a nine-song LP featuring guests such as Lucinda Williams, Marissa Nadler, Mary Lattimore, Girlpool and Pino Palladino. “Not a Son” is a nine-track spoken-word collection, with Rothman playing with and narrating over instrumentals featuring members of Thundercat’s band.

In contrast to album 1’s confessionals, Rothman has America’s climate in the cross-hairs, and the lead single “Decent Man,” which features Williams, finds the mark. “Are there any decent men left,” Rothman wonders, while Williams zeroes in on one that doesn’t meet the criterion: “The antichrist’s out playing god,” she sings in her verse.

“Politicians on the right here in the U.S. are more so than ever using religion and faith to manipulate and control our free will, pulling us decades backward on abortion rights and equality,” Rothman says. “The old guard must be dismantled. Choosing to be neutral or apolitical at this very moment is a dire mistake. The lifeline of our country is at stake along with our own personal livelihood. To belabor the obvious the current administration from top to bottom is the furthest from being decent men.

“My daughter around the time of the George Floyd killing, asked me one night ‘Are there any decent men left?’ Society’s ills were ever more present to her as our home became the classroom and her social world of school and friends went on pause. I witnessed this young person transform from being a kid inside the bubble of the pre-teen ‘daydreamÆ to subscribing to the NY Times and LA Times getting active with social justice online and on the street. She inspired me to sit at my kitchen table and write a record that explored the horrifying current American epoch and how old values and traditions have misshaped many of us.

“‘Decent Man’ was the first song I wrote and the rest came within two weeks. Lucinda Williams’ voice and song have been a constant companion for me during my life’s ups and downs. Her albums have been my family’s soundtrack during these last six months. When I wrote ‘Decent Man,’ I saw myself on stage trading verses with Lucinda, and it’s a great honor to have her accompany me on this song.”

||| Stream: “Decent Man”

||| Previously: Live at the Pico Union Project; “Decade,” live at the Lodge Room; “Stand By,” “Ain’t Afraid of Dying,” “H,” “Users,” “Oz Vs. Eden,” “#1 All Time Low”

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