11 Songs, 37 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

When Richard Swift died of alcohol-related causes in July 2018, he left behind one of the more quietly interesting legacies in indie music. Best known as a producer (Damien Jurado, Foxygen) and sideman (The Black Keys, The Shins), Swift was also an unusual singer-songwriter, crafting sepia-toned reveries that explored ’60s and ’70s music with a cloudy, melancholic remove, as though he wasn’t writing his songs so much as remembering them. Released shortly after his death, The Hex marks a strong—if sad—endnote to his career, touching on Motown (“Broken Finger Blues”), AM pop (“Dirty Jim”), and girl-group songs (“Wendy”) with the gently psychedelic tone that became his calling card. Particularly poignant is “Sister Song,” on which Swift sings through a cavern of reverb: “Don’t worry sister, I hope it isn’t that bad/You love a man, now you’re raising his children/I wish you wasn’t so sad.”

EDITORS’ NOTES

When Richard Swift died of alcohol-related causes in July 2018, he left behind one of the more quietly interesting legacies in indie music. Best known as a producer (Damien Jurado, Foxygen) and sideman (The Black Keys, The Shins), Swift was also an unusual singer-songwriter, crafting sepia-toned reveries that explored ’60s and ’70s music with a cloudy, melancholic remove, as though he wasn’t writing his songs so much as remembering them. Released shortly after his death, The Hex marks a strong—if sad—endnote to his career, touching on Motown (“Broken Finger Blues”), AM pop (“Dirty Jim”), and girl-group songs (“Wendy”) with the gently psychedelic tone that became his calling card. Particularly poignant is “Sister Song,” on which Swift sings through a cavern of reverb: “Don’t worry sister, I hope it isn’t that bad/You love a man, now you’re raising his children/I wish you wasn’t so sad.”

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