On Be Where I Be, Judah Johnson's latest, Daniel Johnson indulges every whim unabashed romantic leanings, moody interludes, Bono resets and still makes something weighty, since the album is so fully formed and gorgeous. It has something for the Tooth & Nail kids, devotees to Andrew Bird, Eno and anyone still trying to rediscover their late-1990s alt-pop kick. Here Daniel helpfully proves the existence of God.
5. Mike Koontz: I get my gear worked on at Koontz Guitar Repair in Ferndale, but I really come for Mike's spiritual calm. He emanates supreme and beatific wisdom; after visiting, I somehow know everything will be OK. His rates are totally reasonable, and the enlightenment is free.
4. Falafel and coffee: The actual manna from heaven. Forty days, 40 nights and 40 falafel-Colombian combos on tour this saves lives.
3. Encores: Not so much a proof of God's existence as they are a sign of civilization's survival. American culture has few rituals left, especially social ones, so it's interesting to see this tradition thrive in a place as irreverent as a rock club. Encores corny but vital.
2. "Spirit of Eden" by Talk Talk: A band at their popular peak flick off commerce and make something unique. It'd be like if Coldplay had made Kid A instead of X&Y. Spirit was too much of a miracle to be successful, but "Wealth" alone saved my life.
1. Clouds: Our sky is covered in chaos. The question nature constantly poses: "What do you see?"CD release party Aug. 18, at the Magic Stick (4120-4140 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-833-9700). With The Holy Fire and Zoos of Berlin. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org