(Sophomore Lounge and Science Project Records) Wake Up & Die Right starts at “Rear House,” a reference to the recording studio and debut album of lo-fi psych-folk band Woods that songwriter Christian DeRoeck performed with in the mid-aughts before relocating to Athens from Brooklyn. Allusions to the past are peppered throughout the lyrics, and the opening track’s line, “I just wanna open a door without slamming the last one shut,” seems to reflect the album’s attempt to reconcile complex, residual emotions from a troubling yet transformative time. Properly revisiting this period meant regrouping Little Gold after previously believing that his “bummer basement country” project had run its course following 2014’s Spectral Sight. What follows is a bittersweet record that romanticizes nostalgic memories while coming to terms with the gravity of growing older and, hopefully, wiser. The majority of the tracks are introspective, unabashed bummertime tunes, while “Living Under Books” is a standout earworm melody that trots along with a fire in its wake.
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