Album: John Grant, Queen of Denmark (Bella Union)

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The Independent Culture

It's the year of leaving the band behind.

First, James Mercer quit the Shins to make the record of his career with Broken Bells. And now the man behind the Czars has hit the forget-everything-that-went-before button with his first solo album, recorded with the ever-excellent Midlake. Not that this is folky-dokey. Grant grew up gay in a religious household in a small-minded Michigan small town and QOD is his heartfelt and heartbreaking revenge, set to a soft-rock soundtrack Supertramp would be proud of. Close to perfect.