Monthly Playlist: Four albums for rainy April days

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As April ushers in Texas wildflowers and the final stretch of the spring semester, it also brings the infamous rain showers (you know, the ones that bring May flowers). For the perfect day indoors, curl up with a cup of coffee and any of these four albums.

Iron & Wine – The Shepherd's Dog
No one does mellow acoustic rock quite like Sam Beam, the man behind Iron & Wine. On his 2007 album, The Shepherd’s Dog, songs range from the infectiously rhythmic “Boy With A Coin” to the bluesy “Pagan Angel and a Borrowed Car.” The album’s final track, “Flightless Bird, American Mouth” — famous for its appearance on the “Twilight” movie soundtrack — is a quiet lullaby suited for watching the rain fall down.

The Decemberists – The Crane Wife
With songs like “The Island” clocking in around the 12-minute mark, Portland band The Decemberists emphasize storytelling on this record. The 2006 release sees frontman Colin Meloy developing distinct characters, including the album’s namesake, and telling tales of war. But the music takes the lyrics to the next level, with swells of guitar, organ and synth conveying each track’s emotion. On standout “O Valencia!,” a Romeo-and-Juliet-style love story, the upbeat, soaring composition showcases some of The Decemberists’ best work to date.

Bright Eyes – I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning
Interspersed spoken-word verses give album opener “At the Bottom of Everything” the feel of a live singer-songwriter performance, a mood that persists throughout I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning. The intimate “Lua” mourns the loss of a potential romance, with Conor Oberst singing, “What was simple in the moonlight, by the morning never is.” The album also features Bright Eyes’ biggest hit, “First Day of My Life,” a sweet, acoustic song about finding life-changing love.

Lord Huron – Strange Trails
The follow-up to their 2012 debut, Lonesome Dreams, Strange Trails builds on the band’s use of old Western imagery. The jangling single “Fool for Love” stays on theme by telling the story of a man dueling to win his lover’s hand in marriage. “Way out There” incorporates string arrangements into the expansive soundscape, while its lyrics give the album its name: “When you follow strange trails / They will take you who knows where.”