2016: Best Albums Through April 30th, 2016

Written by | May 1, 2016 9:32 | No Comments

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The Life Of Pablo – Kanye West – It lacks concentration and sometimes the lyric gets clunky,and it is still the best piece of music you’ll hear this year.

Lemonade – Beyonce – a state of the marriage snapshot, an inside look at bliss and betrayal with Judas Jay Z (who doesn’t appear on the album, neither does Blue Ivy except for a line after “Daddy’s Lessons”) being strapped to an emotional gurney as Bey explains what every woman understands viscerally, infidelity is not a victimless crime, and crimes are punished

Talking Quietly Of Anything With You – Free Cake For Every Creature – An out of left field contender for album of the year, Katie Bennett has released a flawless collection of self-realizing lo fi art pop strum and dream pop strokes. Astounding stuff with not a bad moment in the entire collection and the lick which doubles as a hook on the single is only beaten by the literally atmospheric “First Storm Of The Summer” . Plus best band name ever

Blackstar – David Bowie – We’ve heard four of the five songs before and there is nothing approaching the old touch, but it sounds like nothing else you’ll hear this year, a trip hop beat, skronk jazz doomsday scenario.

Malibu – Anderson Paak – is a concept album about surfing in Pre–Vietnamese War Malibu before it sidesteps into a self portrait, peaking very very high and maintaining it with only an occasional falter on this state of the art hip hop triumph. “Come Down” a masterpiece and the The Game and Talib Kweli are fine featured artists

I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It -The 1975 – This is the best album of the week because it is the most ambitious album of the week, and it hangs together as a concept album, though not in a story bound way. For 1975, it will break them hugely in the US: this will make them big, big stars here and while it isn’t as great as we think it is (it lacks the consistency of greatness), in 2016 has the stamina and stature of a masterclass in rock pop self-consciousness

Take All My Loves – 9 Shakespeare Sonnets – Rufus Wainwright – His best work since 2010, has a huge misstep in spoken word recitations of some of the sonnets, and the grade only goes to show how brilliant the music is. The operatic song is great, the poppy Florence Welch track is great, and best of all the rocking Helena Bonham Carter and Martha Wainwright track is his greatest work in far, far too long. An astonishingly difficult concept, pulled off with complete confidence and consummate skill

untitled unmastered – Kendrick Lamar – Demos that never made it on to To Pimp A Butterfly, and since I was in the minority who thought Pimp was good not great, and since this is a Mix Tape type release, it should be worse, but it isn’t. Less is more, it is clear, uncluttered, deeply imaginative rap songs. And on the sixth track, you might be convinced he can find the space between raindrops.

Patch the Sky – Bob Mould – He reminds me more and more of Van Morrison in the 90s, consistent excellence on album after album, this is his ninth of the century, third of the decade, and it is quite as good as, say, Beauty And Ruin. You get the feeling he could do it forever, and really any writer with a song as great as “Pray For Rain” buried in the middle here somewhere, deserves to do it forever

Upland Stories – Robbie Fulks – Steve Crawford recently told me that this is what everybody said the last Jason Isbell album was. Nice line, I thought, but I’ll be the judge. Crawford is right, of course, the journey alt country stalwart journeyman Fulks has released the album we’ve been waiting for. It starts at the top with the flawless “Alabama At Night” and it falls from there because it has no choice, but it never falls far

What I’m Feelin’ – Anthony Hamilton- Back with producer Mark Batson, this is Hamilton’s masterpiece, old school meets new school, state of the art r&b moving from trap to Gospel to 80s soul, unified by his powerful Southern fried tenor. The first two songs are so perfect they are the best start of a record this year

Side Pony – Lake Street Dive – A dance, a haircut, an attitude, and a ton of pop and blue eyed soul songs about sex.

Mind of Mine – Zayn – If the weeknd joined One Direction, learnt to sing as well as Malik, and then fired everybody and rearranged their last album, you’d have this statement of intent. At its best, which would definitely include the Farsi language “Flower”, it is quite excellent and at its worse, Zayn always has that falsetto to get him through. Yes, I think Naughty Boy should’ve produced it, but that is probably my biggest complaint

Colin Stetson Presents Sorrow A Reimagining of Henryk Górecki’s 3rd Symphony – Colin Stetson – Using woodwind (his instrument of choice) and synthesizers and electric guitars, plus standard orchestration, let’s see where he goes in three movements: “The first is a 15th-century Polish lament of Mary, mother of Jesus, the second a message written on the wall of a Gestapo cell during World War II, and the third a Silesian folk song of a mother searching for her son killed by the Germans in the Silesian uprisings.”, so it goes deeply into the Polish late 20th Century’s symphony, and discovers a sounder larger and sometimes the equal of the original and quite beautiful, and very very sad

When You Walk A Long Distance You Are Tired – Mothers – Somewhere between Americana, indie, folk and singer songwriter, lies this compelling and intensely depressing set of songs by Kristine Leschper. Downbeat, lo fi, but not mellow, there is a sense of mutated strings hovering and ready to die

Full Circle – Loretta Lynn – 12 years after her disappointing Jack White produced album, this is a superb collection of recorded oldies and brand new tracks, with Loretta completely timeless on sweet agro “Fist City” and agro sweetness “Everybody Wants To Go To Heaven”. There’s a special place in heaven for the Elvis Costello duet ,”Everything It Takes”

Give Me A Groove EP – Charlie Funk – Funk is a paid up member of the True Groove Funk EP, but he is more than that: on this debut EP he surges through with an indelible personality, a glammy pop front man with sex and style. “Sexy Cutie” is a an All Stars showstopper, “It’s Not A Joke” a horn riddled mood funk, “Lunch In Babylon” art rock and the title track the national anthem

Aa – Baauer – Electronica is to EDM what Americana is to country, and I wasn’t crazy about Baauer’s novelty hit from 2013 “Harlem Shake” to start with. Still, Baauer is about as good as you’re gonna get at this stuff, the opening track “Church” is all alchemic uplift and while it spends too much time spinning its wheels, much like the album there is payoffs. Anybody up adds M.I.A. to K-Pop master G-Dragon and make it better than you thought it would be, on one song, and Pusha T with Future (who finds the perfect Macklemore dis) on another, isn’t your average novelty or your average electronic DJ

KINGSIZED – Dressy Bessy – Indie meets power pop with so many catchy melodies? You’d be excused for wondering what century it is. At first it’s a shocker but a little more research finds Dressy Bessy part of the Elephant Six Collective and Apples Of Stereo’s John Hill on guitar. But don’t let the marquee dazzle you, this is Tammy Ealom’s tough and girlie vocals album to hit or miss and she doesn’t miss once

Death Of A Bachelor – Panic! At The Disco – better than Fall Out Boy, and that includes the execrable “Victorious”. For sure, “Crazy=Genius” is the best song you’ve ever heard that name checks Brian Wilson, Dennis Wilson and puns on “mike, love” and the best song ever about being 28 and peering down the loaded gun of 30. And then it gets really good.

The Electric Warlock Acid Witch Satanic Orgy Celebration Dispenser – Rob Zombie – “The Life And Times Of A Teenage Rock God” is the song Marilyn Manson hasn’t nailed down in twenty years, and if nothing else is as good, all of it is world class Zombie metal blood and guts even the electronic workout. Plus, at 31 minutes in length you are only a rotation away from hearing “Teenage Rock God” again

Free Will – Freeway – I never understood why this Philadelphian rapper never broke through, and this, if a touch old fashioned, is filled with really good tracks. I prefer it to the new Drake, with the outstanding “Addiction” leading the way, “Bennie And Stella” (with a truly remarkably catchy hook) bringing up the rear and everything else at least middling

Anti – Rihanna – The kick is, this is a drug induced, unfocused, mess of an album. But the only mistake is one of omission, “Bitch Better Have My Money” should’ve been included. Only “Desperado” from the first six tracks are open to debate, the ballads are pretty good, the fast ones better, and Trevor a bigger aid than Chris Brown, though not than Jay Z

God Don’t Never Change: The Songs Of Blind Willie Johnson – Various Artists – The Tom Waits and Lucinda Williams performances are sublime

Always Strive And Prosper – A$AP Ferg – If you took out “Let It Go” and “World Is Mine”, this would be a mixed bag, some of it a little too obvious when compared to posse member Rocky. “New Level” and “Yammy Gang” are minor average hook lined tracks featuring Future and A$AP Mob respectively, and those are the first two tracks. And if Chuck D, Chris Brown, and especially a great Big Sean, aren’t needed they add to something like a warm stew. The last track, a memento mori to his Grandma called “Grandma” and Ferg’s best flow on the album, is major enough to make it a solid sophomore effort, even when a little obvious. With the two songs, it is a major step forward for the rapper

Views – Drake – Better than I initially thought, it takes awhile to sink in, and yes, it is a little boring, but the sound is very much what Drake does and after awhile you can hear it through the gloom

Dreamless – Fallujah – Brainy prog metal electronica, the sort of stuff you might imagine from a band named after a battleground for the US in Ira

Paging Mr. Proust – The Jayhawks – It’s the Jayhawks so had bad will it be? It’s pretty good, the mix sounds a little muddy and too many slow ones, but with songs as powerful as “Lovers Of The Sun”, and Gary Louris in fine voice, I’m not complaining

Everything At Once – Travis – They were always a good band in theory and a bore in practise, here they are still a little on the boring and tasteful UK rock side but not so much that the sheer wealth of material stops it from being a fine set of songs, boring but fine

Avocet – Bert Jansch – A re-release of the late Scottish folkie’s 1979 instrumental classic… a complete delight, especially the seventeen minute title track –

Wild Stab – The I Don’t Cares – After a couple of disappointing songs last year, this seemed like it was gonna be na alt rock star circle jerk, but Paul Westerberg is too good a writer and every time he takes the lead is magical and even when he doesn’t Juliana Hatfield is up to it. A delightfully swift witted, fast on its feet rock triumph

 

You Are Going To Hate This – The Frights – Sophomore effort is killer, it would be of interest for only its doo wop meets punk “All I Need”, but they sustain the sound for thirty minutes with invariably excellent results

Emily’s D+evolution – Esperanza Spalding – Her fifth album finds the excellent jazz bassist with all powers still in tact. The hour long deluxe version is a flawless exercise in modern jazz singing

Sept. 5th – dvsn – This is Drake producer Nineteen85’s (Paul Jeffries) solo effort and nearly exactly what we hoped the Majid Jordan album would be: slow jamz and r&b song after slow jamz and r&b song, and all the real deal – B+

Vices et Mensonges – Violence Conjugale – French post punks who when they buckle down makes the language sound as vicious as the beats, a true rarity. A true rarity as well? It sounds like it is good enough to be from the US or the UK. French EDM we know, even French rap, but French industrial post punk rock? Well, well! Mais ca plane pour moi

Wonderful Crazy Night – Elton John – No, this isn’t Don’t Shoot me, I’m Only The Piano Player, but at 68 years of age Elton still has the old skills to call on from time to time, around half this album is really really good. And though the world might well ignore it, it is still a fine piece of proto-glam piano pop

Wynonna & The Big Noise, – Wynonna & The Big Noise – Big Red is back with, with he exception of a Christmas album and a Greatest Hits, her first new disk in 13 years ,With featured appearances from Jason Isbell, Susan Tedeschi, and Derek Trucks, she takes her small and powerful band through a raucous, sing your guts out ride, that never lags, Christ Stapleton co-wrote the Tedeschi opener

New York Is My Home – Dion – The title track with Paul Simon is killer and the rest of it is no better or worse than a typical Dion blues album

Porta Bohemica – Trixie Whitley – Anyone who has heard Trixie play guitar might have wanted a bluesier exercise, but what we got was an album as influenced by Daniel Lanois’s Oh Mercy field of sounds as it is by the blues or by long journeys (the Porta Bohemica is a European Orient express). Where it leads to is the deepest of emotional black holes, a place so quiet it is ineluctable, and ends up just being the sound of blue piano keys, secretively

COLLEGROVE – 2 Chainz – Lil Wayne is all over this fine rap collaboration, all good, some real fun, and “Rolls Royce Weather Every Day” a reminder how much better their life is to ours

Midwest Farmer’s Daughter – Margo Price – She might wanna think about writing less stories, when she goes in deep she loses me. And sure, this deeply influenced by ’70s country gals needs to be better to survive the comparisons, still I’ll take “How The Mighty Have Fallen” over “Merry Go Round” any time you choose

The Very Last Day – Parker Millsap – A modern day Jason Isbell, and this might break Parker big time

New View – Eleanor Friedberger – I was expecting a goodie, the coupla songs I’d heard were all aces, but this goes a touch too Lillith Fest before it ends. At its best there is an addictive tunefulness and a hard headed singer to pull em through . Shout out to that guitar solo on “Because I Asked You”

In The Magic Hour – Aoife Donovon – If Donovan is a journeyman vocalist and an Brooklyn indie stalwart, she is one whose time has come on this immaculately sung and arranged modern singer songwriter album, that summons Joni, but doesn’t stay there

Feed The Fire – Promise And The Monster – this is Billie Lindahl, who exude an enthralling ghostly sensuality on song after song –

Skilled Mechanics – Tricky – Former trip hop superstar, the Tricky kid is on his game with these funky rhythm beat tracks. But then he is always on his game and if this sounds like more of the same, it is more of the same of something no one else has ever done . “Don’t Go” is a blueprint tricky track

Next Thing – Frankie Cosmos – This is Greta Kline’s astonishingly smart, strange off-key lo-fi singer songwriter sophomore effort -B+

Singing Saw – Kevin Morby – It sounds like Americana but in a good way, which isn’t a surprise because I’ve liked everything I’ve heard him from both his previous bands the Babies and especially Woods (my token Brooklyn indie band). This is a terrific collection of Americana soul songs

The Traveller – Baaba Maal – Senegal superstar foes electronica, that’s the short story. The large story is if there were more songs that rocked out with the persuasiveness of “Fulani Rock”, this would be the big time crossover he has been striving for since forever

Mariner – Cult Of Luna, Julie Christmas – Symphonic metalcore with so much power and with a great singer who wails her way in from time to time and a screamo from the bowels of hell who, er, harmonizes?

Azel – Bombino – This guy is from Niger, though the vocals sound Indian. The music sounds like well crafted classic rock meets World, with a superb guitarist glueing it together – B+

The Long Way Home – Show Of Hands – If this is UK Americana, which it isn’t, or English folk, though without the clever clever of Fairport Convention, which it is, it is awful good

Let Me Get By – Tedeschi Trucks Driver – Not so fast with the Jam Band Crown abdicated by the Allman Brothers.. While the soul songs are fabulous, the Americana songs are nothing much, the quirk tracks odd though not unpleasant and the blues a drag till the solo kicks em over … maybe they should follow Eat A Peach’s lead and do a half live, half studio effort

Empire Builder – Laura Gibson – The Portland folkie who came out of the same scene that gave us The Decemberists, has crafted a set of songs about transience, small diamond shaped beauties that all do their job exceedingly well, if what they want to do is make you sigh softly underneath your breath – B+

We Are King – King – We were expecting great things from these soulful LA singers, and four years after “The Story” we got it. If you’ve heard the hype, believe it: these are three sisters who were great when I saw their showcase years ago, and while the production is overdone, they sing deep harmonies and improve everything they touch

The Ghost Of Highway 20 – Lucinda Williams – The mother of all daddy issues, Lucinda was sent reeling at the passing of her poet daddy Miller Williams a year ago, and this is pretty much a memento mori from a woman who can drag on and on at the best of times. Still, 2014’s double album Down Where the Spirit Meets the Bone was pretty good, the tour was even better and if this goes on a bit, when she nails it, the terrific “Place In My Heart”, it makes up for a Springsteen with change to spare

Gwen Stefani – This Is What The Truth Feels Like… The problem here is Gwen is eleven years older and she will never surprise us again the way she did with her first solo album, the EDM craftier pop masterpiece Love, Angel, Music, Baby. Having said that, this crafty pop quasi-biographical chart potentate moves are better than her last No Doubt and solo albums combined. It doesn’t matter in the slightest, but it sounds great

Little Windows – Teddy Thompson And Kelly Jones – Two journeymen put their voices together and come up with a sound the Everly Brothers would approve of, and I certainly do. Indeed, I approve of it so much, I managed to convince myself it was a covers album

Magical Solutions To Everyday Struggles – Telstar Sound Drone – Via Copenhagen, this sounds like a Primal Scream steal, the way the new Primal Scream sounds like a Primal Scream steal, only a lot better. “Mentes De Ácido”called it “Velvet Underground covering ‘Tomorrow Never Knows'” and who am I to disagree? “Drugs Work” is one of the best songs of the week

Penitentiary Chances – Boosie Badazz, C-Murder – Boosie is well beyond badass on these doom laden songs, his fourth album of 2016. Boosie went to prison in 2004, C-Murder is currently incarcerated and this has all the immediacy of a body blow in a prison courtyard rumble. The duo were in the same dorm at one point and this has veracity to spare,from “Dear Supreme Court” to “Black Babies Don’t Mourn”. the rapping is hard as nails, the sentiments snapshots of a life many of us can’t, or don’t want to imagine, and on track after track they use fine if straight lace words to a life as lived

Fun’s Cool – The Prettiots – half of this duo is Lulu Landolfi, of Care Bears On Fire, who once blew me away opening for Titus Andronicus, and another former member of whom started a great band that disappeared, Claire’s Diary. These guys are smart tuneful, very funny and remarkably cool, somewhere between tongue in cheek and tongue in mouth

Standards – Into It. Over It. – Emo singer songwriter Evan Weiss may have been this good all along and I missed it, or this may be a personal best, but either way the quality of songwriting here, even the more angular “No EQ”, the bluesier “Who You Are Does Not Equal What You Are”, and definitely the Elvis Depressedly all grow up ish “Closing Arguments”, are good enough for me to assume he hasn’t done it before

Peach – Culture Abuse – Impressive California former noise pinks, now loud pop punk with a penchant for catchy is as catchy does, try late entry “Turn It Off” -about as clear a rave up, and as well executed a pop track as you’ll hear this week – B+

Mi Vicio y Mi Adiccion – Kevin Ortiz – Latin pop but with less ballads and more horns and bop than you’re used to

American Appetite – Harriet – Dawes’ former keyboard player Alex Casnoff’s new band Harriet have something Dawes never had, astounding consistency. This is Socal indie pop with an eye on the 70s, but willing to ignore the 70s and go its own way. An occasional misstep, the title track is too clever for its own good, is more than made up with by first rate rocker “Inheritance”

Creon – Rorcal – Death metal has never been so symphonic, it sounds like a thunderstorm at sea, waves and waves of hugeness flowing over you, drowning in sound. Quite something – B+

Back On My Wall – Burnt palms – So modern punk pop, which this nominally is, sounds a whole lot like Bangles jangle, which this certainly does

Year Of The Rabbit EP – Eskimeaux – Hot on the heels of her buddy Frankie Cosmos album, this sublime four songs of lo-fi smart singer songwriterly beauties, adds a pop veneer on her first rate confessionals. A hidden gem

Wolves of Want – Bent Shapes – Boston indie rockers, with a post-punk feel and a way with a song, actually quite a few songs, this is a straightforward beauty of an album. Simply but effective rock pop and “Realisation Hits” is as good as it gets

New Misery – Cullen Omori – First I hated Smith Western, then I loved them, and now their vocalist has gone solo with this singer-songwriter confessional indie album (on Sub Pop) and I admire him at least from a distance. “And Yet The World Still Turns” is lo fi symphonic dream pop – B+

Hot Sauce – The Madcaps – If they’re meant to be funny, this French bands humor doesn’t travel, but if they are meant to be straight up no chaser garage rock, they do it well

I Long To See You – Charles Lloyd and The Marvels – saxophonist Lloyd’s new band play fresh arrangements of rock, folk, jazz, hey is that country and western, pop hits, sometimes a Gregory Porter or a Norah Jones adds vocals

Misty Shrub EP – Bird Dog – Despite being from Malibu, these guys have a rustic indie folk with beard vibes offset by an ambient sound based around soaring harmonies. And even better than you think it is

Suicide Songs – MONEY – Somewhere between funny and manic depressive, this is modern shoegaze from Manchester

Don’t You – Wet – So far, so hype, so good, with these consistently talented synth poppers

Statik Kxng – Statik Selektah – Why is everything to do with Slaughterhouse so good? Slaughterhouse emcee KXNG Crooked hooks up with DJ Statik Selektah, and the result is a well rapped, well versed, terrific sounding album, head and shoulders above the dark sampled business as usual Drake influenced sounds we hear all year

Painting Of A Panic Attack – Frightened Rabbit – I have never been a fan of this Scottish indie band, but somewhere over the years they’ve added backbone to their dreamy anxious pop sound. Mark Deming claims 2013’s Pedestrian Verse was the breakthrough, but I hear it on “I Wish I Was Sober” and especially “An Otherwise Disappointing Life” -gateway drugs to a very beautiful and sad yet strong album – B+

3001: A Laced Odyssey – Flatbush Zombies – Flatbush Zombies is Meechy Darko, Zombie Juice and Erick “The Architect” Elliott, all three are excellent nyc rappers, and at their best, even at their second best, they are all handle the chores with efficiency, and the long one that ends the album is one of their best. Not crazy about their backing tracks

99¢ – Santigold – 99 Cent – Santigold – Sure, we’ve already heard five of these songs, one was iffy, one was a great pop track, and the other three relatively minor. And that’s the way the album goes as well, wonderful disco songs, relentlessly cheerful and upbeat, with a Caribbean lilt for spice. Another fine album

This Glorious No Age – Youthless – Is something happening in Spain? Another really good band, these are garage rockers who will transcend into noise and back at any moment. “Golden Spoon” is gorgeous and bizarre

Love Letter For Fire – Sam Beam, Jesca Hoop – I’ve never much enjoyed Iron And Wine, they are a little too sincere for my tastes, and by little I mean a lot. But this album is quieter and smarter, a steady series of extremely skilful Americana which echoes The Civil Wars from a great distance

Your Girlfriend Thinks I’m The Shit EP – Round2Crew – Pop rap that sounds like a modern day LFO, a good giggle with memorable pop moments

Lost Time – Tacocat – Maybe a touch too accomplished for their pop punk aspirations, this is still a fine collection of very catchy pop songs if pop was still popular

Live From A&R Studios – The Allman Brothers – Dating from 1971, Butch Trucks told Rolling Stone: ““That the crowd couldn’t see us didn’t mean a damn thing. Duane had two very iconic statements he used a lot. One was ‘This ain’t no fashion show.’ The other was ‘This ain’t no ballet.’ We were up there to play music. All you need is ears. You don’t need to be able to see it. We weren’t putting on a show. And those fans that made it into A&R were, I would imagine, the ones who came to see us at the Fillmore East every time. And they were there to hear what we had to play, not to see how cute we were or how big our dicks were.” I’m gonna be dead 20 years and they will still be releasing live recordings

Leave Me Alone – Hind – Madrid chick band add pop punk to occasional Latin flow and uncomfortable lyrics to general badassness, just waiting on Taylor Swift endorsement to break Stateside

Paramount – It Lies Within – Hardcore metal from industrial slums Flint, Michigan is a no nonsense ear bleeding treat. Start with “Lights The Way” just to remind yourself there are melodies as well

Talk Tight – Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever – Pop punk tracks catchy pro-melody hookiness – B+

Hold On! – The James Hunter Six – terrific English blue eyed soul guy with that strange jazz inflected soulfulness that was apparently invented by Georgie Fame. Terrific stuff

Love Songs – Winterpills – Excellent acoustic rockers, “Celia Johnson” is a song of the week, so is “A New England Deluge”

Out Of The Garden – Tancred – Sounds like the Juliana Hatfield Three, in a good good way – B+

Long Play – The Wealthy West – Alt-country but don’t leave yet, Brandon Kinder, for it is he, has a terrific voice, and the songs are wistful sad beauties

Camp Cope – Camp Cope – “You went on tour and I went on medication…” They must be Australian, right? The songs are plodders but the lyrics have a romantic colloquialism

Starwalker – Starwalker – This is the guy from AIr taking advantage of a hiatus to perform more mainstream electronic pop music and while it takes awhile, by the time they reach the a-ha soundalike “Radio” they’ve sold ya – B+

That’s Hip Hop – Joell Ortiz – Slaughterhouses’ MC is a master rapper and this is old school as fuck, plus the actually rapping is hard to doubt at all: this man has a terrific voice, can rhyme well, knows a hook and knows what flow is.Even the samples are terrific, listen to “Fall Back”

Hella Personal Film Festival – Open Mike Eagle & Paul White -This is a uniquely clever rap album, the West Coast eclecticist Open Mike Eagle is a smart lyricist and a good rapper and here he is joined by English DJ Paul White, who gives him a huge pool to splash around in

A Cure For Loneliness – Peter Wolf – “Some Other Time, Some Other Place” is the best song of the week, it sounds like an old Rod Stewart classic.”It’s Raining”, originally planned as a duet with Bobby Womack, would have been greater with the late master, but is still pretty darn wonderful. And if the rest of the album is a subdued J. Geils, well, what’s wrong with that?

I Will Be Nothing Without Your Love – The Ready Set – A rock nyc fave from way way back (here is a 2011 interview), Jordan has improved with age, his skills at songwriting are unquestionable, and his tuneful exuberance a true pleasure

A Master Speaks – George Coleman – Well, maybe not speaks. The former Miles Davis saxophonist (eventually replaced by Wayne Shorter) lt’s his instrument do the speaking for him on these glorious takes on the standard American songbook

Popcorn Fish Guinea Pig – Museum Mouth – First rate power pop punk tracks, filled with energy and explosions, hard to find a bad track, maybe “Riff From My Head” is a little obvious.Or a best track, maybe “Lacquer”. Somewhere in the middle lies the rest on this early Los Campesinos vocal sound alike rock out –

On Your Feet – Original Broadway Cast – I enjoyed the musical and I enjoy this Cast album more than “Hamilton” and “American Psycho” combined. Why? Because Gloria Estefan sang real songs so we get to hear real songs

Only You Remain – Great American Canyon Band – Surely the guy in the married couple duo’s beard should be enough to warn you. But they aren’t garden variety Americana, the songs use wall of sounds that merge forward and drop off to build a unique vision

Melon Collie and the Infinite Radness: Part One EP – Tokyo Police Club – Headline of the week: this one from Spin’s debut of the EP: “Tokyo Police Club’s Effusive New EP Turns Pumpkins Into Pumpkinade”. It’s funny because it’s true

Sweet Charity Original London Production – Various Artist – Juliet Prowse’s 1966 turn, pretty darn good for the late Elvis cohort on “GI Blues”. Juliet’s “If My Friends Could See Me Now” is one of the best

Summertime – Willie Nelson – I am not a fan of either Bonnie or Willie, but I am affair of Gershwin and even as a nonfriend, there is a great spirit behind these covers. You wanna stick Willie in a room with Bucky Pizzarelli, somebody to give him just a touch more swing. Still, at 82 years of age this has life and real power to it

All Things Are Possible – B-fade – If there is nothing worse than Christian rock, the same can not be said of Christian rap. Every Christian rap artist I’ve heard this year, I hadn’t realized was religious based till a line about kneeling and praying caught my ear, or till I did a little research. This is a terrific album, whatever God you kneel to. Try “Don’t Stop”

The Lost Session From The Black Forest – Bill Evans – A newly discovered, never released album from ’68. A lot of this is mainstream American songbook, but it is not where he starts, it is where he ends. Absolutely gorgeous
Surgical Meth Machine – Surgical Meth Machine – Half, the still living half, of Ministry, offers up industrial strength, heart attack inducing, BPMs surrounded by attack of the cybernauts machines and screamo singing

Ephemera – Little Green Cars – Imagine if Paul Simon, and not just any Paul Simon but Paul Simon (1972) Paul Simon was from Dublin, and was sometimes a woman, and you will have a feel for this truly lovely indie pop album.

Hello Clouds – Justin Martin – San Fran DJ, is first rate, all bass on top of melody lines, the title track is a real joy

Honey – Katy B – Katy was never what I wanted her to be, a better Marina ANd The Diamonds, and her last album, while a UK hit was missing something. So does this, it misses that one uber alles track, but it is still a very strong dance pop album

Rita Wilson – Rita WIlson – Sure, she is an actress first and this is a bit dilettantish. BUT, Rita co-wrote all the songs and she has a lovely voice… and the songs are pretty good in a So-Cal singer songwriter MOR sort of way. Plus she is cute, the same age as me, and married to good guy Tom Hanks so…

Westerner – John Doe – Rockabilly John, it doesn’t kick in till the third way mark, but then it steadies up nicely with the good “My Darling, Blue Skies” and especially “Go Baby Go”. Then it settles in nice with prime John Doe story song “Sweet Reward” and maintains an even see how we are grown up through to the end

Don’t Explain – Snoh Aalegra – This has a 60s pop symphonic Bacharach, by a Persian beauty via Sweden and LA (though here she sounds like neither). I am not crazy about the arrangements, they need to be a little more, how you say, analog friendly, but the songs are sublime

What’s The Score? – Snow Roller – Very good pop punk album with ringing guitars, hooks aplenty and lots of quietly and sometimes loudly sounds and pop tunes, “Living The Dreamshake” is better than its names, and its name is great

Weezer (White Album) – Weezer – Rivers didn’t need to tell us to call it the White album, we’re not stupid – B+

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