Be Here Early: New Album Releases Reviewed: 6-9-17 – 6-15-17

Written by | June 10, 2017 4:34 am | No Comments


The Click – AJR – pleasant, unassuming, indie pop riding forward on three part harmonies. If I was still in High School it might be my album of the summer – B

Binary – Ani Difranco – Horns via Maceo Parker, along with a boatload of New Orleans royalty, this is the same old mish of irritating quasi- experimental folk saddled to agitprop and feminism that meant more back when she identified as dyke. It is such a bore it must be good for you – C+

Capacity – Big Thief – The best indie record not about your significant other croaking is simultaneously the best folk record of the year made by folks who don’t write folk music, an astonishing, lovely, disturbed and quiet look backwards to look forwards filled with sadness and sweetness and stories , and best of all “Mary,” about shared loved and written by Adrianne Lenker  for her best friend – ALBUM OF THE WEEK – A-

Chuck – Chuck Berry – One part love letter to his long suffering wife to two parts stroll down the different avenues of rock Chuck had taken through the ages: a live track, a blues take, an American songbook classic, a Cuban twist but only the Great 28 rock and roll takes, three of them, are awe-inspiring -A-

Cigarettes After Sex – Cigarettes After Sex – Ambient melodic wallpaper of your mind, the first track “K.” crushes it but after a while your attention is lost  – C+

Pilot Talk: Trilogy – Curren$y – The great 2000s rapper has brought together his three Pillow Talk albums on one release and stuck it on streaming services for the first… earnestly excellent tracks that don’t turn dark and to dust on you, and world class rhyming by a King of Louisianna. If you love rap you must give it a shot – B+

Revolution Come… Revolution Go – Gov’t Mule – Mostly go… in the most likely to succeed ABB stakes, Haynes comes in second and here is why: straight up, no chaser blues rock jams for knocking on two hours – C+

Wonder – Hillsong United – The U2 of Christian Contemporary, with everything that implies including big bombastic anthem rock subbing as classic in everything except for talent praise to the Christ of Love –if there was an interventionist god he would stop this – F

Planetarium – James McAlister, Sufjan Stevens, Bryce Dessner and Nico Muhly – A rock opera about outer space, it both soars and stupefies, works in deep background and aggravated foreground. The soundtrack to a trip in the center of your consciousness – B

Witness – Katy Perry – if she had released the title track first, Katy might have had a hit on her hand. But maybe Max Martin has lost his touch or maybe this pop moment of lo-fi cymballed trap isn’t right for her, either way this is a misfire and a stumble. She should have trusted her instincts and instead finds herself morphed into the  Lagy Gaga of art pop wo-  – C+

Folk Songs – Kronos Quartet – Is this a thing now? Pre-rock songs with current Americana artists? Rhiannon Giddens takes vocals on three of the songs, Natalie Merchant takes two, and it is quite as dozy as that implies. Beautiful, but dozy – B-

Heart Break – Lady Antebellum – The Eagles were better then than Lady Antebellum is now, because the Eagles took their So Cal from  Gram Parsons and Lady Antebellum takes it from Stevie Nicks. This is a boring piece of heart felt product without a landslide to call its own – D+

Lindsey Buckingham – Christie McVie – Lindsey Buckingham – Christie McVie – Minor league Lindsey (with add Christine to taste and if “Game of Pretend” is an example of what we aren’t getting more of, so be it). Here and there they nail it, “Red Sun” is a keeper and so is “Love Is Here To Stay” – Grade: B-

Truth Is A Beautiful Thing – London Grammar – Hannah Reid has a lovely voice, it seems as though she dips it in despair and anoints everything with beauty, and it saves this mid-tempo moody pop from slogdom… some of the time – B-

The Concert In Hyde Park – Paul Simon – From the 2012 gig, and featuring Hugh Masekela ,Ladysmith Black Mambazo, and Jimmy Cliff, Paul takes us from “The Sound Of Silence” to “Dazzling Blue” with plenty of Graceland. Pleasant enough, I saw him on that tour and it was a good one, but completely unnecessary – B

Ti Amo – Phoenix – French Imagine Dragon’s with more synths and less drum’s first album in four years is not what they should be doing. They could get away with most things if they just remembered how to create hits, instead it is all half formed synth melodies that fail to get to you- C

Trouble Maker – Rancid – Have Rancid learnt nothing over the years? Absolutely not a thing and this is my idea of punk – B

Wolves – Rise Above – Modern punk sound is now a loud, brash whine for the masses – C-

In A Mood – Slow Dancer – His voice sounds like a young James Taylor and his song are concentrated singer songwriter sweetness taken at the slowness he advertises – B-

Ctrl – SZA – Travis Scott and Kendrick Lamar add their star luster on this pretty but dull r&b album – C

Music From The American Epic Sessions – Various Artists – I saw Neil Young cut a track with Jack White direct to vinyl on Fallon a year or so ago on the old (I mean ooolddd) machine they refurbish here. You remember, like the one Elvis used for his mommy. This album features Jack and the same machine covering old blues and hillbilly songs featuring the likes of Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Elton John, Alabama Shakes, Rhiannon Giddens and many denizens of Americana. Brought together by T-Bone Burnett, it sounds so much better than you think it does, with Nas taking first place and Elton first runner up – A-



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