Be Here Early: New Albums reviewed 3-10-17 – 3-16-17

Written by | March 11, 2017 8:51 am | No Comments


Black And White Rainbows -Bush – Poor ol’ Gav, always a bridesmaid but he brings it on himself. With exactly one good song to his name, he whines and moans his way through grunge lite still… after all these years – C-

Number 1 Angel – Charlie  XCX – No, the not Scandinavian serious EDM girl is back, the actually English hit machine who sank a little the past coupla years, is now another serious reworking of singer songwriter blues transform for EDM. The trick here is spot the hit single… good luck,  because I can’t – C+

Either/Or: Expanded – Elliott Smith – What a lameass deluxe dog: the remastered album, some live tracks, an alternate take…  His cult doesn’t need it, his casual fans don’t need it, I don’t need it, So why is it here? Let me guess – C

Eric B For President: Term 2 – That would be Eric Berlinger, and this EP has a terrific lead off song “Naked In The White House” but nothing else is its equal though all of it is smart new r&b – B

50:50@50 – Fairport Convention – In honor of their 50th anniversary this May, here is 50% live, 50% new recordings (if WWI songs can be considered new) and plenty of English folk, way different than the US version. All a little jiggy as always, you expect the fool from Twelfth Night to come capering along, and I coulda done without Gospel setting “Jesus On the Mainline,” but a fine time was had by all – B

Deep South – Josh Turner – I don’t like this country guys voice and I don’t like his songs – C-

The Navigator – Hurray For The Riff Raff -Alynda Segarra – The former poster child for superior Americana delves into her Puerto Rican heritage, though despite the title track it sounds much the same and just as good. As protest music goes, I’ll certainly take it. “Living In The City” needs no such caveat and “Pa’lante” is big time artistry, “I just want to fall in love and not fuck it up and feel something,” she claims. Can I get an Amen? – B+

The Never Story – J.I.D. – A break up album by J. Cole protégé J.I.D. The two best songs, “Never” and “D/Vision” we already know, but if “All Bad” is second tier dank r&b blues, it sounds awful close to the top. This guy could get big – B+

Semper Femina – Laura Marling – Well, it is better than the godawful Short Movie but despite a song or two the skill remains but the passion has disappeared. She will never write another “Sophia” -she handed in  her folk leanings the way Rosanne Cash handed in her country ones, and in return tapped into a singer songwriterly Americana that doesn’t payoff often enough – B

Way Out West – Marty Stuart And His Fabulous Superlatives – Sounds like if Ray Wylie Hubbard was Roy Rogers – B-

The Music Of Nashville Original Soundtrack Season 5 Volume One – Nashville Cast – Not very good country songs from the TV show, except for Rhiannon Giddens “God Shall Wipe Away All Your Tears” -a revelation (get it!) – C-

Bless Up – Shinobi Ninja – There was a time when Shinobi Ninja were AC/DC for a new century, they did what they did, funk rock, they did it exceedingly well, and then they did it again. But that was some eight years ago, and Bless Up is a wide ranging soundscape that includes everything from rap to Americana, mood psychedelic garage and folk in wolves clothing. An exceedingly enjoyable return not to form (the worse you even say about the Ninjas is that they’re better live) but on what amounts to their tenth album, a doubling down on their skills and charm as they emerge from their unique sound with a new set of skills – ALBUM OF THE WEEK – B+

Conditionally Yours – Tennis – Fine pop tracks with an early sheen of 60s Brit pop, like Cilla, Dusty, Sandie Shaw…  – B

50 Song Memoir – The Magnetic Fields – I bought 69 Love Songs, brought along by the hype, and except for a “Busby Berkeley Drea,” here and there and while I admired,  didn’t think much of the endurance test. I bought 50 Song Memoir, a song a year for the 50 years of his life from “Judy Garland” to “Danceteria” and beyond, and while I admire the endurance test (again), the songs don’t begin to sell me. That crappy Stephen Merritt baritone makes every song sound the same and the songs aren’t good enough, also in 2017 there is enough music out there by everyone to make the skills it takes sound more dated than ever.  $34 down the drain – C

Heartworm – The Shins – The title track is his best since pre-Danger Mouse days, but the rest is so weak I’m willing to bet the title track is a fluke – C+

The Order Of Time – Valerie June – “Long Lonely Road” may well be the best song of the week, and if Billie Holiday was from Texas she might sound like Valerie June, but life is short and this gets a little boring before the halfway mark – B

Beauty And The Beast – Various Artists – Wait a second, Ewan McGregor sings “Be Our Guest”? – C+

Packs – Your Old Droog – Well rapped and well rhymed, but the album goes on too long and if neither Heems nor Danny Brown make you stand out, you aren’t quite there – C+


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