Be Here Early: New Albums Reviewed, 4-21-17 – 4-27-17

Written by | April 21, 2017 14:59 | No Comments


Dreams Don’t Come True – Angeleena Presley – A little on the slow side but the songs are pretty stellar and there is a reason why Presley is a Pistol Annie in her spare time: she is a sincere woman who knows her way round a straight up country song, and anyway, how many BPMs do we really need?  – B+

Soul Survivor – Adrenaline – Stupefying bad metal supergroup from Stockholm not saved by chick lead singer – D+

This Is My Town: New York Songs – Barry Manilow – He can do this stuff in his sleep… and does  and then snaps it into place with an “NYC Medley” for seven minutes at the end. Too late, Barry, but even so, not many people can do it… – B-

Timeless – The All-Time Greatest Hits – Bee Gees-  Oh yeah? where is “One” then? “Islands In The Stream”?  – the Bee Gees were the least great greatest band of all time, and if it wasn’t for the disco era they wouldn’t be that. This is an alright primer for the beginner – B+

Sleepwalking – Berner – white boy smokes weed and raps about it – C

Love And War – Brad Paisley – Perfectly fine if you are in the market for a song called “Selfie#theInternetIsForEver”. The rest of us need to advise Brad, he needs to stop with the smug not half as smart as he wishes it was countrypolitan songs – C-

Blackbear – Digital Druglord – as teen pop goes, this guy has a pedigree (he co-wrote Bieber’s “Boyfriend”) and this sophomore effort connects well with the Drakeian zeitgeist of darkly lit r&b – B

8 – Incubus – Plod rock produced by Skrillex for some obscure reason – D+

Life Love Flesh Blood – Imelda May – Dishes, clatter, blues, deliverance. The Jeff Beck song ain’t bad -ain’t good either – C

On My Side – Kim Walker-Smith – Putting the contempt into Christian Contemporary. this is overwrought clap trap. As Henry Higgins once noted, you’ll get much further with the Lord if you don’t offend his ears – D+

Kiddo EP – Jessie Reyez – Toronto stripper via Columbia, Reyez joins the Weeknd world of pitch black r&b with the exception of the dancey “Blue Ribbon”. All of it works, “Fuck It” could be a hit and “Shutter Island” should be a hit. I am notoriously lousy at A&R but I predict big things for this woman – B+

Electric Lines – Joe Goddard – The Hot Chip musician will bore you to death just like he does with his band, intensely irrelevant house – C-

Groundhog Day – Original Broadway Cast Album – If it works as table placing mood music, barely, it doesn’t even begin to work as songs. Tim Minchin isn’t a hack, a hack gives us the pleasure of pop music, he is an unskilled laborer who got lucky – D

Young – Overcoats – Folk pop but talented folk-pop with sweetness and a light touch and harmonies galore. “Kai’s song” and “Walk On” are both good and nothing falls too flat – B

Americana – Ray Davies – Perfectly fine as a series of singles, as an hour long album it is a long, long haul of Davies-y maneuvers from spoken word to soft shoe shuffle blues to Americana. The Jayhawks are a fine countryish backing band even as everything outweighs its welcome – B-

Novum – Procol Harum  – 50 years and 13 albums into their career, Gary Booker fell off stage the other, injured his hand, and went back and finished the gig. These UK proto-proggy journeyman know the drill and while this isn’t the most thrilling ride of the year it is steady and intelligent enough to make it to the end – C+

Robyn Hitchcock – Robyn Hitchcock – add Big Star to Beatles and Barrett on this Nashville album of pop rock and half tabs of acid – B-

The Last Rider – Ron Sexsmith – So what’s wrong with his latest? Not crazy about the bridge on “Evergreen”… anything else? Nah, that’ll do it – B+

Past Present Future – Ruff Ryders – One song from DMX, one song from Eve, one song from The Lox, three songs from Quadir Lateef and three songs from Lil Waah – C

Be Myself – Sheryl Crow – Crow considers this a return to her earliest proto-Americana Tuesday Music Club roots, and she may be right, though these blues shuffles and AOR rockers are so indifferently crafted, who cares? “Alone In The Dark” is an exception – C-

Tears On The Dancefloor – Steps – You can tell they’ve been middle of the road would be ABBA without the, well, anything at all, for awhile, because they all look as though they are in their 30s which means they are in their 40s. They go from Toni Braxton r&b to mainstream disco wannabe Moroderish production style snooze and back and nothing is remotely good enough – C-

Jump On Board – Texas – Middle of the road pop rock by a buncha pros who have been doing it a long time. The UK should chart it though the US will ignore em, a shame because this is as intelligent and tuneful as pop rock gets and Sharleen Spiteri remains a woman with a warm and lovely voice –  B+

I’ll Bet I Can Make You Love Me…At Gunpoint – The Freudian Sluts – Say what you will about John Mendelssohn, he has the power of his convictions, and on the first album from his UK iteration, he has pieced together a high drama quotient rock album with a world class lead singer and the sort of songs Stephin Merritt dreams of writing. Sometimes you think its cheekiness is gonna get the better of the band, “I Married A Knobhead” is better than in sounds, but at its best, the first two songs will stop you dead, it is a as original as Mendelssohn claims it is, maybe more so – ALBUM OF THE WEEK – B+

2016 Atomized – The Raveonettes – They recorded a song a month for a year and February is so great that I feel inclined to forgive em the boring garage-y rest of the year – C+

Love Is Love – Woods – Twangy indie rock, goes on  bit but I am sure Pitchfork give em a solid 7.2 – C



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