Be Here Now: New Album releases reviewed 9-8-17 – 9-14-17

Written by | September 12, 2017 4:35 am | No Comments


This is as rare as it gets for me, I can’t remember once since 2009 that it happened,  a week with three “A”‘s. All will be vying for album of the year.

Alex Cameron  -Forced Witness – A member of the indie rocker crew as high concept, by which I mean he has a duet with Angel Olson on one song and a way with a song that sounds like it is better than it is. Don’t know what I mean? Try “Stranger’s Kiss,” which only comes together on the chorus, or “Studmuffin96” which comes off all classic rock and then drifts into the woodwork before it goes all dirty and isn’t  – C+

We’re Not Going Anywhere – David Ramirez – Dreary singer-songwriter, he sounds like  Matt Berninger fronting a Jackson Browne cover band, But every now and again, “Good Heart” here, he manages a zinger: “I’ve got money problems that leads to drinking problem that leads to sleeping all day problems…” – C+

Death From Above 1979 – Outrage! Is Now – A sludge-punk chant unchant agitprop duo with a lot on their mind and not a particularly good way of sharing it – C+

Dustin Lynch – Current Mood – Why does this sound like Taylor Swift? For some reason, I thought it would be a woman who stole her country sound – C+

Four Year Strong – Some Of You Will Like This, Some Of You Won’t – And some of us won’t be bothered either way. A collection of kinder, gentler FYS songs, not bad really – B-

Eric Bellinger – Eric B For President: Term 2 (Acoustic) – Draggy r&b – C

Gregg Allman -Southern Blood –  A very strong last album, honoring the road he now leaves, the dead he has joined, and the ties that bind them together. Gregg was in terrific voice and Don Was claimed Gregg spent his last days listening to the masters – A

Jack Johnson – All The Light Above It Too – A little flimsy, but it is Jack Johnson so of course it is, but in his feel good beach and sand there is always a sense of community that makes it less painful. “You Can’t Control It” is pretty good – C

Joseph – Stay Awake – Excellent girl folk trio, kill it on “Moonlight Mile” and none to shabby elsewhere – B

Kip Moore – SLOWHEART – Early bro Country adherent, this is well tempered, country rock songs – B-

Leikeli47 – Wash & Set – I am not crazy about the ski mask, though I was impressed with her onstage, the rapping is immaculate, rhyming first rate and the beats and sample both art and pop. I’m going to have to get over the ski mask – B+

Mount Kimbie – Love What Survives –  Dubbed post-dubstep, this is one of the better electronic albums of the year, the track with King Krule is superior to Krule’s own new stuff and both James Blake songs are magical, especially “We Go Home Together”  which is the best song I’ve heard this week – B+

Neil Young – Hitchhiker – Released for the first time, this original 1976 acoustic album is up there with Harvest and Comes A Time  – A

Nick Mulvey – Wake Up Now – Experimental sounding singer songwriter, give Nick’s background you would assume the beats would be harder, but everything seems to wind around melody – C+

Nosaj Things – Parallels – Hip hop as ambient soundscape – C

Nothing But thieves – Broken Machine -Fair to middling UK indie rock, they’re OK at verses but the bridges are whiny – C+

Odesza – A Moment Apart – Electronica made tasteful but vapid, except the Regina Spektor song, which is tasteful and pretty – C+

Princess Nokia – 1992 Deluxe – Part of the Rat King family, one of the more exciting purveyors of rap adds a coupla EP tracks to her influential, door way for wimmen power album from last year – B+

Syd – Always Never Home EP – Three songs, ten minutes, of moody glorious r&b… once Odd Futures resident DJ now she goes from strength to strength – A-

The Belonging Co – All The Earth – Church collective, you know the form – C-

The Dream Syndicate -How Did I Find Myself Here –  Sometimes Wynn sounds like Lou, some times like James, mostly like himself. Sometimes the Dream Syndicate sound like the Byrds, sometimes like the Doors, usually like themselves. The title track is one of the top songs of the year and nothing dips much below there – ALBUM OF THE WEEK – A

Sleep Well Beast – The National – I prefer the poppier one before this, nothing here does it for me like “Don’t Swallow The Cap”. Even so, as brooding the National albums go, overweighed by emotional baggage, if you like it you’ll love it – B+

Thomas Rhett – Life Changes – Remember that scene where Woody Allen asks a couple on the street how they make it work, the woman says “Uh, I’m very shallow and empty and I have no ideas and nothing interesting to say.” and the man adds “And I’m exactly the same way”. That’s Thomas Rhett made easy – C+

Toby Keith – The Bus Song – I loved him circa “Drunk Americans” but this one is blah – C

Native Invader – Tori Amos – Why do I always mistake her for Catherine Earnshaw? If not Emily Bronte. And like them, she hasn’t changed in years – C+

Various Artists – Insecure: Music From The HBO Original Series, Season 2 – from Leikeli47 to SZA to Bryson, a who’s who of modern r&b with the accent on the women for the most part, plus star Issa Rae – B

Various Artist – Twin Peaks – I lost interest in the HBO series halfway through the second episode, and the soundtrack is stodgy Americana for hipsters except for the occasional ringer like The Platters – C

#Update – Yandel – The main difference between Latin American pop and White American rock is that when Latin American pop bands break up they remain friends. The Wisin duet is a highlight on this fine mix of Latin Trap, Reggaeton and Latin pop songs – B+




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