Be Here Now: New Album Reviews 10-6-17 – 10-12-17

Written by | October 10, 2017 16:18 pm | No Comments



August Burns Red – Phantom Anthem –  as powerful as metalcore can get, this is a tough, bloody minded ear bleeding work of aggression, which is, of course, exactly what you paid for, every now on then they go prog on you (the outro to “Lifeline”) but they get over it – B

Alex Haley – I Love You Like A Brother – “Songwriter and former ’99 Toyota Corolla owner” -goes her twitter handle and that ready wit is on show all the way through the album, even on the heavy duty “Lotto In Reverse”. The Australian wiseacre knows her way round and round and round a melody – B+

Belly – Mumble Rap – produced by Boi-1da (Drake’s go to) no less, the Toronto rapper pleads his case for the mean streets being quite as mean as South Florida. Pusha T guests on one track, not the best either – B

Benjamin Clementine – I Tell A Fly – This guy is the sort of major poet who plays the piano barefoot, and makes the world a better place for it – A-

Blis – No One Cares – If you like the new Brand New, you’ll like this debut album from Atlanta, which adds hardcore to emocore loud soft rules and more. Try “Christian Girl” – B+

Bone Thugs-N-Harmony – Thug Brothers – I never much liked either BTNH or the Outlawz back in the 90s and my opinion hasn’t changed in this century,  Layzie Bone and Young Noble are the most boring crack dabblers in the business – C-

Carla Bruni – French Touch – If Carla and Charlotte were in a gunfight, Charlotte would be a Smith & Wesson XVR 460 Magnum modified with a bump stock and Carla? An 1847 Colt Walker Revolver, by the time Carla has unloaded all five chambers she’s been shot around 2000 times – C

Citizen – As You Please – Awful emo, Blis make it sound like they’re  a hundred years old – D+

Cults – Offering – Was it me who claimed just last  Sunday that this was pretty good indie pop? Whoops, it is terrible indie pop – D+

Demetria McKinney – Officially Yours – R&B chilled not stirred with sex all over it, and a very charming singer who can sell em – B

Deradoorian – Eternal Recurrence – Ambient beauty but like listening to still water with a glowing vocal on top – C+

Dhani Harrison – In///PARALLEL – Why is Zak the only talented child of a Beatle? This debut album about a dystopian present sounds like a dystopian present – C-

Ducktails – Jersey Devil – Sweet sounding blue eyed soul , like Hall And Oates without the vocals pre-Private Eyes – B

Elvis Presley – Christmas With Elvis And The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra – Even Elvis can’t survive this onslaught of strings  on money grubbing re-recordings. Soulless dribble – MUST TO AVOID – F

Frank Sinatra – Ultimate Christmas – 20 Frank Yuletide songs, brought together with new cover art – B+

Gwen Stefani – You Make It feel Like Christmas – Perhaps, if you happen to be Jewish. This isn’t the worst Christmas album, even of the week, but that duet with Blake Shelton is the worst song of the week – D+

JD McPherson – Undivided Heart & Soul – Garage rock goes soul – B-

Jerrod Niemann – This Ride – country goes soul – B-

Jeff Beck – Live At The Hollywood – Why doesn’t Jeff sing? “Hi Ho Silver Lining” was pretty good, right? the 92 minute album is a pleasant enough souvenir if you are in the market, but even Beth Hart’s excellent singing on “I’d Rather Go Blind” can’t make it more than Jeff being Jeff – C+

Jonathan Dove- Jonathan Dove: In Damascus – for tenor and string quartet, “My Heart Is A Black Lump Of Coal,” is a swell of overwhelming sorrow that seems to flow across the ancient city through downed buildings and destroyed infrastructure. Performed by the Sacconi Quartet, the words are based upon Syrian poet Ali Safar’s response to the civil war. This is composer Jonathan Dove’s masterpiece, though two other pieces are nearly their equal – A-

JP Cooper – Raised Under Grey Skies – If you like Ben Harper, you’ll like JP – D

Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith – The Kid – Modular synth composer from LA uses electronica to bid somewhat boring musical landscapes, pastoral it says here but some of it is awful beepy – C+

Kelala – Take Me Apart – chill neo-soul sex songs a la FKA Twigs meets Solange – B

Laura Cortese And The Dance Cards – California Calling – All girl band of indie Americana – C+

Lil Pump – Lil Pump – The 17 year old baby trap wunderkind is part of that entire South Florida Soundcloud rap scene, along with Smokepurpp who released a terrific album a coupla weeks ago. Smokepurpp is on three songs here, Gucci, Lil Yachty, 2 Chainz… they are all here, though the king of the hook you can never stop hearing once you hear it Chief Keef wins top honors with “Whitney” – B+

Liam Gallagher – As You Were – Oasis like but darker and without Noel’s melodic gifts – B+

Marilyn Manson – Heaven Upside Down – business as usual industrial metal as he goes from Dracula to Peter Pan without the skills to fly – C+

Mister Heavenly – Boxing The Moonlight – Fun mix of doo wop and indie featuring members of Modest Mouse and Islands, signed to Sub Pop so you can bet Pitch Crawl Up Mac De Marco’s Hole Fork love em – B-

My Sad captains – Sun Bridge – Indie soundscape from the UK – C+

NF – Perception – Good rapper performing well enough and very old school, just voice over beats – B

Rationale – Rationale – The Zimbabwe born UK singer has a terrific voice, better than Sam Smith in many ways, and the songs are lovely r&b as world music electronica – B

Sabrina Claudio – About Time – Lo fi soul songs plus chill factored in – B

Simon Joyner – Step Into The Earthquake – First rate singer songwriter from Nebraska, beautiful melancholia that Lana Del Rey should crib from – B+

The Church – man woman life death infinity – post infinity eternal downsizing suckiness – C-

The Darkness – Pinewood Smile – Glammy hard rock must try harder – C-

The Replacements – For Sale: Live At Maxwell’s 1986 – I saw these guys four times, three back in the day, once a coupla years ago. Back when I saw em, a little before this and a little after this was recorded, they were crap. Not here: 29 songs 82 minutes, all of it brilliant. Paul is in great voice, the band isn’t the shambolic meh I knew em as, and the new Tim songs fit in perfect… they shoulda included “Swinging Party” but they make up with “Color Me Impressed” – ALBUM OF THE WEEK – A

The White Buffalo – Darkest Darks, Lightest Lights – Fine Southern boogie – B

A Love Letter To You 2 – Trippie Redd – State of the art rap, which means r&b songs bubble just under the groove ala xxxtentacion… from Ohio, which is a shock – B

Weaves – Wide Open – Very pleasant indie rock, “licked” is a blast – B

Whitney Rose – Rule 62 – This is excellent country meets 60s pop by a wonderfully voiced woman who sounds like Tracey Ullman sounding like Marcie Blane. Try “Better To My Baby” -top song of the week  – B+

Wolf Parade – Cry Cry Cry – Dark hued rock and roll, if I liked the lead singers voice I could probably get into it – C



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