Be Here Now: New Album Reviews 11-10-17 – 11-16-17

Written by | November 14, 2017 7:21 am | No Comments


Andrew Bird – Echolocations – Ambient music with strings attached, beautiful and enervating – C+

Angel Olsen – Phases – Early Olsen, quite as boring as current Olsen – C+

Aretha Franklin – A Brand New Aretha (with the royal Philharmonic Orchestra) – Orbison and Presley are dead, what’s Aretha’s excuse? – MUST TO AVOID – F

Bed Wettin’ Bad Boys – Rot – Power pop meets indie rock – B-

Bibio – Phantom brickworks – Bleepy dreamscape stuff – C

Brian Blade And The Fellowship Band – Body And Shadow – Jazz drummer playing with tone and mood and not much else – C+

Buffy Sainte-Marie – Medicine Songs – I read “Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee” when I was fifteen and was sick to my stomach, I’ve never enjoyed westerns in quite the same way since. This is a mix and match of re-recordings from albums like Buffalo Soldier and Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, as well as some new songs. Should be enough to make us choke on our turkeys – B+

Carlos Vives – Vives – The Latin pop heartthrob is getting up there but this is livelier than he was in the mid-1990s, lots of Vallenato as well as a mix of Latin genres makes for a long, wide, update – C+

Cloak – To Venomous Depths – Black metal, which trends proggy obviously… still it is pretty darn loud – C+

Elton John – Diamonds – It’s a little bit funnae… The first two Greatest Hits is where I go for this stuff, but I can live with this expanded to the nth degree version – A

Escape-Ism – Introduction To Escape-Ism – Post-punk mood music for people who remember Joy Division but not that well, effective but a little droopy – B-

Evanescence – Synthesis – Brutal Goth balladeering as Amy and co rework electronica with full orchestras and all our punished – D

Francesca Battistelli – Greatest Hits: The First ten Years – MOR nonsense for Celine Dion fans  who think she would be better if she was younger and worse – D

Gregg Kowalaksy – L’Orange L’Oranfe – The first track is called “L’Ambience L’Orange” which pretty much speaks for itself – D+

Greta Van Fleet – From The Fires – Southern rockers as per average normal, I wonder which one is Greta – C

Gun Outfit – Out Of Range – Americana as Western showdown. I love the lead singer’s voice – B-

Hazey Eyes – Some Reason EP – Imagine the pains of being pure at heart at as electronic dance band, and then imagine that they are good – B+

Hoops – Tapes #1 – 3 – Hoops early works, only available as a limited 50-copy cassette tape run, all three collections are now on digital and they are sometimes fragmentary, sometimes full on indie pop with vocals at a minimum – B+

Husker Du – Savage Young Du –“ 69 chronologically sorted tracks, most live and 47 previously unreleased,” from the nascent hardcorers Minneapolis beginnings – A

Keeno – All The Shimmering Things – Instrumental ambience that breaks into singing and shakes things up, try “Light cascading” – C+

Kevin Barnes – She: A Tribute To Joni Mitchell EP – Five glorious, rearranged masterstrokes from bassist Kevin – A

Kygo – Kids In Love – Trance meets Avicii only worse – C

Lee Brice – Lee Brice – Mainstream country guy made the move from writing to plerforming ten years ago, and is about as ordinary as that moves suggests – C+

Lil Baby – 2 The Hardway – Atlanta hip hop mixtape, better at r&b than rap – B-

Little Richard Here’s Little Richard (Deluxe) – If anything it sounds better now than when it was first released and the demos just add to the legend – A+

Miya Folick – Give It To Me EP – Half Japanese and half normal is how a friend described her, but this full scale heads down hard rockin’ album is none of the above (by which I mean it doesn’t sound like Asian, certainly not K-Pop) yet still there is something about it so not average, she holds her words, stretches her lines and snaps em shut and the band hits hard and noisy like indie rock gone wild – B+

Novo Amor & Ed Tullett – Heiress – Gorgeous Bon Ivery-y falsetto on wintry songs via the UK –Works for me… – B

O k h o – River Thrown – A DJ with a laptop and some weird sounds – B-

OMB Peezy – Humble Beginnings – Love this guys voice, he hs that nasal whine stuff like Danny Brown – B

PNB Rock – GTTM: Goin Thru The Motions – From Wikipedia: “Rakim Allen was born on December 9, 1991, in the Germantown neighborhood of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and was primarily raised by his mother due to his father being murdered when he was 3 years old. In his teen years, he lived in Northeast Philadelphia. He grew up listening to rapper 2Pac and R&B group Jodeci. At the age of 13, Rakim was sent to a youth detention program for committing robberies and fighting in school. When he turned 19, he was sentenced to 33 months in prison for drug possession and other crimes. Allen was homeless for a short period after being released from prison…” And this is a terrific R&B hip hop album from a guy who has improved every track I’ve ever heard him on. The one with A Boogie, “Playa No More,” is unreal – B+

Plumb – God Help Me EP – Awful CCM – D

Project Mama Earth – Mama Earth – “Joss Stone on vocals, Nitin Sawheny on guitar, Jonathan Joseph on drums, Etienne M’Bappe on bass and Jonathan Shorten on keyboards.It takes its cultural point of departure from the ancient Cameroonian rhythms of Mangambe and Bikutsi in particular and funk in general, while drummer Jonathan Joseph’s drive and spark explores the full gamut of Afro rhythms.” Joss sounds bluesy, the beats are lively – C+

Quicksand – Interiors – New York hardcore with a side of grunge from 90s stalwarts, loud and effective stuff – B

R.E.M. – Automatic For The People (25th Anniversary Edition) – God Forbid they give us a demo of “Sweetness Follows”… – A

Seal – Standards – Useless Great American Songbook run through – D

Shawn Mendes – MTV UNplugged –  As opposed to…? – C

Shook Twins – 2 – The folk  sisters Shook are identical twins performing powerful folk songs – C+

Skepta – Vicious EP – The ASAP family lends a hand while the London Grime King has his eyes set on the US but this strange EP isn’t the sound of the moment, a little dank, not wordy enough – C+

Sleigh Bells – Kid Kruschev EP – This act is getting a little stale and when it isn’t, on “Rainmaker” the mid-way point, the fun is gone – C

Smoke Trees – Co-Op 1 – German DJ and Jazz smoky sounds over soft beats – C+

Spinning Coin – Permo – Sweet sounding, lo fi indie, all ringing guitars and promises of daydreams, the quieter it goes the sweeter the Glaswegians sound – B-

Syleena Johnson – Rebirth Of Soul – Sweet soul music old school, a real pleasure especially lead off “Make Me Yours” – B+

Taylor Swift – Reputation – Supplants innocence with knowledge at the corner of Hollywood and Vine –  ALBUM OF THE WEEK – A

Tennis – We Can Die Happy EP – Pleasant, a little ineffective indie pop with a soulfulness that can be quite pleasant – C+

tides. – hoodie season [side a] – Hip hop meets ambient – C+

Tuvaband – Mess – This duo makes lo fi sad sack indie pop – C+

WALK THE MOON – What If Nothing – An excellent collection of pop rock tracks, if it doesn’t hit it isn’t their fault – B+

Wiz Khalifa – Laugh Now, Fly Later – I love Kush as much as the next guy as long as the next guy isn’t Wiz. With only one featured guest, Casey Veggies, this pretty much unadorned Khalifa. So hand him this, he plays his audience – B-

yaeji – EP2 – New York DJ is soft and lunch with beats that hit deep, you can dance to it… maybe, but I prefer her on the excellent one part ambient “Feeling Change” – B

Yung Lean – Stranger – Swedish rapper, an excellent one, this could chart in the current Soundcloud era – B


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