Be Here Now: New Album Reviews 11-6-15 – 11-12-15

Written by | November 6, 2015 13:14 pm | No Comments


ALBUM OF THE WEEK 11-6-15 – 11-12-15


Dream – Angie Stone – Never underestimate the power of professionalism. Stone went solo in 1999 and has been a major r&b singer ever since. However, as an album maker she suffered from indifferent material and a surfeit of Mary J. Blige-y I am woman stuff.  Still, the voice has never been in question and with moderate to good material on this album, she has managed a goodie through strong fundamentals – B+

Embrace – Armin Van Buuren – The inventor of Trance, a blueprint for modern EDM, here goes too soft – C+

Perfectamundo – Billy Gibbons And BFGs – The  ZZ Top lead singer  adds some Cuban rhythms to the Z mix, expands to a six piece, and never falters for an instant –though I wish he had given us at least a couple of extended jams.  This will kill live – B+

West Kirby County Primary – Bill Ryder-Jones – The album cover features the former the Coral singer stark naked in a bathtub: a metaphor for being back at his Mom’s home and emotionally transparent. All that lo fi prettiness gets  a little boring – C+

vulnicura strings (vulnicura: the acoustic version – strings, voice and viola organista only) – Bjork – Exactly what it says it is, a remake of a great album and no worse and no better than it was before – A

Bootleg Tapes Volume 12 – Bob Dylan 1965 – 1966 The Cutting Edge Sampler – Bob Dylan – Nowhere near enough for anyone but the casual fan. This is such a slim taster, 15 songs, maybe a sixth of the vinyl version and a twentieth of the $500 doorstop. It is just enough to make you think you’ve heard it all before, and not enough to make you release you are just at the surface– B+

Bootleg Tapes Volume 12 – Bob Dylan 1965 – 1966 The Cutting Edge – Six albums, sixty bucks, and worth double that if just for the fourth, the twenty song etymology of “Like A Rolling Stone” – ALBUM OF THE WEEK– A

Starlight Starbright – Candice Night – Mrs Richie Blackmore releases an album of lullabies, “Baby Mine” is better than anything on We Love Disney, though elsewhere it can get a touch too precious – B-

Heart Blanche – Cee Lo Green – His best work in years is a fine collection with only the occasional overreach (“Robin Williams” is terrible) and enough ace soul songs to sustain Cee Lo’s self-contained whimsy– B

End Of An Empire – Celldweller – This industrial metal guy sounds like the soundtrack to a nonexistent XBOX game based on a misreading of Game Of Thrones – C

Birth Of A Being – David S Ware, Cooper-Moore – Re-mastered version of the 1979 late master of free form Ware and keyboard specialist Cooper-Moore  collaboration,  sounds better if anything : try the 16 minute “Thematic Womb”, it is skronk by other means– A

Delirium – Ellie Goulding – Ellie was better than you thought, in  her earliest incarnation, she was playing bongos in the middle of MSG as Katy Perry’s opening act, and she followed that by breaking Ed Sheeran’s heart and releasing an album of OK material –often with Calvin Harris’ attention before she crushed him as well. But then she really mainstreamed herself, and this 78 minute album, drags fast, long, and hard. “Codes” is pretty good – C-

Seduction – Flex – Much much better whenever he lets the congas do the talking than with  Latin American power ballads,  the 35 year old pin up boy is aces every fourth song – C+

And After That, we Didn’t talk – GoldLink – The DC Future Bounce rapper returns, with a strong collection of mainstream r&b rap tracks – B

Art Angels – Grimes – Never a fan, she mistakes width for death and tone for talented: I don’t care how protean she is when it is all iffy electronica – C

Front Row Seat – Josh Abbott – Four act country music opera via Texas concept album about a break up, and even worse than that sounds – D+

One – Kate Boy – Swedish electro pop band, and nearly exactly what you think they are – C

Wilde Winter Songbook – Kim Wilde – Yes, the first Christmas album of the season. That’s Rick Astley on “Winter Wonderland”, as the one hit wonders keep the home flames burning – C-

Nothing – Kode9 – This is the DJ whose Sign Of The Dub a coupla years ago was so great a take on Prince… here he is all dubstep, all the time. Use it wisely – C

Get Weird – Little Mix – Yes, folks, it is the 2015 Spice Girls: a couple of the rockier numbers aren’t terrible, and “Secret Love Song” with Jason Derulo, is actually pretty good – C+

Are We The Yet – London Elektricity – We used to call this jungle when I was a whippersnapper, though some of it is just mainstream house. I wish the continuous mix was included for streaming – C+

Journeyman – Michael Chapman – Old time UK folkie has a terrific tone on his guitar – C+

Paradise Is There The New Tigerlily Recordings – Natalie Merchant – Yeah, I hated the album as well but this rerecording is less affected than we’re used to and her voice has matured – C

Throw Your Body On The Gears And Stop The Machine With Your Body – Noun – Or Screaming Females without the bassist… and without the guitar pyrotechnics… songs aren’t as good as their first album, Holy Hell – B

Meat And Country – Old Dominion – Ho hum country songs – C-

Limbo – Pell – New Orleans rapper, though he doesn’t sound like it: some of these backing tracks are so big he seems to be sinking in a world of sound. Kudos on “Vanilla Sky 2.0” – B-

MMM – Puff Daddy And Family – A who’s who of old and new rappers prove that Diddy can pick the featured artists as well as he picks the beats but he still can’t rap  – C-

EVENIFYOUDONTBELIEVE – Rustie – I caught Rustie earlier this year after noticing his credit on a Danny Brown song, I was impressed as well, and I like this, it is like ambient with a pulsating headache – B

In The Lonely Hour Drowning Shadows Version – Sam Smith – includes an additional 13 songs, all of which I’ve heard before in some form or the other.  And if the “Latch” live at MSG with Sam telling the audience to raise their cellies is the single worst moment in his recorded career, the Whitney Houston cover is still solid as you can get, the Naughty Boy track a wonder,  the three remixes nothing special at all, and the Amy Winehouse a triumph. More is less, of course, but only a little less – A-

What’s Inside: Songs from Waitress – Sara Bareilles – “Brave” gave me the wrong idea about the singer songwriter, this is lighthearted and tuneful tracks – B+

7 – Seal – Everything he sings sounds like that bloody awful “rose” song – D+

Early Risers – Soldiers Of Fortune – The Steve Malkmus track is killer, but the rest of this indie rockers supergroup is a snooze. With members of Interpol and Oneida on hand, you’d hope for a little more – B-

Indie 500 – Talib Kweli, 9 th Wonder – That Talib is a talented fellow no doubt, so why does Rapsody steal everything she is on?maybe because he is past it t – C

Brutal – The Beverlys – Brutal? Nah, but lostsa feedback, reverb, and monster licks that emerge in a wall of drone for this talented chick trio from Toronto – B+

Damn Country – Tim McGraw – If I was ever to like a Tim album, this one would be it. It is unassuming, almost ingratiating, some of the songs don’t grate. So I guess I’ll never like a Tim album – D

Shittin On The Industry – Young Dolph – Memphis rapper with a sense of humor, and an addiction to the hook, though really? He should have called it Coprophilia – B



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