Be Here Now: New Album Reviews 9-22-17 – 9-28-17

Written by | September 26, 2017 4:25 | No Comments

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Above & Beyond – Group Therapy 250 Live from The Gorge Amphitheatre – UK Trance, pretty good as well. Armin would approve of their keening sense of melody,  and I approve of the rave atmospherics on this live one  – B

Brian Wilson – Playback: The Brian Wilson Anthology – Anthology? A lousy 18 tracks (and I had to buy the sucker to get some of em). Wilson has a huge post-Beach Boys catalog and this is what they wanna give us? – C

BTS – Love Yourself 承 ‘Her’ – K-Pop grows up, in Korean and it has hit the top of our Hot 100. The skit has to go – B

Cut Copy – Haiku From Zero – Catchy, clever, collegiate electronic indie band from Australia finally nail it – B+

Enter Shikari – The Spark – Emo rock goes electro – C+

Fergie – Double Dutchess – My friend Steve Diamond, who gets modern pop, claims I underestimate this one. It hits me as similar to Katy Perry in that it won’t do what it is meant to do: become popular. It certainly tries hard, very hard, but keeps on missing the pleasure zone  and the “Love Is Blind” – “Love Is Pain” offers no real insight into her divorce though the latter is catchy – C+

Godspeed You! Black Emperor – Luciferian Towers – According to their press release, these symphonic instrumentalists request “An end to foreign invasions. An end to borders. The total dismantling of the prison-industrial complex. Healthcare, housing, food and water acknowledged as an inalienable human right. The expert fuckers who broke this world never get to speak again.” I wonder how that is working for em – C+

Hiss Golden Messenger – Hallelujah Anyhow – Father John Misty without the attitude – C+

Illenium – Awake – Crafty DJ sounds like the rest of the pop crossover only a little better mostly because he is into house not trance  – C+

Isaac Hayes – The Spirit Of Memphis (1962-1976) – A well appreciated nearly five hour compilation of the Stax giant’s past in one place. I hadn’t realized how great Carla Thomas is, I had realized how great the Emotions are, and I am embarrassed to note that my friend Tomas Doncker is quite right, my knowledge of r&b is suspect – A+

Jhene Aiko – Trip – “a 22-song masterwork of love, loss and discovery” and “psychedelic soul opus,” some of it is pretty good r&b, some of it is pretentious nonsense, and all of it is too long – C

Jillian Jacqueline – Side A – You know it is country pop because the beats are manufactured, and at least on “Bleachers” she nails down the crossover which didn’t but should have – C+

Jon Langford – Four Lost Souls – Recorded at Muscles Shore via personal invitation, Langford has always dabbled in mainstream and here he adds Americana to his range. A touch too mainstream, from the Mekon great who personified punk fusion with country, and where is that ONE SONG? Still a stretch and a grower impeccably sung and performed, “Fish Out Of Water” is a quiet storm – B+

Josh Ritter – Gathering – This guy has a good voice and composes a strong song, but he is a bore, always chasing himself back to the same razzle Americana. “Friendamine” is better than average – B-

Kevin Gates – By Any Means 2 – Gangsta’s Drake, the man can write a hook, every song here, and a lyric, not every song here – B-

Knox Fortune – Paradise – Chicago producer responsible for Chance The Rapper’s “All Night,” has his first solo album, relentlessly ordinary modern pop – C+

Kolsch – 1999 –Ambient and beats meet – C+

Kygo – Stargazing EP – With three songs over 500M streams on Spotify, he is a popular lad. Here he meets up with U2, includes his extremely popular Selena Gomez collaboration, and three other also rans – MUST TO AVOID – D+

Lecrae – All Things Work Together – Our best Christian rapper bores over an album – C+

Ledisi – Let Love Rule – Nice voice, more soulful songwriter than the norm – B-

Lights – Skin&Earth – Alt pop, like Halsey or something, with a ton of backstory and a comic book – C+

Luna – A Place Of Greater Safety EP – Pretty and intelligent instrumentals – B

Macklemore – GEMINI – The song with  Kesha ain’t bad, the song with Lil Yachty is good, but nothing else sticks – C

Marl Almond – Shadows And Reflection – The former Soft cell convinces himself he is Scott Walker before Jacques Brel… convinces me as well. The “How can I Be Sure” is a treat – B

Mastadon – Cold Dark Place – “I can’t get the blood off my hands,” says Brent Hinds as he tackles his 13 string steel pedal guitar (I read the Pitchfork review), it is loud rough metal ballistic missiles with a psycho side – B

Matthew West – All In – CCM just the way we hate it, a verse of pause and then a loud singalong chorus – D+

Midland – On The Rocks – Old school country rockers – B+

My Little Pony – My Little Pony The Pony – DNCE come up with a killer funk dance track, Sia is terrific on a ballad,  and Willie’s kid Lukas sounds just like him, and just as boring, though “Neighsayer” is a great pun – C+

Omni – Multi-task – The guitarist used to be with Deerhunter but you coulda fooled me on this piece of new wavey rock pop – B

Original Cast Of SpongeBob SquarePants, The New Musical – Original Cast Recording – Pretty good for the amount of exposition they have to make their way through, the David Bowie track is an oldie but an interesting inclusion and “Bikini Bottom Day” is both creepy and cute – B

Petals Of Power – Intermittent Explosive Disorder – Detroit natives Petals Of Power are 1977 punks who can veer sideways into glam, play loud and brash, and have a lead singer so grating and strong he should call himself Tommy Rotten – B+

Phoebe Bridges – Stranger In The Alps – Phoebe Bridger is secretly Julien Baker and I demand my ten dollars. “Motion Sickness” is a great song, maybe the best song of the week – B

Sleeping With Sirens – Gossip – …goes pop – C+

Starrah – Starrah X Diplo EP – Heavy duty auto tune EDM pop, catchy – B-

Stephen Stills, Judy Collins – Everybody Knows –  The “Handle With care” is a nightmare, truly. However, the “Who Knows Where The time Goes” makes up for it. Collins voice is ageless here. Stephens guitar playing is superb. The album isn’t much but it isn’t bad – C+

Steve Martin, Steep Canyon Rangers – “The Long awaited Album” – Twingy twangy banjo – C+

The Lemon Twigs – Brothers Of Destruction – Folkie indie stuff – C+

The Killers – Wonderful Wonderful – Their best album since Sam’s Town is also their widest just about ever, Brandon gets serious in a fun way – B

The Rolling Stones – Their Satanic Majesties Request (50th Anniversary Special Edition) – Their least great great album in Mono and Stereo and remastered. That’s it? – B

The Wonder Years – Burst And Decay (An Acoustic EP) – Knocking on five years since The Greatest Generation and they still can’t find a follow-up – C+

Tricky – ununiform – Same ol’ drum and bass – C+

Van Morrison – Roll With the Punches – An astonishing collection of 11 blues classics by Bo Diddley, Mose Allison, Sister Rosetta Tharpe and Lightnin’ Hopkins, and more, plus four new ones, “Transformation” a solid second tier cut – ALBUM OF THE WEEK – A-

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