Be Here Now: New Albums Reviewed 1-19-18 – 1-25-18

Written by | January 23, 2018 4:37 am | No Comments

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Bahamas – Earthtones – Superb one man band, Canada’s Afie Jurvanen dubs himself folk but is more digital master planner pop singer songwriter on this flawless album of first rate songs, try “Opening Act (The Shooby Dooby Song)” to start and then move on to “Way With Words,” though it is one of those albums where everything is great. Jurvanen is joined by first rate (D’Angelo’s) rhythm section drummer  James Gadson and bassist Pino Palladino The funk is not what I would call funky, more like a groove on a pop moment but the songs are so strong strong everything adds to a complete picture of the man – ALBUM OF THE WEEK –  A-

Belle & Sebastian – How to Solve Our Human Problems (Part 2) – Better than Part 1, at least it has “The Same Star” -a 60ish UK meets Motown pleasure – C+

Black Label Society – Grimmest Hits – Old school riffology from the school of UK guitar heroes, rattle your death with addictive hard rockers just like the Sabbath addicts always have and to great effect. If this is your scene you can do no better – B

Caitlyn Smith – Starfire – The popular country songwriter knows her way around the song but becomes a cropper when she makes a mess on the big feel songs – C+

Cristobal Tapia De Veer – Black Mirror: Black Museum (Original Score) – “Black Mirror” is the mist overrated show on TV, despite an occasional zinger, too many are garbled rubbish like that UK Prime Minister being forced to have sex with a pig… I hope he took his viagra. This is background music from the show – C

Dave East – P2 – Harlem rapper, was a gangsta, got rich on rap, and the only difference is now has a child – C+

Devin Dawson – Dark Horse – Country singer and maudlin as all get out – MUST TO AVOID – C-

EDEN – vertigo -It goes on a bit but it has a powerful James Blake vibe and “Wings” is a good song, the arrangements are low impact but arresting – B-

Fall Out Boy – MANIA – The reason FOB feel slight is because they are slight, a mélange of emo meets EDM rock hitting the lowest common denominator 20 something world of pop, and hitting more often than not. They are Paramore for Playstation addicts. Fortunately, that doesn’t make for bad music, just not greet music. MANIA is a way competent chart heatseeker covering all bases, usually it works, sometimes it doesn’t – B+

Fatboy Slim – Fatboy Slim Vs Australia – All you need to know about this album is that opens with a remix of “Praise You” – C

Fetty Wap – For My Fans – A mixtape before the sophomore album, this is very melodic trap as pop move, plenty of echo and autotuned but the songs announce themselves and remain with you. A pleasant surprise – B+

Fleetwood Mac – Fleetwood Mac (Deluxe) – A coupla years past the Cali Mac revival spearheaded by Dawes, here comes the remastered first shot from the soft rock Mac, first album remastered, second album filled with early takes (proving how fully formed the songs were), and finlly live tracks from their 1975 tour. Hang around for a late “Oh Well” – A

First Aid Kit – Ruins – Sweet sounding folkies wear out their welcome – B-

Glen Hansard – Between Two Shores – Americana stalwart took old songs from a 2013 recording session at Wilco’s Chicago studios, added new vocals, and came out with a power folk rock album. Go figure – B

Inara George – Dearest Everybody – Half of the Bird And The Bee, not to mention the late Lowell George’s daughter, at her best Inara sounds like a post-Tapestry Carole King, the same smooth jazz goes pop circa Music sound, and at her worse has a lovely song that seems capable of stepping into Broadway if she felt like it – B

Joe Perry – Sweetzerland Manifesto – Precisely what you expected: moldy old hard rock – C

John e boy – King Of John – “I Don’t Mind If We Just Dance” is exactly what white rap should do, not take on trap, or gangster, a messed up attempt at seduction. John e Boy sounds like the art form, he can certainly fill up a track, and his rap has a sing-song Asher Roth vibe like a frat boy on vacation. But if that’s good, what is really good is his obsession with women, like Jagger and Prince before him he trips on his dick all the way through and it is good to get out of the way of the misogyny,  But that’s what we want. Who needs Post Malone when you have 21 Savage? We want a cultural approbation that functions outside the rap wheelhouse and covers the omerta of emotional 909ing. Plus, nice sample on “Rose And Whiskey”   – B+

Lanco – Hallelujah Nights – Typical country rockers, simply not good enough – C

Laraaji – Vision Songs, Vol 1 – New Age meets World Music – B

Meat Beat Manifesto – Impossible Star – heavy duty experimental electronics – C+

Moon Taxi – Let The Record Play – The indie rockers major label debut is the same as it ever was, like it’s 2009 – C

Of Mice And Men – Defy – From hard rock to hardcore and back, loud but not quite fast enough – C+

Porsche – The House – Sad boy indie with better beats – B

Rend Collective – Good News – Christian cults return to Jesus – C-

Shopping – The Official Body – From the UK, this is the most post-punk album you have ever heard, B-52s meet Gang Of Four produced by Edwyn Collins – B-

Sir – November – Neo-soul hipster professional knows how to construct a song from very little – C+

Starcrawler – Starcrawler – Alyson raved about this LA band numerous times last year (here) and I believe her, but the punky hit and run is obstreperous where  melody should be… maybe next time – C

The Go! Team – SEMICIRCLE – World music as cheerleader thump, holler and response. Interesting… though not that interesting – C+

The Shins – The Worms Heart – First Kendrick and now Mercer have rereleased an album with the running order flipped (meaning reversed). Though The Shins have req-written the songs. So the album which already stiffed  once, can stiff again – C-

They Might be Giants – I Like Fun – Typical mediocre songs about sad things – C+

Tommy Emmanuel – Accomplice One – Australian roots country guy gets some heavyweight to join him revisiting some of his old song, the Ricky Scaggs song is aces and nothing much sucks – B

Tune-Yards – I can feel you creep into my private life – “Heart Attack” is a great song, no doubt, going from one woman band to duo with Nate Brenner, is a good idea. But this wokeness crap has to end now – B

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