Be Here Now: New Albums Reviewed 11-3-17 – 11-9-17

Written by | November 5, 2017 13:17 pm | No Comments


1K Phew – Never Too Late – The Atlanta Trap rapper is Christian but it works further into the background than most CCM -more a sort of moral sharing than indoctrination. It works well on “TV,” but otherwise he isn’t quite good enough – C+

21 Savage, Future, Metro Boomin – Without Warning – Gangsta trap by two of the most popular purveyors and one of the best producers. At first listen, Future is so much ahead of the JV 21 Savage it is unfair. But after awhile their voices sound real good together and 21 Savage is like the runt of a litter in a Sergio Leone Mafia movie, nicknamed Squirt, who shoots a cop in the second reel and is dead halfway through the fourth reel – B+

Anti-Flag – American Fall – Old school loud fast rules Punk Agitprop, these things go in and out of fashion, currently they are a much needed remedial lesson on punk ethos… it’s just a pity they aren’t better – B-

Billy Bragg – Bridges Not Walls EP –  Sure, the scion of Strummer is a good guy but he hasn’t written a great song since “She’s Got A New Spell” thirty years ago… Billy isn’t bad, mind you, just not great. Cute for one one listen, irritating after the third – C+

Blake Shelton – Texoma Shore – Blake hasn’t been knocking em out in four years, and this doesn’t either: his “love,Gwen” album makes much more sense if you love Gwen. But it has some fair to middling country love songs and I can’t name the dogs myself so there is that – B

Blitzen Trapper – Wild and Reckless – Back in the 00s, they were a bearded grunge meets psychedelic folk rock, now they are Americana – C+

Bob Dylan – Trouble No More: The Bootleg Series, Vol. 13 / 1979-1981 (Sampler) – If you can’t afford the $80 8 side version, this released to streaming sites will have to do. But if you can afford it but are too cheap, invest. This isn’t close to long enough – B

Chris Brown – Heartbreak on a Full Moon – If this was the ten best songs only, instead of a 45 songs Frankenstein’s monster, it would be one of the best albums of the year. Instead the hip hop values r&b album story of a romance with a lot of fucking is impossible to get through – C+

Converge – The Dusk In Us – Wow, the drummer on “Arkhipov Claim”. Just wow… The great metalcore band are pretty exhausting here, while the album is top of the genre  – B+

Emeli Sandé – Kingdom Coming – I lost interest in Emeli after a crappy show at Summerstage, three years later she wasn’t any good at Tidal X. This ain’t bad, but she didn’t need the grunge rappers, Dave East is just in the way on “Soon”. The songs, however, are near form – B-

G Herbo – Humble Beast – Chicago has meaner streets than Atlanta and Broward County combined, and Lil Herb (the name I remember him from), knows how to mine it and comes out with one of the most vicious putdowns ever: “you were scared straight”! on this full on gnats and stuff g rap – B+

Grace VanderWaal – Just The Beginning – The America’s Got Talent Season 11 winner  has, well, talent, especially on her upbeat pop songs… made for the singles charts, she bores over 30 minutes and the album is 41 minutes in length – B-

Kelsea Ballerini – Unapologetically – Well received country rocker, not bad I guess – C+

Kid Rock – Sweet Southern Sugar – I’ll cop to my visceral dislike for the man and his politics being a factor in my opinion of the album, though only as it is refracted in his lyric and his sound. The Detroit rap brat reborn as a sweet home Alabama all American asshole sounds old here. It’s been ten years since his Warren Zevon rip “All Summer Time,” and since then he has perfected a nauseating pose with mostly forgettable songs to illustrate them – C

Kygo – Kids in Love – Awful EDM pop songs via Norway – C-

Lee Hazlewood – Requiem For An Almost Lady

Maroon 5 – Red Pill Blues – M5 as a jam band? That what it sounds like on “Closure”‘s endless outro, keep an eye out for it when you study the setlist and plan your pee break accordingly. Otherwise, this is their r&B and sales have been commensurate with that bad idea – C+

Marlin’s Dreaming – Lizard Tears – Laid back surf and pop and rock dreamscape stuff New Zealand, really unlike anything out there – B

Maylee Todd – Acts of Love – Sade soundalike works wonders on this r&b lo fi sex and love album – B

Rico Nasty – Sugar Trap 2 – Born in NYC, raised in Maryland to place her firmly in the DMV ADI, this mixtape is first rate “sugar trap,” aka trap by women. Start near the top with the excellent “Key Lime OG” -another story that starts at Benihanas – B

Roy Orbison – A Love So Beautiful: Roy Orbison & The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra – This is offensive revisionism, everybody involved should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves – MUST TO AVOID – D-

Sam Smith – The Thrill Of It All – Album # 2 is more of the same only worse, a slog of an album except for a track here and there – C

Shamir – Revelations – Back from being dropped by his label, this is indie pop with an r&b heart and a collection of near perfect  songs, starting with the astounding “90’s Kids”.  From the single note strangeness of “Games”  through the undisputable “Straight Boys,” everything works – ALBUM OF THE WEEK  – A

Snoop Dogg – Make America Crip Again – The most overrated rapper of all time, he has two great albums one by and the other produced by Dre and nothing else, and this is part of the nothing else – C-

Steps – Tears On The Dancefloor (Crying At The Disco Deluxe Edition) – Viciously vacuous reboot – D

Stereophonics – Scream Above The Sounds – Awful rock and bore – C-

The Cornshed Sisters – Honey & Tar – Four part harmonies folk pop from Sunderland, quite quite good – B+

Tyga – Bugatti Raww – I could take this guys relentless nastiness if he wasn’t such a scatalogically mindfucked misogynist. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t judge him on either, but he needs to be much better at both – C

Willow – The 1st – “Hey Mom, I met a boy, he plays guitar,” the seventeen year old begins on her glorious collection of teenage problems. “Hey dude, is love just whack…?” she worries a little later. Real music for real people, from a girl who is passionate about her life, even the boring parts – A-


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