Be Here Now: New Albums Reviewed 12-22-17 – 12-28-17

Written by | December 26, 2017 8:31 am | No Comments



Armin van Buuren – A State Of Trance Year Mix 2017 (Mixed by Armin van Buuren) – If you are as impressed with his “Christmas Day” as much as I am, you’ll be relieved to know it was an anomaly and this is as great a coupla hours of trance as he has ever put together – B

Avenged Sevenfold – The Stage (Deluxe Edition) – Adds six new songs, four live songs from London and, eh, “God Only Knows.” to their popular prog metal sound – C+

Barclay Crenshaw – Barclay Crenshaw: Revisited – experimental bass and beats remix album – C+

Cécile McLorin Salvant – Dreams and Daggers – Two hours of American standards and her own compositions,  recorded live at the Village Vanguard and the DiMenna Center, Salvant is the face of modern jazz vocalists in the tradition of Sarah Vaughan – B+

Gabriel & Dresden – The Only Road – Prog-dance duo record their first album in ten years. Missed em? – C+

Gucci Mane – El Gato: The Human Glacier – Old school trap, ice cold and clean sounding, great rhymin and rappin, and real fast in and out in 30 minutes. Recorded in two days, I’ll take it – B+

Henry Jackman – Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) – I wonder who the audience is for these original soundtracks? I imagine a 70 something homosexual couple on the UES in their rent subsidized apartment adding it to their huge collection dating past “South Pacific” – C

Huncho Jack – Huncho Jack, Jack Huncho – Quavo will always be secondary to Offset because Offset wrote the “rain drop, drop top” hook, and Quavo didn’t, but Quavo has a true pop sensibility and he carries his collaboration with Travis Scott and if “Modern Slavery” is the only song that joins the catalog, it remains one of the best songs of the year. But like so many of these collaborations, it is very offhand, improvised, state of the art this weekend… PS: Ralph Steadman drew the cover art (fear and loathing on the high hat)  –  B+

Lil Wayne – Dedication 6 – Between prison, seizures, cough medicine, and fights with Cash Money, the great 00s rapper didn’t made it into the 2010s with his career in tact. This mixtape is pretty good, his reworking of “DNA” is excellent, Nicki Minaj has done what no one has done before, got me to hear “rockstar”‘s hook on “5 Star,” Weezy’s “XO Tour Life” cuts Uzi. This is an instantaneous classic 15 bangers, plus the brilliant “Blackin Out” reworking of “The Story Of OJ”- ALBUM OF THE WEEK – A

Philanthrope – The Chronic – AKA Chillhop, beats and ambient plus occasional lyrics buried low, “working it fast, working it slow…” – C+

Scarface – Deeply Rooted: The Lost Files – His reworking of Public Enemy on “Black Still,” respects both Chuck D and #blacklivesmatter, and the classic Southern thug Scarface himself. “motherfuck that flag…” he suggests, take a knee to that.  The rest of it is an add to the 2015 release – B-

Shy Glizzy – Quiet Storm – Awwwsome, only nothing here is is as great by the DC rapper – C+

Sir Rosevelt – Sir Rosevelt – Zac Brown’s new album and you know how we feel about Zac, but here he gets his Bruno Mars on with a so-so collection of pop and dance moves, if there were a coupla more songs as ace “Sunday Finest” and not the Darius Rucker steal “Something ‘Bout You,” we’d have something to talk about   – C+

Various Artists – Father Figures (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) – If you want “Sara Smile” there are better places to get it from, but Neil Diamond covering “He Ain’t Heavy…. He’s My Brother”? Abandon hope all ye who enter here – C+

Wun Two – vapowavez – Wun Two’s future funk hits a milestone, his 24th release… I hear the future, the funk not so much – C



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