Be Here Now: New Albums Reviewed 4-27-18 – 5-3

Written by | May 2, 2018 16:31 pm | No Comments


Aisha Badru – Pendulum – “Mind On Fire” is a terrific song but otherwise this drags on and on and it all sounds like the same girl singer angst plus electronic backing track soundscape – B-

Anne- Marie – Speak Your Mind – The Rudimental singer on her own with a world class modern pop song album, “Cry” and “Perfect” need no excuse from me for existing, but everything here is great dance pop and some of it is more – B+

Axel Boy – Hypnotism EP – Excellent electronica with one foot in house and the other in experimental sound stuff – B+

Balsam Range – Mountain Overture – A beautiful, orchestrated arrangement of bluegrass songs… the songs (I know) could be better – B

Bill Wyman’s Rhythm Kings – Studio Time – The difference between this and Black And Blue is that this isn’t the Stones, and it also isn’t only the blues. The similarity is the joy and the professionalism – B

Blossoms – Cool Like You – Stockport’s finest have a unique Brit pop meets Imaginary Dragons vibe but none of it is memorable – B-

Buzzy Lee – Facepaint EP – This sounds like lo fi bedsitland chamber music pop and it is surprisingly good, 18 minutes of beauty – B+

Cicada Rhythm – Everywhere I Go – Good folk duo, Andrea DeMarcus has a pleasant voice and the arrangements are more indie pop than anything else – B

Dr. Dog – Critical Equation – “Virginia Please” is their best song since “Coffee Spoon” so that’s one – C-

Elohim – Elohim – The chorus of “I Want You” by this electronic one woman act from cali is breathtaking, and while nothing is as good, nothing is that bad either – B-

Foreigner – With the 21st Century Symphony Orchestra & Chorus _if you hate “Cold As Ice,” you’ll slit your throat when you hear it with a symphony orchestra – D+

Gerardo Ortiz – Comeré Callado, Vol. 2 – The Corridos expert is excellent when he speeds up, and the horns are always wonderful… but those ballads? Not so fast – B-

Godsmack – When Legends Rise – If Godsmack are one of the best hard rock bands around, and this album is terrible, what does it tell you about hard rock? That tuneless Soundgarden sound that everybody uses should be put to bed… “Take It o The Edge” is the best of a bad lot – C

Grouper – Grid of Points – Piano based ambient – C+

Half Waif – Lavender – Nandi rose Plunkett adds electronics to folk and weaves quite a spell but you can never remember the songs from one listen to another – B-

Hawthorne Heights – Bad Frequencies – Sounds like Godsmack with a weaker singer – C

Jean Grae, Quelle Chris – Everything’s Fine – Cal it art rap, this is underground, experimental, but the rapping is always dexterous, the wordplay excellent , and the tracks filled with sounds that catch your ear, try the mind bending “Scoot Of Dirt” with featured rapper, Brooklyn’s own Your Old Droog – B+

Kat Edmonson – Old Fashioned Gal – She’s like a musical comedy star without a sense of humor, though she does have a ukulele. “Who’s Counting” gave me the wrong idea about her, I had her down as a Paul Simon but she is more  an indifferent Nellie McKay – C+

Keith Urban – Graffiti U – Thomas Rhett ain’t too worried about this electronic pop meets country effort, though that opening song with Julia Michaels might get Urban a big hit – C+

Janelle Monáe – Dirty Computer- The revenge, and the equalizing, of the black American woman starts with Brian Wilson harmonies and ends by denouncing institutionalized racism. In between, the album is the leap forward Monae has been promising since her first EP: a dive into electronic pop and the strife of a bi-sexual, black woman, like a single Beyonce, battling forward to be seen and heard. This is 2018 and this is a celebration of “black girl magic” – ALBUM OF THE WEEK – A

Morgan Wallen – If I Know Me – Bro Country is alive if not well, on this catchy and well song collection of business as usual  – B-

Okkervil River – In The Rainbow Rain – As these indie agriculturally bent rockers go, Will Sheff has his moments, but in a post Justin Vernon world, he comes across as very bland – B-

Post Malone – beerbongs & Bentleys – An excellent album, I mean except cmon Malone whining, a beautiful downbeat whiner already double platinum. “Psycho” is great, “Paranoid” is better, and if nothing out stands out, it all works as a wall of soft sell bangers and hooks to burn – A-

Sarah Reeves – Easy Never Needed You – Sarah can write songs in genre, but the genre is sugar coated dance pop and it fails to signify much of anything – C

Shallou – Souls – Song cycle about love with plenty of electronics and some guests – C+

Shiba San – Off To Funk EP – Harcord house beats with a funky beat – C+

Speedy Ortiz – Twerp Verse –  – Not bad, a coupla good tracks, but too arty for my taste – C+

Steve Angello – HUMAN – The Swedish House Mafia head honcho has released as straighahead a House album as you will get in 2018: beats and moods galore – B-

The Shires – Accidentally On Purpose – Country duo harmonize on harmless country Americana – C+

The Wealthy West – The Right Regrets – Somewhat tedious singer songwriter songs – C

Thy Art Is Murder – Dear Desolation-  Metalcore with a vengeance old school, it is like getting scolded with boiling water, CJ McMahon is a great bowels of hell singer, and the guitarists are hands down masters of the art – B

Tom Rush – Voices – The great 77 year old folkie joins Willie Nelson and John Prine in the late career masterpiece rolls on this splendid country folk album, everything is terrific and the bookends, “Elder Green” and “Voices” are the best of the best, and the “Corina Corina” is worthy  – A-

Twin Shadow – Caer – OK singer songwriter, his voice kinda annoys me – C

Van Morrison, Joey DeFrancesco – You’re Driving Me Crazy Not bad, and Joey’s keyboard solos, especially on “The Way Young Lovers Do” is exemplary, but enough already,,, how about some new stuff? – B

We Are Scientists – Megaplex – Rock as MOR –  C

Wiley – Godfather II – Speaking of rapping terrific bars, “Bar” is a lot of fun, “Crash” is where EDM pop meets rap, “Been A While” has a great flow, and Wiley stakes his claim to Stormzy’s crown of grime – B+

Willie Nelson – Last Man Standing – I have never been much of a Willie Nelson fan, the one time I saw him live he put me to sleep, and when he gets his hands on a ballad he won’t let go however much you might pay hm. Here is an exception, at 85 years of age he sounds better than he did at 45 and the powerful and umph of his swing is entirely undeniable – A-

Wiwek – Jungle Terror Saga – Netherland DJ and it continues what has been a good week for house and straight up no chaser drop the bass stuff – B-

YoungBoy Never Broke Again – Until Death Call My Name – I like this guy a lot, he is really a rapper but the Louisiana native seems to be a soulman in disguise, this doesn’t sustain through the album but when it’s good it is great – B

ZHU – RINGOS DESERT PT.1 – Zhu is a talented fellow and here his electronic wasteland has a Western vibe to go with it – B-




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