Be Here Now: New Albums reviewed 5-11-18 – 5-17-18

Written by | May 16, 2018 6:18 am | No Comments

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Arctic Monkeys – Tranquility Base Hotel And Casino – This downbeat and depressing concept album about a “crooner stuck on a slightly seedy moon colony resort,” may not be anybody’s idea of a masterpiece as it sinks and sludges depressingly, but as a non fan it kept me listening and interested and at least three songs (“Star Treatment,” “She Looks Fun,” and “The Ultracheese”) are quite good – B-

Bad Company UK – Ice Station Zero – No, not Paul Rodgers boys, this is electronic ambience – C

Bali Baby – Baylor Swift  EP-  As clever as the album title and twice as funny, this is a nursery rhyme rap for easy going fun styled pop dreamers. At 26 minutes in length, all of it is ace and the back to back “Candy” and “WWW” are even better than that -ALBUM OF THE WEEK –  A-

Beach House – 7 – More of the same dreamscape shoegaze but every here and there they capture lightning in a bottle, “Drunk In LA” and “Dive” are gorgeous, and “Lose Your Smile” is like  Brian Wilson as performed by a snail – B+

Bethel Music – Moments: Mighty Sound -I hate CCM with a passion (of the Christ) but I don’t hate Christianity at all, and while I find all faith self-serving, this “spontaneous” (I guess they mean live recording out of their Cali Church) have moments of well adorned wall of sound power I haven’t heard before -except for the one time I caught em live and this is better,  the first three songs are easily the best they’ve ever made – B-

Boys – Rest In Peace – Indie and girls, it’s happening man. Unfortunately, my dislike for Angel and Julien left me late to the party, but Big Thief and Soccer Mom broke through and this is a fuzzed out blissed out album that reminds me of some ROIR band with the funkiness surgically removed… via Stockholm so you gotta think – B+

Brent Cobb – Providence Canyon – The country blues numbers suck but when he works on ballads he has a pre-bro vibe that is quite appealing and either way he knows how to write songs,  try “King Of Alabama”  – C+

Charlie Puth – Voicenotes – Sure he has a great voice, and on stage more than his own share of star power, but his material is rank r&b and a good little raver like “Slow It Down” is an exception – C

Chief Keef – The Glofiles (Pt 1 and 2) – I don’t see why there is any reason for Pt 1 to be driller and darker than vol 2 but it is… Chief Keef is a huge influence on modern rap and on Vol 1 you can absolutely hear why – B+

George Gershwin – Kennedy Meets Gershwin – The infamous violinist rearranges Gershwin – B-

Hawktail – Unless – Americana team players play instrumental shenanigans to good effect – B-

Joan Armatrading – Not Too Far Away – Remember “Love And Affection” from back in the 1970s? Well, remarkably, Joan has the same voice, that husky gorgeousness, and her skills with a singer songwriter rock and soul track is just about the same as well – B

Junglepussy – Jp3 – Heavy duty sexuality without cupcakke’s playful raunchy, this is more like rapped out bangerz – B

Loreena McKennitt – Lost Souls – pure pre-Dylan folk,  sounds kinda olde English though Loreena is Canadian, This is the real deal so tuck in – B+

Marian Hill – Unusual- Philadelphia electronic duo have a lot of buzzy neo-r&b flava, a percolating bluesiness modern sexiness – B

Piso 21 – Ubuntu – Mainstream boyband Latin pop -as tasteful and yet taste less as you imagine – C

Playboy Carti – Die Lit – This is state of the art rap, a mumbly druggy fashion slurred out snapshot, with big time featured artists (that means you, Lil Uzi vert) , and Nicki Minaj providing the best moment on “Poke It Out” and if repetition is the god of hooks, Playboy Carti is the king of repetition on these sticky pop slams – B+

Ry Cooder – The Prodigal Son – Rootsy Americana from a past master – B-

Sevendust – All I See Is War – Progcore – C

Simian Mobile Disco – Murmurations – “Theme around the cloud formation of starlings” -or electronic doo dah days – C+

Ski Mask The Slum God – BEWARE THE BOOK OF ELI EP – The Broward county movement is growing up, so while “BUKKAKE” is exactly what you think Ski Mask would be doing if you ever saw him live (though the sample is better than that), “SUICIDE SEASON” is danker and darker than you might believe possible. Once Ski figures out what he is actually doing as a uniformed whole, he will be a biggie – B+

Tee Grizzley – Activated – After three years in stir for armed robbery, Tee spent last year everywhere else with his thug’s life stories and hit making skills and he succeeds but this is by the numbers – C+

The Magic Numbers – Outsiders – HeraldScotland claimed “mellifluous, accomplished and unapologetically adult pop-rock” about these double downed brother-sisters UK band who vibe on  to the 70s, and they’re not unpleasant but no more than that – B-

The Sea and Cake – Any Day – Post-rock it says here, pretty veering into vapid prog channeled mainstream (well, not now of course) rock clever clogs – C+

Ty Dolla $ign – Beach House 3 – Now, this is the definition of mainstream pop in 2018, one hook filled r&b soul song after another for 26 songs (including five pretty great interludes) without a falter as he considers the ramifications of fame from close but not that close. The Gucci Mane followed by 21 Savage one two around the middle is a highlight – B

Various Artists – Frozen: The Broadway Musical (Original Broadway Cast Recording) – The Lopez’s are to Stephen Schwartz what Schwartz is to Lloyd-Webber is to Hammerstein II -proof positive we will all become extinct eventually – C-

Wale – Negotiations EP – I was raving about the title track a coupler years ago, I never though the man could spit em this well, elsewhere he gets his woke on -not difficult in 2018 – B

 

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