Be Here Now: New Albums Reviewed 5-18-18 – 5-24-18

Written by | May 23, 2018 17:48 pm | No Comments

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Ash – Islands – The slow ones suck, the fast ones ain’t bad – B+

At The Gates – To Drink From The Night Itself – Swedish hardcore is pretty in its own way but lyrically dumbass – C

Arturo Sandoval – Ultimate Duets – The great trumpeter plus guests galore, though only Stevie Wonder adds something big to the proceedings – B

BTS – Love Yourself 轉 ‘Tear’ – K-Pop boy band superstars are breaking English language while still singing in Korean, and their sound is neither r&b nor rock, but a Korean mix and match EDM plus frill arrangements. Not bad – B

Courtney Barnett – Tell Me How You Really Feel – I guess this separates the men from the boys (if you’ll excuse the phrase), fans seem to  think it is a comedown. Not me, I find her voice less irritating than the first album and her tunefulness at least one step beyond the identifies queer more murkily unsettled views – B

Five Finger Death Punch – And Justice for None – Heads down no nonsense hardcore from the Vegas boys on their seventh album, it is like dog paddling in place but that sure ain’t drowning – B

Frog Eyes – Violet Psalms – Alt art rock… kill me now – C-

Half Man Half Biscuit – No One Cares About Your Creative Hub so Get Your Fuckin’ Hedge Cut – Funnier than the Wombats ever were but what does that tell you? It tells you that “Man Of Constant Sorrow (With A Garage In Constant Use)” is genius and nothing else here comes close – C+

James Bay – Electric Light – James has made a move to the pop charts as a sort of refracted Bryan Ferry (or at least Brett Anderson) but it might be too old fashioned to fashion itself hot beyond cult, and judging by “Pink Lemonade,” that’s a real shame – B+

Joe Bonamassa – British Blues Explosion Live – How can somebody so technically proficient be so damn sterile, though one thing’s for sure: if you ever though Cream phoned in in, listen to this bloody awful “SWALBR”… or “Beck’s Bolero” or… You get the concept – C

Kany Garcia – Soy Yo – Very inoffensive Latin American singer songwriter stuff but it fails to hit the pleasure spot – C+

Kelly Willis – Back Being Blue – Old school country album, with top notch songs, great guitar playing, a lot of swing and a lot of soul – B+

Kevin Gates – Chained To The City EP – Three songs, all excellent in a perfect case of less is more. Especially the lead off “Change Lanes”,” an introverted banger. This is  his return from prison and it is worth the wait -a major move from the Louisiana native – A-

KYLE – Light Of Mine – I thought “iSpy” was Lil Yachty’s business, but after hearing this tremendous r&b cum hip hop album, I gotta assume KYLE is the man behind it. This is one sparkling soul groove after another reaching a zenith with the Alessia Cara featured “Babies” – B+

Lil Baby – Harder Than Ever – Lil Baby is part of the third generation of Atlanta Trap Hop folks and among the better ones, but, as is proven on the Drake featured “Yes Indeed,” he is only as good as his friends. Fortunately, Young Thug, Lil Uzi, and Offset are all on their game and as first moves go, Lil Baby is working his way – B-

Low Cut Connie – Dirty Pictures (Part 2) – They have a good, old timers, rock and roll sound, and energy and smarts, all they are missing is horns… and a couple more songs as good as “All These Kids Are way Too High” – B-

Maluma – F.A.M.E. – Maluma was all over the place last year, and suddenly became a name to watch for. It’s the voice that does it, he moves easily on reggaetón beats and sounds like a lively lovely boy. This is a good album if you like the genre (or are a Latina teen girl) – B

Matthew Sweet – Tomorrow’s Daughter – It isn’t that Sweet is specifically worse than the musician he was 20 years ago, no there is no “Sick Of Myself” or “Divine Intervention” but his guitar can still ring like a bell… rather, he is like a pitcher whose fast ball has dropped by 5mph, not much worse but worse enough to get clobbered – B-

Mary Lattimore – Hundreds of Days – A terrific cellist and the sound is like angels occasional turning over in their sleep -lovely even if not much is happening – B-

NAV – RECKLESS – Not a fan, he is like The Weeknd without the hooks – C

Nellie McKay – Sister Orchid – I kinda lost interest in Nellie after that terrific Doris Day covers album. This is American Standards business as usual and Nellie and her piano can handle that with ease and does – B-

Nick Mulvey – Dancing For The Answers – EP – Pretty songs from a talented sing songwriter who is still a little snoozy, “The Doing Is Done” is a goodie – C+

Otis Redding – Dock Of The Bay Sessions – Sure, you’ve heard them all before… but not in this format – A

Parliament – Medicated Fraud Dogg – The huge two hour album will take a lot more listening to but on first spin  it is more of the same only worse – B

Parquet Courts – Awake! – I never much cared for producer Danger Mouse or Velvety wannabes Parquet courts but put them together and you get a very strong album, they seem to have emerged from the drone that battled them and written some extremely strong songs here… best title? “Freebird II,” best arrangement “Total Football” – ALBUM OF THE WEEK – A-

Ray LaMontagne – Part Of The Light – Tomas Doncker considers  Ray is a true original who reaches deep inside himself, I think he is a bore who occasionally writes a good song – C

Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks – Sparkle Hard – I guess “Refute” is alright… no wait, no I don’t. I can’t stand his voice and I don’t like his songs – MUST TO AVOID – D

The Front Bottoms – Ann EP – Brian has lost a ton of weight – C

Various Artists – 13 Reasons Why (Season 2) – The new songs, Selena, Bllie Ellish, OneRepublic and Logic, ain’t terrible, ain’t great either. The goth-y stuff from the suicide story, OMD, New order, Echo And The Bunnymen, probably make sense in context – B-

Various Artists – Deadpool 2 (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) – Odds and sods, the Skrillex is pretty good, the rest is a mix of 70s MOR and electronica – C+

Various Artists – The Royal Wedding – The Official Album – off with thir heads – D+

Various Artists – Outlaws & Armadillos: Country’s Roaring ’70s – An ace compilation according to Steve Crawford (his review here), I’m no SC but I like it fine – B+

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