Be Here Now: New Albums Reviewed 9-15-17 – 9-21-17

Written by | September 18, 2017 6:03 am | No Comments


Angus & Julia Stone – Snow – Perfect pop-folk siblings release an album of cracker tunes, still maybe a touch too somber on a glorious summer day when you have a headache and have to lay in the dark – B

Ariel Pink – Dedicated To Bobby Jameson – Bobby Jameson is the singer-songwriter hyped and failed by his manager, Ariel Pink is the lo fi arty songwriter who can bore you tears, this is more of the same on steroids – C

Big & Rich – Did It for the Party – “California” is a great song, she’s gone there, the rest of it is the same ol’ old school country. “Rock Star” is pretty ignorant  – C+

Black Kids – Rookie – After disappearing after their one hit, they are back with their chewy bubblegum teenage kicks alive – B

Brain – I’m Brain – Bizarre re-birth of Lil Dicky rap alter-ego, much better then that makes it sound and, yes, you are reading this right, The Game joins him on the last song – B

Cody Carnes – The Darker The Night / The Brighter The Morning – CCM but really really good CCM, modern production values on end of times Christian. This is like the third good Christian Contemporary I’ve heard this year – B-

Deer Tick – Deer Tick Vol 1 – Acoustic, John J. McCauley has the most annoying nasal whine – C

Deer Tick – Deer Tick Vol 2 – Electric, talk about overplaying your hand – C+

Ducktails – Jersey Devil – The “Barbra Streisand” EDM DJ goes deep pop – C

Emily Haines & The Soft Skeleton – Choir of the Mind – Metrics go dreamscape – C+

Foo Fighters – Concrete and Gold – If you must listen to these guys, make it the eponymous debut, the one with “This Is A Call” and “Big Me”. If you must listen to more Foo Fighters, make the other one this genre bending hard rock epic. I hate Grohl and even I have to tip my hat – B

Galantis – The Aviary – EDM superstars, a little old fashioned but “Girls On Boys” is a goodie – B-

Gary Numan – Savage (Songs from a Broken World) – Electronic Goth, like Depeche Mode his songs aren’t good enough – C-

Hank Williams, Jr. – All My Rowdy Friends Are Coming Over: Great Tailgating Songs – Why can’t liberals give in so readily to the simple mindless joys of HWJ: music to get drunk to before, during and after the game. Just not the next day – B

JD & The Straight Shot – Good Luck and Good Night – Sometimes I think I am being unfair to him because of what he did to the Knicks. And then I listen to him, I’ve heard better blues band at Irish bars for unreformed drunks than this one  -MUST TO AVOID – D

KAMAU – TheKAMAU-CASSETTE: ŭRTH GōLD – It says reggae hip hop here, but eh? I guess but it sounds a lot like arena rock gone small. Try “Murin” to start – B

Madonna – Rebel Heart Tour (Live) – Another live momento, recorded live(ish) in Sydney, but better than most because she was so great on that tour. The “True Blue”  is a true blueprint, the “Like A Virgin” her best live version ever, everything from the last album is terrific, and only some of the disco stuff, you know like “Candy Shop” is a fail – ALBUM OF THE WEEK – B+

Michael McDonald – Wide Open – Suburban, blue eyed, soul by a top practitioner on his first album in twenty years. The material is a little weak but the performances are excellent – B

Musiq Soulchild – Feel The Real – I never ever said he doesn’t have soul, I said Soulchild didn’t have the chops to write songs that were more than curiosities. Curious off the beat r&b – B-

Myrkur – Mareridt (Deluxe Version)- Black metal from Denmark by a model ready singer with more electronica than guitars and a whole lotta sink to her sound – C+

Nothing More – The Stories We Tell Ourselves – Business as usual heavy metal circa right now – C

Prophets Of Rage – Prophets Of Rage – Chuck D takes what’s worth taking on this agitprop downer. See em live – C+

Quinn XCII – The Story of Us – Pleasant enough indie soul and rap and, well, indie – C+

Rayana Jay – Morning After – Some of the chilliness you expect from neo-soul with some of the soulfulness you expect from the 80s. Speaking of chill, “Chill” is a goodie – B

Ringo Starr – Give More Love – Another weak album from the Beatles former drummer, upped a notch because he used to play drums with the Beatles – C+

Rostam – Half-Light – Rostam Batmanglij needs Ezra Koenig as much as Ezra needs Rostam, this is a terrific sounding nothing, Rostam has a terrific ear for sound but with exceptions the songs fall flat and fail to signify the way they should. An exception: “Bike Dream” – B

Seaway – Vacation – Pop punk and the third album is the one they get it all together, on “Neurotic” they stake their claim to Superchunk territory – B+

Seth MacFarlane – In Full Swing – Since MacFarlane makes vanity project movies, who is surprised by his second vanity project Great American Songbook album? – D+

Sparks – Hippopotamus – Along with 10cc and Randy Newman and a coupla others, Sparks IS smartass rock from the 70s. Eight years after Sparks last album, the Mael Brothers are back with more smartass rock and if you are in the market for songs called “So Tell Me Mrs. Lincoln Aside From That How Was The Play,” here it is. I like it about as much as I ever did – B-

The Cool Kids – Special Edition Grandmaster Deluxe – Six years after their debut rappers Sir Michael Rocks and Chuck Inglish are joined by the likes of Travis Barker and Syd, for this average old school (as in 00s) rap album – C+

The Singles – The Doors – Always better as a singles band than seers in the year of the snake, this should answer anybody’s problems with Jim – A

The Lil Smokies – Changing Shades – Progressive bluegrass with fiddles aplenty at its best, and a mainstream Americana plus beards – C+

The Lone Bellow – Walk into a Storm – Americana via Brooklyn, pretty drastic stuff – C

The Waterboys – Out of All This Blue (Deluxe) – UK style old school rock, still going, still sucking – C-

The Willowz – Fifth – Ho hum garage rock – C

Wyclef Jean – Carnival III: The Fall and Rise of a Refugee – None of the Fugees survived the break up, though Lauryn Hill came closest, Wyclef reeks of insincerity (the last thing on earth he needs) and his songs aren’t nearly good enough. This is more of the same from the pontificating twerp who raised all that money from Haiti relief and then couldn’t find it – C

Yusuf / Cat Stevens – The Laughing Apple – You can’t go back in time, but you can try – B+

Zach Williams – Chain Breaker (Deluxe Edition) – Christian Americana – C




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