The Early Bird: New Albums Overview 8-25-17 – 8-31-17
The last week of summer or is it the first week of the fall? Either way with the release of a brand new Taylor Swift single and six albums that all seem major if you like that kinda thing, the early bird is half asleep. First Tay Tay, I reviewed “Look What You Made Me Do” at midnight (here), an A- problem that leaves you wishing she had never met Jack Antonoff. So, now we’ve bought two album bundles, a tee shirt, the CD, let’s avert our eyes and move on to…
White boys! Sam Beam aka Iron & Wine, returns to Sub Pop with Beast Epic, an album of folk-Americana lo fi tunes with more sincerity than I feel on my best day. The songs are sturdy and could have withstood the new normal big bang overproduction, but they breath here and the rewards are constant… try “Last Night” or how about “Call It Dreaming,” where he weeps and calls it singing. Grade: B+. I did say boys, right? Queens Of The Stoneage hooks up with Mark Ronson for a terrific hard rock album with beats aplenty, there is every reason for Villains to suck but it is a fine and will play out well on stage. Grade: B+. If Sam is stuck in the 90s, and Josh in the 80s, the singer songwriter Jack Phillips is a part of the 1970s: we haven’t heard from Jack since 2012, the man is nothing if not a perfectionist, on Down In The Jungle Room he gloms onto his Elton John jones, with Madman era guitarist Caleb Quale. Something of a prequel to his one of the best of the decade Cafe Nights In New York, it takes Phillips from Southern hard rock to the evenings at the Carlyle with Bobby Short. Phillips noted that it’s “the fictional account of leaving Mississippi for New York. The studio tracks express an anxious desire to get away while the live tracks reflect memories of the old south.” At 32 minutes in length, nothing is wasted at all (Grade: B+). The War On Drugs, after years of dicking around with Kurt Vile, hit the old school big time rock album; though A Deeper Understanding is intellectually ho hum, musically it is a biggie. Grade: B+.
Three good rap albums lead us out of the season, baby trap cum overt Satanist Lil Uzi Vert’s fourth album Luv Is Rage 2, give or take, has an in your face “444 + 222” plus a great drug song featuring The Weeknd. Apparently Atlantic Records enforced a deadline, and Vert has kept to it, it still sounds like T-Pain for babies and “The Way Life Goes” is the most T song since “5AM”. Grade: B. Action Bronson has lost his weirdness over the years, he doesn’t spend time finding himself on stage like he was Miles Davis or something, but he is still a great rapper with a voice stoned out and on point. that single with Rick Ross is the best moment. Is this the first use of a cough as a flawless segue? Grade: B. I haven’t bought into the A$AP Mob rush of albums, consider me a former fan, but surprisingly Cozy Tapes Vol 2: Too Cozy. The difference is that Rocky leads ten of the 17 tracks. I LOVE “Please Shut Up”. Grade: B+