The Early Bird: Top New Releases Reviewed 2-16-18 – 2-22-18

Written by | February 16, 2018 9:10 am | No Comments


It is so easy to underestimate Brett Dennen, not unlike a Freedy Johnston, the singer songwriter is always around and always writing fine guitar based pop songs, and not unlike Ed Sheeran, he oozes melody and sweetness… it makes you think that with a good producer he could break all the way through. Until then, his new EP Let’s… is just a complete joy, the week will have to perform somersaults to provide us with a better song than “Already Gone”. Grade: A.

On to the new singles, with just a touch of electronics Frank Ocean gives complete justice to Henry Mancini’s “Moon River,” Grade: A. Ryan Adam’s “Baby I Love You” is a Byrdsy disaster Grade: C. “Last Man Standing” is a blues country rocker by the immortal Willie Nelson (who will probably end up being precisely that) with songwriter-producer Buddy Cannon joining him, and they do a great job on this one. Grade: B+. Overrated indie star Courtney Barnett has a good one on “Nameless, Faceless” before hurting it with a typical off kilter chorus. Grade: C+ Muse’s “ThoughtCcontagion” is very art rock, hard rock, as written. Grade: B-

Twenty year old Kodak Black has the album of the week with an excellent mixtape released from jail Hear Break Kodak, which includes the best cover art ever (Black as a cherub!) “Codeine Dreaming” may well be the second best song of the week (it features Weezy). About that prison time: “The charges range from: grand theft of a firearm, child neglect without great bodily harm, possession of marijuana, two counts of possession of a weapon by a felon, and two additional counts of probation violation charges.” Grade: A-. B.o.B. has a taken the  singles he released last November on Instagram and compiled them as the not terrible hip hop with The Upside Down, Grade: B-

What else: country minor league super girl group I’m With Her are more folk on the boring See you Around (Grade: C+), U.S. Girls was highly anticipated by me, but while In A Poem Unlimited is mighty fine, it is also a touch too weird… I reserve the right to change my mind but the Grade is a B. I reserve the right to change my mind about the Laurie Anderson and Kronos Quartet collaboration Landfall, till then Laurie’s spoken word is always a problem for me. Grade: C. Car Seat Headrest have re-recorded their 2011 album Twin Fantasy and it sounds very good, Grade: B. Remember, the title of Superchunk’s excellent new pop punk album What A Time To Be Alive, is not meant to read “great time” as the band takes on Reagan Youth and the age of Trump, never has political horror sounded better. Grade: B+


Brett Dennen – Let’s… – A

Car Seat Headrest – Twin Fantasy – B

Courtney Barnett – Nameless, Faceless – C+

Frank Ocean – Moon River – A

I’m With her – See You Around – C+

Kodak Black – Heart Break Kodak – A-

Laurie Anderson and Kronos Quartet – Lndfall – C

Muse – Thought Contagion – B-

Ryan Adams – Baby I Love You – C

U.S. Girls – In A Poem Unlimited

Willie Nelson And Buddy cannon – Last Man Standing – B+




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