The Early Bird: Top New Releases Reviewed 3-9-18 – 3-15-18
Two new releases that will surely make it into more than just my best of the year, the terrific soul singer serpentwithfeet (aka Josiah Wise), offers his first release since the 2016 debut EP blisters, his new single “bless yr heart” (Grade: A) is true love’s beckoning, a slow build of beauty and the reward is a soulful dictum of where sex and love intersect, the arrangement is remarkable and the hook strong. Scottish multi-racial, not grime at all, R&B band Young Father’s 2015 White Men Are Black Men Too was one of the best releases of 2015 and Cocoa Sugar is just as good, maybe, as it deeps deeper into genre,even better, definitely better than their Trainspotting songs, it is art agit-pop of the first order.
On to the singles, the new The Wonder Years, “Sister Cities” (Grade: B) rocks harder then they have recently but it remains a little ordinary, “Get The Fuck Off My Dick” (Grade: B) by Vince Staples is perhaps the least interesting song he has ever released, in the battle for greatest grime performer, I toggle between Stormzy and this guy, Wiley, he wins this one with a string sample on “Remember Me” (Grade: B+) as a smooth, fast flow of cockiness.
This is meant to be a great return for David Byrne, but 2012’s album (and tour) Love This Giant (with St. Vincent) is better than American Utopia, an album too self-aware for its own good, too many ideas (life from a Hen’s viewpoint on “Life’s A Miracle” is not very good) and “Everybody’s Coming To My House” (which wore off fast). A kitchen sink of featured artists and way too much of the always overrated Brian Eno doesn’t help. Grade: B-. Two major mixtapes, Lil Yachty’s Lil Boat 2 (Grade: B-) and Logic’s Bobby Tarantino II (Grade: C-) are both running in place and going nowhere…. but where’s Offset?? Oh, yeah, phew…
Two goodies to end with, of Montreal is always a toss up but when he is on, he is really on and this psychedelic indie rock soul bottom new one White Is Relic/Irrealis Mood is really good, I’d pinpoint a specific song but man those titles… oh, OK “Sophie Calle Private Game/Every Person Is A Pussy/Every Pussy Is A Star!” (Grade B+). Studio outtakes between Electric Ladyland and Band Of Gypsys, is Jimi Hendrix at his second best on Both Sides Of The Sky (Grade: B+)
American Utopia – Brian Eno – B-
Both Sides Of The Sky – Jimi Hendrix – B+
Lil Boat 2 – Lil Yachty – B-
Bobby Tarantino II – Logic – C-
White Is Relic/Irrealis Mood – Of Montreal G
bless yr heart – serpent with feet – A
Sister Cities – The Wonder Year
Get The Fuck Off My Dick – Vince Staples – B
Remember Me – Wiley – B+
Cocoa Sugar – Young Fathers – A