Be Here Now: New Album Releases 1-25-19- 1-31-19 Reviewed

Written by | January 30, 2019 4:52 am | No Comments

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Don’t Tread On We! – The 1865 – Punk rock fast, hard, post-antebellum, black guitar uprising, the 1865 features multimedia artists and rock performers in pursuit of a pre-Jim Crow world and a post-Barack Obama backlash.  Contextually, it is a rock opera  and the good news is that the songs  fit in every which way even as in a saturated marketplace they stand out as the rock and roll other  – ALBUM OF THE WEEK – B+

DNA – Backstreet Boys – There is no “I Want It That Way” but there are the pop confections r&b and ballads, there are the harmonies, and there is the self-evident DNA remains the same, “No Place” is one of their great moments  – B-

Better Oblivion Community Center – Better Oblivion Community Center, Phoebe Bridgers, Conor Oberst – I’ll tell you what I’ll do, you show me one song as good as a hidden in the past gem like  2007’s “Tourist Trap” and I’ll agree that the reason why this isn’t much is because of the change in tastes and not the degradation of Conor’s skills. Phoebe sounds sweet but for a woman with a reputation, she needs to prove she deserves to be here and just about scrapes by  – B

Everythings For Sale – Boogie black as fuck, mad as fuck, the comparison to Chance doesn’t stick, maybe early Drake is closer, moody r&b plus raps with stronger than average songs – B

amo – Bring Me The Horizon – BMTH delve into electronic rock and electronic wins – B-

DON’T TRY THIS – Chase Atlantic – Mood pop from Australia – C+

new breed – Dawn Richard – New Orleans R&B singer releases a variant on chill r&b with a distinct vision of Dawn’s world which also happens to be a bit depressing – B+

Big Dreez – Dreezy – Gone is her Chicago drill sound which is enforced and lowered by  mainstream hip hop pop mode on this fine ten songs, the best smart exercises  in earworms and melody  – B

Watch & Wait EP – Ella Vos – Ella is the sort of popster from LA who writes songs about being treated for Lymphoma, that’s a brave way to deal with mortality and while her songs could be catchier, they are well felt and well thought out – B

Almost Free – FIDLAR – LA’s finest widen the palate and while some might miss the punk craziness on a lot of tracks, the truth is “Scam Likely” and “Called You Twice” are equal but different to their best work – B

Don’t Worry – EP – Frank Turner – The poor man’s Billy Bragg (I bet he’s sick of that line) is on top of his job here with four smart, pretty folk songs and “Bar Staff” rings a solo Strummer vibe  – B+

Lost in Space – Gentleman’s Dub Club – In the UK they never got over reggae, it was at the heart of dubstep and trip hop. These guys are purveyors of same with an electronic bent but it is too samey – B-

A Good Friend Is Nice – Jack & Jack – Teen buddy popsters doing mainstream bounce – C

Inner Monologue Part 1 – Julia Michaels – The gifted songwriter has had a bumpy solo career post-“Issues” career though the interest in this EP is how “Issues” was a blueprint for Julia’s constant insecurity especially “Anxiety” featuring Queen of bad nerves Selena on the second verse. It is the EPs highlight but everything else is quite as good – B

As I Am – Julian Marley – Anybody left listening to reggae? Or any of the Marley clan? I thought not, so let this rock meets reggae sound take you on, It might not be great but “Chalice Load” has a fresh beats take with the dub in the back pocket and the roots of rock somewhere back and forth along with the horns – B

Music To Draw To: Io – Kid Koala – Ambient noise plus blues singer on some tracks from experimental DJ with chops except less so here – C+

King Calaway – King Calaway – International vocal Americana band, so they can bore you from anywhere – C

INTERNATIONALLY UNKNOWN – RAT BOY – Produced by Tim Armstrong, Rat Boy is an English ska punk and quite skillful – B-

Toast to our Differences (Deluxe) – Rudimental – They should have been an English experiment where dance met ska, they are a poor man’s Clean Bandit. With featured artists from Jess Glynne to Chronixx to Kevin Garrett it is certainly eclectic enough, but the sound is cookie cutter and these guys became also rans – C+

In Search of Mona Lisa – Santana – That nine minute open was deadly. The  rest is same ol same ol  lesson “Smooth” learnt but not replicated well enough – C

Nighttime Birds and Morning Stars – Sarah Louise – Mood music, pretty but pretty tedious – C+

Oliver Appropriate – Say Anything – Max Bemis last album as Say Anything is a rock opera (it says here) about a rock star discovering his confused sexuality over a two day period. Only as good as its songs though some of them, “Pink Snot” for one, is pretty good – B

Highway Hypnosis – Sneaks – In a world where we have heard everything at least twice, this is experimental lo fi hip hop where a rap, a hook, and a song title might be the same line, “Holy Cow A Girl Like Her”,” with a bass lick holding it all day long  – B+

CLEAR – Summer Walker – Old fashioned instruments and old fashioned, well crafted r&b songs – B

King Of The Dudes EP – Sunflower Bean – Last year’s Twentytwo In Blue was a bland attempt to post past their garage rock psychedelic sensibility towards mainstream success that pleased nobody, King Of The Dudes is a classic rock band set that veers into a certain soulfulness and works over four songs – B+

Future Ruins – Swervedriver – Fuzzed out Byrdzy guitars and other planetary wall of sounds and distant vocals – B-

Unfortunately, Terror Jr – Terror Jr – After three years, this debut album of fifteen free floating pop tracks with a thoughtful, sometimes upsetting, backboned young post-millennium new world order. Will it click? It already has – B

Why You so Crazy – The Dandy Warhols – An odd, genre bending little number from the band, country rockers, ambient, and Great American Songbook meets dreampop, and that’s just the first three songs – B

Please Remain Seated – Thunder – Heavy metal UK guys orchestrate their 50 year career – B-

I Have to Feed Larry’s Hawk – Tim Presley, White Fence – Ambient pop sounds based around piano – C+

Trevor Horn Reimagines The Eighties (feat. The Sarm Orchestra) – Trevor Horn – Trevor was everywhere in the 1980s, working with great (or at least potentially great) bands like Frankie Goes to Hollywood and ABC. Here he arranges 80s hits for a full on orchestra. It works from time to time, Seal singing “Ashes To Ashes,” Simple Minds on “Brothers In Arms,” all with All Saints, Tony Hadley, Rumer , and more. It takes time,  but it clicks eventually – B

Weezer (Teal Album) – Weezer-  Rivers covers album and of course it fucking sucks, what did you expect? Best song? The TLC one – MUST TO AVOID – D

XXXTENTACION Presents: Members Only, Vol. 4 – XXXTENTACION – Members Only is the South Florida collective, the late great XXX isn’t really on it, but the collective have a lot of ace material and some of these guys shoulda broken through by now, Kid Trunks, Kin$oul,  and especially Flyboy Tarantino, should arrive this year – B+

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