Be Here Now: New Albums 10-12-18 – 10-18-18

Written by | October 16, 2018 7:57 am | No Comments


If Only There Was a River – Anna St. Louis – Gorgeous country folk singer, pleasantly mellow and moving. Try “Paradise” – B+

Singles – Barrie – Breathy vocals plus dream pop with a clutch of winners – B

Beside Myself – Basement – The illegitimate sound of 2018 rock is a quasi melodic Soundgardenish drone from the UK – C-

IMMIGRANT – Belly – The Palestinian-Canadian hip hop guy hits his stride with this protect and preserve of immigrants in the face of the USA’s reboot of “bring us your tired, etc…” . Some major featured artists, none better than The Weeknd on “What You Want”  and the 30 minutes fly by – B

Songs of the Plains – Colter Wall – He sounds like Johnny Cash’s baritone with a lefty yodel and some pretty depressing Americana songs – C+

Loving The Alien (1983 – 1988) – David Bowie – The single worst period in Bowie’s career sounds better as a part of a bigger story, though the real problems become clear on the Glass Spider live album -an unmitigated disaster that is nearly exactly what I remembered. Consider it history and do your best to enjoy – B+

Peaced and Slightly Pulverized – David Nance Group – Omaha’s favorite son Matt Whipkey suggested these old school classic rockers,  and he has a point: they rock hard and intensely on an album that seems to have returned from the mid-70s to remind you just how great rock and roll can sound. “Poison” is a masterpiece – B+

Ella Mai – Ella Mai – Drags a little and there isn’t another “Boo’d Up” here but Ella has a lovely voice and a lot of personality, and while the sound is too samey, it’s a gorgeous sound, and when H.E.R. joins her, it is the best sound around  – ALBUM OF THE WEEK – B+

Look Now (Deluxe Edition) – Elvis Costello, The Imposters – Bloated symphonic pop by a man who has flown by past his prime right into bloated musical malpractice – MUST TO AVOID – D+

Happy Xmas – Eric Clapton – Beyond pathetic – D+

Anon. – Hands Like Houses – Rock as written in 2018, post-harcore bore with a melodic tone and a whine in their step – C-

idina: live – Idina Menzel – Singing on Broadway takes a special kinda belter, strong yet filled with character, acting with your singing voice. Menzel has it (she was tailor made for her role in the animated feature film “Frozen” tapping into a million pre-teen girl’s fantasies of emotional release from the strictures of society). But consider this… how much do you like “Let It Go”? Over and over Idina is thwarted by crappy material and sinks into the sludge of MOR, voice or no voice – D+

Always In Between (Deluxe) – Jess Glynne – Speaking of MOR, this is MOR EDM -pleasant, well sung, coupla hooks but nothing to make it stand out, which is a pity because Jess is a charming singer – C+

The Eclipse Sessions – John Hiatt – “Cry To Me” reminds you how great a songwriter John can be, and while there are a coupla dogs here mostly they are good natured Americana folk songs with a swing to em – B

J.S. Bach: Six Suites for Viola Solo – Johann Sebastian Bach, Kim Kashkashian – A master of the viola performing Bch – B+

Bottle It In – Kurt Vile – He song speaks like a good natured Lou Reed and plays guitar like a self-conscious Neil Young, one song is over nine minutes in length and two songs are over ten minutes, most of em is Vile in his good natured junkie mode and the only good song is “Rollin With The Flow” even if the married with children, Kurt, who once claimed he sold a song to an advertiser to buy diapers for his baby, is anything but rollin’- C+

Little Beast – Lucy Wainwright Roche – Drowning in sadness and acoustic rainy day bummer vibes, this is one sorry story but beautiful performed and executed with a maximum of pain – B-

Bunny – Matthew Dear – The first song, “Bunny’s Dream” is seven minutes of electronic dream pop, a check of goodwill the rest of the album fails to cash in – C+

Season of Peace: The Christmas Collection – Michael McDonald – He has terrific lungs but this mix and match from previous Christmas albums isn’t happening much – C

Things That We Drink To – Morgan Evans – Boring Aussie country guy – C

Head Over Heels (Original Broadway Cast Recording) – Original Broadway Cast of Head Over Heels _ I didn’t think much of the Broadway musical -too schizoid for my tastes, plus if you wanna make a queer friendly musical is the GoGos the way to go… surely the B-52s would be the first choice? Still, it is a pleasant soundtrack with a great “Mad About You” – B-

Parcels – Parcels – When they get a groove, they can ride it pretty well. When they don’t grasp the groove they are a tedious indie pop band – C+

The Death Of Rock – Peter Holsapple, Alex Chilton – Or when Peter met Alex on these recently unearthed demos of a pre-dB Pete and a post-Big Star Alex in the recording studio, though in tandem not together. Highlights include early takes on “Bad Reputation” and “We Were Happy” from the former and garage rock workout on Bo Diddley’s “Hey Mona” from the latter – B+

QUAVO HUNCHO – Quavo – More songs about money and pussy from the Migos star, all trip hop moodiness – B

Fully Loaded – Shy Glizzy – Kicking off with an ode to his son (“he’s a trust fund baby, he ain’t gotta hold a gun” ), the DC rapper looks back to the streets and forward to the goodlife with featured Young Thug, Lil Uzi Vert, NBA Youngboy, Tory Lanez, and Gunna – B

MassEducation – St. Vincent – Re Recorded with just piano – C+

Christmas Party – The Monkees – Same team that brought you Good Times, this is mostly Micky Dolenz, though two old Davy Jones get new instrumental and “Silver Bells” is especially Xmasy – B-

Duo – The Watson Twins – Jenny Lewis buddies perform sweet, lo impact indie folk – B

The Elements – TobyMac – The title track is the best CCM I’ve heard this year and the rest of it is as good as he gets, hip hop beats and songs that are little better than the average songs for faith – B-

The Atlas Underground – Tom Morello – “Where It’s At, When It’s At” features Gary Clark Jr. but if you are expecting dueling guitars you’re at the wrong place, this is all throbbing electronic pop. I’ve heard of not playing to your strengths but this is ridiculous – C

Cherry Bomb + Instrumentals – Tyler, The Creator – A good album plus useless instrumental takes – C+

“A” – Usher, Zaytoven – If you were hoping Usher’s identity crisis was over, it isn’t. Here Usher follows in the footsteps of every other ATL trap star – C+

The Whole Thing Is Just There – Young Jesus – Guitar based indie soundscapes of intense beauty and emotion – B+

Mirror Master – Young the Giant – Seven years after “Cough Syrup,” the band have grown up and married and this is an adult record that could be catchier – B-

Black Dog In My Path – Yowler – Her sophomore effort is all strum and synth coloration mood music for sad people – B-


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