Be Here Now: New Albums 10-19-18 – 10-25-18 Reviewed

Written by | October 24, 2018 10:07 am | No Comments


Let There Be Cellos – 2CELLOS – You know what Pentatonix do for a capella? These guys do it for cellos. Yes, and they are so adventurous they cover Ed Sheeran’s “Perfect” – C

Spaceman – Ace Frehley – Heavy metal the way god planned, meaning not very good but very energetic as befits a former KISSer – C+

Rally Cry – Arkells – A fine, old fashioned rock and roll album but no more, “Saturday Night” is very good- B-

Lost EP – Brent Faiyaz – Ambient r&b is about close as I can get – B-

Last Building Burning – Cloud Nothings – It’s been six years since the great Attack Of Memory, and they just keep on growing louder and louder. This is fast loud rules and while Dylan has lost some of his gift for melody he has replaced it, at least, with a wall of hard rock guitars and drums – B

Don’t Forget About Me, Demos EP – Dominic Fike – next big thing, young guy with a taste for guitars and the occasional hook signed to Columbia for $4M, and we will need to wait for the debut album before we find out if he was worth it – B-

Evolution (deluxe) – Disturbed – Twenty years on, these professional rockers can get a touch too proggy, but if heavy metal is your thing, heavy metal is this Chicago bands thing… except for a straight up no chaser “The Sound Of Silence” for some obscure reason – C

Dua Lipa (Complete Edition) – Hang around for the new song performed with K-Pop’s BLACKPINK, “Kiss And Make Up,” and Dua also includes one of the best songs of the year, the Calvin Harris jam “One Kiss” – C+

Shake The Spirit – Elle King – This isn’t the shock that 2015’s Love Stuff was, it is a little tighter and it misses an “Ex’s & Oh’s”. A ballad like “Runaway” would never fit three years ago. but at its best, the stomping opening “Talk Of The Town,” it makes a commanding case as a rock and blues triumph in a world where there aren’t too many, “The It Girl” is a pretty song about promiscuity…  – B+

12 Little Spells – Esperanza Spalding – Over and above her name, which sounds like it climbed out of a Monty Python sketch, the jazz instrumentalist, Mingus fan, felt too tasteful for her own good. Emily’s D+Evolution took too much work for me, 12 Little Spells is poppier and lighter on its feet, and “Thang” is the best song of the week – B+

Us – Empress Of – Alt popper, sweet but boring – C+

Future & Juice WRLD Present… WRLD ON DRUGS – Future, Juice WRLD – The “I just took a piss and I saw codeine coming out” rapper, Future, always seems to be between passing out and acting up and here he is joined by future emo rapper Juice WRLD to detain the sorta album where “I’m a junkie” is neither brag nor warning but fact.Old traps meets new emo on these tales of self-abuse and other abuse, nobody having learnt to never get high on your own supply, these two generation of rappers are clear eyed and scary, and so deep into addiction they aren’t close to promoting drugs. Plus there isn’t a dud on the album and “7Am Freestyle” is one of the best songs of the year: this is where recreational becomes self-medication drug use – ALBUM OF THE WEEK – A-

Anthem Of The Peaceful Army – Greta Van Fleet – Sure, they’re a pale imitation of Zep but better a pale imitation than no imitation and Josh Kiszka is a seriously awesome lead singer. The material is lame, but the sound can thrill here and there – C+

Music Volume 3: Herb Alpert Reimagines The Tijuana Brass – Herb Alpert – The great trumpeter adds zero to his 1960s classics on these re-recordings – C+

The Anteroom – How To Dress Well – Impressionistic art rock, well not rock but… Considering everything, it holds your interest without going up its own esoterica – B-

Karaoke for One: Vol. 1 – Insecure Men – The guys from Fat White Family send sing songs you’d hear at your local pub as depressingly as humanly possible, you think “Rainy Days And Mondays” get him down, wait till you reach the bossa nova “Madame George”- C+

Say It Live And Loud: Live In Dallas 08.26.68 (Expanded Edition) – James Brown – Pretty darn great James Brown concert no doubt, though I preferred him a little earlier and a little later, earlier he was more of a soul man, later he was funkier. This moves between the two with an emphasis on the latter, the “Try Me” medley is powerful  – B+

Live from the Ryman – Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit – Isbell part three, gone is “Decoration Day” and “Outfit,” arrived is “24 Frames” and “If We Were Vampires” -arrived loses but not buy much – B

Being Human In Public – Jessie Reyez – Most of this we know but the one we sure don’t know, “Saint Nobody” makes it worth your while – B+

TEST DRIVE EP– Joji — sweet sounding neo soul guy, the title track should hit some chart or another – B

Suncity EP – Khalid – The class of 2017 soul singer actually samples “Bittersweet Symphony” so you gotta think! The kid is very popular, very in the moment soul guy with a pleasant voice and unassuming attitude. Khalid already has one smash down this year (“Eastside” with benny blanco and Halsey), but the title track (with Empress Of) should follow it up the charts – B-

Meltdown (Live in Me – The class of 2017xico, 2017) – King Crimson – From a five night stand at the end of last year’s tour, the state of the art sound of 2018 means the art prog 1970s stars have seldom sounded better. Whether that means another shot of “Lark’s Toungues In Aspic” is worth your while you’ll have to answer for yourself – B-

Kings of Spade – Kings Of Spade – Very impressive hard rock Zep wannabes from Honolulu with a gay lead singer, KC,  who out falsettos Josh Kishka and a sound that seems to breath hard rock without exhuming hard rock – B+

My Mother Doesn’t Know I’m On The Stage – Linda Thompson – The terrific Fairport Convention singer Linda Thompson has been recording more lately, which would appear to be once every five years or so. This is a look back at the golden age of English Dance Hall (we call it vaudeville here). Some of it you may know (the “Beautiful Dreamer” featuring one Martha Wainwright), “Brother, Can You Spare A Dime”,” a rousing set closing “Show Me The way To Go Home,” some of it draws a blank with me. The album was mostly recorded in May of 2005 at the Lyric Hammersmith in London, with a team of first rate performers looking back at a golden age of UK pop – B+

Northsbest – Lil Mosey – We have a name for this where I come from: Baby Trap -a lightness on its feet that suggests youthfulness and whimsy, try the terrific “Burberry Headband” – B

Nuthin’ 2 Prove – Lil Yachty – Emo meets trap, switching sides, it’s catchy but slight – C+

Major Lazer Essentials – Major Lazer – All the hits, and there are a lot and some (remember “Cold Water”) are aces – B

BYLAW EP – Martin Garrix – EDM producer opens with a terrific banger, “Breach (Walk Alone)” and then fizzles out – C+

Fair Enough EP – Minus the Bear – The indie rockers are hanging it up after seventeen years, none of which were particularly thrilling, and this little plodder is typical. Alright without being memorable – B-

Forever Neverland – MØ – That Empress Of gets around, this is her second feature of the week, as well as her sophomore album. She is best with MØ, and MØ is best with Major Lazer (who have a best of out this week). This is exactly what you expect from well crafted alt pop, hooks a plenty and enough stuff to keep your attention once, maybe twice, and more than that when she releases a track as a single  – B

Broken Politics – Neneh Cherry – Man, I loved her back in the day and this song is so disturbed and upset, here she looks austerely at the world at large and crafts a fine piece of agitprop – B

What Did You Think When You Made Me This Way? – Nothing But Thieves – Uk proggers with an indie bent, “Forever & Ever More” is way out there and the other three ain’t bad – B

Birthplace – Novo Amor – A close relation to early Bon Iver, Novo Amor is a beautiful electronic dreamscape from Welsh man Ali Lacey , a little samey but all the same t it is a rare collusion between folk and the entire, never really duplicated, For Emma, Whenever Ago – B

What Happens When I Try to Relax EP – Open Mike Eagle – He sounds a little like Danny Brown on “Relatable (peak OME),” and “Maybe Gang (an initiation)” is as smart and funny a diss as you’ll hear this week – B

Darker Days – Peter Bjorn and John – It has been over ten years since they broke through with “Young Folks,” and they haven’t managed it again although this is a small gem full of melody and hooks  – B-

mō’zā-ik. – Phony Ppl – Brooklyn funk-jazz band outta Brooklyn, hang about for the devastating last track “on everythinG iii love” – B

R.E.M. At The BBC (Live) – R.E.M. – For the casual and for the serious fan, this is mid period to end R.E.M. in the UK, including a full John Peel, the 104 song box set is heavy going but worth the haul – B+

Piano Odyssey – Rick Wakeman, Guy Protheroe, The Orion Strings – The Yes pianist sounds the same as ever covering mainstream pop songs by the likes of Paul Simon, David Bowie, the Beatles and more, all on piano – C

mono. – RM – Low impact confessional  from the K-Pop boy band BTS member on his second mixtape, in English no less – B

See You In The Future – Robert DeLong – The electronic alt popster is more than strong enough to carry a four EP memo from the studio – B-

Interstate Gospel…Sugar Daddy – Pistol Annies – five years since the country supergroups’  last album, this EO collects the terrific two singles and three other songs – B+

Last Day Of Summer – Summer Walker  – On the Atlanta indie label LVRN , that brought us 6lack and DRAM, ergo alt r&b, this is a soulful set of songs by the former model  – B-

Bohemian Rhapsody (The Original Soundtrack) – Queen – I can’t wait for the movie and we all have to so here is a Greatest Hits plus live tracks – B+

The Restless EP – The Lone Bellow – Brooklyn’s finest folk trio are strong on these seven tracks, especially the three  acoustic ones – B

Mid90s (Original Music from the Motion Picture) – Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross – Typical of their soundtracks, all backing synth sounds and piano motifs… nothing to do with skateboarding – C+

Songs of Love and Horror – Will Oldham – You may remember him as Bonnie “Prince” Billy, this is quiet, somewhat boring, folk – C+

WARZONE – Yoko Ono – Yoko performs the song she co-wrote “Imagine” on the highlight of this arty political  album, look out for the aforementioned as well as “Where Do We Go From Here” and “Woman’s Power”. Less out there than Yoko can be, this is about as mainstream as we could ever hope from her – B+


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