Be Here Now: New Albums 10-26-18 – 11-1-18 Reviewed

Written by | October 29, 2018 4:43 am | No Comments

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The Pirate’s Gospel (Bonus Edition) – Alela Diane – Originally released in 2006, this adds 10 songs and feels all of a piece for the California singer songwriter who favors finger picked guitars and songs of loss – B

Sì (Deluxe) – Andrea Bocelli – The baroque, blind tenor on his first album of new material in 14 years is joined by Ed Sheeran, Dua Lipa, and Josh Groban, and his son, for this high low  classical  elevator music  – MUST TO AVOID – D

Life – Boy George, Culture Club – If you heard the boot of their 2015  Tribes, the one they never released, you’ll be disappointed to learn that this isn’t quite as good -mostly because the songs aren’t as good. But despite Boy George sticking his name before the band’s, and despite his voice no longer possessing the top half at all, Life ain’t bad. Boy George sounds terrific though different, and the material is the soulfulness we’d expect – B

Holy Roar – Chris Tomlin – Maybe the top CCM singer and songwriter anywhere, and truly quite diabolical on yet another overwrought collection of songs of praise – D+

Ain’t Nothin’ to It – EP – Cody Johnson – Old school country guy who went from prison guard to rodeo rider to country booming baritone, Cody hurts no one on this bland selection – B-

Here If You Listen – David Crosby – I am happy David didn’t succumb to hard drugs twenty years ago… but if he had we would have been saved from “Buddha On A Hill” on this art rock atrocity exhibition  – D+

You Won’t Get What You Want – Daughters – Obstreperous hard grind metal nightmare stuff with a sing sung leader and a lot of self-important artiness – C

Own It – Francesca Battistelli – CCM as Tapestry of life stuff, “The Break Up” song is actually quite good,  and Own it  jumps through hoops to remain fine to its pop not Gospel stuff – C+

Hush Kids – Hush Kids – Two Nashville songwriters have made an album of soft focussed, old fashioned pop songs – B

This Christmas Day – Jessie J – The Christmas album, where careers go to die. Nice voice, useless album and the jazzy eruptions don’t help – C

A Legendary Christmas – John Legend – Some original soul Christmas songs, the lead track ropes in Stevie Wonder. There is no doubt Legend has charisma, yup he is the most boring charismatic performer on earth – C

BALLADS 1 – Joji – Very strong retro-soul ballads from Japan, assume you’ll be hearing Joji on a great many rap records soon – B

Aviary – Julia Holter – Indie, arty, noise instrumental with vocals and a classicist bent, it goes on for 90 minutes and submerges into forgettable but getting there can be fun  – B –

boygenius – Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers, Lucy Dacus – Three of the biggest names in folk-indie guitar based singer songwriter join together, and when they harmonize it is lovely. Boring but lovely – B

Unapologetically (Deluxe Edition) – Kelsea Ballerini – The country singer adds four songs to her 2017, including a cover of “Landslide,” which has become Stevie Nicks “Hallelujah” -let’s hope Stevie never dies or we will never be rid of it – B

Pick A Color EP – Leikeli47 – “No Reload” is one of her finest songs ever, an entirely addictive hook and something to say. The other two songs are nearly as good – A-

3 (The Purple Album) – Lukas Graham – Good news, nothing is as irritatingly catchy as “7 Years” – C

Sincerely, Tokyo – MadeinTYO – I liked “Ned Flanders” -featuring A$AP Ferg, but not enough to rave about it, pleasant but a little shrugable. That is Made’s problem, one not fixed with featured artists like Gunna, 24HRS, Roy Wood$, Blood Orange and Tinashe, though despite its eclitism it remains true to his songs about fatherhood and joy…. “Chucky Cheese” is a goodie, another song about pop culture other people don’t deal with  – B

MIH-TY – MihTy, Jeremih, Ty Dolla $ign – Soulful but slight by the overexposed Ty and the overrated Jeremih – C+

I’m Sticking With You – Moe Tucker – The Velvet Underground drummer compilation feature Lou on “Pale Blue Eyes,” John Cale on “I’m Waiting For The Man” as well as a duet with Jonathan Richman and more. By stripping the sound down she absolves the songs from their premise so you can hear the song as song easier – B+

I Wasn’t Only Thinking About You… – Oh Pep! – “25” is the song of the week, a brilliant little piece of modern pop by the Melbourne duo, “Your Nail And Your Hammer” is lovely, and the rest of it doesn’t quite reach those highs – B

Christmas Is Here! – Pentatonix – No, Andrea is worse – D+

Love Letter – Regina Bonelli – The terrific blues singer much loved by those who know this stuff is equally adept at soul, there is a soulful edge to everything she sings here. “Don’t Put Your Hands On Me” was prescient last year and in step with #metoo today,  and by the second song, the horn rimmed “Nothing I Can’t Handle,” Motown meets Blue Note, we have left a classicist vision of blues to a woman’s triumph through music and inner fortitude. Hang around past the Stones cover and the title track is an outstanding barn burning blues special – A-

Honey – Robyn – “Beach 2K20” is a little too experimental, and “Because It’s In The Music” is a little too on the  module disco nose. That’s as close as you’ll find to a complaint. Eight years  after her last release, Honey finds the Swedish principle partner in the world of modern pop  with a sound that has been encompassing everyone from Halsey to Mo, reclaim her crown. A nearly flawless collection of beautiful, sad songs about love and its limitations. Her emulators and her imitators are so good it is easy to forget how far they have to go to match these insanely great songs – ALBUM OF THE WEEK – A

9 – Saves The Day – 20 years into their career Saves The Day release one of the best emo records you will ever hear for eight songs, and then one more which kinda makes you wonder. The eponymously named “Saves The Day” rings in your ear like the sweetest little punk pop ever written, and seven more are just as clearly works of miniature pop art, before  set closer “29,” 21 minutes of heartache about a break up that reads like a series of badly thought out texts – B

Unreality – SRSQ – When does dreampop become nightmarepop? When it is neither remembrance nor tribute, but an attempt to deal with the emotional fallout after the death of her 22 year old transgender girlfriend and guitarist of Them Are Us Too, Cash Askew, in the 2016 warehouse fire at an illegal club in Oakland. The songs are beautiful, haunting, with synths that hover and drums that are too deep, and songs that nag between the fore and background – B+

MASTERS OF THE SUN VOL. 1 – The Black Eyed Peas  – They will never have another “I Gotta Feeling” in them, for one thing they don’t have Fergie and Fergie is missed, but yes this is back to hip hop, and here are a handful of first rate bangers. Will I Am might be out of time but that is the only reason this shouldn’t be at least a moderate hit – B-

Sick Boy…Siren – The Chainsmokers – The ever expanding EP adds the fine Kelsea Ballerini voiced “This Feeling” – B+

The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society (2018 Deluxe) – The Kinks – 60 songs, live, mono and stereo mixes, and that’s it… but any excuse to add three versions of “Days” to my days, and songs as strong as “Picture Book” and “Starstruck” and… really, right, the title track…. It could be on anyone’s greatest albums ever and I would have to concede the point – A+

YOUNG&DANGEROUS – The Struts – Mid-70s style rockers, you know, pre-punk glammed out hard rockers – B-

Suspiria (Music for the Luca Guadagnino Film) – Thom Yorke – “Unmade” is a great song and “Susperia” ain’t bad, but the overwhelming balance of the album is soundtrack music – B-

Home Alone on Halloween – Titus Andronicus – “A Letter Home”  is Patrick’s best song since “Fatal Flaw” -it’s the best thing you ever saw – B+

LoVE me NOw – Tory Lanez – Not as good as Memories Don’t Die earlier this year, it is more than good enough. The Canadian rapper isn’t given to the perky poxy field of view, or soundcloud or emo or baby trap, it is simply very well crafted story songs with a lot of r&b in its DNA -“Talk To Me” with Rich Kid shoulda hit even harder – B+

Fudge Sandwich – Ty Segall – Ty is Kurt Vile if Kurt didn’t have such a crush on Neil Young, these are poppier and a touch tighter than alt rock tends to be, a folkier vibe – C+

 

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