Be Here Now: New Albums Reviewed 8-24-18 – 8-30-18

Written by | August 29, 2018 7:25 am | No Comments

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Ancestors – Suspended in Reflections – Ambient metal – B

Rainier Fog – Alice In Chains – Same as it ever was – C-

Milky Way – Bas – aka Dipped in raw milk (which is New York slang akin to the word fly), according to HipHop DX, J. Cole protégée has a way with sounds even if his thoughts haven’t caught up with his rhymes. Still, kudos for the Kellyanne Conway reference – B

Reflective (Part 3) – Bassnectar – Remember when he was the greatest DJ you’d never heard of? 2014 with Noise Vs Beauty. Then the big commercial breakthrough didn’t, and so what because this album will turn your brain into sludge with uber heavy bass and zoom zoom zoom synths. It ain’t house, it is like mash of EDM styles all at once – B

Negro Swan – Blood Orange – This is less experimental and out there and mostly charged up on chill r&b. “Smoke” is his best song since “Champagne Coast” – ALBUM OF THE WEEK –  B+

Love Yourself 結 ‘Answer’ – BTS – A summation of the BTS Love Yourself trilogy by the K-Pop boy band r&b via hip hop band. Quite who needs nearly two hours of it, I have no idea – C+

Unstoppable – Candi Staton – The long term disco diva turned CCM turned country and now back to r&b singer returns. A little on the shruggable side, though her cover of “People Have The Power” is a must hear – C+

Media Mask – Daeodon – Ho hum post grunge, better the louder it gets but always too prog – C

Dream Songs – Devon Welsh – The former Majical Cloudz singer songwriter is solo and really dreadful on this annoying spate of indie melodic drone tracks of deep feel bores – C

The Gift Of Gab – E-40 – San Fran underground rapper can rhyme well and lives up to the album name on his 25th release, but these bangerz don’t bang often enough  – B-

Florida Georgia Line EP – Florida Georgia Line – Three dogs plus “Colorado,” which is worthy of lower tier George Strait – C+

Gilbert O’Sullivan – Gilbert O’Sullivan – Following his fine genre exercise from 2014 Latin Ala G, this is a strong collection of typically melodic pop rock circa 1970s plus his something rhymes speciality – B+

Marauder – Interpol – Are these guys still around? Why? Business as usual brooding indie rock that still looks at Ian Curtis and misses him – C-

First Time – EP – Liam Payne – Niall is Americana, Harry is classic rock, Zayn is EDM pop star, Louis hasn’t gotten it together, and Liam? Well, this EP finds Liam in charge of straight up dance, the title track throws in some salsa beats, and the rest isn’t as good but it is all finely tuned dance pop – B

With Animals – Mark Lanegan, Duke Garwood – The former Screaming Trees lead singer (the band was great when I saw em opening for Oasis way back when) is all Americana deep blue mood here, and by half way through the first song you are ready for something, anything, else – C

Lightsleeper – Neil & Liam Finn – The, apparently, self-effacing duo, are old school pop song writers, slow, weary, but tuneful, and with that mix of voices, father and son, it sound very special. Except, man, the songs… – B-

Aura – Ozuna – This is reggaeton? Sounds like Bacatah to these ears, and with a ton of featured artists from Cardi B to J Balvin, he has the famous friends to make this huge commercial move. Me? I’m waiting for the Bad Bunny album – C+

Dance on the Blacktop – Nothing – shoegazecore? A completely gorgeous sound, guitar biased, play it loud, harboring on the sound between dreams and nightmares. All of a piece that adds up to 43 minutes of beginning to end beauty – B+

Peter More – Beautiful Disrepair – Produced by Donald Fagen, the Texan Americana with a soulful voice is in control of this good collection – B

Parallel Universe – Plain White T’s – They always reminded me a little of Bright Eyes and all those mid-00s white boys, but this is a case where a band couldn’t replicate “Hey Delilah” because the skills were missing. The arrangements here are quite forceful and with any luck they can trot “Hey Delilah” out forever – C+

TRYIN’ – Radiant Children – Soul album with electronics and a great lead singer in Fabienne – B

Rinde Eckert – The Natural World – Not crazy about his voice, though that’s the main complaint on these quasi-classical musings – B

Misery – The Amity Affliction – Australian metalcore, we’ve heard it before – C+

Sick Boy…Save Yourself –  The Chainsmokers – This compiling of recent dance singles sounds good to me, though the real test is sales and none of em broke big… go figure – B

Go To School – The Lemon Twigs – Power pop brothers, scions of a journeyman father deep in the biz, sound more youthful than power poppers usually do, the arrangements and vocals are great (they sound like Mick Jagger on helium), the songs not so much – B

Thanks for Everything – Third Eye Blind – These are the guys who performed at Trump’s inauguration. Good, he deserves them ,as the semi-charmed irritants continue blazing their way into infamy on this bad buncha guitar classicism and grunge parting of the ways  –  -MUST TO AVOID –  D+

Performance – White Denim – This is about as good as rock is gonna get in 2018, a swift of foot, melodically good, nice and tense riff to lick, and sharp enough songs – B

4 Respect – YoungBoy Never Broke Again – One of our best rappers, Kevin Gates, joins Louisiana bad boy YYoungBoy Never Broke Again for four excellent songs of gangsta rap and soul singing,    this is a perfect size and a good addition to his catalog – B+

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