Be Here Now: New Releases 10-9-20 – 10-15-20 Reviewed

Written by | October 15, 2020 9:04 am | No Comments


Songs From My Heart – Amanda Holden – There is an entire subsection of singers in the UK who are just like the TV star, and they are all in the business of making high culture for the lower middle class. Holden doesn’t have the voice for it and this is so tasteful it is just another vehicle for MOR. An exception? Her take on Billy Joel’s song for his daughter “Lullabye (Goodnight My Angel)” is at least a rarity – C

The View from Halfway Down – Andy Bell – shoegaze remains a great genre as it evolves around tunes and wallpaper, and Ride, who returned in 2014 after an eighteen year break in and released their first new album after two decades in 2017, and the second last year, both of which performed OK, are not back but their lead singer is with a beauty -consider it shoegaze goes indie pop – B+

Sad Hunk – Bahamas – The Canadian Singer-Songwriter is back after blowing us away with “Opening Act” in 2018, and this album, while not peaking as high, is better song from song from than Earthtones. The 39 year old misplaces his cool (on “Not Cool Anymore” for one) as the 40s beckon, and he confesses it all and the songs are so good you remain with him through the gorgeous collection. Perhaps not a leap forward but certainly a leap into his next decade – A-

Paranoia Pop – Bandalos Chinos – Latin American rockers are more disco than anything else with an ear for a bass hook and an analog sensibility – B

good luck have fun – bbno$ – laid back raps with tongue in cheek, though I expected more from a guy who saves anything he is featured on – B

FatBoy – BlocBoy JB – the Memphis rapper has the usual stories of prison and not prison with features by also rans G Herbo, Trippie Redd, Yo Gotti and the admittedly ace NLE Choppa in something we’ve heard before – C+

The Symbol Remains – Blue Öyster Cult – nineteen years since their last album of new songs, the metal oldtimers have filled the years with a coupla tons of live albums, all of which are quite as tedious as this one – MUST TO AVOID – C

Skeletons – Brothers Osborne – The country duo on their third album offer up country rock, southern boogie and hard country ballads tenored and tendered – B

Chicago Waves – Carlos Niño, Miguel Atwood-Ferguson -new age electronic instrumentals – C

Pity Party – Curtis Waters – The  Nepali-Canadian rap singer excels at a harder than bedroom  modern pop – B

Nobody Lives Here Anymore – Cut Worms –  with that name I coulda sworn he was a DJ, but no he is a Brooklyn guy who knows from Americana, and went to Memphis and recorded at Sam Phillips Studio on a collection of late 50s country stylings with good but not great results – B

Fish Pond Fish – Darlingside – immensely boring Americana – C

The Blue Print – Us Vs. Them – D-Block Europe – US inspired rappers from the UK go on and on and on, and sometimes it’s worth your while – C+

Harry – Dead Famous People – jingly jangly indie pop from New Zealand, pleasant of not unsuspected – B-

Free Now – Drew Citron – very sweet indie folk from the Beverly leader, the guitars ring, the songs are tuneful, and Drew has a strong yet fragile voice – B

Diana – Famous Dex – the album is named for his late mother, the second one this week (Headie One has the other) and with a who’s who of features topping  off with Fivio Foreign, this is autotuned crossover between rap and hip hop is catchy for sure but the definition of e[hemeral – B-

As Long As You Are – Future Islands – are they a synth back or dreamscape or… well, yes, on these deep feel songs – B+

Nightcap at Wits’ End – Garcia Peoples – who Garcia? A jam band, not bad and very pastoral – B

Handel Choruses – George Frideric Handel, The Sixteen, Harry Christophers – The Sixteen are the great choral, Handel is Handel… hallelujah – A-

EDNA – Headie One – UK grime never broke as well in the US as it deserved and that’s despite both Kanye West and Drake being advocates and the best new rapper of Pop Smoke adding it to drill. Headie One on his debut is a major move away from pure grime to a drill exponation. Headie One was released from prison in April and Edna (named for his late mother) is his first album (though there have been tons of mixtape). An excellent album of hard as nails drill, violent and strange and straight off the council estates in Tottenham, there are features by local hero Aitch, as well as Future and Drake – A-

Mis Exitos Mas Populares (Remastered) – Héctor Lavoe – on the excellent New York Times interview, Bad Bunny name checked Lavoe (here) as a huge influence on his Latino Pop breakthrough, Lavoe is a pop making machine who sings from his urban roots, this is perfect salsa with drums galore – B+

Royal Welcome Songs for King Charles II Volume III – Henry Purcell, The Sixteen, Harry Christophers – For those who didn’t go to English Public School, Charles II was nicknamed the merry, after the civil war and then the removal of Oliver Cromwell, he took the crown and steadied the monarchy, while sleeping with half the women in Britain. The Sixteen were formed in 1979 and if you are a fan of choral music, and of the great Henry Purcell, you will flip over these songs from CII’s coronation – A-

Before – James Blake – a surprise drop of what he calls his dance EP but you show me where he drops the bass? I am not complaining, mind, all four songs are good and while a remix might make it movable, it sounds gorgeous – B+

GIMME SOME TRUTH. (Deluxe) – John Lennon – the best thing about this 36 song dip into the catalog is Lennon’s vocals lifted up through the mix – A

lil kiiwi – Kiiara – a collection of modern love songs that have their moments, but the sound is too ethereal as she attempts to move from a sad girl vibe to a pop monster – C+

A Demon In 6lue – Lil Loaded – Blue as in the Crips posse, so pick your side and wait for the obituary on this disappointing debut – C

Hybrid Theory (20th Anniversary Edition) – Linkin Park – with Chester Bennington dead, Mike Shinoda has gone solo to great affect. Meanwhile, the template for modern rock and roll -heaping on the hip hop arrangements, may what they gave birth to die a painful death. Though, if you were a certain age, they sure broke open a different type of rock metal. I didn’t like it then and I feel nothing for the re-imaginaries – C+

I’d Rather Lead a Band – Loudon Wainwright III – the list of stars who suck at the American songbook is endless, Paul McCartney and Seth MacFarlane to name but two, and, for Seth at least, his sincerity destroyed his album, not the singing, just the unearned earnestness. Loudon doesn’t do sincerity -he always sounds as though he is snickering whatever he is singing the mother fucking asshole, and it makes this entire album much better than it has any right to be… a well sung, self-aware album reaching its zenith, no not with “You Rascal You” but, ta dah, “How I Love You (I’m Tellin’ the Birds, Tellin’ the Bees)” – B

A View of U – Machinedrum electronica tied to the title instrument… a  little goes a long, long way – C

Truth Comes Down – Marla Mase – two songs from 2016’s Miracles – Lost And Found, including a remix on “Truth Comes Down” featuring the brilliant rapper Half Pint, then she adds a song from each of her previous albums, including her ode to paranoia “Drown In Blue” (listen to it right after Tomas Doncker’s cover on last week’s Wherever You Go). Part a different way to project the title track, part catch up fast, part closing of a chapter of her life (she is currently working on a highly anticipated new album), it still has more thought behind it than any other artist out there – A-

Chosen Vessel – Marvin Sapp – it goes without saying that if you want CCM go towards Gospel and r&b crossover, like Pastor Marvin. His voice is string and the choir get a handle all through it, though his songs are on the weak side – C+

Silver Ladders – Mary Lattimore harpist to the stars with a stupefying instrumental album – C

Atlas Vending – Metz – Metz were my band for a coupla years, the Steve Albini produced debut was great fun, and this, their fourth  album is just as good while the sound is a little more accessible – B

All The Right Reasons (15th Anniversary Expanded Edition) – Nickelback – If all Red Hot Chili Peppers had ever done was “Give It Away” and “By The Way” they would have at least done that. As for Nickelback, hip hop is so in command that they sound better than they did, say fifteen years ago when their biggest album, All The Right Reasons dropped, the expanded edition adds a live album and if you won’t enjoy it, maybe it is worth another listen because I didn’t hate it – B-

State of the Heart – Patrick Droney – r&b singer songwriter with a taste for 808s and modern electronica – C+

It’s About Time – Patty Smyth – the Scandal heartthrob New Wave woman goes Americana classic rock style, her voice remains strong – C+

New Beginnings – REASON – you may remember the Top Dawg new sign from his song on the Black Panther soundtrack, and like so much of Top Dawg he is clearly literate and smart. At the age of 30, it is maybe a little late for a debut though he pulls it off anyway – B

Moveys – Slow Pulp – psyche meets ambient on a collection of quiet and sturdy folk variants – B

West – Spencer Crandall his third EP is a fast eleven minutes of Americana by a nicely voiced country crossover, he even pulls off a credible cover of “You Always Hurt The Ones You Love” –  B

The Seeds Of Love (Super Deluxe) – Tears For Fears – I never went further than “Everybody Wants To Save The World” with the synth pop duo, so apparently I missed their Simple Mind phase, which based on this super deluxe is better than I thought they were capable of – B-

Dinner Party: Dessert – Terrace Martin, Robert Glasper, 9th Wonder – The modern sound of smooth jazz by a supergroup more interested in soul on this remix EP. If you reach “Luv U” you’ll find Snoop! – B+

Long in the Tooth – The Budos Band – instrumental, horns driven pals of the Dap Kings perform r&b – B-

Morrison Hotel (50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition) – The Doors – one of the most over/underrated bands of all time but whatever you think of them there is no complaining over their out and out greatest Morrison Hotel, a pop blues hugeness with a clutch of their greatest moments of all, and here they add studio outtakes and a towering cover of “Money (That’s What I Want)” as pure electric blues – A

Pleased To Meet Me (Deluxe Edition) – The Replacements – I was never the fan of The Replacements I might have been (I disliked them on stage, which hurt my opinion) but their second best album was a must hear pop rocker which missed Bob Stinson but made up for it with a terrific collection of songs and Pleased To Meet Me (Deluxe Edition) adds more of the same with demos and rough mixes, no live tracks but a wild cover of “I Can Help” where they manage the groove with enormous credibility  – A

The Rise of Heresy – The Troops of Doom – “New Brazilian Metal band led by the original SEPULTURA guitar player JAIRO “TORMENTOR” GUEDZ” aka death metal and my ears are still ringing from the onslaught of the Brazilian screamos, 22 minutes of earbleed white noise and power riffs – B+

Lament – Touché Amoré – if nothing else, Jeremy Bohm is literate in a way metalcore isn’t, and subject matter (his last album of new material,  Phase Four, was about his mother’s death from cancer)  for an album that feels like a mix of genres under one banner. Go straight to “Feign” then “reminders” then “Limelight” (With Manchester Orchestra) -then start at the top on this best in class metal power barrier reef , “long night, no kissing” he claims on one song. Exactly – ALUM OF THE WEEK – A-

The Clearing – The Twilite Tone – electronica and r&b meet on an exciting debut album – B

10 Songs – Travis – they went from youngsters singing all I wanna do is fuck to middle aged bores and have remained boring for years, this album is as boring  as you imagine on an album that can’t even get Susanna Hoffs to raise your pulse – C


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