The Early Bird: New Albums 7-10-20 – 7-16-20 Reviewed

Written by | July 14, 2020 7:26 am | No Comments

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1000 gecs and The Tree of Clues – 100 gecs – The art poppers on helium remix album featuring Charli XCX, Rico Nasty, and a cast of thousands of out there DJs fiddling,  with sounds and vibes and a back beat. An acquired taste, though on “Ringtone” they broke through, and while I can take it or leave it, it pays close listening with sound revelations – B

Golden Hour – Baby Rose -deep soul with a strong voiced old school r&b vibe, try “Show You” – B

Hard To Be Alone – Barns Courtney – apt singer songwriter Americana with better lyrics and more of a backbone – B-

Sunday Drive – Brett Eldredge – Maybe I always overestimated Brett, I know for sure this midling, middle of the road, country pop album would have never made a fan of me;  three years later “Something I’m Good At” sounds more and more like a fluke – C-

Lighter – Donna Missal – lesbian power ballads are still power ballads and this is too MOR for words – C

In Isolation – Elle King – Blues queen King performs acoustic songs while quarantined; “The Let Go” is specifically great and I be it sounds even better with a full band – B+

Happening: Live At The Village Vanguard – Gerald Clayton – recorded in the summer of 2018, and now with the chance of the legendary jazz haunt never opening its doors again pianist  this is a good send off, Gerald Clayton with a first rate band returns us to be bop with some originals, some self composed, and “Take The Coltrane” the icing on the cake – A

Workingman’s Dead (50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition) – Grateful Dead – The album is their second best, the live album included is from February 1971, eight months after its release and a little pointless – B

Workingman’s Dead: The Angel’s Share – Grateful Dead – This is more like it, outtakes from the sessions that brought forth the album. Those fly on the wall stuff is endlessly enjoyable when you are listening to the creation of important works (catch the studio sessions for Blonde on Blonde if you can) – B+

Hayden James Presents Waves of Gold (DJ Mix) – Hayden James – electronic house remixes with a cavalcade of EDM stars including Gorgon City – B

World Outside Your Window & As I Am – Hillsong Young & Free – two songs, recorded both live and in the studio, all unsuitable for the easily influenced – D+

Bettie James – Jimmie Allen -the  EP is named for his late dad, and the other  release this week week with a cast of featured stars, the country guys gets with with everybody from Nellie to (Brad) Paisley, on six mediocre country rockers and one pretty good exception, “Good Times Roll” – C+

RoundAgain (feat. Brad Mehldau, Christian McBride, Brian Blade) – Joshua Redman – Saxophonist Joshua Redman rounded up the original Joshua Redman Quartet for their first recordings since Mood Swing in 1994. “It’s like playing with The Avenger,” Brad said. so listen to all new material from the Avengers of jazz – A-

Legends Never Die – Juice WRLD – his first release since his death in December 2019, is Juice drugs and 808s and heartaches as expected with the paint over barely visible. It  includes some great new songs, “Tell Me U Love Me,” “Hate  The Other Side,” and the sublime “Wishing Well”. It helps that hip hop always has a lag between featured artists, featured tracks and samples, so adding a verse after the fact is business as usual.  On top of which, Juice was so self aware he stumbles onto his epitaph, and not just the “I got pain in my heart, I told you a hundred times,” which explains the drugs but also “If it wasn’t for the pills, I wouldn’t be here, but if I keep taking these pills, I won’t be here” -as thoroughly depressing a coupla bars as I’ve heard, even the dead drear of “Lucid Dreams” isn’t as terrifying. One thing Legends Never Die absolutely does prove: the loss of Juice WRLD is as huge a loss as any the world of pop has ever heard and you can hear it all over this sad and brilliant album – ALBUM OF THE WEEK – A

Healing Is A Miracle – Julianna Barwick – If you find ambient a little on the boring side you will find this a little on the boring side, but if you want to drift in musical bliss I recommend it – B+

Cinema Paradiso – Katherine Jenkins – The English mezzo-soprano takes on big time movie music, not just songs, but she sings the melody lines of themes like the title track and “Schindler’s List”. Clearly an English phenomena, the cultural high – low – high, is one of the UK’s worst ideas and certainly doesn’t survive an Atlantic crossing at all. If I never hear her bloated missing the point plus strings “Moon River” again it will be too soon – MUST TO AVOID  – D

Al Estilo Rancheron – Los Dos Carnales – Norteño is a regional musical genre  from (surprise) the North of Mexico, based around the accordion, and  here a young band considers  life n the range, and it must be a helluva lotta fun though how excited you getat the rooster crowing every day is a decision only you can make – B+

That’s How Rumors Get Started – Margo Price –  Margo sounds like Lucinda Williams without the marbles in the mouth, and without songs of the same caliber, which, as she move decidedly from country to Americana to classic rock. I first heard the singles and then I heard the album, and I have still to hear a song that hits the sweet spot, and have yet to hear a song that wasn’t well performed and well sung – B-

The Waterfall II – My Morning Jacket –  outtakes from their 2015 album of (nearly) the same name, this one is better. “Still Thinkin'” is a goodie and while “Feel Ya” is no “Evil Urges” it is clearly from the same pen. But too much of it is jam like snoozers – C+

Spiritual Vegas – PAINT – Allah-Las’ Pedrum Siadatian second solo effort sounds like the music bands used to play in late sixties groovy movies, and a little better – B-

Maxyboy – Patricia – techno DJing bippity bip – B-

A Letter To My Younger Self – Quinn XCII –  Mikael Temrowski uses modern technology for singer songwriter confessionals which could use more bite but still hits its mark as often as you’d imagine – B

Co-Starring – Ray Wylie Hubbard – With featured guest stars on each track, Pam Tillis more than once, Hubbard trolls his Americana wide and deep and country but after beginning with a bigger boat “Bad Trick,” as good as you hoped to hear on a song with Ringo Starr and Don Was, nothing else reaches that height –  B

Unfollow The Rules – Rufus Wainwright – a return to pop produced by Mitchell Froom, and covering the same area he ever has (baroque pop with classical leanings right for his voice), at its best Rufus updates the sound he perfected twenty years ago as a top notch  singer songwriter, Unfollow The Rules  does everything the dreaded Mark Ronson sincerely failed to do on Out Of The Game, hold out for “You’re Not Big” though it’s “Damsel In Distress” that will probably turn you around – B+

Feel Feelings – Soko – “Being Sad Is Not A Crime” is a calling card for the sad dream pop of Soko, though more than a little boring she writes lovely and lowkey pop for dreaming you are tragic without reason – B-

Life On Earth – EP – Summer Walker – PARTYNEXTDOOR is on one song, NO1-NOAH is on two, and the two by herself are best on a dusky, brooding r&b EP from last year’s Atlanta R&B singer – B-

Dinner Party – Terrace Martin, Robert Glasper, 9th Wonder – jazzy soul on Terrace’s third album this year and while there is nothing as hard hitting as “Pig’s Feet”, perhaps after the #BLM banger Terrace’s moody jazz soul is what we need – B

Jump Rope Gazers – The Beths – the calling card of power poppers is consistency, you can’t take a song off, it’s as simple as that. Also: it helps a lot if there are couple of songs that are off the charts great. “I’m Not Getting Excited” is off the charts great, and everything else is right behind it. Clearly, Auckland’s Elizabeth Stockwell is a first rate songwriter and her band a tight, entirely fun old school guitar band – A

American Portraits: The Drifters – The Drifters – Decade after decade The Drifters adapt to their surroundings (remember disco Drifters from the early 70s?) and they do on this fine album, hitting heights on “Gimme Some Lovin'” (Stevie Winwood must be happy), “Ladies Night,” “This Little Girl” . But it misfires too often, who needs another “Lady” (indeed, who needed it in the first place?) and “Broken Hearted Me” is 70s style balladeering: you expect David Soul to cover it – B+

Xoxo – The Jayhawks – what’s not to like the Americana rock band and they give you reasons not to try on a typical in a good way entry into their catalog – B

Monsters – The Midnight – Tim McEwan and Tyler Lyle have forged a rock or rather tech album about missing the 1990s when you and the world was young, kicking off with a modem kicking in and continuing through dreamscapes and the occasional killer song, the result is pleasant enough – B-

None Of Us Are Getting Out Of This Life Alive – The Streets – returns nine years later with his best songs since 2006, this is pure hip hop with nothing remotely close to being as great as “Empty Cans”  – B

 

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