The Early Bird: Top New Releases 11-20-20 – 11-26-20 Reviewed

Written by | November 20, 2020 8:11 am | No Comments


Autumn releases here we come with three live albums. I wasn’t crazy about The War On Drugs in much the same way and many of the same reasons I am not crazy about Kurt Vile: it sounds like blueprint music, they’ve studied the blueprint (Neil Young’s) and they’ve made the music.  I feel the same about a lot of Americana, a lot of rock and  r&b (but neither EDM, pop,  nor hip hop), it sounds right but it isn’t as it takes more than scruff, a drug habit and a contract with Atlantic Records to make Adam Granduciel a serious contender. It took a Rolling Stones remix. And now here is a live album comprised of 10 track made during the band’s past six years of touring , and it ain’t bad, “Thinking Of A Place” is gorgeous and “Accidentally Like A Martyr” is welcome (Grade: B). Still live albums, Alyson Camus reviewed the show when it streamed  (here) and the  audio component is now available for Idiot Prayer (Nick Cave Alone at Alexandra Palace), it is okay but awful slow and a melody would be nice every now and then (Grade: B). I used to loath Mumford And Sons and then I saw em open for Coldplay at Radio City and I loved them, go figure and the Delta tour itself was real good (here) though it loses something on Delta Live EP, try “Blood” and skip yet another “Hurt” (Grade: B). How on earth can Jimi Hendrix have ANOTHER live album? Live On Maui is the entire two sets he performed and that appeared in heavily edited fashion in the movie “Rainbow Bridge”. With Mitch Miller on drums and Billy Cox on bass, it is a hybrid Hendrix band, and Jimi’s second to last performance. A double with some big hits, “Fire,” “Voodoo Child,” “Purple Haze,” and it is good stuff (Grade: B+)

Over at singles, I reviewed Steve Earle’s cover of his son Justin Townes Earle rollicking suicide song “Harlem River Blues”  earlier today (here) (Grade: B+), Shawn Mendes was always a weepy, whiny mess but Justin has outcried him this year and so they come together to complain about the wages of youthful fame on the shruggable if tuneful “Monster” (Grade: B-). Going back to the rock and roll blueprint I was mentioning earlier, I am sick of Jack Antonoff, I am sick of Bleachers who, except for “Rollercoaster,” have never done a damn thing, and I am bone weary with Bruce, and on this Jersey alliance they are doing the only thing they know how and if you like it great, knock yourself out, you’ve heard worse Bruce by numbers by Bruce himself THIS YEAR (Grade: B-), the Princess of lesbian Tik Tok girl in red has been emerging pop for the past year and “two queens in a king sized bed” straddles all those sadgirl, bedroom pop, Tik Tok x marks the spot on a sweet as molasses track (Grade: B). On to Iann Dior, the Puerto Rican pop glam 21 year old, who sang the hook on the great “Mood” with 24Goldn, is back with a hip hop produced bedroom pop mashup (Grade: B+).

My only complaint about the master The Blasters rock and roots Dave Alvin’s From an Old Guitar: Rare and Unreleased Recordings is that there are only sixteen songs, except for his cover of “Highway 61 Revisited” as a blues barnstormer spoken worder,  which is unnecessary at the very best and worse than that, the album is relentless in its greatness and an impeccable set that let’s hope is the beginning of Dave working on his catalog (Grade: A-). I was never the fan of Philadelphia jailbird Meek Mill as much as you were, he just doesn’t have the voice as neither whine nor sneer nor harsh ur vibe, QUARANTINE PACK is four new songs, and none are all that though none are terrible, if I was you I’d go with the Lil Durk blues rapper “Pain Away” (Grade: C+).

Finally, I have no idea why the go to song with Marc Bolan is “Cosmic Dancer” -for fuck’s sake do “Bang A Gong” or one of those pop slices of deliverance, “Jeepster”. Well, Morrissey and David Bowie performed “Cosmic Dancer” together  in 1991 at a gig in LA (see below), and it sounds great and now it has been released (by Parlophone, who should sign Moz). It’s not what I want but it’s what we’ve got so we take it and for one thing, the two men have voices that click in harmony of drear (Grade: A-)

chinatown (feat. Bruce Springsteen) – Bleachers, Bruce Springsteen – B-

From an Old Guitar: Rare and Unreleased Recordings – Dave Alvin – A-

two queens in a king sized bed – girl in red – B

Holding On – iann dior – B+

Live In Maui – Jimi Hendrix – B+


Cosmic Dancer – Live – Morrissey, David Bowie – A-

Delta Tour EP – Mumford & Son – B-

Idiot Prayer (Nick Cave Alone at Alexandra Palace) – Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – B

Monster (Shawn Mendes & Justin Bieber) – Shawn Mendes, Justin Bieber – B-

Harlem River Blues – Steve Earle – B+

LIVE DRUGS – The War On Drugs – B

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