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Be Here Early: New Albums Reviewed 2-24-17 – 3-2-17


Vaquerpo – Aaron Watson – Very good country when he is going traditional, much less so when he is going pop. And if the pathos overwhelms “Texas Lullaby”, nothing but net on the title track, and “They Don’t Make Em Like They Used To” and country rocker “Rolling Stone” – B

Farnham – Baked – Fuzzed out, shoegaze, slacker, etc: a virtual smorgasbord of guitar heavy alt rock indie style. Any more buzzwords? One buzz song,  “Stuck At Iron Mountain” – B

Dirty Projectors – Dirty Projectors – Dave Longstreth’s electronic r&b, heartbreak break up album and much better than the first coupla singles let on. Start with the last song, “I See You”. “You let go my heart, it’s gonna get better…” is good, “I believe that the love we made is still alive,” is better – B+

Flying Microtonal Banana – Flying Gizzard And The Lizard Wizard – Acid rock and psychedelic garage grunge… goes on and on thought it starts with a bang – C+

HNDRXX – Future – If last week’s Future was Trap redux, all gangsta and chopped off beats, this one is a pop music  alt r&b reaching a zenith on the excellent Rihanna featured “Selfish,” and much better for it – A-

Love In A Time Of Madness – Jose James – Alt r&b, has its moments though the Mali adds don’t work – B

The Search for Everything: Wave Two – John Mayer – The opening track on this album in segments is the very good blue eyed soul “Still Feel Like Your Man” -and that makes two out of eight between the two EPs – C

The Breaker – Little Big Town – “Happy People” is great, “Drivin’ Around” is alright, “Better Man” is Tay Tay, and everything else is aural Dramamine. Or, as Karen Fairchild put it “hillbilly Sade”. Get ready for the raves  – C+

Sick Scenes – Los Campesinos – Not the disaster I predicted, both “Sad Suppers” and “The Fall Of Home” widen Gareth’s palette, but most of it is business as usual and business is beginning to bore – B-

Graveyard Blues – Old 97’s – After 2014’s masterpiece Most Messed Up, this was always going to be the band who fell to earth and so it is. Completely generic business as usual alt country rock. Having said that, business as usual usally includes one terrific Rhett Miller tune so meet “Bad Luck Charm” – B-

Fantasizing About Being Black – Otis Taylor – Chicago born Taylor’s Grandfather was lynched and his Uncle was murdered, but that was before hate crimes were legalized. one good reason to play the blues, on this fair blues plus jazz switch up – B

Why Love Now – Pissed Jeans –

Freedom Highway – Rhiannon Giddens – Story songs of slavery and its aftermath that peaks sky high and never falters later yet somehow doesn’t reach that early peak again – ALBUM OF THE WEEK – A-

Black & White Night 30 – Roy Orbison – This is the PBS special remixed for its 30th anniversary. Still awesome though this version doesn’t have much as adds. The DVD sounds terrific, it takes it out of the 1987 special format and puts it in chronological order. I bet there is a deluxe version and I bet that’s an “A”… this one doesn’t add enough so the grade is based on format not content – B+

Gang Signs & Prayers – Stormzy – Stormzy has been pushing this like the second coming, he said to the Guardian: “The main thing with me is my young black kings and  this ain’t to ostracise young black women or old white men, or Asians, it’s not to ostracise anyone, it’s just to say, ‘OK, young black men in my country, when it comes to who is going to achieve, you are always the very last.’ So I need to talk to my young black kings, because I’m one of you, we who are always last.”The album opens with a declaration of selfhood: “I ain’t never been a victim, never been and target.” And then the album works a middle ground – B+

Don’t Get Lost – The Brian Jonestown – If you didn’t think Anton could be any more annoying, try listening to “Charmed I’m Sure” – D

In Between – The Feelies – Back when they were the boys with perpetual nervousness, they were the greatest band on earth. Now that they’re the men with perpetual nervousness, not so much – N-

Drunk – Thundercat – Out there Flying Otis bassist of choice, is so dexterous you might forget that this is impenetrable  for all but fans outro jazzisms or so frowzy it’ll put you to sleep – C+

Infinite Worlds – Vagabon – Cameron exile provides a smart variant on singer songwriter angst – B

The Shack – Various  Artists  – I haven’t seen the faith based movie but I’ve read the synopsis, and heard some of the usual suspects Christian Contemporary artists  (Hillsong United, please shut up), and some mainstream country poppers. It all sucks except for the Aloe Blacc and Kelly Clarkson “Love Goes On”, which is terrific and if they release it as a single could well end up on my best of list – D+



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