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Be Here Early: New Music Reviews 3-17-17 – 3-23-17

Paradise EP – ANOHNI – “I don’t wanna ricochet…”  “Ricochet,” from this strange and disturbingly gorgeous alt by other means EP is a highlight, but it is only a matter of degrees, another vision from a sound that moves from ambient horror to quasi folk mood, all with her terrific voice – A

Room 29 – Chilly Gonzales, Jarvis Cocker – Sounds like French balladeering meets ghosts at the Chateau Marmont featuring keyboard wiz renaissance man Gonzales and former Pulp lead singer Jarvis, who never got over the fact Charlotte Gainsbourg wasn’t lemon incesting with him. A classical bent where the songs don’t stick, and that’s the whole problem – B-

Salutations – Conor Oberst – Conor’s problem is that he will always be better at wthe aftermath of after parties than at political editorializing, or, indeed, anything else at all. Anybody who would write “always chose hunger over despair” has never been hungry and also doesn’t have a thought in his formerly pretty little head. Still, better this deluxe version of the boring Ruminations. Conor re-recorded the demos of his last album and then added an EP worth of new tracks, and manages to keep upright for over an hour – C+

Spirit – Depeche Mode – Another coupla half wits with all the political acumen of a High School debating team. Bad songs with bad lyrics by a bad band – C-

Live North America – Gary Clark Jr – I have been more or less sick of Clark Jr for years now, he was born to play blues guitar and all attempts to crossover have proven futile. This is a good live album, the “When My Train Pulls In” is nothing if not the standard bearer. Of course, when he moves away from performing blues guitar he loses it – B-

The Ultimate Collection – John Williams And Steven Spielberg – Man, that “Raiders” theme is a heart pumper. But i’d have rather a greatest hits than these previous  recordings with Boston Pops (from 1991) and the new takes with the Recording Arts Orchestra of Los Angeles, from last year – Grade: B

Blossom – Milky Chance – German pop duo manage to play many variants on the theme, from reggae to dance, while sounding exactly the same: a real bore – C

Paul Shaffer And The World’s Most Dangerous Band – Paul Shaffer And The World’s Most Dangerous Band _ I was expecting exceedingly little from these guys, but they were always better than the Roots, and I should have known better. This, the band’s sophomore effort after a 24 year lull, produced by legendary Richard Gottehrer,  is a fine collection of 60s odds and sods, with guest stars aplenty and Paul himself performing due diligence to “Yeh Yeh” – B

Climate Change – Pitbull – At a scant and slim 44 minutes, Pitbull’s first album, well since 2015 but it is Pitbull so that is 14 hunab years. It isn’t terrible,

Rather You Than Me – Rick Ross – I was never a big fan, and this Ross’ ninth album is another completely typical all star production including Future and Gucci Mane (the son and the holy ghost of Atlanta) and the single best rap on the album by Dej Loaf. But nothing stands out much, not even Chris Rock (much better on tracks by Ol’ Dirty Bastard and Kanye West back in the day). In the end, songs about diabetes can only be so gangsta, and Ross Bs Birdman isn’t Biggie vs by 2Pac by any stretch – C+

In Mind – Real Estate – Roger McGuinn guitars with all of the country and most of the rock removed, the tunes more ethereal than anything else, and the entire enterprise on a strict diet of Ritalin. But how bad is that?  They are rewarded off enough with a goodie like “White Light,” resistance is futile: for college kids who remain in their safe space  – B-

The Answers – Somo – Intensely indifferent r&b with better beats than most

You’re Not As _As You Think You Are – Sorority Sisters – Emo rockers who rock harder than your average band, lotta building and subsiding like an argument you can’t let go… “No Halo” is a great song – B+

Hot Thoughts – Spoon – I felt guilty after panning a Spoon gig at Radio City a coupla years ago. It was my fourth night in a row and I was exhausted. And I’ve tried to give them the benefit of the doubt ever since. This has its moments, the title track, the bluesy second track, the syncopated “Can I Sit Next To You”. But this soul indie sound just doesn’t cut it often enough to matter- C+

Live From the Fox Oakland – Tedeschi Trucks Band – I caught em on this tour and was disappointed but it may have been a bad night or it may have been me,  either way show me an album with a version of Bobby Blue Bland’s “I Pity The Fool” as gorgeous and soulful as the one here: Susan’s singing is understated blues harnessing power and her husband’s solo stops the entire album dead in its tracks as it goes from minimalistic blues notes to soaring power bottlenecking, before Susan takes it back again,  and I’ll show you a live album that deserves to do it for two hours – ALBUM OF THE WEEK –  B+

So Good – Zara Larsson – Robyn lite with the occasional banger that’s a little more – C+




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