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Be Here Late: New Album Releases Reviewed 6-2-17 – 6-8-17

Last Young Renegade – All Time Low – Sure they are typical of the form, but these emo boys have released a personal best. Hooky stuff – B-

Relaxer – alt j – This is their second great album in a row and “I just wanna love you in my own language” is almost a non sequitur. The first four songs are immaculate, even the “The House Of The Rising Sun” cover -which should actually suck but is inspired, brooding alt-j take. Then it loses steam a little though it never stops and repays attention with “Pleader,” a song built to shame Radiohead’s complacency of late – ALBUM OF THE WEEK – A-

City Of No Return – Amber Coffman – The ex-Dirty Projector has written a fine break up album, singer songwriterly smartness and somber loveliness, better over an album than expected – B-

Somersault – Beach Fossils – All these bands with beach in their name are less than sunny, these guys sound like Real Estate, jangly guitar soundscapes of tuneful melancholia, the more tuneful the better and they lose it a third of the way through. “Rise” adds smooth jazz to the mix -not a smart move – C+

Witness – Benjamin Booker – New Orleans blues guy who uses his electric guitar for rowdier rock based workouts and very well – B+

Gone Now – Bleachers – I listened to it a lot more than I should, just because Antonoff wrote “Rollercoaster” as well as worked with Lorde on her new album. It isn’t as bad as I thought, around the midway mark his deep songs begin to sparkle in ways that his big songs simply don’t at all. “All My Heroes,” “Let’s Get Married” and “Goodbye” are huge treats. Yet song after song, it sounds like you should be craving but they don’t snap into place, similar though a different genre, to Justin Timberlake’s “Trolls” tracks -B-

Exodus – Bob Marley – The album, Ziggy Marley covering the album, a live from 1977. Happy 40th – A

I Used To Spend So Much Time Alone – Chastity Belt – Seattle Girlcore stalwarts have released one of the great post-teen albums of the year, deeply melodic melancholia for the millenniums, that peaks sky high with the very first song “Different Now” and doesn’t come down after the beer and weed wear off – B+

Waiting On A Sun – Dan Auerbach – I tried because sometimes Dan can write a song, but this is a slim pickins’ retro country rock album which reminds me of Bleachers in that it sounds like it should sound good and doesn’t – C

America, Location 12 – Dispatch – Prog jam nightmare from New England with a huge fanbase – D-

Dua Lipa – Dua Lipa – Business as usual UKish EDM singer, terrible live at Governors Ball and better on this record, though it is weak pop tracks with nice singing – C

Life Is Good – Flogging Molly – Who would have thought L.A.  could give us a possible replacement for Dropkick Murphys? Well, they try hard but this won’t do – C

hopeless fountain kingdom – Halsey – EDM pop by the numbers but with the current badass female sex and drugs and next days plus attitude. All well and good but the songs need to be  better – B-

Without A Word – Hank Marvin – The former Shadow and Cliff Richard guitarist, who exemplified the Stratocaster as the primary rock and roll instrument, is still going strong at 75 on this guitar centric beauty of an album – B

Late Summers – Jay Prince – Nice chillwave rap album via East London, hang on for “Vice” – B

Soulfire – Little Steven – The problem here is the essence of why Little Steven will never be his boss Bruce Springsteen: it has sound and soul, and musical chops. It doesn’t have vision – B-

This One’s For You – Luke Combs – “Lonely One” is a good strong track, nothing else sticks much though his voice is pretty good – C+

Know No Better EP – Major Lazer – World music by other means, this is reggaeton meets reggaereggae – B-

I’m Not Your Man – Marika Hackman – The leadoff song is pretty ace, but the singer songwriter from the UK goes on and on and on. She can write a good song, and arranges them well, in the age of Lilith as wonder woman, Marika has a gun in her hand – B-

Demolition 9 – Martin Rev – Heavy duty experimental sounds from the surviving Suicide, pretty out there though sometimes the songs click – C+

To Syria, With Love – Omar Soleyman – His patented Arabic music plus hard rocking beats sound continues to appeal to rock’s fringes and for good reason: it sounds terrific and does more for cultural understandings than a million meetings of OPEC nations – B+

Colors 2 – PARTYNEXTDOOR – The sound of Toronto, slow jamz and beats in a mood of solemn haziness AGAIN. This and Trap is where pop is at in 17 – C+

Is This The Life We Really Want – Roger Waters – Waters, sounding like golden age Pink Floyd, releases a protest album, which isn’t quite as good as you wish it was. Then again, except for Wish You Were Here and Dark Side Of The Moon (and the Syd years), neither were Floyd – B

Home Counties – Saint Etienne – Always too precious for my test, this is a fine collection of tweely pretty indie pop dance via the UK – B-

Smidley – Smidley – The lead singer of Foxing is a melodic triumph and this is a fine example of indie rock at its best -a little depressive but that goes with the territory – B-

Sugar At The Gate – Tops – Soulful indie sound with ace chick singer – B-

The Joshua Tree Super Deluxe – U2 – This is a great album and if they wanna fill it out with live songs and remixes and it costs you nothing to stream, then stream it – A

Mavis Staple I’ll Take You There An All Star Celebration – Various Artists – From Greg Allman to Eric Church, the stars came to tip their hats to the Gospel great. You won’t forget the originals but you were have new found respect for Michael McDonald – B

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