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Be Here Now: First Reviews Of New Album Releases, January 13th, 2015



People Of Today – The 1978ers – At first listen I thought this was CCM, some sort of Lecrae deal, but no, they are just preachy. Sometimes I don’t care at all, their kitchen sink jazz, hip hop conglomeration works as a less heavy infringement than you’d expect, and sometimes I do care – B

Dreams And Images – Arthur – 1968 psychedelia produced by godlike genius Lee Hazelwood. Very pretty, very well produced, the horns drift in like a good trip …. “brothers and sisters embrace each other, a shadow has fallen from the face of man…” – B

20 Lights – Berner – Can you really, I mean really really, make a career singing about smoking dope? Wiz joins the MC, ask him – C+

Another Day, Another Time: Celebrating the Music of “Inside Llewyn Davis” – V/A – Yeah, I was at Town Hall when these would be folkies performed, and it sucked. If you must hear “Please Mr. Kennedy”, surely the only possible reason to buy this souvenir, search out Mickey Woods original – D

Voice Memos – Brika – She has a haunting voice but I can’t hear  the Miami woman’s songs, they are a little too downbeat soul poppy… maybe after a few more listens? – C+

Nights In The Dark – California X – A highly catchy hard rocking sophomore effort, the songs kick in but without punks brute force or grunge’s moodiness. It’s a variant on classic rock which jumps out of the genre – B+

HippieLovePunk – Cody Canada And The Departed – It sounds like garage rock with a Southern fringe only better than that sounds. Great rock and roll lead singer, and everywhere else the band hits their rhythmic get offisms with power – B+

Clubmeds – Dan Mangan, Blacksmith – Singer songwriter with electronic dreamscape sound – B-

Questions – David Bronson – Bronson’s third album is a singer songwriter masterpiece which slips free of its bonds and rides into 1970s dance and soul. The album to beat in 2015, start with “Songbird”, “Song Of Life” and the Chic rhythmed “Task” and then go wherever you want – A

The Soundtrack Of My Life – Donny Osmond – I know what you’re thinking so I’ll say it for you: “what do I need Donny singing ‘Your Song’ for?” You don’t need it at all. You need Donny singing “Peg” – C+

Chapter One – Ella Henderson – what works over a song or two is a straight drag over an album – C

Empire Music From The Pilot – The Cast – When was the last time Timbaland mattered? I mean, without tugging on Justin’s coattails? – C+

Sand In The Sky – The Expendables – Stay at something long enough you might get real good at it, these Santa Cruz natives sure have with feel good punk, reggae, surf sound. Like Sublime without the drugs (sorry,  without the hard drugs) – A-

This Is Living – Hillsong Live And Free – Sure, I think all that Hillsong Christian stuff is a major irritants, but these members are an exception, with their dance beat melodic songs of praise – B+

Reality Show – Jazmine Sullivan – MOR R&B but better than the description suggests because the songs are better than you expect – B+

The 1st Mini Album Base – Jong Hyun – The return of K-Pop, this is a very very good EP of disco and ballads – B+

Absent Fathers – Justin Towne Earle – The follow up to Single Mothers from last year and just about flawless – A

My Garden – Kat Dahlia – There is an opening for this sort of excellent, middle of the pop firmament deeply clever, overly produced heading for the charts soulful one hit away stuff. Will it make it? It needs to make it or it doesn’t exist – B+

Live At The Orpheum – King Crimson – From last years tour, kinda wish I had gone now – B+

Soulless Hymns – The Last Ten Seconds Of Life – Only twenty somethings in the first quarter of their existence find death romantic… – B-

Slurrup – Liam hayes – A little whatever for a guy from Plush, though it might need more time to announce itself. “Outhouse” is better than the name suggests – B-

Uptown Special – Mark Ronson – For a man who made his money working with women there aren’t any here, and while light years ahead of Record, it doesn’t match Version either. A pretty good pop disco 70s inspired homage. I would give it a “B” only “Uptown Funk” proved he has made his point stick – B+

Title – Meghan Trainor – People are a little indifferent to this because it is more of the same. But the same it is more of is completely unique, catchy, doo woppy witty songs of love, near love, close to love, and drummers – ALBUM OF THE WEEK – A

Mind Games – Palisades – this is hardcore? Well, it is mainstream pop rock plus hardcore and it works pretty well – B

Meets Grim The Reaper – Panda Bear – Wow, this isn’t only the out there boy plus toy I saw at Webster Hall a coupla years ago, this is sometimes song based real like, you know, really real songs. Try “Crosswords”- A-

Dormant Heart – Sylosis – Very good death metal from the UK -a lot of sludge and pain but there are songs underneath, the lead guitar is excellent whenever it throws in a lick – B

The White Man Made Me Do It – Swamp Dog –  Yeah, you feel guilty now? The title track is a hoot  and a horror with horns, which ends with a kick at quite how far the black community has come,   and nothing else is close to being bad. try this guy, he always brings the funk, the swamp and the soul – A-

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