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Be Here Now: First Takes On New Album Releases 11-25-14



Telemetry – Bella Nova – Not bad hard prog rock – B-

Beyonce Platinum Edition – Beyonce – Six additional tracks, four remixes, two new, all superb. I mean, if you’re gonna remix “Flawless” get Nicki Minaj, if you’re gonna remix “Drunk And In Love” get Kanye West… and if you are gonna have a coupla tracks in the vaults, make sure they’re as good as “7/11” and “Ring Off” – A

Ghost Stories Live 2014 – Coldplay – The album was a little under rated because Chris Martin is an iffy lyricist and the songs were downbeat on purpose, but it wasn’t terrible. This live around the world song by song souvenir isn’t particularly useful but doesn’t hurt much either – C+

The Ugly Organ (Deluxe Edition) – Cursive – One of the best albums of the 00s by a band always in Bright Eyes shadow till this one, it is a  hard rock, wild breakdown and it made Tim Kashner a star. The deluxe version has eight additional songs from the period, all worth hearing and including the wildly brilliant “Excerpts From Various Notes Strewn Around The Bedroom Of April Connolly, Feb 24, 1997” – A

Listen – David Guetta – This is minor because the art form is minor. EDM pop, this stuff, is the definition of MOR, its internal tick tock is lacking and always has been but today it’s lacking and it’s old. But its job isn’t to rewrite the book of popular music, its job is to hook you and sell you, and with guest stars like John Legend, Emile Sande, Ryan Tedder -hell, even Birdy, but we knew Guetta knew a voice when he heard one, the standard of mediocrity is sky high – B+

Under The Table And Dreaming (Expanded Edition) – Dave Matthews Band – Maybe “The Best Is What’s Around” isn’t as lousy as you remember, the rest is. Expanding it means there is more – D

5 Years Of Mau5 – Deadmau5 – Makes Skrillex look like John Lennon – D+

Shady XV – Eminem, etc –  the etc includes one of my fave crews Slaughterhouse as Eminem celebrates 15 years of his Shady Label. Half new stuff, half greatest hits, lotsa hot stuff plus a demo version of “Lose Yourself” – A-

Incomparable – Faith Evans – A love and heartache storyline (romance what a concept ), this is maybe Faith’s best album as she moves effortlessly from blues to r&b, to soul and back, with a little hip hop (that’s Missy Elliott rapping) packed in. The songs could be better, but the singing couldn’t. The best of her generation, she is strong and sweet, the best soprano in the business. Plus she was married to Biggie – B+

When You Land Here, It’s Time To Return (Remixed/Remastered) – Flake Music – Early incarnation of the Shins and better than anything Broken bells could possibly dream about – B+

Idris Elba Presents Mi Mandela – It is hard to mock something so clearly heartfelt, African singer songwriter by the actor who portrayed Mandela, and wrote this for his late father and the late leader. Hard, not impossible – C-

Reclassified – Iggy Azealea – Iggy’s slapdown of Eminem after he claimed he wanted to rape her (“its especially akward because my 14 year old brother is the biggest eminem fan and now the artist he admired says he wants to rape me. nice!”) is a reminder how smart she is, and so are the new songs on this fine remodeling of The New Classic – B+

Native North America, Vol.1: Aboriginal Folk, Rock and Country 1966-1985 – Various Artists – Native Americans from Canada released their own music and Kevin Howe found it and saved it for us. For some reason this is not uneven, it is steadily knockout roots music.  Thanks, Kevin – A-

Globalization – Pitbull – Get the feeling Pitbull put this together in a hurry to cash in on “Celebrate”? I guess that proves Pitbull can release hits in his sleep – B

It Takes A Nation Of Millions to Hold Us Back (Deluxe Edition) – Public Enemy – On a personal level, I prefer Fear Of A Black Planet, but on an artistic level this is one of the greatest protest albums of all time and believe that hype. The deluxe is more archaeology than music but whatever – A

Hood Billionaire – Rick Ross – Maybach Music, sweet? More of the same with Ross right in your face for over an hour – B-

For You – Selena Gomez – Justine Bieber? That’s what her heart wants? -C+

Big Music – Simple Minds – This is Simple Minds best album in decades, a big sounding soulful hard rock album with bounce, hard drums, echoey modern but not electronic deep production and songs songs songs.  Start with “Midnight Walking”, skip to the title track and then start looking. A contender for album of the year -ALBUM OF THE WEEK – A

As We Travel – Snowday – I am not given to heavy sample instrumental quasi-ambient albums, so if I say this is alright, if you like the genre you’ll think it is great – B-

Echo Of Miles: Scattered Tracks Across The Path – Soundgarden – Hang around for the covers on the second side – B

Talking Is Hard – Walk The Moon – Very good indie rock, tuneful, tight, try it  – B+

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