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Be Here Now: First Takes On New Album Releases 9-16-14

Album Of The Week

Album Of The Week

Worship The Sun – The Allah Las – LA indie rockers get moodier still on their  low key second album, if you concentrate the melodies chime through… if you concentrate – B-

Partners – Barbra Streisand – Not sure what Barbra’s  foreign policy is with these whatever duets of songs she made famous at some point or the other.  If it is to move concert tickets, she isn’t touring. If it is to move units, it ain’t gonna happen. And if it is to remind us she can sing with the best of em, we already knew it. Still, the Stevie Wonder duet is something special – B-

Just Enough Hip To Be Woman – Broncho – “What” may well be the best song you hear this week, a catchy hook lined pop punk stroke and there are many more of them, though they get too samey by the end – B

X- Chris Brown – Chris is 25 years old and he has maybe made one too many mistakes but they haven’t really been musical and “X” proves he isn’t just a dancer, but a also a first rate singer and an excellent manufacturer of pure pop product. If you thought “No Flame” was an anomaly, it wasn’t, if you thought he couldn’t use Kendrick Lamar as well as Flying Lotus you are wrong, if you don’t think he can sing quite as well as Trey Songz, Usher and R. Kelly, wait to be wowed. “See You Around” is big time r&b balladeering via EDM beats – ALBUM OF THE WEEK – B+

EP1 – Duke Dumont – The London DJ has been invaluable all decade long, but “I Got U”, the superb Whitney Houston remix, is on a whole other level entirely and while the remix of the remix and the two other tracks here aren’t on a whole other level, all of them buzz with that deep house feel – B+

Celeste EP – Ezra Fine – The title track is a hand clapping piano plonking piece of magic replete with background ooohs and aaaaahs, a fine indie pop symphony. But nothing else matches it – B

Run Wild. Live Free. Love Strong. – for King And Country – Christian Contemporary and yet another album of classic rockism anthems much better than it should be, from Australia which might explain something – B-

Hallways – Homeboy Sandman – Queens homeboy fourth album but first to me, and it is a strange and beautiful thing with clippy tracks and lotsa smart rhymes, smarter than alt-rap usually gets. Robert Christgau reviewed in his new column here so read it even if XGau got the Roots wrong – B+

Ices – Lia Ices – Aptly named album for the cool singer songwriter, who has talent sure but sounds a little out of date despite all her efforts and a little also ran – B

Minus Tide – Lemondade – Ah yes, the future of EDM could well be bands like Lemonade who add sugar to beats and wrap em up in indie pop songs. This is more song-y than Diver, by which I mean better – B

We Loved Her Dearly – Lowell – Synth oriented LGBT friendly pure pop that sounds like it comes from Sweden but is actually from Canada. “Words Were the Wars” is lovely, “Cloud 69” is a lovely anthem, and “I Killed Sara V” is a story of lust and the music biz – B+

Stellar Motel – Michael Doughtry – This is where the beatniks meet the rappers, and it doesn’t work except where it does. Mike doesn’t sell “Oh My God, Yeah, Fuck It” but “Light Will Keep Your Heart Beating Forever” may well be his best song to date – B-

Who Asked Ya – The Mojo Gurus – At their best when bar banding up blues tracks, and not so hot when playing country,  luckily most of this is bar blues band rave ups – B

This Is My Hand – My Brightest Diamond – The title track on Shara Worden has every element necessary, it sounds like a fwall of sound where you can hear every instrument eventually, plus Shara’s faux-operatic vocal,  a soprano who sounds deeper. Elsewhere, she keeps on mining classical instruments and deep beats and that voice to meld singer songwriter concerns to classical leanings – B+

Bloodlines – Texas In July –  A year after “Hook Line And Sinker”, these guys are, if anything, better. The bowels of hell singing is as good and the songs are tastier, with a melodic bent which seems to make an end run from the thundering drummer to the middle of the mix. Like all genre music when you are not a fan of the genre, it all sounds the same. Until it doesn’t. Check out the title track if you don’t believe me – B+

You Haunt Me – Sir Sly – Pretty electronic music which if it was louder and faster would break pop, it helps that the lead singer is really really good. “Leave You” owes something to Maroon 5  – B

World On Fire – Slash – When it is slow, it is terrible. when it isn’t slow it isn’t very good, and trust me Myles Kennedy helps not at all – C-

Sundown Heaven town – Tim McGraw – Look, don’t tell me about McGraw. I’ve seriously disliked him for decades despite adoring his papa Tug, the great New York Met pitcher who died ten years ago. Tim sang one of the worst songs of all time, “Touchdown Jesus”. But this is a strong album of modern country and I can see no reason why, same producer, same team of players and same team of songwriters. Maybe he saw a hole where  George Strait used to live and decided to fill it – B

Bulletproof – Train – They have always wanted to be the rock and roll Maroon 5, and this is as close as they have ever come to it – B-

In Bardo – White Arrows – Ho hum indie rock – B-

 

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