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Be Here Now: New Album Releases 12-23-16 – 12-29-16

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Merry Christmas Lil’ Mama – Jeremih And Chance The Rapper –  Love Jeremih’s singing but not that much, and can’t take him for any length of time,. Here he offers a wonderful Christmas mixtape with one Chance The Rapper -who gives gifts even when it isn’t Christmas. Like this lovely, light hearted, minor key mixtape. I bet they didn’t pay MJ’s remains for “Stranger At The Table” – B+

Not The Actual Event EP – Nine Inch Nails – I’ve had nothing but respect for the Trent Reznor-Attica Ross movie soundtracks since “The Social Network”. Including both releases in 2016. This is not that. 22 minutes of industrial pop that should scare no one, even if “Burning Bright (Field On Fire)” is the only time they get it 100%, this is the exact length needed for the impenetrable to be penetrated. Dave Grohl, Dave Navarro and Trent’s wife Mariqueen Maandig  NIN are threatening two new albums in 2017, let’s hope they’re as good as this one – B

Nocturnal EP – Roy Woods – That dark r&b sound that Drake perfected, bores a little by Junior Varsity member Roy – C+

Run the Jewels 3 – Run The Jewels – Electronically playful, politically hardcore, this is an eagerly anticipated pop rap work much appreciated by those who know,and although I’ve gone on the record as considering the rap supergroup essentially Killer Mike slumming, this is a very good album Featuring  Tunde Adebimpe, Danny Brown, Trina, Kamasi Washington, and BOOTS and an uncredited Zach La Rocha, some of these tracks, “Hey Kids” and the  weirdness of “Thursday In The Room”,  is the state of art.  And the rest are so angry, they might as well be. They leave the best for last, the US election redux plus the Zach verse. I’d still prefer a Killer Mike solo album – B

Live At Madison Square Garden – Shawn Mendes – First time I saw this guy he was opening for Taylor Swift., he has a scratchy tenderness in his voice and an ephemeral quality with an emotion -also an ethereal way with an emotion. Put it this way, his idea of a cover if “Hey There Delilah”. Yup, Plain White T’s is his primary influence. Still, hard to argue with the venue – C

Us Or Else: Letter To The System – T.I. – “I Believe” is pretty darn good, but he never maintains it any more, and this is way too boring before you reach the midway point – C+

TopxMM EP  – Twenty One Pilots – Mutemath, Twenty One Pilots opening act, slow it down and smooth it out, remixing (recovering?) some of the shockingly good bands best moments. The “Heavydirtysoul” is first rate – B+

 

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