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Be Here Now: New Album Releases Reviewed 3-18-16 – 3-24-16

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ALBUM OF THE WEEK: 3-18-16 – 3-24-16

Aa – Baauer – Electronica is to EDM what Americana is to country, and I wasn’t crazy about Baauer’s novelty hit from 2013 “Harlem Shake” to start with. Still, Baauer is about as good as you’re gonna get at this stuff, the opening track “Church” is all alchemic uplift and while it spends too much time spinning its wheels, much like the album there is payoffs. Anybody up adds M.I.A. to K-Pop master G-Dragon and make it better than you thought it would be, on one song, and Pusha T with Future (who finds the perfect Macklemore dis) on another, isn’t your average novelty or your average electronic DJ – B+

The Last Panthers – Clark – UK Electronica, sounds OK as background – C+

Havoc – Circus Maximus – Prog rock without the keyboards – C+

New Misery – Cullen Omori – First I hated Smith Western, then I loved them, and now their vocalist has gone solo with this singer-songwriter confessional indie album (on Sub Pop) and  I admire him at least from a distance. “And Yet The World Still Turns” is lo fi symphonic dream pop – B+

Let Me Get What I Want – Daddy – To prove that we don’t let personal rancor upset our ability to listen to music, I am sick of the sight of James Franco, who is helping make the adaption of Stephen King’s “11-22063” such a huge disappointment, and yet this left sided tribute to the Smiths, with electronic composer Tim O’Keefe adding instrumentation to Franco’s lyric and vocals, is actually not terrible – B-

Damien Jurado – Visions of Us on the Land – Folkie with a quietly powerful skill, hold on for “Sam And Davy” around the midway point – B

Dardust – Birth – Italian electronica plus analog instrumentation – C+

Fleeting – Glenn Jones – Finger picked guitar and banjo instrumentals, very pretty – B

The Narrows – Grant-Lee Phillips – Still a talented guy, still knows his ways around a song, a little old fashioned – B-

Gwen Stefani – This Is What The Truth Feels Like… The problem here is Gwen is eleven years older and she will never surprise us again the way she did with her first solo album, the EDM craftier pop masterpiece Love, Angel, Music, Baby. Having said that, this crafty pop quasi-biographical chart potentate moves are better than her last No Doubt and solo albums combined. It doesn’t matter in the slightest, but it sounds great –  B+

Full Circle – Hælos – What I’ve heard off the new Massive Attack hasn’t been so hot, and these guys, you use UK trip hop and electronica, plus harmony vocals, aren’t that hot either – C

In Wonderland – Hooverphonic – This is both OK and not quite good enough, an old time electronic pop band, 80sish but deeper, with better programmers, and quite good songs, but nothing quite powerful enough to recommend it – B-

Post Pop Depression – Iggy Pop – This is to Lust For Life what the Three Stooges is to the Stooges – D

Drink More Water 6 – iLoveMakonnen – Soulful enough and at its most populist about as good a soul album as you’re gonna hear. But he hasn’t managed to repeat “Tuesday” -where his vocal manipulation became a terrific hook that Drake added to without improving upon. All the experiments here die crib deaths and there are a lot of them – C+

Hollowed – Ital Tek – Another guy influenced by trip hop this week (check out Hælos) that has bypassed the initial sound and emerged into full blown ambient – B-

Struggle Love – Jaheim – Has this guy ever not sucked? 80s r&b soul guy from the 90s with worse songs than you can imagine – D

Girl at the End of the World – James – Sure I loved “Attention”, it is one of my favorite singles of the year. But it is like that Classic Coke deal where the sweetened formula beat it stupid in taste test but then when they put it on sale, nobody would buy the new one. It seems that for a sip they like it better, but for an entire can? Not so much – B-

That’s Hip Hop – Joell Ortiz – Slaughterhouses’ MC is a master rapper and this is old school as fuck, plus the actually rapping is hard to doubt at all: this man has a terrific voice, can rhyme well, knows a hook and knows what flow is.Even the samples are terrific, listen to “Fall Back”  – B+

Koi Child – Koi Child –  hip hop band Child’s Play and jazz band Kashikoi collaboration with Kevin Parker (yes,  that one) producing. Sounds like not as arty Flying Lotus – C+

Letting You In – Kris Allen – Everybody deserves to make a living… I mean,  except for this guy – D

ii – Liima – What the fuck? Enough with the goddam electronica already – C

Compassion – Lust for Youth – This guy wouldn’t know from lust if it got on its knees in the middle of Times Square and blew him… Moz style tenor vocals and electronica  – C

Masami Akita & Eiko Ishibashi – Kouen Kyoudai – Two long instrumental noise pieces – C+

2013 – Meilyr Jones – Welsh singer songwriter with oddly arranged songs marking his confessionals, and odd vocals, very strange and quite nice – B-

You Can’t Go Back if There’s Nothing To Go Back To – Richmond Fontaine – Americana country, the music has an old fashioned cleverness and straightforwardness, the voice needs to be a stronger – B-

Chaosmosis – Primal Scream –  In a week filled with electronica, a surprisingly uninvolving retrograde tech plus Bobby album that fails to catch fire except maybe the single and absolutely the XTRMNTR worthy “When The Blackout Meets The Fallout” for all of a minute 49 – B

Wuthering Drum – Public Memory – More electronica, no I swear it. Not bad, a mix of tech, beats and disjointed vocals

Party Rock Mansion – Redfoo – Is there anything more out of date than the day before yesterday?  Redfoo hasn’t changed the beats plus wiseass sex and party shots and sluts he performed with LMFAO. It sounds the same, only not as good, and very very dated – B-

War – She Is We – Indie pop, with its eyes on thecharts – B-

The Light – Soft Fangs –  “John Lutkevich doesn’t necessarily have a way with words so much as he has a way of opening doors and windows into the subconscious, ushering his listeners into spaces of solitude and making them feel comfortable there”. But worse – C+

Change of Fortune – Soul Asylum – Give the guys this, they haven’t lost a step since “Runaway Train”. Still, smart, rocking, well crafted songs no one much wants to hear – B-

Stacks on Deck – Soulja Boy – “stacks” refers to money, “racks” doesn’t refer to money, and this is a fine if obvious hip hop soul album. Wanna feel old? Soulja Boy is 26 years of age! – B-

Magical Solutions To Everyday Struggles – Telstar Sound Drone – Via Copenhagen, this sounds like a Primal Scream steal, the way the new Primal Scream sounds like a Primal Scream steal, only a lot better. “Mentes De Ácido”called it “Velvet Underground covering ‘Tomorrow Never Knows'” and who am I to disagree? “Drugs Work” is one of the best songs of the week –  ALBUM OF THE WEEK – B+

The Body – No One Deserves Happiness – In a noisy week, this industrial metal is noisier than most – B-

Feelin Kinda Free – The Drones – The lead singer Gareth Liddiard said “It’s a pretty weird record and you can dance to it.” True, except you can’t dance to it – B

Dark Matter – The Word Alive – Metalcore, nothing special but I am enjoying it after two days of non stop electronica – C+

Barbara Barbara, we face a shining future – Underworld – Yes, the original electronica band from the eighties are back. The opening track, “I Exhale”, is killer, but it begins to bore, and  reaches a personal worse with “Ova Nova” – B-

Music for Boobies – Various Artists – This isn’t as bad as I thought it was when I just sampled a couple of tracks earlier this week, the Anti-Flag song for one is killer. And some of the other pop punk rockers ain’t bad – C+

Southern Family- Various Artists –  Wow, they mean it man on this written for the family story project. Wasn’t Jamey Johnson good a coupla years ago? Or am I thinking of someone else?  – C

WACO – Violent Soho -Excellent guitar rock band, with catchy tuneful songs and a great sound – B

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