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Be Here Now: New Album Releases Reviewed 5-13-16 – 5-19-16


Album Of The Week: 5-13-16 – 5-19-16


Night Sports – 3!OH3! – The only time I saw this good natured electronic pop band on stage, they were opening for LMFAO -and doing a darn good job. A couple of years later they’ve matured a little but they still have a playfulness about them that’s quite unique – B

Cut The Body Loose – Astronautalis  – Florida rapper calls the first song here “Kurt Cobain”, so consider that the other shoe dropping on these pretty good hip meets 90s rock mix and match – B-

Feathers And Flesh – Avatar – Swedish glam metal goth stuff, with prog keyboards thrown in the mix, like MCR meets Marilyn Manson  – C

Clashes – Brodka – She won the third season of Poland’s American Idol, which proves Poland are more adventurous than the States. Her voices has a haunting quality, the songs build from beats into a darkness deepened through an ear for melody… and she sings in English. “Santa Muerta” is a very good song  – B

Coloring Book – Chance The Rapper – Part of me thinks, the Junior Varsity Yeezus, but so what? How bad can that be? A perfect Gospel album about the birth of his daughter and making his baby mama his fiancee and and perhaps his wife. The purest and happiest album of the week, the month… the year? ALBUM OF THE WEEK  – A

Colleen Green EP – Colleen Green – New England’s answer to Bethany Cosentino without the Brian Wilson jones, this EP has six songs and they are all great, including the lyrics, she might not want to go to the disco, but she would be quite at home there – A-

The Heart Speaks In Whispers – Corinne Bailey Rae – The thing about time is that it doesn’t stop and you can either follow it or you can be left behind. Corinne follows it on these songs of new romantic exercise, sweeter, and more light hearted (and nearly as good as)  than her last one, The Sea. I guess that’s what new love can do – B+

Mirage – Digitalism – At its best, “Destination Breakdown”, it adds spunk and spark to disco beats, at its worst it is too plain to signify much – C+

Ullages – Eagulls – On Facebook I took on the rock critic establishment because I claimed comparing one band to another was absolutely valid. These guys sound like the Cure circa “Jumping Someone Else’s Train” only not as good – C

The Wild Swan – Foy Vance – Belfast favored son, at his best Foy  sounds like Van Morrison meets Ray Wylie Hubbard, all the rest of the time he adds a folkie intensity to mainstream balladeering – B+

Absolute Losers – Fruit Bats – Modern MOR, overwritten slo-fi rock – C+

Rest In Chaos – Hardworking Americans – Todd Snider’s new band (actually this is their second album) is extremely smart, it thinks on its feet where clever clever lyric underline Americana rockers – B+

A New Wave Of Violence – Head Wound City – What guitarist Nick Zinner does between Yeah Yeah Yeah gigs, hardcore rockers – C

Venus On Edge – Hooded Fang – Indie guitar rockers are all melodic undertow and power attack, try the terrific “Dead Battery”. They kill on stage – B

Should I Remain At Sea- Islands – Intense,  a touch over thought indie rock – C+

Taste – Islands – The Canadian band have released two albums on the same day, this one is the better. Electronic indie pop mood music, try the lead off track “Charm Offensive” -a well constructed sad sounding song – B

Oh No – Jessy Lanza – Disco beats meet Lilith-ish vocals – C+

Fool – Jameszoo – Way too busy for ambient, call it electronic instrumental weirdness without the weirdness – B-

Introducing Karl Blau – Karl Blau – This is a surprise find, a country covers album, including well trodden tracks with long pedigrees such as “To Love Somebody”, “No Regrets”,  and “That’s How I Got To Memphis”, plus a nearly ten minute version Link Wray’s “Fallin’ Rain”, which K Records alumni  Blau (the “Introducing” must be a genre reference) justifies every step of the way. His “No Regrets” is an intelligent rejoinder to Scott Walker’s old cover  – A-

Nattesfeld – Kvelertak –  Call it classicrockcore, great guitar rockers go to hell – B

Cloud Nine – Kygo – I realize we both hate the Avicii wannabe on principal, but give the MOR EDM a chance, and you will hate him for better reasons – C-

Under The Sun – Mark Pritchard – Old school electronic UK guy, around for decades, and this is the exact sort of quasi-ambient sound you’d expect, with exceptions, the Thom Yorke track, “Beautiful People” uses the head Radio  nearly as well as PJ Harvey did all those years ago – C+

Pop Deluxe – Mari Wilson – This is an updated You Break My Heart In 17 Places, without the winking, superb straightforward covers of 1960s pop hits – A-

Thank You – Meghan Trainor – Modern pop album, and even when she gets deeper into her signature doo wop it feels like a sophomore attempt (though it is her fourth album), a huge disappointment – C+

Holy Ghost – Modern Baseball – The band are exactly where The Front Bottoms were on their second album last year, for all the strengths (“Wedding Singer” is world class), it isn’t enough fun. Also Jake Ewald is a better writer and a better singer than Brendan Luken, which means the album isn’t steady enough… but even so, it is consistently interesting take on growing older – B

Complete Music – New Order – Includes remixes of all the tracks on Music Complete – C

Tired Of Tomorrow – Nothing – Beautiful yet lethargic shoegaze, gets old somewhere around the fourth track but on a song by song basis is quite effective – C+

The Odd Tape – Oddisee – Instrumental jazz workouts with percolating hip hoppy drums – C+

Cut And Paste – Oscar – Brit poppy but the guy doesn’t have the voice for it, on “Sometimes” the back up singer is so much sweeter sounding, you wish she’d taken the lead. The songs are darn good – B-

Misadventure – Pierce The Veil – These post-hardcore come prog rock guys have been doing it a  long time, and have the stamina for great rock and also the songs, so it must be me, because this is very boring cookie cutter emo goes hardcore. I might add, I’ve never liked them so take that for what it’s worth – C

Wrong Side Of The River – Rob Baird – “The entire album captures a certain motion and movement of transition and open ended journeys…” the video’s director claimed on NPR. All I can hear is tired rockabilly – C

Hull Down – The Lines – Acute Records have recreated what they imagine post-punk synth and guitars, like a jumpier Jpy Division, third album might have been if they hadn’t abandoned it. It might have been quite good solid-ish songs plus synth side effects – B

Those Pretty Wrongs – Those Pretty Wrongs – Big Star drummer Jody Stephens’ new band sounds like power-pop meets the Byrds. Jingle jangle, not unpleasant though a little bland – B-

Union And Return – Torn Hawk – “the 11-track album was inspired by the idealised landscapes of painters like Karl Friedrich Schinkel and Caspar David Friedrich, which led Wyatt to incorporate themes of 19th century Romanticism in his music.” – I guess so, I mean, why not, right? – B-

Wild Pendulum – Trashcan Sinatras – The second generation Postcard band, are a little too smart for this stuff and it shows on the whistling outro to quasi-symphonic pop “I Want To Capture Your Heart” – C+

Down In Heaven – Twin Peaks – Wild Onion was one of my favorite albums of 2014 and I saw em that year and they blew the roof down -not bad since it was an outdoor concert, but these garage rock tracks sound laid back this time… I mean relatively laid back – B-

Eternal Returns – United Fruits – “The songs captivate what it’s like to fall in love, to feel pain from falling in love, letting go of love, and the fear of being alive”claims a United Fruit, and actually, that’s what it sounds like, loud indie rock-pop from Glasgow, teeming with melodies and guitars – B+

Alas Salvation – Yak – Excellent garage rock that inspires to noise and inspires to the Fall at the same time – B

Still Life – Young Magic – This sounds like Brooklyn at the turn of the decade, experimental mood songs… but with better drums – C+

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