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Be Here Now: New Album Reviews 8-19-16 – 8-25-16



Out Of The Badlands – Aaron Gillespie – Why is it when metal guys slow down, they all sound like Daughtrey?  – D

The Bible 2 – AJJ – Punk folk teenage dramas played loud, straight, fast forward, word song stories of distilled disasters, everything here is fabulous, even the guitar solo on “Terrifyer”,  but start at the beginning “Cody’s Theme” -the best song since that Paul Westerberg tribute a coupla weeks back – B+

Jumping The Shark – Alex Cameron – electronic pop guy, a little meh, though his vocals have a bit of the Presley, or at least Robert Gordon, about it – C+

Spirit – Amos Lee – Brutal singer songwriter – D

Moon Saloon – Arc Iris – I’ve heard everything…except this, a Kate Bush soundalike on top of a wild and strange musical mish mosh,  lightly explained as indie experimental – B

Vacancy – Bayside – Mainstream powerpunk band still performing straight ahead, but absolutely better performed hard rockers, sometime channelling, wait for it, Bruce (try “Mary”) , if you go for this sound, you’ll go for it big time. I don’t at all, but this is too good to be denied – B+

Every Night The Same Dream – Ball Park Music – Scuzz psychedelic scuzzed psychedelia scuzzy -what a pity it isn’t better, though “Blushing” is a nice change up – C+

After The Rain – Benjamin Francis Leftwich – I bet he’s a blast at parties – C

I’m Not Well – Black Foxxes – Mainstream UK rocker up and comers with one great song, “Whatever Lets You Cope” and a good front singer – B-

4th Of July – Carl Broemel – My Morning Jacket guitarist releases solo effort and it is exactly as good as you think it is, maybe a little worse. Apparently, MMJ received its whiteness from Carl but not its soul. The title track is like getting stuck at someone else’s family picnic – C+

Animal Races – Cool Ghouls – 60s psychedelia comes of age, without the heaviness of a Brian Jonestown, but with a consistent airy exploration of drug sounds and pop, a goodie especially the title track… that one kills – B+

A-OK – Cosmonauts – Cali garage rockers are all aggressive rock 101, riffs and swift switches and sinking drums – B-

Paranormal Romance – Cowtown – UK rockers with a 70s feel and tons of energy – B-

Life On The Road – David Brent – Ricky Gervais “The Office” creation becomes a rock star and joins with Andy Burrows of Razorlight for a mockumentary, of which this genre packed satire album is the soundtrack. I am a big Gervais fan, especially of his stand up, but a crap song is a crap song… maybe when I see the movie it will signify – C

Pure And Simple – Dolly Parton – Ten love songs, all by Dolly, all pure and simple and lovely. Her best album since Better Day includes her best song since “In The Meantime” in the title track, and while it drags from time to time, in short doses it is a fine collection of new songs from a great country songwriter – B+

Spark – Drake White – Sincere vocals only take the Nashville singer so far on his debut before he fails tp compete with his Americana vibrant live shows, A song called “Elvis” doesn’t own it and the one goodie “Livin’ In A Dream” isn’t good enough to save the rest – C

Seven Mirrors – Drapht – Can you have flow with an Australian accent? Yeah, and you can have good backing tracks as well… it still gets old fast – C+

I Think You Think Too Much Of Me – Eden – Electronic musician Jonathon NG writes real songs without writing good songs, though “Sex” is, as always, fun, the rest of it is nicely arranged bores – C+

Furnaces – Ed Harcourt – Flood is a big time producer but he does UK alternative rocker Harcourt few favors on this dark and brooding beauty of an album. Luckily, Harcourt has come up with the best collection of his career, highlighted by the bad trip “Nothing But A Bad Trip” and the self explanatory “Occupational Hazard” – B+

Weight Of Matter – Eros and The Eschaton – Dozey dream pop with explosions built into its make up, “Center Of The World” raves unto the light exponentially – B

Lotto – EXO – K-Pop boy band, a repackaging of their third album with extra tracks thrown in -the question isn’t why is Korea channeling NYSC, the question is why hasn’t somebody beaten em to it – B

Exploded View – Exploded View – Electronic rhythmic chugalug – C+

25 25 – Factory Floor – Beats beats and more beats – C

Endless – Frank Ocean – A video album in conjunction with the upcoming release of his eagerly anticipated album dropping some time this weekend, Endless. It features Frank building a staircase while low key r&b mood music plays. This might play better with people who don’t obsess about him than those who do, compared to, say, PARTYNEXTDOOR, this is sheer genius at rest: contemplative and downbeat,yet clever, musical, open to interpretation, and absorbing. Will the album have a different setlist – B+

GarciaLive Volume Seven November 8th, 1976, Sophie’s Palo Alto  – I once saw the Dead on Letterman cover “I Second That Emotion” and this “The Way You Do The Things You Do” is worse, 7000 miles away, the Sex Pistols were changing the world – C

Memento Mori – Gemini Syndrome – This is what constitutes mainstream metal, absolutely dreadful tracks saved by the drumming. As for the singing, when did everybody forget to sing tunes? – C-

Electric Soul Unity – Happy Diving – Fuzzy guitar alt rockers though occasionally they are a little more – C+

Beulah – John Paul White – Joins the other half of the Civil Wars in the absolutely no way to maintain a career without his partner stakes. A good, overly emotional voice, but the songs are less than inspired Americana, exemplified (if that’s the word I want) by the “I won’t cry for you…” blues bottom feeder coda – C

Believe – Jonathan Antoine – From the UK’s Britain’s Got Talent, this is the sort of pop classical singer that country thrives, a big voiced tenor. Overhere, we have Josh Groban. Bottom feeder? “Hallelujah” -put that song to sleep  – C

Down In A Hole – Kiefer Sutherland – Vanity project – D+

Brave Enough – Lindsey Stirling – Prog rock classicist (in the other meaning of the word) violinist gets a whole bunch of popsters (Dan + Shay? ZZ Top?? Rivers Cuomo???) to sing the vocals on her increasingly self-satisfied pop crossover songs. Maybe if she did an interpretive dance while they sang em? – C

At Midnight – Lisa Hannigan – Produced by the National’s Aaron Dessner, Lisa’s glorious voice is allowed to breath but the songs are a closed off post-modernist scaled back orchestrated blah, and the songs have problems breaking free. Having said that, “We, The Drowned” may well be the song of the week – B-

Real – Lydia Loveless – Two years after she broke through with her Liz Phair goes to Nashville “Head”, Lydia’s latest is missing that one huge song but makes up for it with a Stones type country guitar album of Grand Ole Opry worthy rock em track after track.  – B+

Star Core – Marielle V Jakobsons – Synthesized droning ambient music with melodies that appear unannounced and leave the same way  – B-

Mausoleum (Live) – Myrkur – This is black metal? Classical sounding chamber music for people adrift in their own life and not sure what they need an anchor for – B

Sundar – Pascal Pinon – Gorgeous folk sing songwriter album via twins from Iceland, who play it low and sweet with a classical air – B+

Partners – Peter Broderick – According to Stereogum “Partners is an avant-garde collection of voice and piano recordings inspired by John Cage’s attempts to remove himself from his own compositions using chance.” The piano stuff is ok, the spoken word is horrendous – C

Into The Water – Ritual Howls – Imagine if Joy Division had sex with Nine Inch Nails and the Get Up Kids and voila, there is Ritual Howls plus an industrial beat – B

Roosevelt – Roosevelt – Blah techno disco – C

Golden Sings That Have Been Sung (Deep Cuts Edition) – Ryley Walker – The good news is this ain’t going anywhere so I won’t have to worry about writing the album title again, the bad news is that this sublime David Crosbyish guitar folkish album deserves to go somewhere. Try the first song – B+

The Last Stand – Sabaton – Completely silly battle songs for progressive nerds with low self esteem,. Just about unbearable – D

The Childhood of a Leader (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) – Scott Walker -Anybody expecting a threepenny opera can leave right now: this is exactly what it says it is, the soundtrack to what appears to be a terrific movie, a fictional story of the rise of a fascist leader and the soundtrack does nothing more or less than accompany it – C

Miss Sharon Jones! (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) – Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings – Mainstream soul shouter battling against illness the way she knows, if only the songs were better – B

One Day All of This Won’t Matter Any More – Slow Club – Very lovely folk pop songs via Sheffield, “Rebecca Casanova” is a must hear, and it isn’t the only ear candy. All the songs sound modern but in a timeless way, and the song structures ebb and flow with ease and sensitivity. Both of the singers are terrific, especially Rebecca Taylor, whose vocal on “In Waves” is simply spectacular  – ALBUM OF THE WEEK  – B+

Death Resonance – Soilwork – A loud, big sounding metal album of the first rankL a timeless battering ram – B+

Eve – Thalia Zedek Band – A goth like doom sound and though Zedek can always sing, what she is singing doesn’t bear listening to – C

Of Monkees And Men – The Minus Five – Considering how bad it could be, these pleasant folk rock song tributes are pretty darn good, Scott McCaughey is a talented fellow, but also a boring fellow and that describes this album perfectly – B-

Big Life – The Rifles – 18 songs in an hour and still it drags like a motherfucker, UK rock sucks, that’s all – C-

Magic Fire – The Stray Birds – Country Americana, it’ll  bore you sideways,  though the harmonies can be pretty – C

High Anxiety – Thom Sonny Green – Electronic DJ guy – C

Sweatbox Dynasty – Tobacco – Experimental electronica using analog and tape machines – B-

I Told You – Tory Lanez – A fine neo-soul and rap album, filled with hot slow burnz…. but what’s with all the skits? “Guns And Roses” earns its name – B-

Pure Plush Bone Cage – Turtlenecked – ” “I wanted to see how many ideas I could cram into each song, so I think the weird unfurling nature of the songs is deliberate” claims Mr. Turtle himself, Harrison Smith. That’s good but that he manages a post-punk, post-modernism, sound manifesto that does just that is remarkable. Best named song of the week: “Black Flag’s Nervous Breakdown”- B+


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