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Be Here Now: New Album Reviews 8-28-15 – 9-3-15

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ALBUM OF THE WEEK: 8-28-15 – 9-3-15

Cheers To The Fall – Andra Day – Neo-classical soul leaves me ice cold, and while I love the Amy Winehouse edge to the Stevie Wonder find’s voice, this is a collection of disappointing songs – C

Inanimate Objects – Atlas Genius  “Swirling pop textures”, it says on the Apple Play Editor’s notes. That would explain it – C

Brand New – Ben Rector – Talented fellow, able to add color to his piano based palette, a string, some stand out drums, and while his songwriting skills aren’t quite there, he can write an analogy, “I feel like a drunk John Cusack” he claims on the title track  – B-

Matter Of Time – Cold Shower – LA indie pop, get the darkness in indie pop and fuzzy guitars can only help – B-

Depression Cherry – Dream House – Dream pop with  that free floating whirl of synth sound and nobody this duo now in its tenth year has a whole lot of competition this week and this isn’t even the best, like a sweet sleep about a sweet sleep, it is boring but comforting – C+

Abandoned – Defeater – “No place to pray for peace”, this hardcore band claim as their on going story albums reaches 1943. When you are dealing this much exposition, the songs come second but in this case they manage to maintain a consistent hard push – B-

What Went Down – Foals – I severely underestimated these guys for years, probably because they’re from Oxford, but there was no getting round the title track here. The rest of the album gets a little too arty for my tastes, I hope I never hear “Nightswimmers” again in this life, but enough of it hits homes – B+

Pickpocket’s Locket  – Frog Eyes – Nick Cave meets Jack White with a Death Cab indie vibe, darkly catchy – B-

Zune – Grandchildren – Very catchy modern indie pop using electronics to signify – B

Badlands – Halsey – Being sold as a homegrown Lorde, I missed the boat so badly on Lorde I  might be wrong in dismissing this middlebrow pop move completely as well,  and “New Americana” is quirky clever enough to maybe break her out, but it doesn’t have the strangeness of Lorde, and the album has no other moment as clever as the one where she picks a new smart rhyme for the genre that isn’t one – C

Phases – I See Stars – Hardcore band goes acoustic, and wins out in every way. This is like good mainstream rock – B-

Can’t Fly Without Gravity – K-Os – Old school, but not very old school, hip hop plus samples a plenty. The Jehovah Witness, around since 2002, is cool enough to have Saint Denzel Washington on one track. Unfortunately, it isn’t much of a track – C-

Rom-Drom – Liam Corcoran – The excellent Canadian pop band Two Hour Traffic has broken up, and this is the first solo endeavor and it is perfect singer-songwriter  tracks that will probably never find its audience – B+

Start Here – Maddie And Tae – “Girl In A Country Song” was a fluke, everything else is typical Big Machine Records grooming for pop stuff. Catchy but lukewarm. The giveaway is “Downside Of Growing Up” where the twenty year old duo have zero of interest to say about being 20 – C+

Turkey – Mike Krol – Intriguing power pop noise but he can’t sustain it over an album – C+

How The Spark Loves The Tinder – Monk Parker – Haunting downbeat songs of loss, and even better than you think it sounds like it is. “Sad Yes” is just about exemplary – B+

The Essential – Van Morrison – A Legacy Release summation: The first  CD is  business as usual,the second side, once he gets to the Hymns To The Silence double, is what we’ve been waiting for. Then you’re in for a treat… look, nearly at all the albums suddenly on Spotify!  – A

Bad Magic – Motörhead – The best hard rock album of the year. Decade after decade, Lemmy knocks it out and knocks it out and knocks it out. The strong hard riffs and amphetamine driven drums are peerless – B+

What Should Be Not Unearthed – Nile – These gosh darn deatheaters -I think they should be banned from the UK – C+

Curious Volume – Pentagram – Mainstream old school metal, does what it does pretty well – B-

Personal Computer – Silicon – Electronica from former Unknown Mortal Orchestra, pretty soaring stuff – B

Kept – Stolen Jars – Clever electronic popstars? I can’t throw a brick without hitting one today and this duo are very good at it, maybe that’s why they were used in that Ipad commercial – B

Cranekiss – Tamaryn – New Zealand shoegaze, not bad at all – B-

Destroy. Rebuild – The Jet Age – Rock trio channeling who can crunch down on a song like nobodies business. – B

Beauty And Madness – The Weeknd – While it takes awhile to kick in, by the third track “Tell Your Friends”, a self-portrait with Kanye West adding the instrumental break and one of at least five huge tracks here, it is all over and The Weeknd has stolen the r&b crown. The comparison has been with Michael Jackson, and while he has the soulfulness, I am not sure he has the dance move and while I still prefer Miguel, I’ve got a feeling this is a grower – B+

Poster – Tijuana Panthers – Garage rockers with surging  guitars all day long – B

Nocturnes – Willis Earl Beal – Good voice, but this mood soul is a little dreary – C

Stuff Like That There – Yo La Tengo – This is exactly how I like my Yo La Tengo, a sequel of sorts to their masterpiece, 1990’s Fakebook , every song here has a reason for being and if none of them is “Did I Tell You” or “Oklahoma USA”, all of it as a whole has the tunefulness and character of the latter: a superb collection of covers, of theirs and others,performed to get every single melodic element out of every single song of those type of songs. And, hey, maybe “Friday I’m In Love” is as good as the Kinks cover back in the day. Their best album since 1997 – ALBUM OF THE WEEK – A-

 

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