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Be Here Now: New Album Reviews 9-28-18 – 10-4-18

Reduxer – alt-J – Listening to these remixes as they were released as singles,  I was consistently surprised at how good they were. Let’s hear it for Little Simz – B+

The Atlantic Singles Collection 1967-1970 – Aretha Franklin – I know we all know this stuff, but hearing these singles one after another is pretty remarkable, even the Beatle and Elton cover, and while it is hard to find growth between , say, “RESPECT” and “Border Song” not even vocally, it is impossible to find a flaw – A

Infections Of A Different Kind (Step I) – AURORA – The Norwegian singer has a cool poppiness here that seems to float in with ease over the ear candy, strong stuff – B+

Acoustic Volume 2 – Bayside – Painful soft rock by emo punks – D+

Weeds – Bennett Bowtell Urquhart – Already a phenomenon in Australia where the country supergroup have already won two Golden Guitar Awards (aka CMAA Country Music Awards) for Best Group and Best Alt. Country for this eponymous debut, their second album, Weeds, is just released here. More Americana than pure country when slow, more country swing than pure country when it gets rowdy, the quality of songwriting, singing, and performance is really quite impeccable. Try “Mountain Of Pain” for Americana, “Any Bells” for swing – A-

Vital Idol: Revitalized – Billy Idol – I guess that’s one way to renew interest, but too much is too obscure. Hang around for the Paul Oakenfold remix – B-

Disease – Beartooth – Hardcore riff merchants tackle depression – C+

Dancing Queen – Cher – I thought it would be worse, but the hits hold up pretty well – C+

Elephants on Acid – Cypress Hill – Four years gestation and peaking early  with a Middle Eastern flavored ode to hash “Band Of Gypsies”, before going full Wiz with “Jesus Was A Stoner,” this is as eclectic an album of weirdness and weed culture as the boys have ever made. Less childlike, more grown up, always fascinating and often bewildering,   B-Real, DJ Muggs, Sen Dog and Eric Bobo haven’t learnt much about weed but sounds they are an expert at and the rapping is very strong all the way through – A-

Play – Dave Grohl – This was released back in August but I missed it till I read an Allmusic review. It is a long instrumental passage (22 minutes) and seems to answer my problems with his AOR riffology – B-

Strip Me Bare, Vol. 2 EP – David Keenan – Americana tropes and folky acoustic vibing, overwrought and then some – C+

Mi Movimiento – De La Ghetto – The prolific De La Ghetto is a huge reggaeto9n star, prolific beyind reason. Here the first three songs, opening with a Daddy Yankee featured burst of energy, makes you think you are in for a great ride. Soon enough the ballads kick in – B-

WUT WUT – Dillon Francis – The popular EDM DJ continues to add Latin pop to his mix on this uneven construct – C+

Hallelujah Here Below – Elevation Worship – Just for the fuck of it, compare this rubbish to Craig Finn’s “Honolulu Blues”. This is faith for dingbats – MUST TO AVOID – D

Burn The Ships – for KING & COUNTRY – Brutal CCM soft rock. Just no.

Cloud Symbols – Graham Parker – The quality of songwriting here is unsurpassed, every song is a gem. It was recorded with The Goldtops (Martin Belmont (yes, the Rumours are true), Geraint Watkins, Simon Edwards and Roy Dodds) and six songs feature the Rumour Brass on horns. In another age Cloud Symbols would have the entire world holding its breath but time is remorseless and so is fashion – ALBUM OF THE WEEK (and one of the top five of the year)  – A

Bambi – Hippo Campus – Indie soft rockers sustain a middling mood – C+

summer, – Jeremy Zucker – Dreary, emotional teen angst electronica – C

Bad Reputation (Music from the Original Motion Picture) – Joan Jett & The Blackhearts – Jesus, not another greatest hits? I haven’t seen the movie but I assume it is killer… this is missing anything off her best recording Album, and that is pathetic. Also, no, Joan, you didn’t sing “Smells Like Teen Spirit” with Nirvana, Kurt wasn’t there, you putz. However, the “I Love Rock N Roll” with half of the Sex Pistols is fun,. The newer stuff kinda sucks.  – B

Conatus – Joep Beving – “My Grandmother gave me her piano just before she passed away…” I believe him – C

An Introduction To Led Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin – Killer, ten songs, all ace – A+

Led Zeppelin x Led Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin – Less killer, 30 songs, not all ace – B+

Tha Carter V – Lil Wayne – Some of this ranks among his best work, “Mona Lisa” is a perfect rap track if what you love is rapping (it features Kendrick Lamar who ups his sky high skill levels), and it covers just about everything you love about him: Weezy the rocker, the rapper, the soul man (everything but Weezy the Drake mentor)  but it goes on way too long – B+

Wouldn’t It Be Great – Loretta Lynn – Nice one, produced by Lynn’s daughter Patsy Lynn Russell and Johnny and June’s kid John Carter Cash, Loretta wrote or co-wrote every song and it has the quality of 70s country, old school and all about the songs, could have used a coupla bigger tracks  – A-

YSIV – Logic “This shit is Boom-Bap” Logic claims -which explains why Wu Tang are on board. I like the drum sound as much as you (but not as much as 90s rap fans). “”Fuck a mumble rap, that shit won’t never be remembered…” Logic claims on his fourth  Young Sinatra entry… maybe, certainly this rat-a-tat rap attack is a revelation  – B+

For My Crimes – Marissa Nadler – Nadler may well be a miserable sod, and these songs may miss an achor as they sweep the ashes of lost romance, but the songs are strong enough to survive it , especially the astounding “I Can’t Listen To Gene Clark Anymore”. It needs time and we don’t have time, but try and meet these songs of loss half way – B+

NYLA – Marsha Ambrosius – Neo-r&b, very produced, very eclectic… she has yet to improve on Late Night And Early Mornings – C+

Digital Garbage – Mudhoney – Old school noise punk but a group who know how to do it – B

It’s About Time – Nile Rodgers, CHIC – Great to hear from Teddy Reilly on the “Sober” remix,   “New Jack” Sober”… otherwise this is pleasant and unassuming old school disco, but the Chic magic isn’t on full tilt, I think Niles needs a collaborator – B

Bigger Picture – Rita Wilson – so bad it’s painful, what has Mrs. Tom Hanks have to whinge about? I didn’t mind her 2012 album, but his is a real downer – C

Blood Red Roses (Deluxe Version) – Rod Stewart – Or septuagenarians have more fun, this is the third of the rejuvenated Rod albums and the worst, reaching a nadir with a dreadful “It Was A very Good Year” and even at its best, er… maybe “Didn’t I”… this is a relentlessly tedious piece of blather and just proves how special 2013’s Time was – C

Brighter Days – Sigala – Ever since Sigala remixed a Jackson Five song he has been in demand… Ella Eyre adds her voice, so does Kylie Minogue, and John Newman (who has been quiet lately) but this is bland EDM DJ stuff – C+

An American Treasure (Deluxe) – Tom Petty, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Mudcrutch – You get the feeling the estate are holding a boatload of stuff back. I mean, “Gainesville”? – B

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