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Be Here Now: New Album Reviews 9-29-17 – 10-5-17

A Boogie Wit da Hoodie – The Bigger Artist – I’ve admired this guy since I caught  him opening for Drake last year, this has a similar moody r&b plus rap feel to it, “Say A” oozed hooky goodness and it remains a constant blue black inkiness modern soul jones – B+

Allem Iversom – Without You – Smokey jazz instrumentals, though surely not the answer – C+

Balmorhea – Clear Language – Very lovely instrumental mood music, if you’re stuck in an elevator with this piping in you’d walk out with a beatific high – B

Belinda Carlisle – Wilder Shores – Remember when she was a tubby, horny teen Go Go hedonistic arbitrator of cool? Neither does she on this drag  series of Sikh chants sung by Carlisle in Gurmukh and English, since in English she is singing stuff like “I am the light of my soul,” perhaps she should keep to Gurmukh – C

Benjamin Clementine – I Tell A Fly – Fascinating, beauty of a folk soul conglom and quite as good as his debut… which was great – B+

Black Country Communion – BCCIV – Blues rock ala Led Zep – B-

Blanca – Real Love – This is CCM? Wow, first rate 60s style soul by a terrific singer… Jesus will be pleased when I tell him – B+

Blue Note All-Stars – Our Point Of View – Hand UMAS this, when they figured out they could sell jazz on Blue Note, they sold it. A supergroup of young visionaries, it says here. I’ve heard worse, but visionaries need a vision – C+

Cape Francis – Falling into Pieces – Kevin Henthorne’s one man band of indie Americana is a low key but inspiring album – B

Chelsea Wolfe – Hiss Spun – Sounds more like sludge than doom, but that sinking feelings is what we’ve paid for – B-

Christian Lopez – Red Arrow – Very pretty singer songwriter country with fiddles aplenty – B

Circa Survive – The Amulet – Blah emocore – C-

David Bowie – A New Career In A New Town (1977 – 1982) – Nine albums, including everything  from Low to Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps), some live tracks, all the B Sides. Conceptually, it should have ended with Lodger, but conceptually it shouldn’t exist… I love “Beauty And The Beast”…  – C+

David Crosby – Sky Trails – David’s worst album since he gave up drugs sounds like a Steely Dan rip off, a bad one – MUST TO AVOID – D+

David Gilmour – Live At Pompeii – From his last tour, the cover art is awesome – B-

Demi Lovato – Tell Me You Love Me – A no nonsense pop album full of sass and bad manners and sex and sex and sex, a complete triumph for Demi – B+

Dolly Parton – I Believe in You – Her worst album by a long shot, what have our children done to deserve this? – C-

DJ Kay Slay – The Big Brother – A who’s who of hip hop join the New York DJ on this kitchen sink to overflowing rap and hip hop job. Pretty much relentless – B

Echosmith – Inside a Dream EP – Ho hum follow up for  the popsters – C+

Four Tet – New Energy – Studiously boring sample menage on his ninth album, music to fall asleep at the wheel of your SUV, crash into a family of four and kill the lot – C

G Herbo – Humble Beast – “There are only two end results of being on the streets in Chicago: Die or go to jail”… or have a wicked hook shot, or become a rapper. G Herbo on his debut worries he is too real on these dark songs from the streets of the windy city – B

Ibeyi – Ash –  French-Cuban twins Naomi and Lisa-Kaindé Diaz, weren’t so hot at Summerstage a coupla years ago and while this is a unique sounding mix of old and young, it is sweet, tough and a bore – C+

Jamie Lawson – Happy Accidents – Exists to make Ed Sheeran look like a tough guy, with songs like “Falling In Love,” but at least no one dies from cancer – C

Jaws of Love. – Tasha Sits Close to the Piano – Tasha is his dog on this remarkably boring album – C

Jessica Lea Mayfield – Sorry Is Gone – Indie country-alt etcetera album about her abusive estranged husband, is as powerful an indictment of violence against women as you’ll hear. “Meadow” is the best song of the week – B

Joon Moon – Moonshine Corner – Franco-American soul pop band need to up their energy level – C+

Jordan Rakei – Wallflower – Soulful indie from New Zealand – B-

J. Roddy Walston & The Business – Destroyers Of The Soft Life – A fine exercise in old school rockers, with “Blade Of Truth” at the top of the class this time  –  B+

Kamasi Washington – Harmony of Difference – Mainstream jazz snoozers by the ever overrated go to guy for hip hop looking for cred – C+

Kristene Dimarco – Where His Light Was – Awful songs of faith – C-

lovelytheband – everything i could never say… Indie pop goes mainstream – C+

Lucinda Williams – This Sweet Old World – Her 1992 album, the re-recorded “Sidewalks Of The City” is excellent – B+

Marvin Sapp – Close – I wasn’t crazy over the single, but “He Is” is as joyful and jazzy as Gospel ever gets – B

Matt Maher – Echoes- “I think the Holy Spirit knew what I was about to walk through and needed to hear. I realized that a lot of these songs, in particular the worship songs, were inspired by hymns written in or around some personal experience or bout with suffering – suffering of all different kinds: personal, physical, mental, and spiritual.” – D+

Metz – Strange Peace – Gorgeous but not in a gorgeous way, walls of noise – B

Michael Jackson – Scream – In time for Halloween, Michael’s thrillers compiled for no earthly reason – C-

Miley Cyrus – Younger Now – I panned this last week, but listening again if you can get past her voice this is melodic mainstream Americana with a back beat – C+

Moses Sumney – Aromanticism – The art soul guy reminds me of Benjamine Clementine, only a little too weird – C+

Neil Finn – Out Of Silence – Lovely, yes, the sort of orchestral pop we expect from Neil… but a couple of memorable tunes would be nice – C+

PARTYNEXTDOOR –Seven Days EP – 26 minutes of neo-soul tedium – C

Pearl Jam – Let’s Play Two – From two nights at Wrigley, completely useless – C-

Primus – The Desaturating Seven – The return of the original line-up, if you like it, you’ll like this art funk ensemble a lot. I like it a lot, a fun time weirdness about leprechauns or something – B

Protomartyr – Relatives In Descent – A somewhat disturbing and edgy post-punk noise, well worth your time – B+

Propaganhdi – Victory Lap – Thrash metal but not too thrash – B-

Rapsody – Laila’s Wisdom – Goes on a bit but this is yet another terrific female rapper, she steps away from both trap and gangsta with a self-awareness and a lyricism – B

Robin chulz – Uncovered – Trance-y and dreamlike with some Avicii like EDM pop – B-

Shania twain – Now – Who says you can’t go home again? Brash country returns – C+

Shannon Lay – Living Water – Deeply sung and deeply felt, and very odd singer songwriter, a little too slow even by these standards – B-

Smokepurpp – Deadstar –South Florida is this year’s Chicago, and this is the third great album from the developing baby trap scene. Whether R&b or straight up rap, it is endlessly inventive, and four of the first five songs are terrific and “Audi” is close on its tale (though he’d be better off with a BMW) – B+

Stone Temple Pilots – Core Deluxe– Sure, it’s a shame about Scott and, I agree, this baby grunge is better than we remember, but it ain’t Tiny Music. This deluxe hits the two biggies: demo and live at the time, only missing outtakes – B

Tamar Braxton – Bluebird Of Happiness – 80s style r&b with hip production values but without the songs – C+

Tank – Savage – New world r&b and soul, plus rap. The title track is outstand, the rest of it isn’t – C+

Terror Jr – Bop 3: The Girl Who Cried Purple – Talented synth pop – B

The Bronx – Bronx (V) – Loud fast holla punk op – B-

The Horrors – V Glammy gothy workout – B-

The Rolling Stones – Sticky Fingers Live At The Fonda Theatre – You had to be there – C+

Torres – Three Futures – Nice line in Anna Gaca’s Spin review: “Three Futures is a slow burn, but Torres doesn’t require speed, not when she can hold our attention with something more akin to intense eye contact.” That’s exactly right, the songs are quiet but they sound loud, they are intense rebuttals to male sexuality through a borderline misandrist and full time lesbian who rips sex away from history – ALBUM OF THE WEEK – B+

Various Artists – Dirtybird Campout West Coast Compilation – “Barrump” is awesomely annoying,… they say “We have our tents, coolers, sleeping bags, costumes and game faces packed as we gear up for the 3rd annual Dirtybird Campout! Every outing to the Great Outdoors needs a proper soundtrack, and we reached deep into the Dirtybird vaults for a super sized version of this year’s Campout Compilation, with 15 tracks from several of the artists you’ll see perform in the woods.” Beats ahoy – B-

Various Artists – My Utmost for His Highest – The “Amazing Grace” by For King And Country” is pretty excellent. “Power To Redeem” by Lauren Daigle ain’t bad. “I Come Alive” is overcooked but it’s CCN, what do you expect? – C+

Wolf Alice – Visions Of A Life – UK shoegaze, sometimes it entices you in and sometimes it has you checking the clock, for a sophomore album it’s a little static – C+



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