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Be Here Now: New Album Reviews, June 30th, 2015

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Neil Young + Promise Of The Real: Album Of The Week, June 29th, 2015

Found In Far Away Places – August Burns Red – Metalcore with a prog disposition and an excellent bowls of hell singer Josh McManness – B

In Another Life – Bilal – In a big week for neo-soul, Bilal goes analog with a collection of eclectic jamz, most of which are a little tough going for pop, but some of which, the Kendrick Lamar track”Money Over Love” kills it, are better than the average Prince student – B

Whitecaps – Dan Svizeny -Fuzzy singer-songwriter, very good as well but here is Pitchfork who also like it, writing about one of the tracks: “The way the chords in the chorus turn upward as a suggestion of something brighter on the horizon, and the muffled repetition of “1, 2, 3/ A, B, C” during the chorus suggest a more carefree attitude.” – B

Goblin Rebirth – Goblin Rebirth – Italian prog rock with a witty Ennio Morricone inspired first song and plenty of drama after that. They’ve been around here and there since 1972, which explains “Back In ’74” and also explains why this is the real deal – B

Broken Into Better Shape – Good Old War – The title track is a beauty but if these alt rock mellow dudes have another, I can’t find it – C

Venus – Joy Williams – Post-Civil Wars, Post-Motherhood, the beautifully voiced singer releases a powerful solo album with intermittently great songs. Call it Americana based self-portrait with the occasional surprise – B+

Injii – LA Priest – The UKs Sam Eastgate has spent the last five years building synths and now has dropped this electronic singer songwriter piece of weirdness. Much better than that sounds like it would be… some of the time . Call it eclectronic- B

The State Of Gold – Matt Pond PA – Indie rockers going on over a decade, sounds exactly how you thought it might though the arrangements can get pretty good. Violins, like that – B-

Dreams Worth More Than Money – Meek Mill – Mr. Nicki Minaj, gets his superstar friends involved as he switched from T.I.’s label to Rick Rose’s Maybach Music.  It is good as well, muscular modern rap and hip hop plus The Weeknd, Rick Ross, Diddy, Nicki Minaj, Drake, Chris Brown, Swizz Beatz and Future are on board. But from the chorale orchestra of “Lord Knows” to the neo-soul The Weeknd starring “”Pullin Up” it is as good as the sum of its parts – B+

Wildheart – Miguel – It seems a rule of thumb that any serious soul-funk performer will end up tapping into his inner Prince. Here Miguel has dropped a superb, distinguished, difficult but rewarding second album, that reads like a Prince inspired move to the 21st century that Prince didn’t manage last year. “Coffee” could well break pop – B+

Key Change – Mocky – Erudite  muzak – B

The Monsanto Years  – Neil Young And And Promise Of The Real – From “Harvest” to “Harvest Moon” to “Wolf Moon”, this isn’t the devolution we have been promised but rather a wildly eccentric rock and folk mash up, that works better than anything Young has done since Psychedelic Pill. Even the seven minute song that gives the album its title is a goodie, plus it is politically smart – ALBUM OF THE WEEK – B+

Freedom – Refused – Nearly 20 years after The Shape Of Punk To Come, this Swedish punk offer more of the same. The Shape Of Punk That’s Gone – C

Meanwhile… Back At The Lab – Slightly Stoopid – In the shadow of Sublime but grown up, it is an add and subtract of various jam styles and just about what it always is – C

Ego Death – The Internet – Syd the Kyd started with Tyler, The Creator as the lesbian DJ cum rebuke to all the gay baiting from a couple of years ago, here with former Odd Future member Matt Martians,  Syd the Kyd, she has dropped a sizzling hot r&b infused sophomore effort, that reads like a serious coming of age. It peaks up early with the Janelle Monae featured “Gabby” which seriously derails by the end – B+

All Is Illusory – The Velvet Teen –  “What can be borrowed and spent, as well as bought and killed?” the Velvet Teen ask on their first album in years. Then they answer the question over and over again on this highly melodic album – B+

All Tomorrow’s Boxes – Thom Yorke – If you forgot to buy it at $6 last year, buy it at $10.32 from Itunes now – B+

Lucid Dreams EP – Tribe Society – This is the equivalent of modern rock if modern rock was electronic beat rock bands – C-

Big Beat Yearbook 2015 – Various Artists – Exactly what it claims to be, Clean Bandit well represented to boot – B+

Soca Gold 2015 – Various Artists – If my review of Bunji Garlin (represented on this compilation) has given you a taste for Soca beats, get started on this year’s round up – B+

Summertime ’06 – Vince Staples – A busy week for Odd Future as the Junior Varsity team school the big boys for the second time today. “Fuck ya dead homies” is how Staples kicks off these terrifying stories of fear, loathing and poverty in Compton. If all there was here was “Norf Norf” this would be worth all your time, but there is another nineteen great songs on top – B+

VHS – X Ambassadors – One of my best friends loves this band, but she is a miserable one at the best of times. This is the dreary rock bands pop move, which means the beats are from an 808 and Imagine Dragons are on one song – C-

 

 

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