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Be Here Now: New Albums 11-6-20 – 11-12-20 Reviewed

Book of Curses – Adulkt Life  – former Huggy Bear and Male Bonding members get together for some fine post-punk indie rock noIse and wildness – B

The Human Demands – Amy Macdonald – over blown pop rock meets singer songwriter – C+

The Singin’ Hills Sessions – Mojave – Billy Ray Cyrus – five song EP, the LL Cool J as Americana is as surprising as it it is pointless – C

2000AND4EVA – Bree Runway – Londoner Bree’s debut includes assists from Missy Elliott and Rico Nasty as she travels through 00s pop and adds first rate raps throughout on a triumph of originality and fun sounding sounds – ALBUM OF THE WEEK –  A-

The Craig Charles Trunk of Funk Vol. 1 – Craig Charles – an excellent Northern soul compilation of incredible strength and beauty, one gem after another -this is what the Who wish they had been dancing to and it is all contemporary. What a scene…  – A-

Britten: A Ceremony of Carols – Benjamin Britten, Graham Ross, Choir of Clare College, Cambridge – Quite literally all new to me, and precisely the way I want my Christmas pudding, pianos and choirs galore in a brand new exploration of Britten’s Christmas music. The UK loved him – B+

Lullabies – Dave Brubeck – compiling Brubeck on Brahms and others, guaranteed to put your toddler to sleep – B+

A Japanese Horror Film – Chester Watson – “Got a lotta grim tales leaking from my stem cells…” Watson says on this sci fi barely above a whisper raps of angst and complete weirdness – B-

To Love a Fool – A Rooftop Experience (Live) – Cory Asbury – CCM disciple of Bethel with Americana Christian ho hum – C-

Without People – Donovan Woods – low key and pretty and brooding singer songwriter – B-

Armed Forces (Super Deluxe Edition / Remastered 2020) – Elvis Costello – I already owned the “Green Shirt” demo on the extended This Year’s Model, and the rest of em -three live shows and demos and B sides, any Costello fan already  has a handle on. Still always a pleasure returning here – A

Now Or Never – Giggs – the Peckham, UK rapper whom the thin blue line put a target on his back (two years for possession of a firearm, six months remanded for something that wasn’t him?), is back with a UK features teamed on this surprise drop mix-tape,  the attitude is drill though badass but the songs could be better – B

Perennial: A Hanson Net Collection – Hanson – The Net Collection is an online only series of songs for fans compiled and released to streaming services and it is fine, genre jumping adult-boy band songs – B

Christmas Album – Jackie Gleason – I saw a 60 Minutes interview with well post-Honeymooners and Jackie was a badass with a smoke, a drink, and a billiards table… that isn’t this instrumental album where Gleason adds zero to the Xmas spirit with these excruciating, slow and boring takes on the perennials – D+

Night & Day – Jack Phillips –  half new American Songbooks tracks, half Americana roots Southern sounds compiled from his last two albums – A

Mary Poppins (The Definitive Supercalifragilistic 2020 Cast Recording) – Live At the Prince Edward Theatre – I saw this on Broadway in 2005ish, it was the very worst Disney On Broadway I’d seen, worse than “Tarzan,” worse than “Little Mermaid” -an unmagical living nightmare and this version, which seems to have been guzzling amphetamines  in their rush to end it. They didn’t include the Sherman written and storyboarded song about animals in the zoo that didn’t make it to the motion picture. An abomination, a sin against God – MUST TO AVOID – D

Drinkin’ Songs: The Collection – MacKenzie Porter – Alberta Country, seven songs, all modern country pop crossover, all pretty good – B-

no one else, not even you – Mae Muller – signed to a major, these mediocre pop singer songwriter tracks may find an audience – C+

Malcolm Arnold: The Dancing Master, Op. 34 – Malcolm Arnold, Joe Mendoza, Various Artists, John Andr – Arnold is the definition of middlebrow, by which I mean he is a great deal of fun, and the UK composer had a cycle of nine symphonies, numerous concertos, concert works, chamber music, choral music and music for brass band and wind band, among his works. This is an opera that was never published (and how prolific do you have to be, right?)  Originally intended as an opera for television, it is beautiful stuff, there is an understatement to Arnold’s work that is a pure please – B+

Portrait of My Love – Matt Monro – The English pre-rock popster with another compilation. He was a beautiful singer, a UK Pat Cuomo, and the song quality and singing is constantly excellent here – B+

Grand Médine – Medine – The French-Algerian rapper’s seventh album is more street songs for Muslims – B

DNA – M Huncho, Nafe Smallz – Atlanta trap by the numbers but on its game by a rapper whose schtick is to remain anonymous, which he should manage – C+

Music from Patch Cord Productions – Mort Garson – the synth innovator, known for teaching us the moog in the 70s, here is what is left of his music for plants and the people who love them – B+

Emergency Tsunami – NAV – Nav is from Canada and you can hear that moody Drake vibe on the Punjabi via Toronto rappers constantly arresting album produced by Atlanta’s Wheezy as a series of smooth flows and quietly dramatic backing tracks – B

Classic Diamonds: The Originals Vol 1 – Neil Diamond – why does this exist? Why five random songs from his catalog put together on an EP? A baffling exercise – B+

some kind of peace – Ólafur Arnalds – have you ever had a really boring dream? I remember dreaming that I was working on a clearance report in the office, that was the dream. Just tedious. Like this tranquil dreamscape – C

O – Orianthi  – You might remember the Australian guitarist as Michael Jackson’s final guitarist, all set to appear with him at O2 when MJ died, she is a tall. statuesque blonde electric guitarist of high metal skills but stuck in a genre dead and buried and boring – C

Pylon Box – Pylon – The Athens, Ga post-punk band, who released two albums, and four singles before hiatusing for  seven years and releasing an album. Their stated ambition was to release a single, play New York, appear in New York Rocker and disband, they stayed around a little longer. This originally vinyl now streaming box set is a reminder how they were one of those twisty, angular guitar bands who failed to record bad music. This includes some demos and outtakes – A

Clouds Are Clearing: Mixtape 1A – SEU Worship – as in Southern Eastern University Worship, and while it has taken years CCM is finally figuring out how to lead the young to Jesus… this is a surprisingly good Christian Indie rock, nothing like the bombastic Hillsong guys who never get past the 1990s… kudos to Kenzie Walker singing on “Dancing At Dusk” – B-

I Owe It All To You – Shirley Bassey – I wrote a full review last Friday (here) and concluded that her grand finale is as good as it needs to be – B

Songs to Yeet at the Sun – Soul Glo – a brutal postpunk, screamo five songs of unstoppable power by the black duo – A-

Kokonya – Spice Diana – Ugandan popstar sounds like Afrobeats plus Dancehall, but with a lighter touch than we are used to – B+

Short Songs for End Times – The Casket Lottery – post-punk mixes screamo with emo melodies and punk attitude via Kansas City – B+

Electric Meditations – The Silence – post-punk goth tedium – C-

Pegasus (Spooky Sounds Edition) – Trippie Redd – I saw Trippie on the Astroworld tour before Travis Scott fired him for his terrible performances, that never built to last jumping on stage and rapping along to pre-recorded traps and raps, so on to recordings where this insanely lengthy 80 minutes zips in and out of your consciousness, Sometimes it is very strong, the early “Let It Out” is lovely, the brittle Busta Rhymes track is a time travelling beauty, but for much of the time it is tirelessly and relentlessly boring – C+

Tunng Presents…DEAD CLUB – Tunng – my response to nearly  everyone who tries to tell me about what happens when we die is: sez u… “English folktronica band Tunn with guests including philosopher AC Grayling and author Max Porter, whose book Grief is the Thing With Feathers was the initial inspiration for the band’s seventh album.” Meh – C

Keep Smiling Through – Vera Lynn – The first posthumous keeps to the original versions on a compact set of hits – A

Love Songs (2020 Remix) – Whitesnake – “15-Track Collection Presents Revisited, Remixed And Remastered Versions Of The Band’s Best Love Songs, Plus Unreleased Tracks From David Coverdale’s Into The LIGHT”… because what says i love you better than a guy whining in a high pitch while doodling on his guitar – D+

summerteeth (Deluxe Edition) – Wilco – I have never written a kind word about Jeff or Wilco, but I wasn’t writing in 2001 when their brilliant Yankee Foxtrot dropped, and I wasn’t writing two years earlier when an album nearly as good as Foxtrot dropped, this country goes indie and doesn’t come ever again. summerteeth. A just about flawless creation and this box set is beyond hubris. Over six hours of remastered, demos, live… Jeff made his great album a bore – B

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