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Be Here Now: New Albums 11-9-18 – 11-15-18 Reviewed

Victim of the New Disease – All That Remains – old school metalcore, nicely done to a turn – B

Solo EP– Anitta – The Brazilian superstar adds a song in English, “Goals,” and it is as good as the other two songs on this delightful pop confection – B+

Holy Hell – Architects –  this roars in the face of positivism, and death, with close circuit power punches but not much of their rumored melodicism – B-

Waves EP– Azure Ray – Beautiful recording:  a new song, a new song reprised, an old song re-recorded, a cover song, and another new song , they are all great, especially “Last Summer In Omaha” – B+

Black Velvet – Charles Bradley – Sad to see Bradley die, he was a real soul man who should have hit it big in the 1960s, when the material was good enough for him to shine – C+

100 Years of Nine Lessons & Carols – Stephen Cleobury, Choir of King’s College, Cambridge, Sir David Willcocks, Philip Ledger – The festival of Nine Lessons was first performed in 1918, meaning right after World War One -a mix of readings from the Bible and the singing of carols by the choir. I was raised in Church Of England (I mean for school), and English carols (actually, hymns more than carols but…), work a warm nostalgia for times I don’t miss in the slightest. It is very beautiful stuff, and the essence of English Christianity. The earliest recordings here date back to 1958 and the most recent from last year. If we must all worship Christmas as a secular hoedown, let’s have music as timeless as this -ALBUM OF THE WEEK – A

I Know A Ghost – Crowder – Crowder remains perhaps the most gifted purveyor of CCM, the title track is killer, and the next one is where EDM meets Jesus, then it slows to a crawl – B-

Sleeping With Roses II – Chelsea Cutler – The new world of female EDM singer songwriters, this one is a little boring – C+

Eden – cupcakke – Her second album of 2018 is as good as her first though without the thrill of the new. The standard of songwriting here is ridiculous, it starts at a peak and then goes up. Jael Goldfine wrote this in Paper: “(Cupcakke) compared her pussy to an easy bake oven, Niagara Falls, Buckingham Fountain, a Chipotle burrito, a private island, Gabby Douglas, and an upside-down Dorito; and dicks to Ariana’s ponytail, a UPS package, Spiderman, and “Peter Griffin… the head bigger than Stewie”. And that doesn’t even mention the terrific “Garfield” on this album. All of it is so good, especially Cupcakke’s pussy… – A-

First Collection 2006-2009 – Fleet Foxes – Indie Americana hits and misses from their first three years, it starts off alright, “White Winter Hymnal” is cool, but pretty soon you’ll be bored senseless – C+

Mockingbird – Gibson Brothers – Bluegrass harmonies on fair to middling songs, plus the effortlessly creepy “Travelin’ Day” about the day you die – B-

String Theory – Hanson – “A musical manifesto with new and career spanning works from HANSON, arranged by David Campbell, performed with the world’s leading symphonies.” It says here. The “mmmbop” is a goodie, so is “Joyful Noise” but “Yearbook” is a major bummer, so good for the effort, mixed for the results – B-

The Capitol Studios Sessions – Jeff Goldblum & The Mildred Snitzer Orchestra – The instrumentals are keen, even if the feel isn’t a little history come to life -considering what I expected I ain’t kicking too hard – C+

Origins (Deluxe) – Imagine Dragons – Imagine Dragons learnt how to sell rock and roll with their first album in 2012, but they sounded force fed and opportunistic, eight years later they sound like a tough minded , electronic rock band. The slow ones are still soggy, the album is way too long, but the first half is their best work ever – B-

At Last…The Beginning – The Making Of Electric Ladyland: The Early Takes Sampler – Jimi Hendrix – I don’t mind the Hendrix estate just giving us a taste, hell, Dylan just did the same, I mind them not making the 50th anniversary Box Set available for digital download -that is just ridiculous – B+

Elastic Days – J Mascis – Simultaneously sturdy and slight, Mascis has morphed into Bob Mould in this remarkably consistent set of low impact rockers, the word should be plods but it isn’t, everything is supple and clever, catchy and addictive. Mascis has the dense, easy going sound a cat like Kurt Vile manages on rare occasions and no one else comes close   – B+

Blue – Jonas Blue – UK pop guy who knows how to play to a beat structured audience but not how to be memorable – C+

Glory Sound Prep – Jon Bellion – That digital Jesus line is a goodie, the Long Islander’s hip hop meets Geffen works intermittently, but it lacks in the hook division – C+

Spencer Sings the Hits! – Jon Spencer – Don’t blame me if his Blues Explosion never cottoned on, it was certainly good enough to. This garage rock is more of the exact same so if you like the exact same… – B

Experiment – Kane Brown – Standing on the shoulders of Ray Charles, Charley Pride, and Darius Rucker, Kane has forged a career as fluffy and mediocre as any country singer out there. This is Kane’s second album and it includes his very best song, written  for his bride, “Good As You” . And his second best song, “Short Skirt Weather” – B-

Young HeartThrob – Kodie Shane – Kodie is the sole female member of Lil Yachty’s crew, and while she can rap, on her third release what interests the Atlanta youngster is chill r&b, bluesy background tracks and fresh beats. “Love & Drugs II” you know, but hang about for “Thinkin’ Bout You” where indie acoustic guitars introduce you to a full fledged banger ballad – B

Bought to Rot – Laura Jane Grace & the Devouring Mothers- “On top of the world at the end of the world with you…” I’m pleased to note that transitioning didn’t effect Laura Jane’s pop punk sills at all and also, she has reached the place where her backstory matters not at all – B

BREACH – Lewis Capald – i Overwrought and way over sung -have we learnt nothing from Bing Crosby? – C

Signed To The Streets 3 – Lil Durk – Atlanta trap with 20 songs and guest including Future and Gunna -the later is the best new rapper since 21 Savage, the tracks are strong without being particularly memorable – C+

Come Over When You’re Sober, Pt. 2 (Bonus) – Lil Peep – The remnants of the Pt 1 sessions, there is no “Benz TrucK” and there is no “Awful Things,” so consider this a solid second and third tier holding action for a future that will never arrive – B

Lover Chanting EP – Little Dragon – The ever popular  EDM band should never ever use whistling as a hook, as they do on “Lover Chanting”,” the rest of it ain’t bad – B-

I EP– Lucky Daye – This guy has a great back story (he grew up in a cult), but that doesn’t make this mainstream r&b any more interesting – C+

Vulgar in the Chapel – Margot & The Nuclear So And So’s – Tedious, ambient indie pop best of ish – C+

Come And Stay With Me: The UK 45s 1964-1969 – Marianne Faithfull – From “As Tears Go By” to “Sister Morphine” that rock and roll will kill ya – A-

You Know I Know (Deluxe) – Olly Murs – A new one and a greatest hits packaged together, not his best work… in fact he has been less than impressive since 2011, and this is just Little Mix without Little Mix, a UK pop EDM hybrid – C+

Simulation Theory (Super Deluxe) – Muse – These guys are so past it, they are like Coldplay with a bigger nose – C

Illusions EP – QUIX – Quintessential tedium EDM DJer with art aspirations – C- MUST TO AVOID

The Messenger – Rhett Miller – The first time round it was just such a relief to hear so much catchy pop rock, second time though you might wonder why you don’t remember any of  them from the first time around – B

Singular Act I – Sabrina Carpenter – MOR EDM modern female popster, harmless without being memorable beats and synth bubble yum from the 19 year old singer – C+

Hymn – Sarah Brightman – Now, this is old school MOR from the talented when wet Sarah, singer of overblown ALW songs till they sound significant, and here mixing quasi-opera, fake classical, and huge songs for those for whom Lincoln Center is too real – B-

NOIR – Smino – How much fun is this hip hop album? That depends upon how funny you consider a song called “Tequila Mockingbird” -I find it very funny and the song is quirky and fun with wild off-kilter sounds that veer towards a weird dubbiness… in other words, it is unique and worth your time – B+

Neon Future III – Steve Aoki – Some pretty big names are getting comped at Benihanas on this one, BTS, Lil Yachty,  Blink-182, Bella Thorne, Lady Antebellum… wait a second, Lady Antebellum? – C+

LillyAnna – teddy<3, Teddy Geiger – Shawn Mendes’ songwriting partner’s first solo album should hit big, songs like “Under The Blue” are dream pop with a backbone that should lift it into the charts, “I Was A Cult” plonks its way into your subconscious, and everything else is better modern pop maneuvers – B

Valiente – Thalía – Mexican superstar, she makes old school Latin pop that moves on its stomach – B

The Beatles – The Beatles – 107 tracks, the new mixes are harmless unless you’re an audiophile, the Esther demos are a treasure trove of awwww, and the studio outtakes make you wish Michael Lindsay-Hogg had filmed these sessions as well – A+

Limitless – The Piano Guys – They re-arrange stuff from pop to classical for piano – C

Fireside EP – THEY.- hip hop duo, the Jessie Reyez song is terrific – B

Still My Moment – Tee Grizzley – Hardcore gangsta with two thirds of Migos and Chance among featured artists but nothing to really excite you – C+

The Pimp Tape – Too $hort – LA legend second album of the year is old school rap, skimming over bars with authority though he never much gets out of the strip club – B-

Greatest Hits — Train – From “Drops Of Jupitar” to Hey Soul Sister” to… I guess that’s about it as far as hits go – C+

A Love Letter To You – Trippie Redd – Top of the pops emo rapper is the sound of teen today, sticky as hell and constantly arresting, “Topanga” deserved to be a hit and “1400/999 Freestyle” with Juice WRLD is the meeting of best  new hip hop stars – B+

Now NY – a True Groove Curated N.Y.C. Band Compilation – Various Artists – Somewhere between an overview of an indie scene that doesn’t quite exist and an overview of a True Groove artists 2018, which does exist, Touchy Feely is untouchable, Marla Mase is classic, Lost Boy? is a hit that didn’t, Khalil Kain is an intro to his upcoming album, Diane & The Gentlemen sound like a modern day Rockpile, and Dylan Mars Greenberg proves yet again there is nothing she can’t do. Everybody else is pretty great as well and it would be an “A” if Tomas Doncker had previewed a cut off Black Magnolia – A-

Wacka Lacka Loom Bop a Loom Bam Boo – Walter Lure & The Waldos – It actually dates from August but I missed it, consider this the closest we are gonna get to LAMF in this lifetime – B+

Westside: The Music (Music from the Original Series) – Westside Cast – Part reality show, part musical, all Netflix program, nine people try to become pop stars. I put my money on Caitlin Ary – B

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