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Be Here Now: New Albums 12-13-19 – 12-19-19 Reviewed

My Rival – Alex Chilton – “All previously unissued tracks by Alex Chilton, engineered by Chris Bell” and those guitars ring like a bell, try the title track for one, which, if it isn’t as George Harisdon-y as it sounds, is The Beatles meets the Byrds – A

Conference of Birds / Birds in Disguise – Avey Tare – The prolific Animal Collective pop artist, who once released an album entirely in reverse, and considers this EP a two side answer to his impenetrable 2019 Cows on Hourglass Pond, isn’t my scene though has a back ground foreground thing it has moments that are quite arresting as well as almost indie mainstream like “Enjoy The Change”… well maybe not mainstream – B-

Fully Loaded: God’s Country – Blake Shelton – six new songs, six hits, one keeper, the Trace Adkins duet on “Hell Yeah,” and a coupla others, including a duet with Gwen Stefani, that aren’t bad – C+

in case i die first – Chynna – The self-confessed Slytherin Philly lo-tech rapper brings an artiness to her cool, call rap and a huge debut EP that should have her featured everywhere, especially on Future songs. Only 18 minutes but nothing is wasted with fresh beats and a dubby, echo effect – A-

Sing The Melody – Dirty Projectors – Very aptly named and about as simple an arrangement as you could hope for, the songs fulfill themselves, especially “FourFiveSeconds” (which Dave Longstreth co-wrote)  and “What Is The Time”,” with the best vocal on the album and… “Knotty Pine” co-written with David Byrne. Dave’s best work since 2012 – A-

Duster – Duster – Slowcore, 90s cult band return twenty years later and if you liked em then, you’ll like their fuzzy guitar tones now – C+

Family Ties – Fat Joe, Dre – Urban Latin sounds have caught up with the 80s rapper on this feature overloaded pop move, and the Dre is super producer of Cool and Dre. Fat Joe has called it his retirement album and with featured rappers from Eminem to soul stalwart Mary J. Blige (on the same song), though the highlight is the Cardi B and Anuel AA  “YES” . Dre claimed Kanye as a major influence, that’s how he learnt to segue beats between songs – B+

Free Nationals – Free Nationals – Did you read Alyson Camus on the .Paak (the Free Nationals are his back-up band) Festival (here)? .Paak might well be a good guy, he ain’t done shit since Malibu worth mentioning. Neither has his backing band on a lousy, jazz and r&b soul album. From Chronixx to T.I., the band fail to excite just about at all – MUST TO AVOID – D+

When the Sky Came Down (Live at The Bridgewater Hall, Manchester) – Gary Numan, The Skaparis Orchestra – a reworking of Numan’s 2017 Savage: Songs From A Broken World, in equal partnership with the string orchestra to rebuild futurism as prog… I liked the album as well – B

Fine Line – Harry Styles – The problem here is that while song for song, it is a valid release and a rock star move from Harry, it is missing that song and it needs. The closest Harry gets is Laurel Canyon high “Canyon Moon” and while it is certainly better than the early released songs suggested, it might not be enough… on the other hand, he just sold out three nights at MSG so there is that – B+

The Electro Dub Extravaganza EP – Jah Wobble – The former PiL, sometime cab driving, Bill Laswell friend has a four song EP of reggae stinged electro dub – B

BUBBA – KAYTRANADA – Canadian, electronic producer and remixer is talented enough but on the boring side over ffty minutes – C+

Golden: Live in Concert – Kylie Minogue – Two hours, recorded over six nights… in the US we don’t care, in the UK the Australian disco star is a diva and legend. You can hear why, this ain’t EDM, she is good disco – B

9 – Lil’ Kim – I saw Lil Kim on stage maybe three months after Biggie was murdered and she was a wreck… still is on this terrible update with bass and drums and quiet backgrounds – C

Searchin’ For A Good Time (Live 1976) – Lou Reed – A good live album with a terrific “Coney Island Baby” and a better than recorded “Satellite Of Love” and a band that seems to be studying jazz moves. The eleven minute “Heroin” to end the evening is just another good reason to listen  – B+

The Coldest Winter Ever, Pt. 2 – Ms Banks – London’s best rapper (give or take a Stormzy) second record is a strong as hell collection of real songs with unique beats, flow to die for, a cool veneer and astonishing creativity by the astounding new rappe as adept at r&b as rap and a cold as hell rapper … an instant classic – ALBUM OF THE WEEK – A

Hit The Latto – Mulatto – Atlanta rapper, with a heart of bass… dexterous rapper for sure and “Latto” is major – B-

Summary Execution at Dawn – Oath of Cruelty – Progcore but give the drummer some – B-

Christmas with Paul Carrack – Paul Carrack – I like his voice a lot though, the veteran session cum lead singer sounds great on moldy oldies – C+

Deadstar 2 – Smokepurpp – The least of the mumble rappers is one still living and even has a song with Trippie Redd, the best one still standing, It isn’t bad, “Pop 1” and “Audi II” are both worth your time, but mostly it goes in one ear and out the other, slowly and sometimes excrutiatingly – C+

Hello, You Bastards: Live in Reno – Stone Sour -business as usual kick ass rock and roll -though I use the kick ass reference with care. Proggy keyboards and screamo live on stage – C+

Heavy Is the Head – Stormzy – a real coming of age for Stormzy, one banger after another either vicious raps or r&b flavored unrap, “Vossi Bop” remains the standard bearer, both the H.E.R. and the Aitch features (together in the last third) are biggies, “Willie Flow” pays tribute where due. It’ll be huge in the UK, in the US not so much – B+

The Decalogue – Sufjan Stevens, Timo Andres – The score for New York Ballet 2017 -mostly piano classical – B-

When I Goose-Step – The Shins – The “New Lang” re-recording is a keeper – B-

Summer Series: 2019 – The Knocks – A richer sound than the Chainsmokers but not rich enough melodywise so the duo loses – B+


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