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Be Here Now: New Albums 2-21-20 – 2-27-20 Reviewed

Let the Rhythm Lead: Haiti Song Summit, Vol. 1 – Artists for Peace and Justice, Jackson Browne – Ugh, good cause but does this world music tedium self important crap have to be so painful going down? – C-

Look at Us Now Dad – Banoffee – As a major disliker of Charlie XCX style neo-pop electronic arrangements, the queer pop Banoffee isn’t really for me, and even so it is a strange and catchy pop triumph where the songs zoom on two lanes, one as catchy pop syrup and the other as a child of Charli experimental and marginalized outro alt celebration of all things other…. featuring more other than the average rapper Cupcakke on one song – B

The End Of The Game (Expanded)  -Peter Green’s 1970 The End Of The Game was a long guitar jam cut up into tracks, recorded just a month after he left Fleetwood Mac, and the expanded 50th anniversary edition adds singles from the same period. It gets in the way of the all of the piece album though “Beast Of Burden” reminds you that the man with the blues sound was also responsible for both “Man Of The World” and “Oh Well” – B+

Always Tomorrow – Best Coast – Bethany Cosentino remains the embodiment of a certain sort of woman deep in search of her own identity and from album to album she is sure she’s found it except her SoCal songs (with help from her gifted foil  Bobb Bruno who does everything else as Cosentino writes the songs and plays guitar) are bummers way too often. Always Tomorrow is her fourth album as it reflects on her new found sobriety and she again attempts to rebuild herself. It takes a couple of listens, and usually Best Coast don’t take more than one, but it kicks in as moody and yet simultaneously upbeat songs about heartache in Cali. A mix of aloneness , break-ups, and  the rapture anybody who has stopped drinking feels, it isn’t as good as the towering California Nights but it is awful close,  an album with the surprise multi-tracked, one woman Bangles on the amusingly named “Different Light” at the top and one bubble yum Socal rock and pop track after another another, though if you wanna go track shopping, the sublime “For The First Time” is a good starting place, and the soon come “Wreckage” is a standout out jingle jangle guitar sound (ps: my friend Larry Lachman noted the similarities between Hotel California and Always Tomorrow‘s cover typography) – ALBUM OF THE WEEK – A-

MAP OF THE SOUL : 7 – BTS – The thing about indifference towards the K-Pop giants isn’t a racist backlash, I wrote extensively and with a great deal of pleasure  about the great Big Bang and its leader G-Dragon, seven years ago. But G-Dragon is what would happen if Charli XCX formed a boy band, and BTS are a boyband as manufactured via Big Hit Entertainment who see self-awareness as a selling point. The more they pour out their soul with mediocre r&b defaults, the less credible they become. And even if they were better, 20 songs and 74 minutes is way too long. Catch em live, sure, they dance very well (like synchronized swimmers!) but nothing here sticks for long – C+

Vision EP – Charlotte de Witte – cmon, if you wanna do house, do house, if you wanna build house across fresh beats left to catch as you can, then don’t be surprised when people won’t try it till they’ve dropped molly – C+

Freaks & Beaks – Claude VonStroke – Bass based EDM tweaks and leaks – C+

Dreamland – COIN -indie rockers from Nashville need to be much better if they are gonna shove 80s tech elements on us – C-

Más Caro, que ayer – Gerardo Ortiz corridos all day long with a mariachi background sound and dashes of accordion – B

Miss Anthropocene (Deluxe Edition) – Grimes – Charli, Banoffee, Grimes: this is the sound of modern pop breakdowns. Miss Anthropocene (misanthropy -geddit, she coulda called it Annie Hall), finds Grimes calling down the goddess of our times to watch the end of the world and dance, but by ourselves, to the sound. Meanwhile, the songs are a microscope on the fall out from dating the forward thinking himself Elon Musk, and while it doesn’t connect in the one place it should, where the walls of sound meets the melody, it is original stuff and Grimes best to date – B+

Got It Made – Kamaiyah – a good rapper with an ear for a sample and a strong soul that makes her a rarity who doesn’t follow Nicki Minaj into strong women, hard raps – B

Expectations – Katie Pruitt -slow as molasses Americana that veers from country to folk, the song at the top, “Wishful Thinking”, is gorgeous and the rest slows down a slow process – B-

Made Up Lost Time – Kevin Garrett – blah r&b blue eyed soul EP from Bey’s Lemonade friend – C

Man Alive! – King Krule – drum and bass dub, arty sounds, downbeat croak, and lotsa depression,  Bristol sound after Bristol passed, comes across like a white Tricky only much less accommodating (when I saw KK at Bowery Ballroom he performed in virtual darkness just like Tricky did on the Bjork tour in 1996). A lot of Man Alive! is bass and drums but the structures are stronger and melody lines keep emerging even as depression wrecks his head. Like the man said, if the moon could listen to music it would listen to King Krule – B+

Music From and Inspired by The Film Birth Of The Cool – Miles Davis – those fucking commentary tracks ruin the experience – C

græ: Part 1 – Moses Sumney – Though there is only one “Cut Me” here (guess what it’s about I dare you), the Ghanaian-American pop artist doesn’t actually traffic in Afro-Beats anyway, his music is everything Banoffee hints around elsewhere in the sense that it is postmodernism tracking and arranging tones anchored by his gorgeous voice… at 38 minutes it is still only Part One – A-

Ordinary Man – Ozzy Osbourne – Ozzy Osbourne’s first album in ten years, Ordinary Man, is so good I would be especially excited to see him on stage at MSG, after rescheduling from June 2019 to June 2020, except he just cancelled. He has Parkinson’s Disease. On the strength of the heavy metal plus a plethora of featured artists the 70 year old Osbourne had at least one more tour left in him, and he has gone on the record to explain it isn’t the Parkinson’s but pinched nerves that have stopped him from touring so he might make it back (he was in fine form when Alyson met him last week here).  Certainly, the Post Malone song is terrific and the lead off track a thundering beauty and the Travis Scott feature proves Ozzy is more than capable of integrating hip hop into his sound. Let’s hope we get one more sighting

The End of the Game (Expanded) – Peter Green – The 1970 The End Of The Game was a long guitar jam cut up into tracks, recorded just a month after he left Fleetwood Mac, and the expanded 50th anniversary edition adds singles from the same period. It gets in the way of the all of the piece album though “Beast Of Burden” reminds you that the man with the blues sound was also responsible for both “Man Of The World” and “Oh Well” – B+

Precious Memories (Worship & Faith) – Randy Travis – A conceptual backtrack to 2003’s Worship And Faith, Randy spent the 10s between secular covers and spiritual covers, and his voice is great of course, and after his mental instability he sounds calm and normal. Great. But who is in the market for one more “Softly And Tenderly”? – B-

The Allegory – Royce Da 5’9″ – An OK rapper, a great rhymer, but a bore on a long whinge about how blacks are abused and black rappers are clowns, still the songs really do hit soon and hard, try the early “Dope Man” and the late “Upside And Down” take down of black rap culture – B

Uncovered – Steve Harley – The “I’ve Just Seen A Face” gave me the wrong impression of it, I thought the Cockney Rebel was providing a by the numbers cover album of 60s influence, the other obvious one is a first class Americana “When I Paint My Masterpiece”. But there is other, very strong stuff here, and start with the Eddi Reader duet “Star Of Belle Isle”, and stop wherever you choose with impunity – B+

The Mythos Suite – Stephen Fry, Debbie Wiseman, National Symphony Orchestra – Persephone, Sisyphus, Apollo, oh my – B-

Kochi EP – Sultan + Shepard – Toronto’s  very popular House DJs, and it is easy to hear why on this beautiful crafted electronic sounds – B+

A Love Letter To You 4 (Deluxe) – Trippie Redd – Trippie shakes up the track placement to keep you  guessing and adds eight new songs featuring the likes of Chance The Rapper and Russ. At a nearly 90 minute run time, it sounds shorter because you already know so many and if Trippie sucks live (he got tossed off Travis Scott’s tour two years ago) he is still great on emorap beauties – B-

Still Flexin, Still Steppin – YoungBoy Never Broke Again -the talented rapper, spots and sings through some strong songs, “Bat Man” is excellent – B+

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