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Be Here Now: New Albums 2-22-19 – 2-28-19 Reviewed

waves – Anna Clendening – Singer songwriter as pop musician with electronic backing – C+

OK, I’M SICK – Badflower – The hard rocking avatars of mental illness have a glammy My Chemical Romance (without the operatic ambitions) pop punk  vibe with Josh Katz an updated Gerard – B-

Keep On Keeping On: Curtis Mayfield Studio Albums 1970-1974 (Remastered) – Curtis Mayfield – Why not? But why? And they should have included Curtis/Live, Curtis In Chicago, and the Gladys Knight And The Pips album Claudine,  and removed “studio” from the title – A

Look up & Fly Away – Darlingside – A sturdy and quiet Americana with strong harmonies and arrangements that remind you of Beirut – B

Home Alone – D-Block Europe – Better at ragers than at slower songs with the usual bragging undercut be self-deprecation from the London duo – B-

Europa EP – Diplo – State of the art EDM goes to Europe for featured acts, including Octavian who kills it on “New Shapes” – B+

The Slim Shady LP (Expanded Edition) – Eminem – An additional ten songs, some of which are not worth your time (an instrumental “Guilty Conscience”) and some of which are (“Hazardous Material,” “Bad Guys ALways Die”) – A

The Rebirth 2 – Eric Bellinger – The LA soul singer features the likes of Chris Brown and for the first half hour it isn’t unpleasant  in ways that it is once you reach the 90 minute market and counting – C

High Street Creeps – Feed Me – Jon Gooch sounds as trance as he does drums n bass on this electronic dance one man fest – B-

This Land – Gary Clark Jr. – Sure, it’s his best album since, well since his first EP. But it is a strident, stringest, self serving, dumb as John Legend, agitprop – C

a modern tragedy vol. 2 – grandson – Politics for folks who skipped social studies – C+

BIG BAD… – Giggs – Dark grime old school (ergo no trap) and strong arching raps though the flow isn’t great – B

Drip or Drown 2 – Gunna – When Gunna came up the ranks with Lil Baby, Baby had the flow and Gunna had the tone. That remains on these braggart with a major depression designer rap of the first order – B+

Nobody Told Me – John Mayall – Mayall is 85 years of age, playing with the kids on this more than predictable blues exercise, if you are that interested search out Bluesbreakers With Eric Clapton from 1966 – C+

Crushing – Julia Jacklin – Gorgeous dream pop sad songs, “Body” is one of the best songs I’ve heard all week – B+

While We Wait EP  – Kehlani – A nine song holding action when we wait for her SweetSexySavage, she should have added a song and called it an album as the standard of pop moods is otherworldly. From the opening track, featuring Musiq Soulchild, this is grown up pop maneuvers to a chill beauty with 6lack, this is one of the best releases of the year – ALBUM OF THE WEEK – A

Songs of Instruction – Kim Taylor – Singer songwriter who channels a personal folk vision – B

Harverd Dropout – Lil Pump – 16 songs in forty minutes with everyone from Weezy to Ye to Lil Uzi Vert coming along for the ride on this nursery rhyme self-loving brag stuff about money, clothes, money, etc. It really has no right being so much fun – B+

[X X] – LOOΠΔ – K pop girl band adds EDM to neo-r&b to good effect – B

Awaken: The Surrounded Experience – Michael W. Smith – Better living through Jesus self-help guru is completely awful, these bloated godhead songs are an exercise in Jesus appropriation and any man who keeps on bragging about all he does for charity is the definition of suspect – MUST TO AVOID – D

FATHER OF 4 – Offset – For a man having so much fun, Offset sounds a little bored. Plus, as self-portraits, go admitting to a threesome while his wife was pregnant hits me as business as usual. Still, Offset is a gifted guy and “Legacy” is good, “Clout” is good, “Red Room” is great, and the rest is as good as Culture 2 – B+

No Strange Cats…P.A.W – Radkey – Afro Punk riffarama, sounds a little slight in the year 1865 – B-

Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music, Vols 1 & 2 – Ray Charles – Finally available digitally, now where is the rest of his catalog? – A+

Anthem (Original Soundtrack) – Sarah Schachner – The music from the game, sounds dramatic in a Richard Strauss sort of way, why do you seldom see women composers? – B

Eton Alive – Sleaford Mods – their best album since their first is a terrifying vision of  a Great Britain whittled down to nothing as Jason Williamson adds cockney rhyming slang and Andrew Fearn keeps everything as down as possible – B+

Apex Legends (Original Soundtrack) – Stephen Barton – Another EA game – C+

Suspiria Unreleased Material – Thom Yorke – More of the instrumentals, aka the stuff we didn’t need more of – C


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