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Be Here Now: New Albums 4-17-20 – 4-23-20

From Russia With Love Vol. 1 – ARTY – Talented Russian DJ- producer, adept at house and even better a trance dreamscape on “Redline” and not dropping the bass when you want him to – B+

Great American Saturday Night – Bobby Bare – the great Bare on a live album we haven’t heard before where he continues his mining of the legendary Shel Silverstein’s catalog on an all fun hoedown of parody and wittiness and neither sometimes – B+

Janktape Vol. 1 – Buddy, Kent Jamz – Buddy is a fine soul singer, Kent an LA rapper, together they work both sides, alone and together, and it is all good – B+

BLAME IT ON BABY – DaBaby – more of the same and the same is great, as long as he is this poppy and on the money, as long as he flows this well and spots it out and projects a pop sensibility aimed and targeted so hard at teens, he can do it for as long as he wants – B+

ChangesNowBowie – David Bowie – There is no reason this should be growing into a top ten Bowie album, but the nine song acoustic set recorded for the BBC for Bowie’s fiftieth birthday the day before his MSG big time gig, is a wonderful thing: Gorgeous, acoustic versions of some hits and some obscurities and all of them just beyond beautiful, has there ever been a “Quicksand” this perfect, this calm, this wilful: “knowledge comes with death’s release” and death is everywhere, for once we can’t hide our minds from it – ALBUM OF THE WEEK – A

The White Sea – Diane & The Gentle Men – You might remember Diane Gentile  from the outstanding “Boyfriend” on the True Groove curated Now New York, if you do you’ll know how strong her pop rock is, a definitive New Wave artist for the times. Gentile’s debut album includes “Boyfriend” as well as four songs from last years EP, another 2016 track, and four we don’t know, and all are first rate pop tunes, with lyrics like “wake up wake up, take off your makeup makeup” – B+

Do Si Do – Diplo – the title track lives up to its name and Morgan Wallen is also on a track, plus Jonas Brother a touch funky and EDM so Diplo goes country, but by the time you reach Julia Michael, not all the way – B-

A Muse In Her Feelings – dvsn – my token Toronto DJs include PARTYNEXTDOOR s well as big timers like Future and Jessie Reyez and… Buju Banton. Better than most folks cough medicine and penicillin slow jams – B

Earth – EOB – the Radiohead drummer offers an acoustic based album of singer songwriter experimental songs – C+

Fetch The Bolt Cutters – Fiona Apple – sometimes great, sometimes too strange for great, a clearly joining of Apple with other women and just as clearly Apple again deconstructing the men who she loves, clearly attracted to toxic masculinity. The percussion is excellent, I miss her piano, the songs don’t stick… what else? Using her dead dogs bones to beat drums is awful. Misandry is a great subject for rock music, one of the greatest, and she carries it well and if I was a woman perhaps I’d glom on it more strongly.  I just wish it was as great as I want it to be – B+

Most Hated – Fredo Bang – Baton Rouge bad boy rapper signed to Def Jam, not OG sure, but not very nice! – B-

Nightshift – Fuego – a little laid back for  the trap guy, strong beats plus Latin salsaish moods and bachata quietude – C+

The Bonny – Gerry Cinnamon – All those UK male singer songwriters, the James Blunts and Lewis Capaldi’s of the world, have been waiting on somebody who can actually do singer songwriter folk music with all cylinders and  Scottish 35 year old Cinnamon, who was meant to be opening for Dropkick Murphys around this minute, can do it it all on this collection of folk rock balladeering. “Bonny” isn’t even the best song – A-

Kindred – Hexvessel – known as “wyrd folk” it says here, slow and tedious core variant with huge prog semblances  – C-

Angelic Hoodrat – Kenny Mason – the young Atlanta rapper has a ton of skills as a rhymer and also as a skilled flow motion and everything he does here is at service to that… which makes a pleasant change – B

Miss Colombia – Lido Pimienta – written, produced and recorded at Lido’s home studio, this Spanish language world pop is all ear candy with sounds that shouldn’t be ear candy at all… a gorgeous album, let’s hope it finds an English speaking audience – B+

Los 90 Piketes – Miky Woodz – a definition of Urban Latin rapper, this has trap beats and superb rapping throughout – B

En Français – Pomplamoose – In French of course, the LA duo release a song a week and they compile them, here they are deep into 1960s pop Francais – B

Live At The Aladdin Las Vegas Sampler – Prince – From the Prince Vault: “A promotional single sent to US radio stations in Summer 2003 to promote the Live At The Aladdin Las Vegas DVD (released in August 2003).The sampler comprises of four tracks recorded at the 15 December 2002, Aladdin Theatre for the Performing Arts, Las Vegas, NV, USA, show…” and now it is on streaming service and it is fine, you know? Why not? Prince never much dipped as a live performer and the “Pop Life” is a terrific take – B

Hermitage – Ron Sexsmith – Ron makes being a world class singer songwriter seem easy, like breathing. But it isn’t easy and this fussy pop song album is a rare misfire without enough songs to pull it through, the best “Lo And Behold”, is second tier Sexsmith – B-

Back to the Party – Sam Russo – The latest in a long line dating back to Billy and Frank of one man agitprop balladeers who loved Joe Strummer – C+

SAWAYAMA – Rina Sawayama – “Commes Des Garcons” was a great song from the Japanese English queer artist and the album is a magnificent add to this experimental pop moment – B+

A Side – Sech – Sech was on the sublime “Ignorantes” earlier this year with Bad Bunny, on this excellent four song EP he heavies up the Latin trap but he sings against it and he has a wonderful  voice – A-

The Don Of Diamond Dreams – Shabazz Palaces – experimental art rap from the Digital Planets guy, dreamy nightmare stuff – B

Hurry Up and Wait – Soul Asylum – same ol’ Dave Pirner though he sounds older and has no “Runaway Train”,” he does have horns – B

Verminous – The Black Dahlia Murder – hard as fuck metal sinks you like a weight on your ears and then keeps going down, a big album and if it is your scene and just as good as 2017’s release – B

SXTP4 – The-Dream – After Beyonce’s 4 I assumed The Dream was next, r &b yes, but r&b on a Drakeish scale. Didn’t happen. He is a real r&b guy but also an ordinary r&b guy, and as ordinary r&b goes this is how good he should have been, it is his best work since 2011, a first rate soul album of sex sizzlers – B+

The Monkees Live – The Mike & Micky Show – The Monkees – Now with half of the Monkees dead but the other two, particularly Mike Nesmith, the reluctant precursor to Orville Pecker and other alt county mavens, they are still around. First Davy Jones died, then in 2016, the trio returned produced mainly by Adam Schlesinger, and released Good Times! to great acclaim and following Peter Tork’s death, Mike and Mickey Dolenz last year went on tour, and here is a greatest hits on stage Mike & Mickey Show with more Mike than we’re used to, two off the newbie, and a stellar production by Christian Nesmith and Andrew Sandover, leaving me regretting not going to see it – B+

On The Widow’s Walk – The White Buffalo Americana produced by Shooter Jennings, a little slow but the songs count for something and so does his baritone – B-

Moanin’ at Midnight: The Howlin’ Wolf Project (Deluxe)  – Tomas Doncker – Adds one dub version and three live tracks from three different shows, to the already No New York blues triumph adding fans everyday – A

Pray for Paris – Westside Gunn – OG rap all the way, Gunn has one of those Snoop meets Danny Brown voices like a tense whine of stress – B

One World: Together At Home – Various Artists – I’m of two minds whether to review the TV special and I think I’ll pass. Unfortunately, this fast release is business and it is terrible from one end to the other, everybody, everything. Eddie Vedder drowned by a Church organ, Rolling Stones are the best so you gotta think, Lady Gaga being Lady Gaga, Jimmy Fallon and the Roots drear “The Safety Song”. All of it. A miserable piece of crap. After the revolution you and I will own those mansions while these humanists  hang from their diving boards with their disgraceful platitudes about the service industry they enslave stuck like mistletoe right through the place their hearts should be – MUST TO AVOID – F


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