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Be Here Now: New Albums 5-8-20 – 5-14-20 Reviewed

Songs I Wrote in My Bedroom – Anson Seabra – songwriting isn’t what it was and this Mid-Western denizen of quiet, sad songs has limited skills. But limited skills. These are quiet and emotionally tempestuous sad songs worth listening to – B

LAS QUE NO IBAN A SALIR – Bad Bunny – the album title translates to The Ones That Weren’t Going to Come Out and the follow up to an album barely four months old, still in the Top Ten, and among the best of the year, also follows a three hour live stream concert wherein Bad Bunny went through his closet of songs  and then decided to release some in a surprise drop. A 30 minute, BB plus guests album that while not as great as his earlier three (if you include the J Balvin collab, and do include it), it is damn close. The Nicky Jam song is everything you want, the Zion And Lennox is the best on the record, or maybe the Wandel… closer to a mixtape sure, but a terrific one –  ALBUM OF THE WEEK – A-

Lost Remixes (1999 – 2009) – Basement Jaxx – hardly surprisingly, if you are a House fan you’ll love this deep beats compilation – B

Mutable Set – Blake Mills  – There is a certain sort of LA scenesters that I dislike on principle, all those folks who won’t discuss Elliott Smith’s death and then kicked Ryan Adams when he was down. Or this turkey, who ruined Fiona Apple’s gig at Beacon Theatre in 2013 (here) and who is both experimental and boring on another sonically dull excursion – C+

Dear Future Self – Booka Shade – Berlin electronic duo’s ninth album in 25 years is crafted for clubs, beat oriented over (not under!) electronic anthem baring – B

Regresa – Buscabulla – where Latin pop beats meets electronic mood enhancers by a Puerto Rican experimental pop duo – B

Slime & B – Chris Brown, Young Thug – in case you forgot, that was Mr. Slime Season Young Thug on “Havana,” all the kudos you might need as a pop star rapper though he has been consistently killing it on mix tape after mix tape since at least 2017. This meeting of minds does both Young Thug and Chris Brown a favor, especially Brown who is too prolific to be noticed and who adds the consistency he has lost over the 57 song album before last  and 42 song last one. This is much better in every way – A-

The Curb Commentator Channel 1 – E-40 – That 1 in the title  tells you to expect a lot more from the West Coast legend, all good and “Go” is great – B+

Nothing Comes Around – Edith Frost – she calls it “pensive countrified psychedelia” and I agree without the psychedelic,  it is more like modern country Americana in a blender of thought… that’s a compliment earned by her cover of “Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone” – B+

Fake Names – Fake Names – Dennis Lyxzen of Refused is lead vocalist on this debut album of power punk, hard rock classicism which is more effective over an album where it builds up more steam than on the singles – B-

Half Written Story – Hailee Steinfeld – the Annie Lennox rewrite is a goodie for the Pitch Perfect pop star actress, but the rest is not untypical also rans in a crowded field – C+

Petals For Armor – Hayley Williams – seven years ago Hayley brought Paramore back from the brink of disaster (here), today she returns them there with a solo effort of fifteen quasi experimental neo-woman songs with barely a memorable moment, I wrote that Paramore’s gift was getting that one person to singalong. It sure ain’t Hayley’s gift  – C

Warnings – I Break Horses -synth electronica of relentless tedium – C

Fuktronic – Jimmy Urine, Serj Tankian -funky sounds plus UK spoken word plus the Systems of a Down guy – C+

Old Forgotten Altars: The 1960s Demos – John Stewart – John Stewart went from folk trio the Kingston Trio to composing “Daydream Believer” for the Monkees to recording for Lindsey Buckingham’s label. He died in 2008 and these demos are Stewart at his folkiest and that’s fine with me – B+

Descendants of Cain – Ka – dark and brooding raps about the nature of life, if the complaint in rap is lyrical it certainly isn’t here, where New York rapper Ka compares the Old Testament descendants of the brother murderer to compare it to his life in the ghetto is surely somewhere  – B

It Was Good Until It Wasn’t – Kehlani – The queer popstar with more backstory than imaginable, os mostly an EDM popstars with strong neo-R&B skills on this fine collection on sex and loss songs, not as good as 2017 but as good as last year’s mixtape – B

Just Cause Y’all Waited 2 – Lil Durk – not bad dark rap from the Chicago bad boy – B-

State of Emergency – Lil Tjay – emo not emo, he has flow, hooks, and a sense of melody that relates to emo rap and a handful of songs that have already hit as well as two good would be NYC anthems – B

Drop 6 – Little Simz – Brit rapper follow up to last year’s excellent debut album is just as good, especially “might bang, might not” – A-

12 Songs From Home – Ludovico Einaudi – deep, ambient based piano compositions – B-

Straight Songs Of Sorrow – Mark Lanegan – man, this guy is a drama queen… always was one with Screaming Trees but on these slow, sad songs he is even more so: listen to “Churchbells, Ghosts” -a completely devastating song of quasi spiritual bad vibes. Maybe not the time for something that black but it is still a strong selection – B

Bon Voyage – Mikey Erg – eight minutes of pop punk assault – B

The Weight Of The Sun – Modern Studies – electronic mood ambient songs with lotsa bass to rumble with – C+

Un Canto por México, Vol. 1 – Natalia Lafourcade – based on the concert performed on November 4, 2019 called Un Canto por México for the reconstruction of the Son Jarocho Documentation Center, these are recorded versions of the songs the Veracruz indie Mexican singer performed, mostly Natalia originals that sound like old school Mexicana – A-

Good Intentions – NAV – a week after fellow Toronto Drake dropped a mixtape, Nav does not embarrass himself with a strong, featured tetterring rappers cram course (including Pop Smoke), and some dark, sad rap songs – B

BOY – RAC -indie electronica, ambient soft focus songs with various lead singers – B-

Hold My Beer, Vol. 2 – Randy Rogers, Wade Bowen – two country stalwarts sequel to the 2015 Vol 1, with songs that consider themselves funny and occasionally (try “Rodeo Clown”) come close – B-

Ouroboros – Ray LaMontagne –  Ray adds arty occupations to his Americana folk – MUST TO AVOID – D+

Down In the Bottom: The Country Rock Sessions 1966 – 1968 – The Everly Brothers – The Everly Brothers performed some of pop’s greatest songs and those late 50s, early 60s Felice and Boudleaux Bryant are impeccable… then they all but invented country rock and I love the country though not as crazy about the rock portion – A-

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