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Be Here Now: New Albums 6-15-18 – 6-21-18 reviewed

The Play Don’t care Who Makes It EP – 2 Chainz – How big is 2 Chainz? I couldn’t get even near the VIP section at Gov Ball at the start of the month for his performance, and this truly excellent four song EP is precisely why pretty girls like trap. Short, sharp, and smart, this is aces – A-

Youngblood – 5 Seconds Of Summer – The Aussie pop punk  boy band are changing into NSYNC before our eyes. They weren’t much as pop punk, if it isn’t an oxymoron consider 5SOS an infantile Green Day, and at least it was there scene… this is anemic dance pop – C

Arthur Buck – Arthur Buck – I don’t know the Arthur, but the Buck is Peter Buck and this collaboration is tedious indie folk – C

The Blues Is Alive And Well – Buddy Guy – As living symbols of a genre go, Buddy Guy is to BB King what Tony Bennett is to Frank Sinatra, only worse live. On record that ain’t true where the 81 year old teaches whippersnappers Jeff Beck and Keith Richards a thing or two, and the Mick Jagger featured on harmonica  song would have made sense on Blue And Lonesome. This sure don’t sound like a swan song and if he played his delta blues this well on stage, he might become the BB King of BB king – A-

Liberation – Christina Aguilera – The ballads suck, the rockers rock, and the two with Kanye West are excellent. “Sick Of Sittin'” is one of the best things she has ever done, and the one with Demi Lovato reminds you who is still boss – B+

Head Over Heals – Chromeo – The EDM duo are always good for a coupla songs an album and here it is the Dram featured “Must’ve Been” that turns the trick, though all of em try but going from Ezra Koenig and Solange to The-Dream (having a busy time of it what with Nas and all) and French Montana, is not progress- C+

People To People – DNCE – Joe Jonas has had quite a run with his band but all good things, etc. This slow burn dance stuff is a real baddie, I guess he ran out of moves – C

The Best Of Fred Hammond – Fred Hammond – Three quarters of the songs come from his Radical For Christ years… dunno why – B+

Please Don’t be Dead – Fantastic Negrito – Hard rock, blues, soul, old school analog all the way follow up to his 2014 Grammy winner, is a winner all the way like the last hurrah of a passing by era – B+

Gene Clark Sings For You – Gene Clark – 14 unreleased songs by the late former Byrd and proof, if it was needed, that the man could write a song – A

Redemption – Jay Rock – In a busy period for hip hop, Jay could get lost in the shuffle though “Wow Freestyle” with Kendrick Lamar certainly shouldn’t, and the entire clear eyed life after near death deserves nothing but attention, start with “The Bloodiest,” then try the single “King’s Dead” and next the SZA featured title track – B+

1999 – Joey Bada$$ – Joey was 17 when he released 1999, his first mixtape. And with the late great Capital Steelz all over it, as well as the Pro Era crew and Kirk Knight, it works as a primer for the following five years. As debut releases go, this sounds nothing like a beginner (maybe because he’d been building towards it since 2010) – A

Call The Comet – Johnny Marr – Marr was always better as an alty indie rock star guitarist then a proggy arty rock star avatar, that’s why his first solo album, Playland, was so great, and why this over played and over written progger isn’t – C

Bird Dog Dante – John Parish – “Sorry For Your Loss,” John Parish’s tribute to fallen art rocker par excellence Mark Linkous, featuring PJ Harvey, is the best thing here, though everything else will get under your skin given time the album is a but on the slight side from half of the excellent A Woman A Man Walked By – B

Make My Bed -EP –  King Princess – The year of the queer identified continues, Troye finds the dance on the teenage dancefloor but King Princess is more electronic mood music on this extremely strong EP, try “Talia” – B+

Red Pill Blues – Maroon 5 – I saw Adam Levine looking bemused at discovering the lukewarm response at a Jingle Ball a coupla years ago was proof nothing stops the aging process. This is a typical collection of current pop with featured artists from Kendrick to Future, to A$AP Rock to Cardi B. They’ve already garnered one hit off it and there are a coupla other sure shots here… having said that, it is a  lukewarm though built to do what it will do -get streamed a whole lot – B-

Sunnyland – Mayday Parade – Punk pop by these new vets, includes the song title of the week, “It’s Hard To Be Religious When Certain People Are Never Incinerated By Bolts Of Lightning,” which sounds awful emo to me though the song ain’t terrible – C+

Bon Voyage – Melody’s Echo Chamber – French prog rock psychedelia with a soft touch – B-

Post Traumatic – Mike Shinoda – “About You” is the best song the Linkin Park lead singer has ever recorded, and these songs of loss and continuity are deeply felt sad vibes, building a life after the suicide of a bandmate  replete with Voicemail condolences – B+

Sorpresa Familia – Mourn – Late 1970s style, angular, post-punk via Portugal – B

Tokyo Bay/Crying Inside – Nick Lowe – Same ol’ Lowe style late 50s, early 60s pop rock, pretty good though the “Travellin’ Light”‘s surf guitar hook gets in the way – B

NASIR – Nas – The fourth of the GOOD Music seven song releases is as concentrated an art as you will ever hear. On both Pusha T and Nas here, Kanye’s production is reminiscent of the way Rick Rubin can boil a musician down to its essence. Nas’s politics is reminiscent of Chuck D up against the wall, I mean dissing Abe Lincoln might not be as big as dissing Elvis Presley… but it is close – ALBUM OF THE WEEK A

While We’re At It – The Mighty Mighty Bosstones – This might be no better than their last, and anyway after Sublime this stuff stopped mattering as such. Plus, I’d rather listen to The English Beat… Still, it does the horns and stuff party songs with skill and ease – B

Magic Gone – Petal – Rocking pleasantly enough, though with a hard center, Petal is Kiley Lotz, from Scranton. Pennsylvania, where I went for a wedding once and was shocked at how many roadside graves there were. That roadside grave is the mood here but the songs are pretty and poppy on her sophomore effort – B+

Consolation E.P. – Protomartyr – Post-punk but punk anyway, this is core nothing, it is muscular rockers – B

Collagically Speaking – R+R=NOW – New jazz super group featuring pianist Robert Glasper, Terrace Martin on synthesizer and vocoder, trumpeter Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah, bassist Derrick Hodge, Taylor McFerrin on synth and beatbox, and drummer Justin Tyson, so if that’s your scene go for it – B

Hope Downs – Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever – Australian pop punk band doesn’t live up to its buzz on this hard working but ultimately not catchy enough album – B-

Quiet Man – Roo Panes – Folky snoozer – C+

Born Ready – Steve Moakler – Slow paced country singer songwriter album, here and there it works, try “Crazy Does” – C+

Here we Go Love – The English Beat – Dave Wakeling’s turn, hey it’s better than the Mighty Mighty Bosstones – B+

The Broken Instrument – Victory –  Tracey Chapman without the voice – C+

Everything Is Love – The Carters – Not half as good as Lemonade, this is hip hop 101 with neither the skill nor the musical palette Bey has made her own at least since 4. Still, a little better than 4:44, and as a piece of tasteless self promotion it would work a lot better if they had empathy for anything else but the brand. “Apeshit” is killer – B

Blow Your Mind – Wilko Johnson – hardboiled UK blues rockers from the former Dr. Feelgood, and it is exactly what it is – B+

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