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Be Here Now: New Albums 9-25-20 – 10-1-20 Reviewed

Only For Dolphins – Action Bronson – with dolphin sounds interspersed throughout the album, Action Bronson, the Queens chef superstar rapper, is on top of everything, every sample used, every sound spread, every rhyme, and a world where it is actual as well: where Dolphins are our brothers and sisters and the sweet rolling sound of a different way of life comes out… one of his best – A

Floor Seats II – A$AP Ferg – The A$AP Mob first lieutenant returns with a collection of straight up bangers, added luster by guest features from Marilyn Manson and Puff Daddy among others on standard issue rap dance trap tracks – B-

Blue Hearts – Bob Mould – as we approach the Presidential Election, Mould returns with another tight as a drum set of modern rock political defiance in the midst of wherever we are. The songs are good as songs, consistent and with a backbone, and while it is too precise to exactly evoke Husker Du, it is also too raging to allow Bob’s Sugar tune chops to get in the way. That means it’s a very good album that misses the pop jones – A-

My Gift – Carrie Underwood – Carrie’s Christmas album and I was sharpening my knives for this one, but it is a lovely set of carols and seasonal songs performed very well – B

Ohms – Deftones – the place where metal meets shoegaze and a thousand bands blooms, this is the one Deftone fans have told us they have in em for years but is too mired in tired ramalamadingdong, at its best Deftones exemplifies what they have been doing: adding shoegaze to metal and watching everyone copy them – A-

This Dream Of You – Diana Krall – outtakes from her last album and just about as good, low frills pop standards – B-

Love In Berlin – Ella Fitzgerald – taking a cha-cha-cha… a six song EP from the lost now found follow up to1960’s iconic Live In Berlin, this is the lost one recorded two years later – A+

State I’m In – Filmore – Nashville singer songwriter’s debut album is all about the break up, with weak songs not country, not Americana, not rock but a middle of the road melange – C

Shore – Fleet Foxes – The pastoral and elegant album is the most positive thing you will hear all year – B+

Otro Pedo, Otro Mundo – Fuerza Regida -very average Northern Mexican pop, though the trombone is an interesting switch – C

Non Binary Place – Godford – lo fi, French DJ with walls of very quiet electronic song that still merges into song, in its own quiet way – B

Ultra Mono – IDLES – The UK’s post punk new boys in town comes together on their third album, a place between angular rockisms and chanting screams to arm with shuddering drums and riffs and strike out vocals but the songs aren’t great – B

Nectar – Joji  – mainstream r&b pop guy with hip hop values to boot, this album has five song in the Spotify Top 50, with a strong set – B

Honor – Jimmy Chamberlin Complex – the Smashing Pumpkins drummer electronic, instrumental, considers character strengths that have disappeared – C+

HELLBOY – Lil Peep – the 2016 mixtape, considered the late emo rap guy’s greatest work, arrives on streaming services. Listen to “girls” – A

New York (Deluxe Edition) – Lou Reed – the problem, if there is one, is that there isn’t much in the lab to add here, Lou used up nearly everything, so  the outtakes are mostly rough cuts and worktapes, as well as a live album. The good news is that all of it helps us appreciate Lou’s greatest work – A+

Tickets To My Downfall – Machine Gun Kelly producer Travis Barker re-invents MGK as a missing link between the Motley Crue drummer he performed and  a glammy MCR pop guy, it is all about feel good sounds and it feels good so I guess it works to a degree but it is depressingly unimaginative pop rock – C+

Martin Garrix presents STMPD RCRDS Vol. 001 – Martin Garrix – Garrix represents for his own label of EDM pop guys – C+

After School EP – Melanie Martinez – neo-pop from the crybaby herself, adding seven new songs of pop song, strange sounding, background and straight up pop songs – B

Circuit City – Moor Mother – jazz alt vibes soundtrack and pure agitprop spoken word deyons – B

Occupational Hazard – Mozzy – Sacramento gangsta rap Mozzy’s second album of the year is a bullet to the head return to the blood soaked streets for those who live it – B+

No Stranger – Natalie Grant – an awful example of CCM 101,   there is something about the form that from the first second is repulsive, self-satisfied, horror at subservience and never gets better. Nobody exemplifies this more than the piercing, pitching middle of the road songs Grant excels at – MUST TO AVOID – D

New Beginnings – NEFFEX – these are the guys who released 100 songs in 100 weeks starting in 2018, and now they’ve dropped their first album, a bedroom sounding collab on strong songs that still to sound the same – B-

How to Draw Fire – Painted Doll – death metal guitarist Chris Reifert (Autopsy, Death, Violation Wound, Abscess) and musician/comedian Dave Hill (Valley Lodge, Witch Taint) sophomore album is an away station of hard rock modes, they need a singer, but the songs go from the Clash to Judas Priest vibes with ease – C+

Sign O’ The Times (Super Deluxe) – Prince – with the exception of Bob Dylan’s The Cutting Edge, this is the best box set I’ve heard. Dylan did the impossible, he released every piece of studio material he recorded from 1965 – 966, Prince has an emptying of the vaults for the some period and dozens of new songs, for what was already one of the greatest albums of all time. Impeccable, as good as the Miles Davis box set for Bitches Brew – ALBUM OF THE WEEK – A+

What You Gonna Do When The Grid Goes Down? – Public Enemy – the return tpo Def Jam helps on this just about as good as anything they’ve done since 2012, and oit as good as She’s Got Game – B-

Iso Desire EP – rumu – straight up house beats over darkly, circling synths – C+

Haunted Painting – Sad13 – According to Pitchfork “Recording at five different studios with five female engineers, Dupuis plays 18 instruments, including guitar, theremin, lap steel, glockenspiel, electric sitar, and “toys, trash, ephemera.”  At her poppiest early on, “WTD?” sounds better in context, the temp switches always moves her deeper into melody, but it isn’t enough to sustain the boring attempt at alt pop – B-

Spilligion – Spillage Village, JID, EARTHGANG – star rap collective featuring members of J. Cole’s Dreamville Records, Cole as been playing defense all year and this album won’t help that much though Mereba’s Gospel soaked  “PsalmSing” is a great track – C+

The Ascension – Sufjan Stevens – I was never a fan till Carrie And Lowell in 2015 and the subsequent tour, but after it I went to see Sufjan in pop mode and was disappointed. As I was with all his subsequent releases, especially the ambient album and including this tightening of the circle where the songs drift, perhaps not aimlessly, but enough to require a huge effort that the album doesn’t reward – C+

Super One -The 1st Album – SuperM – seven member, mainstream K-Pop r&b band’s EP debuted at the top of the charts, tis will do the same as it mixes voices against electronic r&b and pop charts, not unaware of Charli XCX – B-

Free Love – Sylvan Esso – more of the duo’s lowkey, electronic piddle paddle beats and dance with songs that could use better tunes – C+

Royalty: Live At The Ryman – Tasha Cobbs Leonard – live on stage Gospel meets CCM album by a fine singer ill served by the material – C+

Southside Demos – Texas – demos of the Scottish band’s breakthrough album, not a revelation but absolutely a consideration – B+

From Exile – The Menzingers – the rockers “re-imagine” their last album as Americana folk rock, to perfection on “American *You’re Freaking Me Out” and not so much on the rest – B+

Chip Chrome & The Mono-Tones – The Neighbourhood – SoCal alt rock concept album for no apparent reason – C-

By The Fire – Thurston Moore – the shorter sharper songs are all attacks on classic rock that draw blood, the longer, louder, npisier ones aren’t – B-

Fear Of Death – Tim Heidecker – the comedian with a mainstream 70s style rock album and remarkably well done – B

DAYSTAR – Tory Lanez – I still don’t know why the loathsome Tory shot Meghan Thee Stallion, but I do know this whiny and bad rap album fails to make the case for Lanez not to be cancelled – D

Generations – Will Butler – the third Arcade Fire’s second solo album is slight but good enough post-punk post-rock sound songs – C+

Sundry Rock Song Stock – Yves Jarvis – the Canadian one man band meets ambient mood rock,  pm a word psyche rock album – B


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