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Be Here Now: New Albums Reviewed 10-20-17 – 10-26-17

Béla Fleck And Abigail Washburn – Echo In The Valley – Two ace banjo players perform bluegrass, blues, and various Americana variants to fine effect. “Let It Go” is worth noting – B

Boyz II Men – Under the Streetlight – Excellent doo wop album, I just wish they’d brought in a coupla ringers for the high notes – B+

Bully – Losing – Not bad indie rockers but the songs aren’t catchy enough, sophomore album in every sense – B

Chris Young – Losing Sleep – Middle of the road country – C

Darius Rucker – When Was The Last Time – He is no Charlie Pride, but he isn’t a dilettante either,  his voice isn’t good enough and this material is somewhere between alright and not very good. This is more or the same – C+

Destroyer – Ken – The New Pornographer’s former drummer Kurt Dahle, comes into his own on this terrific art-rocker old school album, filled to overbrimming with ace songs. “Tinseltown Swimming In Blood” is the song of the week and if it wasn’t, it’d be “Cover From The Sun”. He is the missing link between Lou Reed and Mac DeMarco –  ALBUM OF THE WEEK – A-

DVBBS – Blood Of My Blood – Canadian DJs can really work the soul side when the mood takes em – B

Elizabeth & the Catapult – Keepsake – A gorgeous sounding mid-tempo rock-pop album by the always wonderful voiced Elizabeth Ziman – B+

Future and Young Thug – SUPER SLIMEY – On his last mixtape, Future and Drake melded uncomfortably but they melded, here Future and Young Thug, two of Atlanta’s finest, sound great together, except  Young Thugs sounds relatively thin, even on “Relationship” earlier this year it wasn’t perfect. Which is a pity because Future sounds better than ever – B+

H.E.R. – H.E.R. – The soulful r&b singer, who released two highly appreciated EPs of heartbreak soul and has now put them together as her debut album, is better less but it isn’t bad in any environment – B

George Michael – Listen Without Prejudice / MTV Unplugged (Deluxe) – Peak Michael’s plus outtakes – A

Jeremy Enigk – Ghosts – From the former member of Sunny Day Real Estate, this sounds like 90s indie rock soundscape stuff with folk underpinnings and occasional splashes of hard rock – C+

Jessie Ware – Glasshouse (Deluxe Edition) – An atypical singer, Jesse was tailor made for guest appearances with talented DJs like Cashmere Cat. This album isn’t that, it is modern day singer songwriter depressive songs exquisitely sung but not very memorable – B

KB – Today We Rebel – Christian hip hop is one of my favorites forms of CCM. Specifically, because rap sounds the same whatever you are rapping about and good rhymes are good rhymes – B

Kevin Devine – We Are Who We’ve Always Been – Part of the 00s indie trail, here reborn as a singer songwriter – C+

Keyshia Cole – 11:11 Reset – Around 20 years in, she still has hip hop connections, still has a pretty great voice, and is still an also ran – C+

Kllo – Backwater – Aussie duo with boring popscape songs – C+

Lindsey Stirling – Warmer In The Winter – this should do it for this violin meets EDM woman on this sickly sweet Xmas album – MUST TO AVOID – D+

Margo Price – All American Made – Old school country, so old school that the songwriting is consistently great and so old school that Willie Nelson duets on one song – B+

Michael Head & The Red Elastic Band – Adiós Señor Pussycat –“Picasso” sounds like “If I Was A Carpenter”, “Overjoyed,” sounds like the Byrds, and everything else sounds like 60s folk-rock of the first order – B+

Niall Horan – Flicker (Deluxe) – Pleasant singer songwriter soulful vibe from the former 1D – B

nothing,nowhere. – Reaper – Rovi dubbed it “Midwest emo meets southern trap,” one man band. Like a lot of Baby Trap, it can get a little downcast, but it is certainly original – B-

Paul van Dyk – From Then On – One part house, one part trance, from a true master – B

Snails – THE SHELL – He calls it “Vomittrap,” because the vocals sound like upchuck and the beats are all industrial – C

Snoh Aalegra – FEELS – R&b singer with a strong voice but not that much individuality – C+

TAEMIN – MOVE – The 2nd Album – K-Pop R&B, listen now before Trump decides they are expendable assets – B-

The Jam – 1977 – In The City and The Modern World, b sides from singles, demos, a John Peel session and some live songs. All vintage 1977 – A

The Smiths – The Queen Is Dead (Deluxe Edition) – b sides, singles, demos and a live in Boston – A

Tim Buckley – Greetings from West Hollywood (Remastered) – Culled from his September 1969 two day, five set stand at LA’s Troubador, this is material not released on 1994’s “Live At The Troubadour 1969”. That’s some voice the man had – B+

Tyminski – Southern Gothic – The Union Station member on loan from Alison Krauss, he can sing this stuff, sorta bloody minded Americana, with ease, but his material doesn’t serve him well enough – C+

Young Dolph – Thinking Out Loud – A week before this spectacular, irritating, whiny nursery rhymy gangsta album was released, with wit and violence off the streets of Memphis, YD was released from hospital after being shot  multiple times in LA – B+

Various Artists – Tegan And Sara Present The Con X: Covers – LGBT stars and friends cover songs off The Con in celebration of the duo’s breakthrough album released ten years ago. Ruth B. wins the award for best song, with Cyndi Lauper’s straight up take on “Back In Your Head” coming in second. But nothing doesn’t work here, it is all excellent, especially because cover albums by various artists can be so uneven. Bleachers, MUNA, and Shamir all acquite themselves honorably – B+


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