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Be Here Now: New Albums Reviewed 10-27-17 – 11-2-17

All Pigs Must Die – Hostage Animal – A metal supergroup that is aweinspiringly brutal, a hard, relentless sink sludge screamathon, an astonishingly feat of fury – B+

Big K.R.I.T. – 4eva Is A Mighty Long Time – Some great names, the late Pimp C for one, Robert Glasper and Cee Lo Green to name a couple of others, join Big KRIT on this twenty-two song brick of an album. Honestly, if he had paired it down to ten ace tracks he’d have done his due diligence. The Southern rapper lives up to his repetition (sic) here, all strip clubs and godheads. Save yourself a little time and head straight to the Jill Scott and Cee Lo tracks – B

Bootsy Collins – World Wide Funk – To paraphrase a funky brother of mine, Collins has nothing to prove and doesn’t prove it here. This is a fair enough piece of mediocre funkiness. The Bernie Worrell tribute is especially sweet  but this is a little whatever, even the Buckethead and Chuck D song – B

Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah – The Emancipation Procrastination – The trumpeter’s third album this year is more of the same semi-improvisational fusion stuff. Not bad though a little goes a long way, at his best when he uses hip hop beats like  “Michele With One L”  C+

Common Holly – Playing House – Lo fi folky guitars and vocals, very subtle, very low key but with a kick inside – B

Daniele Luppi – MILANO – Italian composer meets up with US buddies like Parquet Courts and Karen O,on this 70s style, clever moving, pop sharp  album of overachieving smartness from the man who wrote the hook to Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy” – B

Dori Freeman – Letters Never Read – Country folk from the well voiced Dori on her second album. If you liked the first, you’ll like this more. “Just Say It Now” is one of the best songs you’ll hear this week – B

Fever Ray – Plunge – Modern electronica eight years after her last album, this is boring in an ambience way before arresting and strange, a bewildering horrorshow – B

Granger Smith – When The Good Guys Win – Ho hum country rock – C+

Gregory Porter – Nat “King” Cole & Me – It’s odd that Cole isn’t covered more often, the NKC Trio were seminal. Diana Krall, a huge fan, has a terrific tribute album from over twenty years ago,  and Porter, who is one of the best singers in jazz, has added this fine though a little bland  and sometimes too obvious tribute. Still, if you want to study NKG the vocalist, it is a darn good place to start – B

Hollywood Undead – Five – Hip hop meets hair metal by masked maniacs of raging… if you like that kinda stuff – C+

Julien Baker – Turn Out the Lights – The problem with this folkie singer-songwriter album is catharsis, there isn’t any. Julien takes us on a 45 minute trip of self-loathing to nowhere specifically. Still, the trip has moments of beautiful horror, and the last song raises its chin  – B

Kelly Clarkson – Meaning Of Life – Kelly has always had that voice and here she puts it to work on some gorgeous, soul, songs, which she sings with a biting and also a smooth implacable brilliance. Using modern recording techniques on the instrumentals (the beats that fuel “Heat”)  only adds to the timelessness -ALBUM OF THE WEEK – A-

Lee Ann Womack – The Lonely, The Lonesome & The Gone – The covers are great, the originals less so, but “Someone Else’s Heartache” is the best song of the week. Call it East Texas Country soul, call it straight up old school country, either name works – B+

Krept & Konan – 7 Days/7 Nights – Released as two albums, this UK hip hop hit is the best Drake rip you will ever hear musically, the London council flats rapping is  grime like, Days is more grime, Nights more r&B  – B+

Kenny Chesney – Live in No Shoes Nation – Another summer tour over with, and 2018’s tickets already on sale, including ooh what a giveaway, guest appearances by Grace Potter, Dave Matthews, Zac Brown… and Taylor Swift on “Big Star” – C+

Majid Jordan – The Space Between – Drake’s buddies perform low impact r&b, chill and boring – C-

Rachel Platten – Waves – Pop singer anthems, some of it is quite good but where is the hit? – C+

Richard Edwards – Lemon Cotton Candy Sunset – Richard is Margot And The Nuclear So And So’s lead singer, who has gone from indie folk to slower indie folk. Man, I hate the fade in – C+

Richie Rich – Carolina Baby – The 80s rapper is still around on this old fashioned pure rap album plus r&b chorus because that’s how it’s done. “Road To Riches” is excellent – B

Savak – Cut-Ups – I caught theses guys at Arlene’s Grocery a coupla years ago, existential angst goes indie but better than that sounds because anybody channelling Gary Wilson has an ear for the different and the experimental and these guys have that and more – B+

Slaughter Beach, Dog – Birdie – Modern Baseball are an impressive band and Jake Ewald, taking a solo spin, is impressive as well. He is an authentic singer-songwriter, who sings in that sweet and sorry voice, and has the songs to back up the sentiment… it could be livelier – B

The Used – The Canyon – Never a fan but I could be wrong, you know. This is over an hour of emo “happy/sad” memento mori over a friend who committed suicide at The Canyons. Lead singer Bert McCracken manages a mood massively somber and right for such a painful subject and the pain and the release of pain are strong and vibrant, it encapsules our sense of vulnerability. With songs like “Selfies In Aleppo,” there is a PTSD just under the surface  – B+

The Who – Maximum As & Bs – Turning rebellion into money one mo’ gin and why not when the songs are this great, both sides of all the singles plus a great pun in the title, and while obviously, it hits a height and then sinks around the time Keith Moon died, it still works as a journey  – A

Trap Beckham – Life Is Lit EP – It aint that lit – C

Beach House 3 – Ty Dolla $ign – The rapper’s best friend knows his way round soul music and the pop charts, this is not what he does as a featured artist;  when Ty is doing it by himself, he wears his best pop credentials on his sleeve – B+

We Came As Romans – Cold Like War – WCAR go to war and don’t like it on this metalcore power rock – B-

Weezer – Pacific Daydream – How long has it been since “Dope Knows”? Fifteen years? This might consider itself in a line from Brian Wilson to Rivers Cuomo, but the songs are uniformly awful -MUST TO AVOID – C-

Willie Nelson – Willie and the Boys: Willie’s Stash Vol. 2 – Willie and his kids cover Hank Williams and very well as well, swings nicely – B+

Worriers – Survival Pop –  Lauren Denitzio identifies as a queer feminist, not that it changes anything on this excellent collection of pop punk with hooks and tunes to overflow. This is their third album and they are all great – A-

Yelawolf – Trial By Fire – Rappier than Kid Rock ever was, and not a racist either, so this might give the Red States a popstar who doesn’t make the rest of the world cringe – B

Yo Gotti – I Still Am – I was trying to explain to a friend of mine why they were crazy not to embrace Nicki Minaj as one of our greatest rappers of all time, but I know why. It’s because she has an eye on the charts. Here she appears on the excellent “Rake It Up”. As for Yo Gotti? He is a “g’ and a good one on yet another fine album of gangsta rap – B




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