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Be Here Now: New Albums Reviewed 10-28-16 – 11-3-16


Silver Tears – Aaron Lee Tasjan – Fast on its feet, quick witted Americana – B

Blues – Alabama 3 – So, was Hank Williams high when he took that last drive? I dunno, but these woozy weirdos from the UK make you believe it is only right that it would be, as they detail one rock star death after another… and that’s just the first track. Unlike anything else around, and that’s saying something in 2016  – B+

The Whole of the Law – Anaal Nathrakh – Song title of the week? “Hold Your Children Tight And Pray For Oblivion” – C+

Love Reaction – Burning Peacocks – Retro pop cool sweetness via France, very light and soft but with a hidden punch – B

Meta – Car Bomb – Terrific and strange meta-metal, screams and shifts – B

Red Lips – Cerrone – 70s disco producer counters Moroder with a straightforward disco funk album that works all the way through. Justin Timberlake should give him a call right now, and till then it is all good but Aloe Blacc is all over his song… wow, that Yasmin song is gonna give Niles a run for his money -the bass solo has you conjuring Edwards – ALBUM OF THE WEEK – B+

The Serpent Only Lies – Crowbar – SInkalicious metal sludge quicksand – B-

New Skin – CRX – First rate rockers who mine New Wave with tons of finesse and smarts while giving it a metal crunch – B

Labyrinths – Daedelus – electronic singer songwriter tracks, sounds different enough – C+

What’s That Sound – Daniel Woolhouse – Former Deptford Goth writes arresting and intelligent singer songwriter songs with enough shadings to hold your interest, “Soup For Brains” has an irresistible middle eight – B

Yots (Year of the Six), Pt. 1 – DJ Paul – Half of legendary Southern rappers Three 6 Mafia, the man has one of the best voices in the business, even if we’ve been here more than once before – B

The Wonder Of You – Elvis Presley With The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra – Nobody denies that Presley could get schmaltzy but there were limits and what sounded like Middle Of The Road in 1969, sounds like Americana in 2016 (pace “Suspicious Minds”), so while in theory lathering an orchestra on top should just add a dimension, no dimension was needed and it adds nothing. The only redeeming factor is… who doesn’t want to see Presley at the top of the charts, even with inferior product – C-

Two Vines – Empire Of The Sun – Better than electronic pop duo from Australia might have you expecting, it is one sticky piece of fluff after another for 50 minutes -B-

Casual Listener – Future States – Two weeks in the recording, improvised pop is as tricky as you’re gonna get and this needs more work on the execution…. “You Got It All Wrong” is pretty good – C+

Woke Against The Tides – Girls Tears – Loud and fast power punk pop dashes – C+

Dead To The World – Helmet – Six years after their last album, this is a smart, hard rock album that keeps you off balance, a metally loudness goes experimental for the umpteenth time in the past 25 years – B-

Babes Never Die – Honeyblood –  Noise pop duo from Glasgow are both loud and sweet on this terrific sophomore effort… should break em where breakable – B+

Trap Or Die 3 – Jeezy – The Chris Brown track is pretty good, otherwise nothing new from the formerly young Atlanta rapper – C+

Cosmic Hallelujah – Kenny Chesney – “Trip Around The World” and “All The Pretty Girls” are terrific, but the P!nk song sucked in July, when it bombed, and sucks here, “Jesus And Elvis” is much better than it deserves to be, and while the rest of the album fails to pay up, and his cosmic awareness is less Sartreish, it is better than I thought it would – B

Sex – King Dude – Like Scott Walker fronting Pitysex – B

Sexsmith Swinghammer Songs – Lori Cullen – Lori sings her husband’s music and Ron’s words. Lovely but a touch too tasteful – B-

Apocalypse Fetish EP – Lou Barlow – You’d think he could maintain it over an EP, but this ain’t good. A pity because I hear he’s a good guy – C

Romantic – Mannequin Pussy – Powerful punk meets power pop, explodes into melody and back, try “Beside Yourself” -which sounds like trance-y dreamscape shoegaze and isn’t. Actually, just about everything here will get you there, so dip in  – B+

Telling It Like It Is – Marching Church –  what a dreary album, a painfully slow and overwrought piece of tedium by the guy from Iceage – D+

MC4 – Meek Mill – One song with the ex, one with the late Lil Snupes, French Montana shows up, 21 Snape makes an appearance, and at its best you deserve Mill’s pop gangsta mode. Nah, he can’t take down Drake, but then again he isn’t Pusha T. However, this is his second good album in succession, and “On The Regular” is an early winner – B

& – Michael Mayer – Disco and tech – C

Peaceful Ghosts (Live) – Nada Surf – The band plus orchestra, but no “Popular”. Maybe it’s just as well – C+

Acoustic Christmas – Neil Diamond – I guess Neil considers this channelling. Yes, Jesus is great, but he didn’t write “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers”, now did he? The “Hark The Herald Angels Sing” is actually quite good and the lo fi aesthetics works to the good. His voice, on the other hand, is a little shot – C+

The Beat Is Dead – Nina Diaz – So great as the lead singer of Girl In A Coma and quite the equal on opening track, the bubbled up “Trick Candle”, but she doesn’t find a follow up on this overlong and disappointing debut album… unless you’re up for odes to Hare Krishna  – C+

Ocean – Parekh & Singh – Dream pop via India and man is it dreamy, one gorgeous pop melody after another unerringly reaching for your pleasure zone. It is all good but “I Love You Baby, I Love You Doll”. However, it does go on a bit – B+

Talk To You Soon – Ricky Eat Acid – Indie electronica and if that’s what you want “This Is As Close To Heaven As I Get” is as close to it as you’ll get  – C+

Balloween – Riff Raff – Balloween, geddit?, like he’s a baller and also a Halloween character, and around half of that seems accurate for this weirdo rapper? Back from the dead? So delusional… – C+

Bucket List Project – Saba – Indie rapper, with a rhyme worth hearing, and a sound unique that comes from the same place (aka West Chicago) as Chance and the rest of the good guys of rap. The wraparound concept isn’t much, but the takeaway is a collection of more than fine rap songs -and I mean songs. The early one two “Stoney” and “GPS” 9with Twista!) will tell you the story – B+

Terraform – Sam Roberts Band – The title track is pretty good by this Canadian indie rocker, but the rest of it doesn’t connect, mostly because he is expalnding a form that needs narrowing down – C+

xxx EP – Pussy Riot – We’ve been waiting for a great protest song and now we have one, “Make America Great Again” is a modified bossa nova and the exact opposite of the Pussy Riot punk ethos in song ethos (the following two tracks come closer), but it is one part immigrant song and one part travelogue, and all part tough ideas that need to be repeated: open borders will make America great again they claim, and they have the song to back it up  – A

Christmas Party – She & Him – Yeah, I liked the first album, but this is the bottom of the barrel, and that “All I Want For Christmas” is as joyous as an office party in 2016, where one eye is on the clock and the other a rush to stay as far away as possible from that guy who has had his eye on you all year, because, God knows, you’d have to be half trashed to wear him and you aren’t getting half trashed with the VP and CEO standing right there, shaking hands with  various lower degradable employees, before the golfing buddies get  back to grading various female employees body schematics in a whisper, which will nevertheless be picked up by sensitive microphones in button holes worn by enterprising data entry lowest minimum wagers who are about to bankrupt the company to the shock of shareholders everywhere  – D

Soft Hair – Soft Hair – Off kilter pop songs by a coupla indie folks, one from LA Priest – C

Strands- Steve Hauschildt – Heavy duty ambient, you almost expect dolphins to chirp in – C

Emotionale Ödnis – Tardigrada – Swiss black metal, melodic and beautiful, orchestrated and like clockwork – B+

Solas – The Answer – AC/DC opening band… why? I don’t know why – D

Honeymoon On Mars – The Pop Group – Post punk stalwarts, sound kinda boring now – C

Third World Pyramid – The Brian Jonestown Massacre – The first track is a drag but it soon settles into its jangly garage-y ways for the umpteenth time. It drones and drags itself in a drug induced haze before settling into one groove after another  – C+

Tkay – Tkay Maidza – From Australia via Zimbabwe, Tkay’s first album announces a major popstar, who adds world music to rap and EDM, with constant rewards, M.I.A.ish only younger and more fun – B+

Transhumanism – Tommy 86 – Orchestrated tech band compositions – C

Confront The Truth – Tony Molina – “Hung Up On The Dream” sounds like Beatles psychedelia  at a funeral pace, and the rest of these tracks from the former hardcore Cali guy are about as fast though a little sweeter – C+

Lady Wood – Tove Lo – With one of the stupider metaphors for female sexual excitement , Swedish breakthrough member of Max Martin’s  Wolf Cousins, only “Habits (Stay High)” hit me as approaching major. This sophomore album, about the highs and lows of two years of stardom, is a draggy miss and miss affair for the EDM poster – C

Clear Shot – Toys – Pretty good psyche rockers from the UK, well buzzed  – B-

Valley Hush – Valley Hush – Experimental popsters from Detroit but too atonal for pop, too mainstream for experimental – C

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