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Be Here Now: New Albums Reviewed 10-7-16 – 10-13-16


The Last Hero – Alter Bridge – Creed without the lead singer and still as crappy as ever – D+

Eyes Wide Open – Aynsley Lister – Mediocre blues – C+

So Many Things – Annie Sofie von Otter, Brooklyn Rider – Brooklyn Rider are a string quartet, Annie is the Mezzo-Soprano and Costello collaborator on For The Stars, here they mix modern classical compositions with current art rock,  and it consistently improves upon what you think you are gonna get. The two Costello tracks are goodies, better than in their original incantations, plus two from Bjork, one from Kate Bush… very dramatic stuff – B+

In The Now – Barry Gibb – Barry doesn’t have the vocal range,  doesn’t have the songs, doesn’t have his brothers, but he is still alive so there is that – C

Shine On Rainy Day – Brent Cobb “Solving Problems” is so good that you’ll have high hopes for this singer songwriter country style, but he bores you silly fast enough… a pretty good voice and I’ll take him over his buddy Luke Bryan – C+

Britt Nicole – Britt Nicole – Very average UK chick pop with a conservative bent – C

While They Were Sleeping – Candira – A mashup of styles but it is all like adding red paint to black paint, all you get is black paint. All you get here is hardcore – C+

The Malibu Sessions – Colbie Caillat – She lost her way over her past two MOR moves  albums which didn’t sell and didn’t deserve to. All is forgiven on this quietly stunning pop album. From one end to another, every song is wonderful, every word precise and gorgeous, like the best day of the summer. Released on her own label, this is the woman the way she wants to be heard, and if it isn’t a smash she can take pride on a real achievement on this tremendous return to form, it’s as though she’s written forty minutes of “I Do”  – ALBUM OF THE WEEK – A-

Eric Benet – Eric Benet – The world never forgave Eric for cheating on Halle Berry, and this despite his masterpiece, 2010’s Lost In Time. Six years later, this is a return to form for the soulman, not a major album but consistently pleasurable genre exercise as good or better than anything left in the lost art form – B+

Sit Still, Look Pretty – Daya – David Jeffries of Rovi had a good line: Lorde meets Katy Perry. Me, I like this sorta pop music fine – B

All Bright Electric – Feeder – 90s sounding hard rock, a little too big for its musical boots – C

Deathgrip – Fit For A King – The drumming is something even for thrashcore, the voice is pretty good as well, and the change up is the field of voices backing the screams. Still sucks, of course – C-

Requiem – Goat – What’s the difference between this and the  Dave Matthews Band? Around four minutes on average – C

Revolution Rock – Green Day -I can’t take Billie Joe’s voice and that has never helped much,  but opening tack “Somewhere Now” is a winner -a quiet power waiting to explode on your ass, and the title track is punk pop at its best. Both are something of exceptions, a bore when they get their “Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life)” on and just as bad when they are trying to rock out, meet a mediocre album by an iffy band – C+

Heart Like A Levee – Hiss Golden Messenger – The album name, not unlike the album, isn’t as clever as it sounds if you think about it, his heart is protecting what from what? The clever, genre melding Americana isn’t quite strong enough: the songs aren’t there – C+

The Education Of A Wandering Man – Jamestown Revival – It’s like 40 minutes of down by the bayou – C

Cody – Joyce Manor – A poppier Touche Amore, but not as good as that sounds like it might be – C

Don’t Let The Kids Win – Julia Jacklin – “Pool Party” is pretty terrific, a smart singer songwriter folk pop with backbone, and the rest ain’t bad, but the album goes on too long and the songs need an editor – B-

Stay Together – Kaiser Chiefs – The guys behind the terrific “I Predict A Riot”, keep spinning their wheels years later with the same old rock product, better than average sure. but is that enough? – C+

Cantata Memoria – For The Children – Karl Jenkins – “The latest choral work by Welsh composer Karl Jenkins is Cantata Memoria, commissioned by S4C to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the disaster on 21 October 1966 when a coal spoil tip enveloped a school and houses in the South Wales village of Aberfan, killing 116 children and 28 adults. Cantata Memoria bears the subtitle For the children and, as well as remembering the tragic Welsh catastrophe and its aftermath, mourns the loss of children in universal terms, as witnessed in the Dunblane shooting (1996), the Beslan school siege (2004), the Korean ferry disaster (2014) and the Peshawar School massacre (2014)” – B+

Let Them Eat Chaos – Kate Tempest – You can only be new once, so this sophomore effort boils down to more of the very, very good agitprop rhyming and rapping, spoken word in time, plus first rate beats. Can’t be bad, isn’t bad, but isn’t a surprise or an innovation – A-

Lewis Del Mar – Lewis Del Mar – Electronic duo with a bluesy twist to their indie pop

Coconut Oil – Lizzo – So great opening for Sleater Kinney a coupla years ago, two albums down the hip hop rap mix and match tells us to worship her. Oh, OK – B+

The Violent Sleep Of Reason – Meshuggah – Powerful and loud hardcore metal, which is about exactly as powerful as you want it to be – B-

Day Breaks – Norah Jones – Maybe the jazz singer is better than I give her credit for, she kinda has to be, but she is still the most boring woman in existence with the exception of Alicia Keyes – D

Three – Phantogram – Synthy dreamy electronic pop which falters on song after song, it just isn’t memorable enough for what it’s doing  – C

Big Boat – Phish – Prog rock disguised as jam, Phish are both fussy and self-effacing. Always a thought process behind a template, the horns on “Breath And Burning” are sweet and soulful and can’t quite save em. Everything seems not quite finished, waiting for an overlong concert to be brought to its knees or full potential, depending upon your tolerance level. The last track they try and record how they might sound live for thirteen minutes, “Petrichor”… maybe they should keep to blueprints – D+

Life’s What You Make It – Placebo – A cover, two new ones, an earlier single and two live cuts and still pretty terrific: sounds like what Oasis would sound like if they were fronted by David Bowie instead of John Lennon- B+

Oh My My – Onerepublic – Ryan Tedder is the single worst popstar in the world, the man kills off anything he touches as it watches aghast, his crappy band, as well as his just as bad writing credits, garner about a billion streams (that’s a real number). This man got Taylor Swift to suck. Here he works his magic on Santigold, Peter Gabriel, and Cassius. Everything he touches turns to gold and is lifeless and expensive: filled to death with big EDM rock anthems made for the masses, this is the pits – D

50 – Rick Astley – Which still rhymes with ghastly and remains horrible MOR soul oversung to a turn of the stomach – D+

Keepin’ The Horse Between Me And The Ground – Seasick Steve – “Bullseye” ain’t bad and I know he has his fans, but this Americana blues is way too tasteful – C+

13 Voices – Sum 41 – Congrats to Deryck Whibley for getting sober. Unfortunately for us, that means more of the same for a band that makes Green Day sound like the Buzzcocks – D

Transit Blues – The Devil Wears Prada – Their conservative Christianity gets in the way of their live performances but not their recorded input. This is Christiancore as Satan blowback straight to hell: a loud, raucous, mind blowing experience that doesn’t stop exploding for an instant, except between songs where silence descends for a moment like a veil between worlds. “Daughter” is the song of the week  – B+

We Are Drugs – Third Eye Blind – Unspeakable rock band perform  lousy songs: what is it with rock and roll in 2016?  – D

Turbulence – Troi Irons – Indie rock meets classic rock – C+

Friends – White Lies – They say, modern day Echo and the Bunnymen, I say the National hybrid – C+

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