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Be Here Now: New Albums Reviewed 12-14-18 -12-20-18

Platinum Fire (Deluxe) – Arin Ray – Neo r&b beauties by US X Factor winner, way on his game on this one great song after another effort featuring Ty DOlla $ign (before he goes to prison…?) and best in class Dram – B+

A State Of Trance Year Mix 2018 (Mixed by Armin van Buuren) – Armin van Buuren – around about now trance is showing its age on these been there done that but pretty and danceable mixes – B

Springsteen on Broadway – Bruce Springsteen – You probably remember “The Wish” off 1998’s Tracks, Bruce’s ode to his Mommy, an outtake from Tunnel Of Love, here we lose the electric guitar but gain a world of context. It is worth the entire show combined. Imagine, it took Bruce ten years to release it and twenty more years to put it front and center – B

Dark Horse: Songs in the Key of F (Live) – Devin Dawson – Cali country guy whose excellent “All On Me” is the second track on this live one, and still a magical and undaunted song. The rest isn’t as good but it is professional, unassuming,  and intelligent country. The live setting doesn’t help, though Devin was quite good when I caught him on stage (opening for Brett Eldredge)  – B+

The Goldfinger Christmas EP – Goldfinger – If we must so it, let’s must do it like that – B

American Utopia (Deluxe Edition) – David Byrne – Not crazy good nor bad on record,  brilliant live on stage, this includes a handful of tracks from Byrne’s King’s Theatre stop – B

Gravity Pt. 1 – Gryffin – Sweet, MOR EDM from NY DJ producer – C+

Requiem: The Pity of War – Ian Bostridge – For the centennial of WW1, tenor Ian Bostridge sings speaks six poems by the great AE Houseman’s “A Shropshire Lad” as put to music by George Butterworth. George, like many of the boys on Houseman’s poems, died in the Great War – B+

Missed Calls – Kid Ink – As an agnostic on the well tattooed soul guy, this is a little naff songwise plus the sex songs make me nauseous – C+

Dying To Live – Kodak Black – Out of prison after seven months in stir, Black is hustling out of the streets and into his career. Who knows if he can stay free, but he is good live and he is really smart enough to worry about it on this fine sophomore effort – B

Electric Trim: Live at Rough Trade East – Lee Ranaldo – I never bought into Sonic Youth, but when I did it was the great noise guitarist who brought me along. This is accessible New York rock, try “Circular (Right As Rain)” – B-

Wake The World: The Friends Sessions – The Beach Boys – It used to be The Beach Boys Love You, today the most underestimated is Friends. In the midst of the bad acid and bad vibes building away from the summer of love, Brian makes the case for transcendental meditation stick. Wake The World is a child of the Pet Sounds Box Set, a capella, instrumental, the various bits and pieces that interlocked into a great album – A

Sick Boy – The Chainsmokers – Alright now, this is the album not the singles playlist, right? – B+

Traveling On – The Decemberists – If these are outtakes from I’ll Be Your Girl, why does the synth disappear after the first song? – C+

Steelin’ The Show – Tom Brumley And The Buckaroos – Buck Owen’s steel guitar maestro compiles his greatest moments and they are, well, great – A

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (Soundtrack From & Inspired by the Motion Picture) – Various Artists – Baby Black Panther, owned by Ghanaian rapper Blackway but with plenty of other excellent songs – ALBUM OF THE WEEK – A-

HOOLIGANS – Vic Mensa – Mensa has been overrated ever since he couldn’t follow up his Kanye track “Wolves”. Blah and overblown hip hoedown – C

Los Campeones del Pueblo “The Big Leagues” – Wisin & Yandel -still rakata, still reggaeton, and god knows still banging as fuck, an exciting, hard edge beauty of an album  finds the duo better together after a seven year break – A-

Icarus Falls – ZAYN – And now Zayn runs out of 1D goodwill and releases a boring 90 minute moody and sullen album -he is like the Jim James of pop. I love Zayn and he was always the most talented One Direction, but he is so miserable it affects his songs, which are slow and boring though sometimes pretty enough to get away with it – MUST TO AVOID – C-

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