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Be Here Now: New Albums Reviewed 2-3-16 – 2-9-16


Fire On The Floor – Beth Hart – She certainly has the voice for these jazzy smoked filled room songs, but she doesn’t have the songs for these jazzy smoke filled room  songs – C+

I Decided – Big Sean – When your guests include Eminem and Migos, you are back at the top of the class, and when you are including Migos on a track you are thinking some variant on modern rap, Trap, like that. But this is all brag and flow, all badass pure modern rap as a pop move. “Bounce” has already announced itself as a major track, but wait till you get to “Moves”, “No Favors”, and, Big Sean meets someone one more famous than he is, plus a full choir, on “Bigger Than Me” – B+

Grace Street – Big Wreck – Godawful proggers from Canada – D+

The Ultimate Collection – Black Sabbath – How ultimate is it? 31 songs you don’t need to own again – C

Let Them Fall In Love – Cece Winans – This is a huge Christian album, one terrific song after another that makes most Gospel acts look uninspired and lazy. She captures mainstream pop genres (girl group, bossanova) and directs it at Jesus. “He’s Never Failed Me Yet” is a great song – B+

Little Fictions – Elbow – I knew I was going to have problems with Guy Garvey’s wedding album when “All Disco” had me shrugging two weeks ago. It doesn’t have the Elbow song, the “My Sad Captain” to just keep you enthralle and is the worse for it, despite its many skills. Big exception? One of the loveliest songs they’ve recorded, “Head For Supplies” – B

The Garden – Kari Jobe – Terrible Christian singer, this should be crucified – D+

Remnants – LeAnn Rimes – I like her in theory, love all the kid becomes adult backstory drama, but I can’t listen to these overblown pop ballads for a second – C-

Sound The Alarm EP – Less Than Jake – Only twenty minutes of ska speckled old school punk and all pretty good even if nothing new – B

About U – Muna – LA band of brooding, not all bad, indie pop. They identify as queer but it isn’t  like that matters too much. Perfect for bedsitland though we others older audience members will find a little goes a long way – C+

Sing It Now: Songs Of Faith And Hope – Reba McEntire – I am sick to my back teeth of some of these Gospel songs, and though Reba is a pretty good singer who has a light touch on these tracks, even “Oh Happy Day”, there is a pointlessness to it all. Now is not the time to celebrate Christianity, Christianity is in great shape and doesn’t need any more Hosannas – C

Snowdonia – Surfer Blood – Original guitarist Thomas Fekete sadly died last year and this is the first album without him. Still buzzy guitar over ephemeral melodies, still hard to listen to for any period of time…  but the lead off song “Matter Of Time” is like a dazed Buddy Holly  and a fine moment- C+

Fin – Syd – Why Fin? Either the end of a relationship, or the fishiness of vagina. Since the Internet’s DJ Syd has a song called “Over”,  my bet is the former. Either way this is a lo fi, brooding alt r&b beauty, a very consistent set of powerful, brooding sex and ache songs – ALBUM OF THE WEEK – B+

After the Party – The Menzengers – Punk by inclination but it has morphed into classic rock really, these Philadelphians construct powerful rock tunes catchy as all that – B

TESTIFY – The Knocks – Last year’s break out is to 20 somethings what the Chainsmokers were to teens. Plenty of featured singers and a pure r&b balance, but not very interesting – C+

Process – Sampha – Wrote hooks for Drake, Kanye, Solange, and even Frank Ocean, this is the UK singer songwriters debut and man does it take a long time to sink in, this is as out their as a synth act  can ever ever get – B

Ty Segall – Ty Segall – I keep on spending ten bucks on Ty because I read Brooklynvegan’s raves, and I keep on getting lumbered with garage rock snoozers. “The Only One” is a good blues guitar heroic and “Break A Guitar” is less of the same but a better song. Otherwise, nah – C+

Dear Evan Hansen – Various Artists – Pasek and Paul wrote the songs for “La La Land” as well as this teen musical. It is hard to assess if you haven’t seen the show (currently on Broadway), and it doesn’t stand alone for the most part. Their idea of a big idea is “If you’ve fallen in a forest and no one is around do you ever really crash or even make a sound?”. Which is the sound of big ideas that are neither big nor ideas – C+

The Lego Batman Movie: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack – Various Artists – What? “Heroes” again? . Between “Hallelujah” and “Heroes” big emotions are a dime a dozen. The “Man In The Mirrors” here suck as well and while the DNCE version of “Forever” is OK, the only real treat is Justin Trantner’s take onit, Justin wrote it so why not?- C

J’Ouverte – Wyclef Jean – After the Haiti debacle it is more and more difficult to take this cat seriously, this entire EP (14 tracks -ha!), and Wyclef, who can rap but can’t rhyme, hasn’t one great song to his name here. Though a coupla good ones – C+

Gelato – Young Dolph – Southern rap and heavy heavy on the trap but with a lot of attitude even for the genre. Still, too clippy cloppy – C+



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