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Be Here Now: New Albums Reviewed 2-8-19 – 2-14-19

From Memphis to New Orleans – Alex Chilton – The compilation is Chilton at his most addictive. Dating from 1991, the covers are great, the originals often their equal. (try the  country rock soft swing of “Paradise” ) – B+

A Merge Group Plays “Heroes” – Various Artists –  Destroyed sings lead,  Mac McCaughan of Superchunk on guitar, Wye Oak’s Jenn Wasner plays  keyboard/synthesizer, plus other Merge alumni have the only Bowie tribute you can listen to without dying of embarrassment – B+

thank u, next – Ariana Grande – Maybe it isn’t the flat out masterpiece people think it is, but this “Sex In The City” 2019 songs of pop and love and romance and betrayal (and death) survives a dip around the halfway mark that  doesn’t affect the sheer brilliance of the first three and the last three songs. After Taylor Swift’s unintentional abdication last year as the best in pop,  Ariana has taken the position on this pop and mood, heavy duty EDM superstar distracted masterstroke -ALBUM OF THE WEEK – A

A Skeleton – Ben Shemie – Lo fi Sunn))) with as much sound refraction and disquieted beauty as you thought it might have – A-

What Men Want (Music From The Motion Picture) – Brian Tyler – Jazzy incidental music – C+

Sunshine Rock – Bob Mould – Do you ever get the feeling Mould can released hard rocking, melodic gems at will till the end of times? It is great and nothing special at the same time, we take it so much for granted that this sort of gorgeous, up tempo, super strong songs are a gimme, and what is missing is that ONE SONG, to lift him over the top… – B+

Harlan & Alondra (Deluxe) – Buddy- Includes four new songs and actually improves on the summer release, a simply excellent modern r&b album – A-

Nothing Grows Here – Calling All Captains – First rate pop punk veering emo ways – B

Tip of the Sphere – Cass McCombs – Ho hum indie rocker who nails it once, the terrific “I’ Followed The River South To What” and then sucks spectacularly – C+

My Wildest Dreams (Deluxe) – Claire Richards – Hausfrau, mainstream, middle of the road pop bores from the Steps singer – C

Mi Persona Preferida – El Bebeto – Mexican classical sounding pop with mariachi in the background – B

Third Avenue – Fredo – London Grime guy who spits as viciously as the best, as viciously as fellow Londoner 21 Savage, Fredo traverses the world of drugs and violence – B

VOL. 4 :: SLAVES OF FEAR – HEALTH – After reading the reviews I’d expected something with more of a kick to it, the beats are heavy and thick, but the songs are relatively buoyant, which makes it schitzo but not bad – B-

Gloria Duplex – Henry Jamison – New England singer songwriter Americana guitar picking, etc – C

Ripples – Ian Brown – His first solo album in ten years, the Stone Roses lead singer comes towards it like it’s a debut album, chock full of strong UK rock songs, with just enough groove to remind you of his roots, and variants all the way from dance to folk – B+

Quiet Signs – Jessica Pratt – Aptly named album for a soft and strange voice who could do do with a bit more sell on the upswing – B-

Pure Drivel – Kicker – It’s a real mean scene, those throttling guitars are a blast of energy, this is a good band but the two singers, one sounds like Johnny Rotten, the other like Randy Blythe, really hurt em and the best moment is the instrumental – B-

Electric Lady Sessions – LCD Soundsystem – Worst idea for a reunion ever, James Murphy takes the live band to the studio and re-records his last album. It sounds better, sure, but better isn’t good and that run of 00 albums is not matched – C+

II – Lucky Daye – Gorgeous R&B EP, one of the best I’ve heard this year – B+

Live in London – Mavis Staples – Selling the last album – B

THE LOVE TRAIN – Meghan Trainor – After five years of mainstream pop diva crap, Meghan remembers her gifts in good natured novelty not novelty pop songs, a terrific return to form – A-

Bobbie Gentry’s The Delta Sweete Revisited – Mercury Rev – If nothing else, it should remind everyone from Phoebe Bridgers to Margo Price, why Lucinda Williams is great. If that is dismissive, it is actually a lovely collection of interpretations with a background in synth and protools and some terrific singers for the somewhat underestimated Bobbie . And a great Lucinda – B

A Symphony Of Hits – Michael Bolton – Full on, orchestral swirl of strings that attack the songs here and there, while Bolton sings his lungs out. Harmless enough – C+

True North – Michael Chapman – Old school UK folkie, great voice and with a lot of weirdness and feeling – B-

Buoys – Panda Bear – Panda Bear, indeed Animal Collective as a whole, can be too out there for me. Not here, the title track is among his best and most Panda Bearish, and “Cranked” uses Space Invaders and an acoustic guitar riff to great effect – B

86 Witness – Sean Price, Small Professor – nyc 90s style rap and hip hop, works completely in a world where the sound is missed -kudos to Refrigerator Perry. Small Professor puts great tracks under the late legends raps – B+

Ideal Woman – Skinny Girl Diet – Vicious, indie rockers riot grrrl type, post-feminism ass whipping rock and roll – B

Varshons 2 – The Lemonheads – From Yo La Tengo to the Eagles, with all folk rock stops in between – B-

Wicked (15th Anniversary Special Edition) – Various Artists – Kristin Chenoweth runs roughshod over the proceedings,  Norbert Leo Butz (last seen stealing “My Fair Lady”) is here as well, so is Idina Menzel,  Schwartz’s songs still suck – C+

2009 – Wiz Khalifa, Curren$y – A good ten years for the duo, especially the Fast and Furious Wiz, but a boring business as usual rap album – C+

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