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Be Here Early: New Albums Reviewed 4-14-17 – 4-20-17

AZD – Actress – Experimental beats and ambient noise, pretty at times but I don’t know what to do with it – C+

Somewhere Between – Alvarez Kings – UK indie pop but it sounds like standard issue emo – C-

Ladies And Gentlemen: Barenaked Ladies And The Persuasions – Barenaked Ladies – If you have to listen to this misnomered mainstream pop rock band, here is as painless a way as you possibly can – C+

Billy Porter Presents:  The Soul Of Richard Rodgers – Billy Porter – The terrific Broadway performer doesn’t quite update the brilliant composer and more sticks him in a bathhouse in 1975… and who am I to complain? “I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Out Of My Hair” is earth shattering. The featured artists are first rate, the sound as much fun as you think it is  – B+

The Meeting Of The Waters – Fionn Regan – Looks like Gilbert O’Sullivan meets Jake Bugg, sounds very sincere – D+

The Meaning Of Everything – John Mayer – Soft rock, no wait,  flaccid rock – C-

SupaJefe – Kap G – World beats and bi-lingual rapping, plus Pharrell joins in on a goodie, but the rapping ain’t good enough though the beats are  – C+

Damn – Kendrick Lamar – It isn’t that Lamar doesn’t know how to construct a sound, how to layer a song and push his plush raps into a world conquering setting, it is that he hasn’t written a great song since “Swimming Pools (Drank)” -a hook he uses on “Feeling” here and has repeated so often it feels like a tic – B

Love And Murder – Leslie Mendelsohn – Mostly murder… if you wanna cover Dylan, well unless your name ends with Gainsbourg don’t make it “Just Like A Woman”… there is nothing left there and not much here on this sweet and boring album – C+

Season High – Little Dragon – Alt dance disco with a good lead singer’s falsetto and they break pop here and there – B-

Let It Go – Norman Brown – Gorgeous r&b-smooth jazz by a world class guitarist and the Chante Moore duet sounds like latter day Smokey Robinson without that voice. In a week overflowing with new rap, this is a beautiful throw back – ALBUM OF THE WEEK –   – B+

Infinite Tuesday: Autobiographical Riffs – Michael Nesmith –  A terrific greatest hits package – B+

Hamartia – November’s Doom – metal in 2017: middle aged men with straight long thinning hair and a receding hairline… – C-

Playboi Carti – Playboi Carti – Things are moving so fast that Lil Uzi Vert -who makes featured appearances here, sounds like an elder statesmen, and “New Choppa” sounds like Migos… still, this is an enjoyable first mixtape from the Atlanta rapper – B

Back To Basics – Rich Homie Quan – A Gucci Mane buddy, his voice is so tailended on the syllables he sounds like he has a patois, plus he has a way with an r&b sample – B-

Tenderheart – Sam Outlaw – Dubbed Socal Country, at his best (the terrific “Bougainvillea, I Think”) he sounds like James Taylor and nothing really stinks. Songs to get stoned to on a sunny afternoon with the one you kinda like – B

Future From The Past – Scarlet Sails – Sounds proggy, claims indie, sucks any way – C-

Waiting A Lifetime – Splashh – Tedious shoegaze from a band who have to work hard at being the age they actually are – C

The Seven – Talib Kweli – With Styles P, fair to middling rap, the single was the best moment on this old school album – C+

The Gospel Truth – The Kings Blue – If 2Tone never got out of the garage or if the Clash never got out of the garage they might sound like these fun as hell. If only they had a couple more songs as hook as “Not Another Love Song”… – B-

YOUTH – Tinie Tempah – The only UK rapper to come close to crossing over the Atlantic, and he has lost his youthful charm and replaced it with nothing much. The man can rap but he has become an everyman who throws in the featured (that’s Jake Buggs) but can’t seem to get sticky enough for pop rap – C+

The Fate Of The Furious: The Album – Various Artists – Young Thug, Lil Uzi Vert, Kodak Black, Migos,A Boogie Wit Da Hood  -a virtual who’s who of upcoming Atlanta rappers, plus some other stuff… a great way to catch up, but also give Kodak Black’s album a listen – B+

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