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Be Here Now: New Albums Reviewed 5-4-18 – 5-10-18

Amber Mark – Conexão – EP – Alt r&b cum jazz EP, very strong and brooding – B

Belly – DOVE – It ain’t King but it ain’t bad, the sound is the same and the walls of guitars work alright even if it wasn’t particularly necessary – C+

Ben Gold – Sound Advice (Chapter One) – Trance DJ Ben is mostly up to nothing much but every now and then he reminds you why he is popular, the gorgeous “Stay” is in a league of its own – C+

Black Moth Super Rainbow – Panic Blooms – Ambient psychedelia is the best I can do with this long, lovely yet oddly dispiriting album – C+

Charles Goose – A Voice in the Wilderness – Pretty good rapper trying to break through the clutter – C+

Cuco – Chiquito EP – An extremely pleasant sing-songy EP of Cali  teens doing nothing much, try “Dontmakemefallinlove” – C+

Dada Life – Our Nation _ Dada? Not so surrealistic, more like EDM as usual, all grinding synths and drum being dropped… – B

Desiigner – L.O.D. – Kanye is a busy bee, this is the latest (more or less) on G.O.O.D, Music, a seven song EP of mumble rap with hooks aplenty, check out “LA to NY,” there might not be another “Panda” in hmi, but, since there is another two big releases to come,  maybe there is – B

DJ Koze – Knock Knock – Heavy duty sound merchants – C

Eternal Summers – Every Day It Feels Like I’m Dying… – These guys feel like new dreamscape indie, but they’ve been around all decade and the songs have a perched flatness to them – C+

Elvis Presley – Elvis Presley: The Searcher (The Original Soundtrack) – From the HBO movie that I have yet to watch, and there is nothing much here to bother the big time fan, except a 1960 over of the Gospel classic”Milky White Way” that is simply adorable –  B+

Felix Cartal – Next Season – Melodic EDM, works here and there – C

Frank Sinatra – Standing Room Only – Three concerts from the 60s, 70s, and 80s each, The juxtaposition is interesting, I admit, and his voice definitely matures between the first and the third. The 60s are heavy on the standards, the 70s finds him covering milquetoast pop like Bread as well as the standards, by the 80s there were too many substandards. Interesting and unnecessary… Still how can you deny Sinatra covering “You Are The Sunshine Of My Life” as a cheerful singalong?  – B

Frank Turner – Be More Kind – Congrats to Frank, I now actively dislike him – MUST TO AVOID – D+

Furozh – Knew Idea – It says hip hop but sounds like mix and match ambient – C+

Gaz Coombes – World’s Strongest Man – This is a little better than I thought at first listen, it is like Noel Gallagher without the melodies – C+

Ghastly – The Mystifying Oracle – If DJ Shadow had a love child with Skrillex it might sound a lot like this – C+

Beyondless – Iceage – Postpunk from Denmark, sounds like The Only Ones without the lyrics or the singer – B-

Joey Alexander – Eclipse – The 14 (let me type that: FOURTEEN) year old twice Grammy nominated  jazz pianist wunderkind releases a pleasant, jazz as written album of standards and left field covers, Joshua Redman joins him for a coupla tracks and hangaround for “Blackbird” – B

Jon Hopkins – Singularity – Pretty ambient sounds meets acid house – B-

Lake Street Dive – Free Yourself Up – This is an anomaly in that the slower songs are great and the rockers aren’t, and even so this is a fine album, Rachael Price is in great voice, “Good Kisser” is a great song, and when they rock out they rock out with authority – B+

leaf beach – Arrival – The other side of sampled beats is the chaise lounge  mellow jazz instrumental album – C+

Leon Bridges – Good Thing – I am not keen on neo-soul recordings, even the late great Sharon Jones worked best on stage, but the problem has been the songs not the singer, and the songs here are so great it smashes Bridges out into the best of the genre. Plus, “Beyond” is one of the best songs of the year – ALBUM OF THE WEEK – A-

Liz Phair – The Girly-Sound Tapes – I owned some of this on a boot, but the complete thing is a work of youthful greatness and A vivisection of teens having sex with consequences . Interesting that she already had “Whip Smart” – A

Mat Kearney – CRAZYTALK – He is a talented guy but also immensely irritating. The songs are strong enough but the execution is tedious – C+

Matt and Kim – ALMOST EVERYDAY – Indie duo have chops from years of this sweet and interestingly constructed pop tracks – C+

Melvins – Pinkus Abortion Technician – The pudgy sludgies do what they do and on their cover of “I Want To Hold Your Hand” you might be forgiven for wishing they hadn’t bothered.

Middle Kids – Lost Friends – Indie pop meets prog rock – c

Ookay – Wow! Cool Album! – Somewhere between arty weirdness and pure house and trap – C+

Parker Millsap – Other Arrangements – I guess Parker’s inauguration as the next Jason Isbell is on hold for another album, as Milsap aficionado Steve Crawford put it: “It is really bland, too. Kind of a careerist holding pattern.”  – C+

Perera Elsewhere – Drive EP – A strange, soft yet hard sinking, ambient, electronic neo-r&b – B+

Plan B – Heaven Before All Hell Breaks Loose – London MC has great taste in samples but it all adds up to neo-soul – C+

Preme – Light Of Day – Canadian rapper, he knows his job but is a little boring performing it – C+

Rae Sremmurd – SR3MM – 27 tracks… 27??? Nearly two hours of new music. And yet, whatever weakness the album has, it certainly isn’t consistency. This album doesn’t peak (and “Up In My Cocina” is certainly not “Black Beatle” even while substituting Paul McCartney for Mick Jagger) but it doesn’t crater either, you can’t start anywhere and play till anytime and it is all good. – B+

Reykon – El Lider – Colombian reggaeton and very good at that, this is bouncier and less brutal than PR reggaeton and not as drowsy as, say, Bachata – B

RF Shannon – Trickster Blues – Western mood shoegaze sounds, like falling asleep in a sombrero without the mariachi – B-

Rob $tone – Young Rob $Tone -“I Need That” adds a sun drenched calypso San Diego vibe to the rap business, plus a nice little hook and the rest of the EP (9 songs, 26 minutes) is, if not as clever, “Grams” is pretty obvious, even so the backing tracks are all ace – B-

Royce Da 5’9″ – Book of Ryan – A terrific album from the five year sober Eminem buddy, and sobriety suits Royce as he makes an album to tell his son exactly what happened, dating all the way back to the day he lost his virginity and beyond – B+

Sam Lewis – Loversity – Americana, he sounds like the Dead circa Workingman’s Dead only nowhere near as good and with much less jam and more honey – C+

Shakey Graves – Can’t Wake Up – Man, this is a boring piece of self-important twaddle Americana – D+

Shinedown – ATTENTION ATTENTION  – Sure, they are a crap rock band, but give the drummer some – C+

Stryper – God Damn Evil – God damn Awful Christiiancore – D+

Taken By Trees – Yellow to Blue – Swedish singer Victoria Bergsman, is well into her second decade as an indie pop star and it shows on these dramatic, perfectly shaped songs – B

The Buttertones – Midnight in a Moonless Dream – Garage rockers from Cali, a fun outing with strong enough performances – B-

The Glitch Mob – See Without Eyes – Electronica by the famous band, still suck – C-

The Oak Ridge Boys – The Oak Ridge Boys – 22 Country Gospel Greats – They started as a Gospel band and they return to their roots here, beautifully sung though I am not really aware of the songs (hymns), though I do know “You’ll Never Walk Alone” and their harmonies are spot on – B-

The Temptations – All The Time – Still here, can still cover a song, their “Thinking Out Loud” is a beauty – B-

Trampled by Turtles – Life is Good on the Open Road – Prog bluegrass it says here and who is to disagree? A fiddling, reeling, blast – B

Yung Gravy – Snow Cougar EP – Fun and very pleasant rap, the song with Dram is terrific and the opening track “Knockout” with its horn powered track and hooky as hell chorus, is a joy – B+




  1. Sara Mountford on May 10, 2018 at 7:20 am

    Humorless, self-important and largely uninsightful reviews. Do you get paid to write these?

  2. Steve Crawford on May 12, 2018 at 10:54 am


    Iman writes short capsule reviews of dozens of albums per week, then writes more indepth reviews of work that strikes hims as particularly good or noteworthy. I applaud his commitment to listen to so much music and point me in the direction of work that I might enjoy.

    • admin on May 12, 2018 at 12:02 pm

      Thanks Steve -I’ve been doing this long that unless they have a valid point to make I tend not to bother responding -IL

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