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Be Here Now: New Albums Reviewed 9-1-17 – 9-7-17

Alex Campos – Mementos  – Latin American Christian via Bogota, Columbia, he has a great voice but the songs are very Pop traditional, old songs rearranged for a Mariachi band, quite unlike his poppier earlier stuff – C+

BROCKHAMPTON – SATURATION II – Kevin Abstract’s posse sophomore album equals their first, like Wu Tang it is a collection of voices, like Odd Future it is young friends rapping together. If you are sick of trap, this is the antidote – B

Carole King – Breaking Up Is Hard To Do – Why is this showing up on Spotify new releases? Some early 60s stuff plus a fistful of tracks from Music and Wrap Around Joy. Apparently this compilation was first released in 2001 -I guess Spotify just got the rights. Still, a pleasure to hear Carole sing the lead on “Crying In The Rain”- C+

Dälek – Endangered Philosophies – The Kanye West who wrote “Black Skinheads” owes this industrial noise rappers (like they listened to The Spiral Staircase a lot) and they’re very thrilling for, oh, half an hour – B-

Daughter – Music From Before The Storm – From the game “Before The Storm”? eh? “Life Is Strange: Before the Storm is an episodic graphic adventure video game developed by Deck Nine and published by Square Enix. The first of three episodes was released on 31 August 2017 for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. It is set as a prequel to Life Is Strange, focusing on sixteen-year-old Chloe Price and her relationship with schoolmate Rachel Amber. Gameplay concerns itself mostly with the use of branching dialogues.” Be that as it may, this is a truly lovely instrumental album, like indie ambient soundtrack with noise – B+

Jake Bugg – Hearts That Strain – Five years after the then 17 year old folkie through through, and four years after he joined Rick Rubin jumping the shark, comes another disappointment. Though I will give him “How Soon The Dawn” – C

Joan Osborne – Songs of Bob Dylan – The definition of a one hit wonder covers the non-definition of not a one hit wonder. Dylan is like Shakespeare, interpret it anyway you want, he’ll survive. I am not crazy about Joan’s decision, “You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go” shouldn’t be so melancholy, and the genders on “Tangled Up In Blue” is confusing. Even so, I love the way she sings “Honolulu,” she rhymes it so perfectly. Her “Dark Eyes” is a goodie – B-

John Mark McMillan – Mercury & Lightning – This is CCM? I’m taken aback by this smart and powerful Christian songwriter, his sound is unique within genre, and he has an occasion line, “I need a religion or I need a new life” isn’t bad. The title track is vying for best album track of the week – B-

Kaskade – Redux EP 002 – I’ve disliked Kaskade’s electronic dance since forever, but “Nobody Like You” is a terrific song and the other five aren’t terrible – B-

LCD Soundsystem – american dream –  “oh baby” is as indiscrete a rip of 1975’s “Change Of Heart” as Nick Lowe’s “So It Goes” was of Steely Dan’s “Reelin In The Years”. “Tonite” is a great song, “Emotional Haircut” has a great name and the vocal doesn’t hit for a full 65 seconds, which makes em the Disco Biscuits without the funk. Not their best, not their worst, it doesn’t peak high enough and the lyrics are uniformly brilliant  – B+

Mogwai – Every Country’s Sun – I’ve heard every album they’ve ever done and I can’t remember any of it (I was gonna write a word of it but…) including this one. A lovely blank slate – C+

Motörhead – Under Cöver – What is it about Bowie’s “Heroes”? I’ve heard so many people cover the song and they all sound exactly the same as the original, all that “and you, you will be my Queen…” stuff. Discovering David  wrote it about Tony Visconti and some tail doesn’t help. As for the rest of ‘Head, useless but not unpleasant compilation of folks from the Sex Pistols to the Ramones they’ve covered over the years….. wait, not far enough. The Sex Pistols to Ted Nugent -there you go – B

Hercules & Love Affair – Omnion – modern, electronic disco with Sharon Von Etten on the first song – B-

Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark – The Punishment of Luxury – OMD’s thirteenth album and they haven’t missed a step since “Enola Gay”… haven’t added one either – B

Penny and Sparrow – Wendigo – Down and out bore from Texas duo – C

Shane Filan – Love Always – The inauguration of the must to avoid album of the week, the worst new release. I know, I thought it would be Christian Contemporary as well but no, the Westlife Irish get is horrendous middlebrow ballads for menopausal women everywhere – D

Starsailor – All This Life – UK rock bottom of the barrel – D

The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart – The Echo of Pleasure – They make something very difficult, the ability to write good tunes, seem overrated – B-

The Rails – Other People – I am always nice to Kami Thompson because her Mom Linda is friends with me on Facebook and I’m scared she’ll block me if I’m mean. Not that it is very difficult to enjoy this Englishcana, Kami’s husband James Walbourne seems to be having a career high (if you assume the person singing lead wrote most of it). The guitar solo on “Drowned In Blue” is worth searching out. And I didn’t mention Fairport Convention once, though James sounds like his father-in-law on “Shame”  – ALBUM OF THE WEEK –  B+

The Script – Freedom Child – They sound like the Police – D

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