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Be Here Now: New Albums Reviewed For 10-30-15 – 11-5-15

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ALBUM OF THE WEEK: 10-30-15 – 11-5-15

The Accuser – Abigail Williams – Symphonic hardcore songs with bottle and melody, these guys have been around for years and they sound like no one else out there. At their best, on “Will, Wish, And Desire”, they’re as far from the scripture’s of any core while still being all force: it has the brutality you expect and also the seduction you don’t expect at all – B+

Jagged Little Pill Deluxe – Alanis Morrissett – The album itself plus rarities, demos and a live performance circa 1995. I saw her at Roseland on that tour and this sounds as good as I remember – B+

Amy – Amy Winehouse – No less a personage than Marshall Crenshaw dubbed the film that this is a soundtrack to a Snuff Movie. I haven’t seen it myself though the song selection yields zero surprises. Amy does dedicate “What Is It About Men” to her daddy – B

The Things We Do To Find People Who Feel Like Us – Beach Slang – Experience will tell on this first rate indie rock album, 26 minutes of heartfelt, intelligent rockers about the vicissitudes of youth, growing old, and falling in love, by a band old enough to know how it feels – A-

Sea Of Brass – British Sea Power – This influential art rock band –you can hear echoes of them in Elbow for one, are back with their third album of the decade: overly arranged and orchestrated power ballads with a heart of darkness. “Alberts Eyes” is killer – B+

Get Up – Bryan Adams – We are at that place in popular music history where a straight up rock and roll album is a genre exercise. So consider this a genre exercise… a very good one. Who ever thought a new Bryan would trump a new Ryan album? – B+

Teens Of Style – Car Seat headrest – I sincerely believe albums have been too long since the advent of CDs. At 46 minutes, these indie power poppers should have cut it to half an hour and had a winner instead of having us check our watch circa “psst, teenagers take your clothes o”. Song title of the week: “Bad Role Models, Old Idols Exhumed (psst, teenagers, put your clothes back o)” – B

Mythologies – Cheatahs – Heavy duty mood rockers and deeply upset lyrics – B-

Joy Of Living: A Tribute to – Ewan MacColl – A List folkies pay tribute to the late great songwriter. Steve Earle gets “Dirty Old Town”, Jarvis Cocker “The Battle Is Done With” plus Christy Moore, Billy Bragg, Rufus and his sister Martha Wainwright and more tackle the catalog and they do Ewan proud – A-

If I Can Dream – Elvis Presley with the Philadelphia Philharmonic Orchestra – They add Michael Buble to “Fever”. I have no problem with making even more money off Presley, and I don’t say he wouldn’t have done it himself, he certainly had the business acumen, what I am saying is this is a terrible album where the orchestra and the vocals do not fit. His estate should be ashamed of themselves – D-

The 70’s Collection – Elvis Presley – I found this on Apple Music, from Let’s Be Friends to Moody Blue-eleven hours plus of the King– A

Return To The Moon – El Vy – Matt Berninger and Brent Knopf: hmm, this smells of an awayday for the star of a big band – C+

Hate me – Escape The Fate – Hate you? Maybe not hate, you didn’t invade Poland, but this is MORcore, and I don’t like it very much – C

Animal Nature – Escort – This isn’t dance, this is disco and like so much modern disco, Holy Ghost for instance, it misses a little something not in the beat, or performance, or even vocals, which are very fine in fact, but in the song, which aren’t quite there. An exception: The title track is  good, much beter than the handclapping anthems the rest of the album can too often dissolves into – B

Make America Psycho Again – Fall Out Boy – There are two sort of remix albums, the one where you hand your tune off to a DJ, and the one where you get a rapper to add a verse. This one is the latter and the rappers include Azealia Banks, A$AP Ferg, Wiz Khalifa (of course) and more and what do they do? They add a verse to a song – B

Dealer – Foxing – Should grow a beard and move to Brooklyn – C

Kill The Ones You Love – Gems – Lovely mid-tempo pop songs, the singer is really good, and the songs are dream pop but with more melodic backbone then we’re used to – B

Quit This City – Grandtheft – Sometimes electronica, sometimes dance, the Canadian House DJ adds rub-a-dub-dub and pop to the mix. The title track has Lowell taking the lead vocal and it is very good – B+

Courting The Squall – Guy Garvey – So what do you get when you take Guy out of Elbow? You get all the poetry, most of the melody. What do you lose? You lose the anthems and the hard rocking – B+

Secrets – Ian Fletcher Thornley – Alt rockers Big Wreck’s lead singer Ian, went to a remote cottage and recorded some pretty good acoustic ballads – B

Illimaq – John Luther Adams – New age ambient stuff, from “descent” to “ascent” though sodded if I can tell the difference, still it does the job and works intermittently as deep background – B

Manhattan – Jeffrey Lewis And Los Bolts – Sounds an awful lot like Lou Reed but then Lewis  always has… a little goes a long way, so listen to a little – B-

Late Knight Special – Kirk Knight – Twenty years of age, and already a member of Obama’s kid’s fave posse Pro Era, this is standard issue gangsta rap – C+

Cocksure – Laura Stevenson – With her fourth album, this is where we know what Laura can do, write very smart indie pop rocker songs and play em well, and when she does it, as she does here, we commend her and move on with her life. But it is a little tricker than that. How can you take a song as good as “Ticker Tape” for granted? Then again, how can’t you? – B

I Wish Dee Dee Ramone Was Here With Me – Le Volume Courbe – When you name yourself after a friend’s sculpture, and you are the opener for My Bloody Valentine, and you are French, and lo fi, shouldn’t you be a little, how you say, prétentieux? But no, this is a singularly strange and pretty album, if daydreaming about shooting up with Dee Dee can actually be considered pretty – B+

Underground Sound Suicide – Loco Dice – Belgium house producer with a deft touch and a minimal approach, consider it bedsit electronica – B-

Many Moons – Martin Courtney – I once saw the Real Estate lead singer smoking a joint before going on stage, so this solo effort comes as zero surprise – C+

Rehumanizer – Maserati – A little on the dull side, mood rockers – C+

Bad Neighbor – Madlib / MED / Blu – I’ve never been impressed with producer Madlib, and Med(aphor) is a second tier rapper at best. But if you’re gonna whine about gangsta , how do you whine about these super sample tracks? Or about Blu, a superior lyricist? Both Blu and Med hit it bigtime on “Bird”  though hold on  for “The Strip” featuring the excellent Anderson Paak – B-

Mutiny At Muscle Beach – Night Birds – Sounds like it just walked out of the Lower East Side in 1977 – B+

Technomancer – Pictureplane – Yet more electronica and in a busy week it doesn’t stand out – C-

Money Shot – Puscifer – “Simply a playground for the various voices in my head, a space with no clear or discernible goals, where my Id, Ego, and Anima all come together to exchange cookie recipes,” claims TOOL Maynard James Keenan. It is just a pity this tedious band isn’t half as good as his quote – D+

Bleed – Roots Manerva – I love rap with an English accent, and this is excellent flowing very English rap which will have you wondering why it doesn’t break with a US rap audience. Try the first single “Facety 2.11” if you are looking for a foot in the door. Fine flow and a hook so irritating it is three parts postal, one part super – A-

Days Of Heaven – Steven Lambke – Constantines leader releases a fine if minor collection of indie folk, I did say minor – C+

Silver Bullets – The Chills – 80s New Zealand band still have it on this excellent power pop album. The title track is a beauty and it is as consistent as you want from this genre – B

Fire And Skill: The Jam Live – The Jams – Five years in the life, starting with a 1977 100 Club gig recorded for US radio, followed by a 1978 liver circa the second album, around the time I saw them and was left than thrilled, the third album is the All Mod Cons tour, which I missed and is the highlight of the album, the fourth album and you have “Start” and “Eton Rifles” in the repertoire in 1980 Newcastle, and in 1982 at Wembley the superstars roll out stuff from The Gift. What a great way to put together a career spanner. It’s simple, if you love the Jam you will flip out over these beautifully recorded live songs. ALBUM OF THE WEEK – A

Wiped Out! – The Neighbourhood – Songs with names like “RIP To My Youth”, you’d hope they’d be a lot better, but they are really, essentially, a modern rock band who should remain local – C

Loaded: Re-Loaded 45 Anniversary Addition – The Velvet Underground – Stereo and Mono versions of the album, but then it gets really cooking with demos and early takes, plus  a live from Max’s and a 1970 concert – A

Paper Wheels – Trey Anastasio – I prefer solo Trey when he is doing genre exercises, a little song, a little dance, a little salsa down your pants – C

We Love Disney – Various Artists The problem with this an earlier stars on Disney albums, is the standard of songwriting is so bad that if you get stuck with a track off “Hercules”, as Ariana Grande is, you’re fucked. So all the best tracks are off Mary Poppins, the Jungle Book, you know the A List. The exception is Ne Yo who kills on an Aladdin track, though why not  “Never Knew I Needed”?  – B-

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