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Be Here Now: New Albums Reviews, March 31st, 2015



Sintetizzatrice – Anna Caragnano And  Donato Dozzy – According to Residential Advisor: “The nine-track, 25-minute record has been made entirely from the voice of Rome-based singer Anna Caragnano, with Dozzy reshaping her vocals using layering and effects”. Much deeper and lovelier than you might expect – B+

Sonnet – Benoit Pioulard – The essence of ambient background-foreground music, using everything you can imagine to send your brain adrift – B

Boxed In – Boxed In – Electronic pop guy from the UK, who manages to sound similar and different, with strange and shifting instrumental emphasis and soulful indie style singing – B

Southern Style – Darius Rucker – Southern style and homegrown, fifteen songs by born again country man Darius, and not a dog in the batch, though not a stand out either. I’ll take the winning by numbers – B

Kintsugi – Death Cab For Cuties – Poster boy for indie rocker angst Ben Gibbard’s break-up album goes on quite a bit, and can drag you getting there, but at least it gets there in the end, where the reality of pain and loss sounds the way it feels,the way it never came close to on Codes And Keys – B

III – Föllakzoid – Electronic compositions – B

Asunder, Sweet And Other Distress – Godspeed You! Black Emperor – Heavy duty instrumental compositions with a certain ferocity – B

The Best Of The Grateful Dead – The Grateful Dead – a double album. 32 tracks, only one over 15 minutes: the Dead as folk rock poppers – A

Carousel – Jerry Paper – Synthesiser art pop – B

New York Before The War – Jesse Malin – If I pan this disappointment by the former D Generation, current Bowery Electric owner, does it mean I won’t get on the guestlist…?  oh, wait a second, I never do any way. This is standard issue rock and roll with pretensions of grandeur that pay off on the rockier ones – B-

The Past, The Present, The Future – Jodeci – Timbaland is back, on the heels of the Empire soundtrack, both of his tracks here are good… but then again so is everything else. This is the black harmony band as tough edged r&b soul guys – B+

Day Of The Dead – Hollywood Undead – Are these guys still undead? Mishmosh rock and rap, etc – C

Escape From Evil – Lower Dens – Indie mood music with a good singer and difficult songs – C+

Ludaversal – Ludacris – The man has great flow, among the best in the business, and it saves him from time to time on this wide ranging hip hop album (timed to coincide with his Furious Seven movie, no doubt), but, as happens too often with this guy, it lacks character and it doesn’t always save him – C+

Adventure – Madeon – French DJ brings a very lively and infectious dubstep beat to modern EDM and wins out on track after track, even the Passion Pit number – B

This World Is Not Enough – Marching Church – Elias Bender Rønnenfelt of Iceage along with friends improvise on loosely written songs to excellent effect – B+

The Day Is My Enemy – The Prodigy – Still slapping their bitch up, with Sleaford Mobs on one track. A keeper among keepers – B+

Postcards From Paradise – Ringo Starr – “Some people are good, some people are bad, some people are crazy, some people are so sad…” Starr opens with “Rory And The Hurricanes”, a true memory song, and soon moves from there to other songs where he refuses to revel in nostalgia with a not untypical Ringo shuffle and a not un All Starrs like, anonymous sound. Good? Hey it’s as good as McCartney’s last without the yearning ambitiousness. Wise, yes, but not too wise…  – B

Carousel One – Ron Sexsmith – The problem with this guy is he is so good the only thing left to do with him is take him for granted. Another gorgeous album – A-

This Is The Sonics – The Sonics – 60s garage rock band reform and have lost nothing in the ensuing decades – B+

Carrie And Lowell – Sufjan Stevens – A memento mori for the Mom he barely knew, this softly acoustic folk album conjures the ghost of Elliott Smith to show how beautifully you can sing about the saddest things.  I never really liked Sufjan but I could be wrong, you know  – ALBUM OF THE WEEK – A-

The Album About Nothing – Wale – Jerry Seinfeld does the narration, I’ve never been much of a fan of Wale  either but this is a superb  collection. Sure “The Matrimony” still sucks but Sza (with the “idea is to combine this and that”  Seinfeld episode sampled) sounds gorgeous and “The Intro ABout Nothing” doesn’t merely outlast its lousy name, it thrives on it – B+

The Bottom Live Archive Series (Live 1980 & 2000) – WIllie Nile – Back in 2009 I called the Bottom Line my favorite New York club ever, and I received a very kind response from co-owner Allan Pepper (here), telling me they were trying to re-open the storied club elsewhere, it didn’t happen and with the Stanley Snadowsky passed on, perhaps what we will be left with are these new archive releases, five years after the box set. Willie Nile is a quintessential New York rocker and this double, especially the 1980s one, are a great listen. Hope for more, a Kate McGarrigle album is very necessary – B+

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