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Brief Encounters” New Album Release 2-4-22 – 2-10-22

Dope Don’t Sell Itself – 2 Chainz – despite some assists from players as big as he is, maybe bigger, from Lil Baby to Lil Durk, it is all a bit ordinary though “Kingpin Ghostwriter” is ace – C+

Time Skiffs – Animal Collective – the singles suggested this would be one of the art Americana bands better efforts, but from the kick start “Dragon Slayer” it is all killa, wall of sound Americana that emerge as fully formed songs and melodies. As if the collective had reached a place where they weren’t afraid to let themselves be loved. Their best work since 2009 and as great as Panda Bear can be solo – ALBUM OF THE WEEK – A-

Give Me The Future – Bastille – while Bastille are one of the first round of 21st century rock dance bands they are only as good as their best moments, and if that means Daft Punk soundalike “Distorted Light Beam” so be it – B

Pompeii – Cate Le Bon – electronic goth songs of disturbed wall of sounds from the Welsh woman – B

A Dream About Death – Circa Survive – nice sounding, over arranged, emo variant – B-

Amazing Things – Don Broco – straightforward hard post-rock from Britain’s re-emergence of rock, # 1 in the UK – B

Moments – Jamie Webster – the UK singer songwriter’s second album deals with the effects of the lockdown in confessional mode looking at the years in isolation with exceptionally erudite lyrics and the sort of blues rock you’d expect from the UK added to Brit Pop -try “Knock At My Door” – B+

Requiem – Korn – the nu-metal giants 14th album is a short sharp shock, never better than when playing footsie with screamo – B

I WANT BLOOD / i want love – Jeris Johnson – the 25 year old guy out to save rock and roll won’t do it with this classic rock plus shards of industrial album – C+

Johnny 70 – Johnny Hallyday – while it is sure hard to imagine from here, Hallyday was one of the most popular singers of all times, the 50s, 60s, 70s and on, were all decades filled with hits. I prefer the late great at his most Presley like and not a chanson d’amour yacht rocker, as he was in the 1970s. But the first album of that decade, Johnny 70, has survived the test of time, and this 29 track album is a wonderful collection of songs from the period, “La Pollution” is exactly what it should be only better – A-

The Berlin Concert – John Williams, Berliner Philharmoniker – what makes John Williams so remarkable as a movie soundtrack composer is his skills at breakaway anthems, from the Christopher Reeves “Superman” to Harry Potter (all of them) to “Close Encounters Of The Third Kind”, The Berlin Concert is a follow-up to the Vienna concert, with the 90 year old conducting both – B+

Inside Voices / Outside Voices – K. Flay – new alt rocker as proven with the two features, there is a signpost up ahead with Travis Barker and Tom Morello names on it, there is a growing market for this stuff, let’s see if she manages to infiltrate it – B-

Let the Festivities Begin! – Los Bitchos – imagine the Raybeats in 2022 as an all girl band via Turkey – B

Laurel Hell – Mitski – terrific album name from the Japanese-American popster who bends towards the art and is something of a bummer anyway. On stage, she is a gymnastic, not to say aerobics, stunner, the sort of woman who might lead you to hell. On recordings she can be too difficult and in this short (barely half an hour) album, she spends her spare time watching the US go up in flames along with her career and her love life. Sad, I know, but the good news is that after her terrific 2018 Be The Cowboy she had planned to give up music but had an album left on her Dead Oceans contract. Here it is, and there is a tour with it.(Radio City on March 24th) and it will undoubtedly be stronger once you see it as well – B+

Me vs. Me – NLE Choppa – the kid can rap, tailor made for TikTok he is so meme friendly, yet if you get the sense you’ve heard it before it is because despite his skills as a rapper he doesn’t do much else. Well, what else do you want from a rap album? – B

Marry Me – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack – both J Lo and Maluma bring their C+ game – C+

West Side Story – Original Soundtrack – The one to see was the Spanish language version that didn’t return to Broadway from Covid, this sounds missable with a piece of self-destructive casting (really, is Ansel Elgort that big?) as Tony. It doesn’t really recover and the soundtrack is completely unnecessary. Tut tut – C+

Gay Dreams Do Come True – Planningtorock – one of the top names in hyper-pop and modern EDM with three songs and all must hears – A-

pulp – Winnetka Bowling League – The L.A. electronic rockers are built for college towns everywhere and the addition of Demi Lovato suggests they have big ins in the biz, still nothing special – B-

Few Good Things – Saba – one of the most powerful rap albums you’ve heard this year, Chicago’s Saba doesn’t deal in trap, he deals in r&b flavored hip hop as he looks back in bafflement so far. If “a Simpler Time” is a lovely soul track, “Free Samples” is the best opening track of the year. A beautiful piece of work and as Pitchfork noted (here) with the use of zero samples – A-

See Through Blue – Scarlet Rebel – Metal blues more like Greta Van Fleet than Led Zep – C+

Summer Of Soul (…Or, When The Revolution Could Not Be Televised) Original Motion Picture Soundtrack [Live at the Harlem Cultural Festival, 1969] – 17 songs? That’s it? Why? – Sure, it’s great but it is missing so much music. Kudos to The 5th Dimension for finally getting the respect they deserve – B+

Glitch Princess – yeule – The UK performers second full length album starts with at least one smart truism “I like being fucked and I like to fuck” to which I will add Amen to the hyper pop 22 year old who might break Brit with this – B

Colors – YoungBoy Never Broke Again – his 21st album in six years, the man is a fucking machine… and a good one, this is yet another collection of hip hop bangers – B+

Tha Wolf On Wall St 2: The American Dream – Your Old Droog, Tha God Fahim – “Wall St. Briefcase” is their best song yet and while the dup are much to prolific to keep tabs on, this eight song EP is worth your while – B+

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