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Brief Encounters: New Album Release 8-6-21 – 8-12-21 Reviewed

Dreams Still Inspire – Abstract Mindstate – reunites Olskool Ice-Gre and E.P Da Hellca, sixteen years since Kanye West worked with them the Chicago duo are now on a new West label (YZY SND – Yeezy Sound to you). EP is a different voice and Gre connects well with her all these years later, and the cultural-social songs are strong enough to be more than being lectured (“just cuz we can voice opinions doesn’t make majority”) – B+

Release Me 2 – Barbra Streisand – outtakes from Release Me, stick around for the Kermit the Frog duet – B

Back To The Light (Deluxe) – Brian May – May’s second solo album from 1992 here given the usual spruce up, aka the original 12 and 11 more… metal guitar, crap vocals, crap songs -reminds you why you were never that crazy about Queen – MUST TO AVOID – D+

Nice One – Catbite – tuneful pop punks meets the ska revival that sounds more like power pop with a genre backbeat, is a youth blast of pleasure for Philadelphians who want to party all night – B+

Famous Friends – Chris Young – the stompers are terrific, the gushy stuff ain’t up to much, and “Hold My Beer Watch This” is a rager goodie of country rock classicism – B

Draw Down The Moon – Foxing – mathrock meets indie rock, it has its moments (try the first two songs) but gets a little winded – B

All Things Must Pass (50th Anniversary/Super Deluxe) – George Harrison – Those sixteen songs, from “I’d Have You Any Time” to “Art Of Dying”,” remain a signpost up ahead, whereas the follow up Living In The Material World, is a missed exit, the jam remains somewhat useless, and the outtakes, demos, one song not on the original album, aren’t very interesting unless you have an academic interest in how slow Hari can krishna – A

Kalevi Aho: Solo, Vol. 1 – Kalevi Aho – The Finnish classical composer is having his entire chamber music compositions re-released as a series of albums -consider him postmodernism meets modernism – A-

Mood Ring – Kississippi – Not unpleasant true, but a little average in its tuneful indie popness with soaring synths and strong hooks but nothing that’ll blow you away – B

Laura Stevenson – Laura Stevenson – on her sixth outing we get more of the same singer songwriter confessionals but better written, better arranged, better sung, and twice as sad as she tackles an unspecified disaster that nearly left a loved one dead – B+

Due North – Liam Kazar – the popular indie guitarist (he’s performed with Tweedy, Steve Gunn, Daniel Johnston and others) has released a collection of classic rockers, sounding the bell between Steely Dan and Fleetwood Mac, including Donald Fagin on the best Steely rip since “So It Goes” – B+

SINNER GET READY – Lingua Ignota – goth, electronic, black metal sludge with Klaus Nomi style vocals – B

Over the Overlords – Naked Raygun – The 80s punk rockers return after 31 years and sounds more like pop punk than anycore, addictive, melodic, fast and smooth – B+

King’s Disease II – Nas – welcome to the 90s where every feature you can bet on, from Eminem to Lauryn Hill, join this tight, intelligent, a little boring follow-up to his last album. Hit Boy adds some great backing tracks and “Death Row East” reminds us all about the rap wars – B

McCartney III Imagined – Paul McCartney – Where is Youth when you need him? Hot shot names from 2021, including St. Vincent and Anderson .Paak , remixing (imagined is a naff verb for what is happening) M3, oddly (her again) Phoebe Bridgers manages a rare goodie with “Seize The Day” but everything else is remakes of songs that weren’t much to begin with – C+

Gumbo’!! – Pink Siifu – This isn’t hyper-pop but it uses similar tools of sounds you’ve never heard before and relentless grooves tied to oblique lyrics about rising up – B

Noise in the City (Live in Tokyo, 1986) – The Art Of Noise – the well beyond prescient ZZT find made the template for EDM pop bands, where electronica meets synths and surf guitar – B+

The Definitive Collection – The Harptones – lead singer Willie Winfield died last week, he was 91 years of age. he retired at 89 in 2019. Till then he and the Harptones sung doo wop, never had a hit but remained one of the great doo wop band, helped immensely by baritone, arranger and pianist Raoul Cita. Formed in 1953, that would mean they were a performing band for nearly eighty years. This series of immaculately arranged, gorgeously sung songs have less aged and more been superseded. From 2020, we have a 60 song anthology, an unwavering collection of great doo wop that will remind you that they never, ever, found a way to update doo wop and the genre is the better for it – ALBUM OF THE WEEK – A+

333 – Tinashe -no longer anchored to a major label, Tinashe uses her neo-r&b skills -a minimalistic H.E.R. meets a jazz indifferent Noname, for a collection of easy going soul songs – B+

Adolescence – Unknown T – a UK Drill talent, he goes through bars like you go through bubblegum, an outstanding rapper and a visceral bad guy – B

America’s Hardcore Compilation: Volume 5 – Various Artists – From Triple B Records, 39 songs, most new, lotsa oldschool hardcore, as well as black metal and emocore and not beyond (none of the hyper-pop variant I’ve been hearing). It is uniformly excellent and if you want a new face hardcore band try Result Of Choice – B+

Big Money Cybergrind – Compilation, Vol. 1 – Various Artists – if you like hardcore, grindcore takes hardcore and grinds it into metallic shards of sound, throws screamo vocals on top and sprays it at you. If, like me, you were aware of some of the bands but not the genre, this is an exciting, and sure brutal, exercise in form over content – B

Crying On The Bathroom Floor – Will Young – the original Brit “American Idol,” “Pop Idol” winner in 2002, has had a successful career as the man who could be in a boyband but who has an artistic grasp of his sexual ambiguity and pours the emotions on downbeat electronic pop maneuvers – B

Rich Shooter – Young Nudy – Atlanta rapper adds superstars Future and Gucci Mane on a multi voiced barn burner though the lyrics could be better – B-


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