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Brief Encounters: New Album Releases 10-7-22 -10-13-22 Reviewed

Blue Rev – Alvvays – it’s been five years since the indie power poppers fuzziness returned and this is as enjoyable and catchy and album of indie as you could hope for in 2016, let alone 2022 – B+

Rolling Golden Holy – Bonny Light Horseman – Americana supergroup of folkieisms, that’s Anais Mitchell singing – C+

INTO THE BLUE – Broken Bells – Danger Mouse never repeated “The Grey Album” and James Mercer never came close to Chutes Too Narrow, and this dreary album of orchestrated blahdom doesn’t come close – D+

CHARLIE – Charlie Puth – the pop pianist and electronics wiz and boy singer returns with an album that might have been one of the best of the year and isn’t not because the songs weaken but they overwhelm and you tune em out except when you don’t, then he is spectacular – A-

Loose Future – Courtney Marie Andrews – pretty folk but it goes on and on and while she has been incapable of another “May Your Kindness Remains”, she comes close on “You Do What You Want” – B

It’s Not Me It’s You (Deluxe) – DDG – Two years ago DDG was streamed 250 MILLION times with “Moonwalking in Calabasas” (the remix with Blueface) and nothing here is really weak but still it is by the numbers trap – C+

22 (Deluxe) – Craig David – the UK soul singer from the early 00s (he was lead singer for garage rockers Artful Dodger) and has been consistently in the charts (over there, of course), this should do well as well, nearly an hour of superior r&b -try it – B

People In Motion – Dayglow – DJ better when closer to house then closer to pop but always infectious and fun – B

Oberon – Fucked Up – circa David Comes Alive, Canadians Fucked Up had Titus Andronicus opening for them and a sound that took emocore hard rockers and twisted them into pop hits, since then they haven’t though hand them the psychedeliccore freak out on the title track – B

a study of the human experience volume two – gayle – the “abcfu” girl has her moments over an EP, “Indieedgycool” is first rate so the question is, can she catch England’s ear again? – B

Survivor’s Remorse: A Side – G Herbo – The Chicago rappers fifth album has plenty of features (including Offset and Future) on an ordinary rapp albums by the numbers – B-

Spell 31 – Ibeyi – the French-Cuban sister duo return with trip hop heavy beats and electronica plus harmonies – B-

CHAOS NOW* – Jean Dawson – is it hip hop? Perhaps, a sort of of punk-pop meets electric guitar pyrotechnics and hip hop production values – B

Motive – Joyce Wrice – a five song EP with DJ Kaytranada (who opened with her on the Lucky Daye tour) who produced three of the tracks on a pleasant but unassuming r&b set – C+

Omens – Lamb Of God – the terrified omen, indeed, with one of the great hardcore bands, Lamb Of God, who sound about as great in 2022 as they did in 2009 on the rip em to bits brilliance, a riff monster lead by Randy (bye bye Chris) at the big boys who have reasons to be worried – A-

The Studio Albums 2009 – 2018 – Mark Knopfler – nine albums over eight years, essentially they all sound the same by which I mean the guitar playing tone is exquisite, the songs are samey and a little boring, and Sailing To Philadelphia remains his only great album except for the Local Hero soundtrack and everything he did with Dire Straits up to and including 1985’s Brothers In Arms – B-

Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) – Shawn Mendes takes a break from cancelling concerts due to mental health and becomes a singing, dancing crocodile in a new movie – cameo songs from Stevie Wonder and Elton John – C+

Live In Washington DC ’76 – Patti Smith – This was two performances at the Cellar Door for the King Biscuit Hour with Horses out and Radio Ethiopia in the can, it is nearly three hours of youthful Patti with the ropes down and the skill set in place to perform her punk (already post punk!), with all the biggies, “Kimberley”, “Free Money”, “Gloria”, “Redondo Beach” and on and on and covers like “My Generation” and on – A-

N.K-Pop – Paul Heaton, Jacqui Abbott – they’ve been together longer than the Beautiful South and the Housemartins combined, Heaton can still compose a song like nobody’s business, I could’ve lived without the baby dying but other places are as bracing and as great as Heaton gets – B+

Only Built For Infinity Links – Quavo, Takeoff – the Unc(le) amd the (ne)phew take boom bap 90s mode and add trap beats on a fair to middling set that misses OffSet (but also missed the greatness of Migos on their last album), this is a clever genre crossover exercise and not much more – B-

Crackers – Slade – Crackers – Crackers lives up to its name, it is a wonderful party album that only relents briefly towards the end with an anthem as snooze “My Oh My”. The problem is the extended versions of the album confuse us all, and it weakens the albums potency by dragging it on too long with a four song add. Still it survives as a great Christmas album and a jolt of nostalgia for those of us who were teens in the UK just pre-punk – A-

MAXIDENT – Stray Kids – Of the three K-Poppers, BTS is the Beatles, Blackpink are the Stones and Stray Kids are…. well, a post-punk electronic take on K-Pop very popular with youngsters everywhere – B-

Under The Midnight Sun – The Cult – cookie cutter Cult – C

Burn The Empire – The Snuts – Glasgow rock band with politics on its mind and indie rock, while as a rule of thumb UK rock is hit not miss when it does hit it tends to be excellent, try “Pigeons In New York” – A-

Coping Mechanism – Willow – stuck with a difficult family to go along with her ingenious self-awareness as she transitions from black Americana to color blind pop punk, produced by Chris Gaetti who includes YUNGBLUD, blink-182, Pussy Riot and Poppy among its posse. He gives Willow a straightforward rock punk ambience with super good singing – B+

Nothing Special – Will Sheff – leader of guitarist with Okkervil River, talented and less Americana more folk solo – B

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