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Brief Encounters: New Album Releases 11-10-23 – 11-16-23 Reviewed

The Maybe Man – AJR – as a novelty act, they are wonderful over a song or a twenty minute mini-concert. Over an album they are beyond irritating – C

A Family Christmas (Deluxe Edition) – Andrea Bocelli, Dave Foster, John Metcalfe,Lucy Goddard, Matteo Bocelli Virginia Bocelli – the blind angel of tenorism is joined by his family on this unspeakable piece of product – D

Hadsel – Beirut – an instrumentally inspired, horns of all time collection of art indy – B

Cat Power Sings Dylan: The 1966 Royal Albert Hall Concert – Cat Power – I’d forgotten about “Tell Me, Momma” entirely. Otherwise, a fine collection of early Dylan – B

2 RUFF, Vol. 1 – Chase & Status – though they haven’t broken big in the States yet, the drum n bass UK due are hugely popular across the pond with some of the wildest rhythms you’ll hear – B

Cliff with Strings – My Kinda Life – Cliff Richard – at 83 years of age, Cliff still sounds fine on this lovely stringlanded collection and an end featuring two of his earliest hits and towards the beginning an early smash – B

11:11 – Chris Brown – The poster child for r&b woman beating stars returns and with only 22 songs! This from the guy who dropped the 2017 release with FIFTY SEVEN TRACKS, not one of which I remember. And I went to the tour. This is a workmanlike set of r&b, as eager to apply EDM as Afrobeats to the main events – B

Higher – Chris Stapleton – he has a fine baritone but he is only as good as the songs he writes and, like buddy Jason Isbell, his songs aren’t as good as people tell him so he over sings everything – B-

Fragments of Eternity – GetoPros – the Dead Prez rarity “Together” is here on a set of old school gangsta and is a highlight but not the only one on this warning sampled slapdown – D+

Real – Kirsty MacColl – her long lost “second album”, on streaming services for the first time in a set of synth pop and weirder, there is no “There’s A Guy Works Down The Chip Shop Swears He’s Elvis” from her eponymous debut. One of rock’s great heros and great losses, Kirsty had better stuff on the horizon – B

When I Was Dead – Kodak Black – this is a goodie and we deserve it; Kodak is magic when you put a mic in front of him, he is a rapper’s rapper and his best work since he got out of prison; he has a hard drug vibe which he messes with on track after track on horror story after horror story – ALBUM OF THE WEEK – A-

Another Perfect Day (40th Anniversary) – Motorhead – there are only two bands, the Ramones are the other, whose every song could be put on a loop and everything you hear is exactly Motorhead – A

Heaven knows – PinkPantheress – the English teen singer songwriter sounds like molasses as she sings over beats; they are modern electronic pop vibes and when she hits big, “Mosquito” and the Ice Spice introducing “Boy’s a liar Pt. 2” -both of which are here, on her debut! – B

Under The Influence Of Christmas – The Grip Weeds – the power poppers with all their powers firing on a perfect mix of mostly new, occasionally old, and always nothing but deep greens and reds melodic faith – B+

The Beatles 1962 – 1966 (2023 Edition) (The Red Album) – The Beatles – almost unbelievably, Apple botched this, and its sister album 1967-1970. Among many things is its lack of skill at untangling what a Beatles greatest Hits should look like. This one, the first one, takes you all the way to Revolver-too deep into the catalog for even a double album. Kudos to Giles Martin whose 2023 mixes are very clear and you can hear ever crack and snap- A

The Beatles 1967 – 1970 (2023 Edition) (The Blue Album) – from the double “A” side psychedelic song all the way to “Now And Then” -just no real underlying intelligence to the set and no reason to choose here over the many, many choices as to where to listen to, say, “A Day In The Life” – B

THE FIRST TIME – The Kid Laroi – a surprisingly strong set of rap as sadboi crossover winking at social media with all its might from Australia; he landed in 2021 with the nearly 3 billion streaming “Stay” and has remained in the charts because, like the new Jung Kook (who also appears here), it has the ingredient it needs: it is a consistent and catchy set of life as a rap star upclose – A-

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