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Brief Encounters: New Album Releases 11-4-22 – 11-10-22

The Melodic Blue (Deluxe) – Baby Keem – Keem adds ten songs including the excellent closer with Lil Uzi Vert – B

Live At The Bon Soir – Barbra Streisand – from the beginning of her career, though two years into her ascendency at the Village nightclub, a pristine and returned set with the hiss gone Live At Bon Soir and Barbra nine months into her Broadway debut “I Can Get It For You wholesale” where she went from comedic singer to protean vocalist capable of ransacking the Great American Songbook and anything else that captured her ear, though if you want to hear a song don’t clap too loud as she warned during “Life Is Just A Bowl Of Cherries”… it must have been stupendous to be there – A

Bert At The BBC – Bert Jansch – 147 songs from the vaults by the Scottish folkie who sounds like Americana today – B

Back Home – Big Joanie -the queer friendly post-punk rockers go for a big sound from analog and synths melded at the hips – B

SHMURDAGOTCASH – Bobby Schmurda – in prison for SIX YEARS before finally getting his released February 2022, he has dropped some songs since but the mixtape is his first since 2014. whatever you think of his lifestyle, the King Of Drill -he would’be been huge as Pop Smoke and Fivio, and on the strength of this vicious and clever drill thrill, he would’ve deserved it – A-

Roma Travestita – Bruno de Sá – we haven’t had a castrati since the earliest of 20th century and so we have gotten countertenors and de Sá is a great one, with many songs here never recorded. A smash in Europe, we could use it here – A

Her Loss- Drake, 21 Savage – Earlier this year Drake proved himself the standard zeitgeist bearer with the dance meets hip hop state of the art Honestly, Nevermind and right now the 21 Savage collaboration (though somebody counted up the words each rapped and it is two thirds Drake Her Loss), both albums are vastly superior to the dreaded Certified Loverboy) especially the newbie with Drake playing gangster OG Don Corleone to 21 Savage’s blustery Sonny Corleone. It all works and the Travis Scott does more than that – A-

On The Ranch – Emily Nenni – not bad country, but it wears off you as her nasal vocal begins to irritate even though the songs are pretty good – C

Where I’m Meant To Be – Ezra Collective – the collective has a simple rule of thumb, add horns to everything and play with genre happily from jazz to salsa and back – B

Palomino – First Aid Kit – the singer songwriter sisters from Sweden return with a mainstream folk rockiness with a 70s vibe and songs that don’t live up to the hype – C+

TRIGGERED! – Massive Wagons – big sounding UK rock band with a brittle edge and a lotta strong voices – B-

Together In Vegas – Michael Ball, Alfie Boe – believe it or not, the English MOR stars are somewhat believable here with some Presley as well as a Tom Jones and a Frankie Valli medley – C+

We’re Not Here to Be Loved – Fleshwater – new noise for sure, it adds shoegaze to drone to hardcore and it adds up to a vigorous sounding nightmare of rock bastard – B+

Younger Still – Laura Stevenson, Jeff Rosenstock – as good as their first attempt and better than Kurt Vile, it is a pleasant surprise that Neil leds himself to harmony even without CSN – B+

MK 3.5: Die Cuts | City Planning – Mount Kimbie – the electronic duo split a double and in case you are wondering, the poppier and rappier Dom Maker wins – B

The Magic Flute – OST – an upcoming German fantasy musical film directed by Florian Sigl, based on the 1791 opera of the same name by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart -it sounds great – B+

Weird: The Al Yankovic Story (Original Soundtrack) – OST – a lotta prime Weird Al from the parodic documentary, but if you want a greatest hit why not get a greatest hita? Plus all the incidental music is irrelevant (the movie was pretty good) – B-

Alpha Zulu – Phoenix – the French indie rockers started 2009 with two huge hits -we are talking 250K streams on Spotify alone for each, and then crickets as far as popularity. “Tonight” with Ezra Koenig is a goodie but otherwise it doesn’t hit the sweet spot – C+

B-Sides, Demos & Rarities – PJ Harvey – those early tracks have a touch of Patti Smith about them -B+

5 to the Eye with Stars – R.A.P. Ferreira – “rapping gives people skills” Ferreira claims on his underground rap album with jazz backing and r&b vibes all the way through – B-

Devolver – Ryan Adams – From the deep emotional bottoming out of Chris and Romeo And Juliet to Devolver, the weight of the previous two evolves into a mainstream Cardinals-ish set of hard rock with guitars and electric on a set of ultimately unmemorable songs – B

Lucifer On The Moon – Spoon, Adrian Sherwood – Spoon are the most overrated indie rock band, but this is wit h the excellent punk-reggae producer and the kitchen sink with a fine (and this time it is accurate) “reimagining”of Spoon’s last album – B+

Food for Thought – Squeeze – the title track is for charity to help children hungry in the UK and has one of Chris Difford’s best lyrics of the past 20 years – B+

Spiceworld (25th Anniversary) – Spice Girls – not bad but if they must, they should have tried the debut album – B-

G Rage – Taylor Gang, Wiz Khalifa – exactly what you thought: drugs, sex, violence, and more weed – C+

Love Songs for Losers – The Lone Bellow – The Americana band had a coupla good years, and at its most dramatic (try “Gold”) they are as good as ever though over an album we get the steak and it is a steak that is overcooked by now – C+

Other Worlds – The Pretty Reckless – hmmm, just what we don’t need, a laid-back Taylor Momsen… still a pretty good “Peace Love And Understanding)” and otherwise sounds like Americana – C

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever – Music From and Inspired By – Various Artists – Black Panther wasn’t the only introduction to afrobeats (I’d been an Angelique Kidjo fan for years prior) but to other people in the genre some of us hadn’t gotten into till Beyonce’s The Gift. Well, the producers did their job here without her and brought Burna Boy and Tems to the front (Tems has a great “No Woman No Cry”) with some names me know and some we don’t (high five to Fireboy DML) on a fabulous album except for Rihanna – A

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