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Brief Encounters: New Album Releases 12-24-21 – 1-6-22

Still finishing 2021…

EPISODE 6: UGLY – Josie Dunne – very pretty singer songwriter songs and while I don’t know what it is an episode of, Episode Six is a beautifully maintained pop jones, try “Cooped Up” – B+

Springtime – Robin Guthrie – The Cocteau Twins were the innovative ambient duo who drew up the scale for wall of sound melody that would later be used and at a much higher volume for shoegaze monsters like mbv. In honor of half of Twins 60th birthday – B+

MOVES: 5 YEARS OF CULTURE – AFROBEATS – Various Artists – Afrobeats has been circling rap and EDM for two years now and while it got its kick in Nigeria, it really emerged from West Africa and Moves -an African-English indie record label, has spent five years charging the scene. I don’t recognize the names here, and it is more Afrocentric than even folks like Burma Boy. The star here is Afro B, who also owns the label, and is so good you’re wondering why he doesn’t sign to a major – A-

MOVES: 5 YEARS OF CULTURE – RAP & DRILL – Various Artists – Five years isn’t nearly enough for grime, the grandfather of drill hit big in 2005 and hasn’t stopped, drill is the equivalent of gangsta rap and its influence over New York rap for the past three years has been big (ever since Drake began the process with 2017’s More Life). I know grime and UK drill alright and I don’t recognize any names here (except for Chief Keef who is featured on one song), but as a drill primer it is thoroughly respectable gateway drug – B+

30th Anniversary Cover Series – Various Artists – When Olympia, Washington was the epicenter of grunge, riot grrrl and all things indie not on Sub Pop, Kill Rock Stars gave voice to everyone from Sleater Kinney to Elliott Smith. Last year Kill Rock Stars dropped covers of their artists catalog featured with a cover from the current roster. Elliott comes off best, he was born to be covered which is why so many people cover him. Not everything here works, Mike Watt is completely wrong for Bikini Kill’s “Rebel Girl”, still Deerhoof covers Kleenex and Sleater Kinney. then local indie hero Dave Depers covers Deerhoof. If the point is that Kill Rock Star signed a boatload of huge talents, point taken – ALBUM OF THE WEEK – A

Encanto (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) – Various Artists – Half incidental music, a quarter really very good South American pop and a quarter Broadway big bang songs. The big bangs, the execrable “Waiting On A Miracle might as well be Stephen Schwartz, are genre bad but the more Latin the vibe the better it gets – C

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