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Brief Encounters: New Album Releases 4-2-21 – 4-8-21 Reviewed

Fuck Your Expectations PT. 1 – AG Club – A band that calls a song “Zane Lowe Alien Abduction” can’t be all bad, but can be all sophomoric hi-jinx electronic add and subtract – B-

Big Bank – Bankroll Freddie – with featured performers including 2 Chainz, Gucci Mane, PnB Rock, Young Dolph, and Megan Thee Stallion on “Pop It,”  the Arkansas rapper is a pure populist mix and match of everything from trap to drill to commercial rap on his second album, it is a face of modern Southern rap   – B-

Renovada – Blanca – The  Christian singer songwriter proves that God goes better with reggaeton and that tributing your late parents might be a good idea – B

High Country Sound – Canaan Smith – Canaan’s sophomore effort is pure country by a young master, “Colder Than You” is a great song and if there is any better reason to break up with a woman than her telling you to turn down the Merle, what is it? – B

Dancing With The Devil…The Art of Starting Over (Expanded Edition) – Demi Lovato – a new pop classic that leaves from Ariana’s thank u, next, to thank you, more – B+

New Long Leg – Dry Cleaning – I really don’t know why everybody thinks post-punk is defined by Gang Of Four -I don’t remember it that way at all. However, if you do this sounds like post-punk, angular guitars,  etc – C+

The Bitter Truth – Evanescence  -the bigger this goth rock band sound, the worst this big goth band sound and always have, an overblown rock for teenage boys – MUST TO AVOID – D+

Head of Roses – Flock of Dimes – this is the Wye Oak singer going even more experimental soundwise in her folk Americana on a lovely collection of oddstream songs – B

Friends In The Corner EP – Foxes – soulful English popstar with a handful of good songs – B-

G_d’s Pee AT STATE’S END! – Godspeed You! Black Emperor – The loud, ambient, instrumental Montreal band  return with a powerful, melodic tranceness sound -which is defined as what they do on the fine latest – B

Sip It – Iggy Azalea, Tyga – I once left an Iggy concert before what I thought would be her second encore and ran into at the outdoor venue, taking selfies and sharing hugs with her teenage fans as her manager screamed “they’re coming out, you have to leave NOW”. I mention this because I can therefore confirm that on that one night she was a nice person. Also, how is a white woman who loves black men a racist, precisely? Whatever, she got cancelled for black culture appropriation and the Aussie rapper never made it back. This two sided single sold as an EP won’t change anything – C+

Freedom. – Justin Bieber – With an immediate follow-up, 27 year old Bieber drops the best of his last three releases, a Gospel EP that though lacking West’s body and soul, at least keeps away from pure Gospel with a reverse secular soulfulness that includes Afrobeat and… Tori Kelley – B+

GRACE – Kelly Price – few better Gospel singers than Price, this is 90s style r&b as Gospel and the singing is so strong and the beats so sweet that opening hooks with “I wanna dance,” makes you forget the proselytizing  as the punchline only happens once: “It let’s me know that God is in control” – B+

Destined 2 Win – Lil Tjay – Lil Tjay plays the Band to Lil Uzi Vert’s Bob Dylan, younger (he is nineteen) and walking the line between rap and r&b with autotune and a gift for exceptionally strong songs (Grade: B).

Company’s Comin’ – Leslie Jordan – the Christian singer with a twang is joined by some major hitters, everyone from Dolly Parton to Eddie Vedder on a fine collection of hymnals  and spirituals – B

A Flor da Urtiga – Maria Reis – The Portuguese singer songwriter to great effect on this sweet as possible pop, produced by no less than Noah Lennox, Panda Bear, from Animal Collective. Consider it a representative of world wide pop though it gets no better than the opener “Maria o O” – B

Terraform: The People – Propaganda, DJ Mal-Ski – first rate Christian rapper with a strong selection of faith based rap songs and excellent beats – B

Course In Fable – Ryley Walker -the middle ground between jam and Americana singer songwriter from the Dave Matthews fan – C+

Roll The Bones X – Shakey Graves – The Americana populist from Texas drops his ten year old Bandcamp hit album onto streaming services, and adds tracks from earlier releases – B

Half Drunk Under a Full Moon – The Fratellis – the “Chelsea Dagger” Glasgow band, and the second good Glasgow band this week, in full melodic rock and pop indie bloom, especially the title track – B

Tethers – The Natvral – I always loved indie poppers The Pains OF Being Pure At Heart and am happy to inform you that Kip Berman is back as The Natvral who sound like Pains Of meets Roger McGuinn meets Tom Petty meets Bob Dylan and on  “Sun Blisters” might add Garth Hudson to the mix, the songs are great especially the opening track. So how does it feel? It feels like brilliance in a world without much  – ALBUM OF THE WEEK – A-

W.L. (Deluxe) – The Snuts – from the rough side of town, Glasgow’s Barrowland, the other Scottish old school rock band are just fine as part of a genre that seems to be having a spring awakening – B

H25PITAL – Various Artists – Hospital Records is a drums and bass label out of London, this is excellent compilation of the lost in EDM sound – B+

Saint Cloud +3 – Waxahatchee – adds three covers, the Dolly Parton one being great – B+

Burn in Many Mirrors – Wode – According to New Noise (here): ” Imagine all of the 90s Scandinavian black and death metal bands coming together and studying the Iron Maiden and the Necronomicon (the Evil Dead version, not the racist Lovecraft one), with the singular goal of pumping out pure sonic evil. In Wode’s case, that wickedness takes the form of some of the catchiest extreme metal outside of Tribulation” – B

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