Skip to content

Brief Encounters: New Album Releases 6-25-21 – 7-1-21 Reviewed


Our Extended Play – Beabadoobee, The 1975 – the English via the Philippines Beabadoobee has recorded a four song EP with The 1975 and all the songs are great and “Last Day On Earth” is better than that – A-

Finally Famous (10th Anniversary Deluxe Edition Remixed and Remastered) – Big Sean – nothing much added here but it is a terrific album and we are happy for the reminder – B+

BTS, THE BEST – BTS –  In Japanese, by the way – B

Underneath The Spell – Caged Animals – gorgeous indie pop from the Brooklyn based singer songwriter, it is like dark Americana with great tunes brought front and center – B

Hope – Ceramic Dog, Marc Ribot – Marc Ribot with the jazz band Ceramic Dog ( bassist Shahzad Ismaily,drummer Ches Smith) for a third time, though oddly, the weirder it gets the better it is – B

Date Night: Chromeo Live! – Chromeo – never a fan of the dance duo, Chromeo kill it on a fine live album when, well, why should they? Surely disco is a studio art form? – B+

Together In Static – Daniel Avery – ambient, electronic, originally performed live during the bad old social distancing period of our lives – B-

Planet Her – Doja Cat – Cali’s own Amala Dlamini (aka Doja Cat) has been circling Dua Lipa for a coupla years now though her extreme badassness may have held her back (she nearly got cancelled for using the n word, till people realized she was biracial), the social media star is an emblem of modern pop, she raps, she creates beats, she is comfortable with melodic pop and she is very comfortable with hyper-pop image mongering, her third album  is built for the twenty somethings who spend their life in nightclubs, and their kid sisters who spend all their time on Tik-Tok and it is good -even if we heard the best song back in April with that great “Physical” interloping  – B+

Icons – Eli Kessler – sounds like one of his sound installations recorded – B-

Year Of The Horse (Vol 1 – 4) – Fucked Up – On the verge of being the only band that matters, their sound became a deep mix of hardcore and art electronics, and they missed their opportunity. This one sounds great but it is a pain in the ass, released as four half hour albums, with no track names, in 2021 who has the patience? – B+

SHEESH! – Goon Des Garcon  – the LA rapper self-portrait is pretty arty and also Tik Tok enough to glom on the word of the moment – B

Grateful Dead (Skull & Roses) [50th Anniversary Expanded Edition] [Live] – The 1971 second live double, and if we must have another Dead/Live by all means let it be from this vintage, and let it be East Coast, though this extended version includes eight songs recorded at the Fillmore West . That drum solo on “The Other One” is brutal but the take on “Mama Tried,” added here, is the middle ground between the Byrds and Merle Haggard – B+

Mood Valiant – Hiatus Kaiyote – mood music meets art&b for the often sampled Australian band – B

Mozart: Sonatas for Fortepiano & Violin, Vol. 3 – Isabelle Faust, Alexander Melnikov – Faust is one of the great violinists of our time, here she tackles some of the most difficult of Mozart sonatas with the Russian pianist – B+

THE HUSTLE STILL CONTINUES (Deluxe) – Juicy J – adds nine tracks , listen for the Pooh Shiesty song – B-

A Mild Case of Everything – Keuning – The Killers lead guitarist abysmal indie rockers – MUST TO AVOID – D

A Color of the Sky – Lightning Bug – low impact, sweet and pretty indie pop strokes -a good week for female singers, this is the third with better than average singing – B

YS Collection Vol. 1 – Logic – From Complex (here): The 14-track project consists of songs from the DMV rapper’s Young Sinatra series, which includes mixtapes Young Sinatra (2011), Young Sinatra: Undeniable (2012), and Young Sinatra: Welcome to Forever (2013), as well as his 2018 studio album YSIV. YS Collection Vol. 1 also features the brand new cut “Tokyo Nights.”

Former Things – Lonelady – Manchester electronic woman with some of the herky jerky melting pot of post-punk meets disco – B

Home Video – Lucy Dadus – Before  I caught em live, I considered Lucy the third wheel in Boygenius, but she held her own with Julien Baker and blew Phoebe Bridgers offstage. The same is true on a better than the first sophomore album of Americana pop tracks with a few really good songs… try “Going Going Gone” (no,  not Dylan’s one) – B+

Special – MC Breezy – The Texan rapper takes on r&b and wins on a fine set of soul songs – B+

Merci Miles! Live at Vienne – Miles Davis – Months before he passed, Miles Davis on a live album of songs from his last coupla albums, “Amandla” is proforma – A-

The Golden Casket – Modest Mouse – The indie rockers at the peak of their powers on an electronic reboot of their sound though not as bummer as the coffin on the album cover. An aphorism worth quoting “We are between the dust and the stars”. Quite – B+

The Löst Tapes Vol. 1 (Live in Madrid 1995) – Motorhead – is, as Lemmy notes at the top, rock and roll, the sort of performance only The Ramones could top – A

Fatigue – L’Rain – Taja Cheek’s art damaged, electronic based, singer songwriter bummer songs – B-

Death Of A Cheerleader – Pom Pom Squad – Mia Berrin channels her time as a queer High Schooler in love with the unobtainable on a first rate collection of indie rockers. “Head Cheerleader” is brilliant and the band’s cover of “Crimson And Clover” is first rate – B+

Vice Versa – Rauw Alejandro – a fine piece of reggaeton effort with a handful of potential hits and a low burn that adds bachata to the mix – B

Nine – Sault – I failed to glom on to the illusive Sault, whose two albums last year was considered by many to be both amongst the best of the year. But here they make their point better with an art r&b album that, in a quite amusing move, is only available for the next 99 days – B

Become Ethereal – Sundrenched – Deeply melodic, ambientcore -sort of shoegaze from hell – B+

Sin City The Mixtape – Ski Mask The Slump God – along with XXXtentacion, with whom he shared a collective, Soundcloud Rap had all the biggest stars dead, and last man standing  Ski Mask, who was terrible when I saw him at the late lamented Studio At Webster Hall, has always been better when in the lab. On Sin City, his flow is mature and powerful, and the OG vibe doesn’t overwhelm the sound of hell echoing in the background – B

The Sparks Brothers (Music From The Motion Picture) – Sparks – Three live tracks from 2018 plus a lyric  reading by Neil Gaiman – B

The Turning Wheel – Spelling -she sounds like a melodic chipmunk but her songs are strange and lovely creations, arranged with finesse and intelligence that jumps out of any genre – B+

Body Of Work 1990 – 1995 – Spit – the three chord punk band agit-proppers are the sort of band where few people heard em but everyone who did formed a band, vicious barnstormers all and post-liberal social consciousness – A-

Planet (i) – Squirrel Flower – Ella Williams has a beautiful voice that soars up with emotion and gives a depth of feeling to her nothing special confessionals – B

Leviathan – The Grip, Robert Fripp  – intense ambient by the prolific Mr. Fripp, currently on tour with King Crimson – B

CINEMA – The Marías – María Zardoya and Josh Conway perform low-key jazz pop tracks, with the Puerto Rican Maria adding a Spanish language song, a good one, to the mix – B

Dark In Here – The Mountain Goats – John Darnielle is like Colin Meloy without the folkie Americana, and John lives or dies with the song. Which means he can be unpredictable, and that hurts his recorded work. Here, the title track is a bluesy dog, and the first two songs, “Parisian Enclave” and (the most Mountain Goats song title you have ever heard) “The Destruction of the Kola Superdeep Borehole Tower” are as good as they get – B

Bittersweet Demons – The Murlocs – Australia’s harp driven, old school rock and roll executed with absolute precision and strength – B+

White Blood Cells (Deluxe) – The White Stripes – adds a 2001 dated live recording of the entire album – A

CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST – Tyler, The Creator – Tyler spends his pandemic on the Italian Riviera and falling for his best friend’s girl as he develops the several strands of sound into a well justified mix of sounds – A-

Bigga Baggariddim – UB40 – the only band named after a British unemployment form, UB40 are back again with a collaborative album  of really gorgeous lover’s rock plus reggae bands follow up to their 1985 album. Trust me, this is a goodie and goes down well with red, red wine… Sure, Ali Campbell is missed but this is excellent  – ALBUM OF THE WEEK – A-

Van Dyke Parks orchestrates Verónica Valerio: Only in America – Van Dyke Parks. Verónica Valerio – the harpist and the great Brian Wilson partner, with gorgeous Bolero – B+

BORN THIS WAY THE TENTH ANNIVERSARY – Various ARtist – The original album plus six covers, all great, with Big Freedia and Orville Peck taking the lead. My only complaint is that every song on the original wasn’t covered – A

Good As Gold: Artefacts Of The Apple Era 1967-1975 – Various Artists -No Beatles of course, but the five album (four on streaming platforms)  collection looks at all points north of Apple Records, whether songs that were never released, to songs from their publishing arm. The streaming version cuts 30 songs which maybe why it feels a touch obscure, but if the point is to make the point that The Beatles took it seriously and it still (or for the first time) sounds good, point taken – B+

Rebel Hearts (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) – Various Artists – The documentary looks fascinating ( progressive nuns at the Immaculate Heart College make certain women receive college degrees), the Sharon Van Etten track is pretty good and the incidental music is exactly that  – C+

The Ice Road: Music From And Inspired By The Netflix Movie – Various Artist – I am in the middle of the movie, it is okay, nothing special, this collection of country stars singing driving songs is pretty darn good, especially Jason Isbell covering Johnny Cash and Tim McGraw covering The Cars (any guesses as to which song?) – B+



Leave a Comment


Support Let Me Help Inc by shopping at

L.A. Burning: West Coast Concert Picks, January 24th-30th

By Alyson Camus | January 22, 2022 |

I am thrilled this hasn’t been canceled

UK Top 10 Albums: 1-21-22 – 1-27-22

By Iman Lababedi | January 22, 2022 |

one of their best pop rock efforts

UK Top 10 Singles 1-21-22 – 1-27-22

By Iman Lababedi | January 22, 2022 |

a hit in 21 different languages

Press Releases For January: Here Are The Artists

By Alyson Camus | January 22, 2022 |

plenty of surprises packed in less than 3 minutes

ROCKSTAR REVIEW: Isibella Karnstein

By Meredith Grant | January 21, 2022 |

A futuristic visionary

The Early Bird: Top New Recorded Releases 1-21-22 – 1-27-22

By Iman Lababedi | January 21, 2022 |

The two outlaw bad boys trade verses and harmonize

The Earliest Bird: Top New Recorded Release 1-21-22 – 1-27-22, John Mellencamp’s “Strictly One Eyed Jack” Reviewed

By Iman Lababedi | January 21, 2022 |

waiting to expire and yet it has its moments

ROCKSTAR REVIEW: Dr. Mobi -Entertainment Visionary

By Meredith Grant | January 20, 2022 |

Mubasher Fazal lovingly known as Dr. Mobi is a superstar of many talents.

“Frank Sinatra’s Greatest Hits, Vol. 2” Reviewed

By Iman Lababedi | January 20, 2022 |

took another iteration away from the hippies before young America caught up with him again

Brushes With Greatness: SohoJohnny Meets Randy Edelman

By Iman Lababedi | January 20, 2022 |

the legendary movie composer and sometimes popster

Scroll To Top