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Brief Encounters: New Album Releases 6-4-21 – 6-10-21


LIVE at the Prince of Wales Hotel 1988 – Albert Lee, Vince Gill and Aussie Friends – Albert Lee finger picks his guitar, Vince is still wet behind the ear, and everybody is getting to know Jack Daniels whisky – B+

A State Of Trance 2021 (Mixed by Armin van Buuren) – Armin van Buuren – I once went to a state of trance rave and had a very good time as well, trance is like a more melodic based house and both Avicii and Calvin Harris owe Armin a debt, this is terrific if you wanna get messed up and dance… as alway – B

Hardware – Billy F Gibbons – a third of ZZ Top performing blues and boogie and rock, hang out for the Texas Tornados cover – B

Weekends Look A Little Different These Days – Brett Young – I saw him opening for Luke Bryan (here) and dubbed Young a 35 year old Candide 4 years ago, he is nearly 40 now and this is a disappointingly grown up selection of country ballads (and the title track doesn’t stand up to its great name) – C

ROADRUNNER: NEW LIGHT, NEW MACHINE PLUS PACK – Brockhampton – I have to add “Buzzcut” to my top twenty songs of the year… here Brockhampton add a coupla tracks to a great album – A-

The Resurrection – Bugzy Malone – one of the birthers of UK grime is excellent on this dank and dark rap album, his flow is excellent and his attitude is solemn and studied, perhaps because a new fatal motorbike accident gave him a different version of the streets – B+

En Vivo Desde Rancho San Vicente – Calibre 50 – the top regional Mexican band have a tuba and they’re gonna use it – B+

Laysongs – Chris Thile – one third of the great Nickel Creek takes a break from his variety show for this tedious folk art stuff -though he does play a lovely Mandolin – C+

Dreamers Are Waiting – Crowded House – I never liked “Don’t Dream It’s Over” either – MUST TO AVOID – C-

Fatal Mistakes – Del Amitri – The Scottish pop rock band’s first album in over 18 years is also more of the same though the same sounds different in 2021. At their most melodic they are good enough, at their more powerful they sound not all there – B-

life’s a beach – easy life – from the UK, off kilter pop – B-

Jubilee – Japanese Breakfast – AIPC isn’t all K-Pop, there is plenty of room for indie poppers like Michelle Zauner (aka Japanese Breakfast) joining Mitski and Beabadoobee as confessional pop song arrangers. It is a lovely sounding album drifting through genres but steadied in the studio self-revelations – B

We Are Lady Parts (Music From The Original Series) – Lady Parts – the TV sitcom is about five devout 20something Muslims who pray towards Mecca between rehearsals. I have devout Muslim nieces in the UK myself and this is more or less what it feels like. The TV show humanizes the otherness of women and Islam in Western society. The music maybe less so, it kinda hurts from being  a question mark where sincerity should be, though when the punchline to wanting to murder your sister is that it is an “honor” killing, you’re gonna make it on points even with that Farsi Freddie Mercury cover  – ALBUM OF THE WEEK – A-

The Voice of the Heroes – Lil Baby and Lil Durk – will this continue Lil Baby’s reign on the charts? The two emo rappers turn up the autotune and use trap beats to enhance catchy pop songs… – B+

Soberish – Liz Phair – She returns to her Girlysound with a hit and miss collection (my review here), though five days later it does sound a little better – B+

Live at the Shoals Theatre – Mike Cooley, Patterson Hood, Jason Isbell – No “Outfit”? Drive-By Trucker’s pros returned to the place where they started for a benefit seven years after Jason left the band in 2007. It is actually excellent and if I was you I’d look around for live video of the show because, really, this is as good as Southern rock ever gets – A-

Reflections – oddcouple – neo-r&b from a top Chicago producer with an ear for the different and a wonked out version of soul – B

drinking under the streetlights – Powfu – after the bedroom pop Canadian introduced us to Filipino-British singer Beabadoobee on “Death Bed (Coffee for Your Head)” he made himself a lot of friends and kept them on this strong four song EP – B

Nowhere generation – Rise Against – you can agree with a band’s politics and still think they suck, like an over rich sounding guitar agitprop, like these guys – C-

Rod Stewart: 1975-1978 – Rod Stewart – if you wanna listen to Rod Stewart don’t start at 1975, start at 1969 and end at 1972, because god knows the four albums represented are all retrograde secondary and sometimes, by the time you get to Blondes Have More Fun, slop – B+

Changephobia – Rostam – better than the singles lead us  to expect, it has Vampire Weekend sounds if not lyrics and bypasses jam for tight arrangements – B+

Songs from a Haunted Ballroom – Skids – the 1970s punk pop band where we got Stuart Adamson from, covering late 70s rock by the likes of The Clash and early 70s punk by the Stooges, then re-record a coupla their own songs – B-

Since I Left You (20th Anniversary Deluxe Edition) – The Avalanches – includes an album worth of  remixes – B

Lullabies with Love – The Wiggles – The children faves from Australia who have been around forever (i remember when my great niece and nephew loved em), and they are a little too self serious, I prefer it when they teach me to spell, but it ain’t bad – B

Fall to Pieces (Live) – Tricky, Marta – the grief the Bristol duo feel after their daughter’s suicide in 2019 is all here, if ever there has been a stronger and clearer expression of pure grief, I haven’t heard it – B+

Britpop – Caught Behind The Landslide – Various Artists – opens with Blur, closes with Oasis, jumps off the deep end here and there in between – B

The Problem of Leisure: A celebration of Andy Gill and Gang of Four – Various Artists – Post-punk bands like Idles worship at the altar of the late Andy Gill with that mercurial, acute, launched a thousand bands guitar sound – B

Off The Rails – Wallice – Californian pop rocker singer songwriter confessional but with a bright pool and as real a signpost up ahead of her twenties… plus anybody who calls a song “Dramamine” has a dreamy sense of reality, at 28 minutes in length it doesn’t have a wasted moment  and it is so good it is hard to choose a best track (“23” if you were wondering) -A-

Ordinary Life – We Are The Union – non-binary, queer friendly, pop friendly, rock pop friendly, banded together band with a clutch of great songs, especially “Boys Will be Girls”  – A-

Blue Weekend – Wolf Alice  –  The band’s third album is a dreary snooze that ellie claims is a sign of maturation – C


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