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Brief Encounters: New Album Releases 7-8-22 – 7-14-22 Reviewed

What Has Been Blessed Cannot Be Cursed – Big Ghost Ltd, Conway the Machine – more from the Griselda imprint on a highly dramatic, Wu like (yes, that’s Method Man on “Scared II Death”), operatic in its intensity and powerful rapping by all – B+

Love, Damini – Burna Boy – The Nigerian state of the art Afrobeat’s great follows a sold out MSG gig with a set of Afro variants that cross all the way to US pop sounds, Damini Ebunoluwa Ogulu (aka Burna Boy) is poised for real crossover and the Afrobeats pop star’s latest is what should get him there with a little help from the likes of Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Ed Sheeran and Kehlani, Love, Damini is a clear pop move and might be the one to blast Afrobeats and Nigerian vibes into reggaeton crossover dreams – A-

After Hours – Delicate Steve – he is an excellent guitarist, a craftsman who brings rural elements to prog group and an impeccable tone on an instrumental album all recorded on his 1966 Fender Stratocaster – B

The Lead – Flo – with Little Mix on hiatus, no less an authority than Official Charts anointed Flo their replacement for their five song debut -the all women of color trio treading a similar dance and pop but with more soul templet, “Cardboard Box” (about turning to the left, to the left) sounds like a hit – B-

Leap – James Bay – the UK singer songwriter with a confident collection of songs that might return him to being an alty pop star… in the UK – C+

Williams: Violin Concerto No. 2 & Selected Film Themes – John Williams, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Boston Symphony Orchestra – Mutter is sublime on the “Prologue” before her violin is fully integrated, and especially sparkling on a violin concerto written for her by John at the age of 89. Otherwise, three big hits are her and one of my single favorite moments in Williams career, the protean theme to Robert Altman’s “The Long Goodbye” – A-

Freedom – Journey – stop believing – MUST TO AVOID – D

Sound of the Morning – Katy J Pierson – a lovely set of alt country meets singer songwriter confessionals from the UK, the name people are dropping is Kate Bush but nah, think Joni Mitchel as country artist – B

The Boy Who Flew To The Moon (Vol. 1) – Kid Cudi – he ignores the Ye collab Kid Sees Ghost completely and as greatest hits collections there aren’t many, but the first two songs remain the sort of numbers that a smart man might build a career around and everything sounds better out of context – B

Found Light – Laura Veirs – a delicate and sturdy alt folk guitar sound and a quietly disturbed set of songs from the Americana by other means star – B

Covers – Manic Street Preachers – one of those English bands who never translated Stateside, they can barely sellout Webster Hall, never mind the rest of the country. MSP been at it since 1986 (I saw them opening for Oasis at Jones Beach) and have decided to compile a US friendly greatest covers album and including versions of songs from Madonna to Al Green, to Frank Sinatra to the Small Faces and Nirvana. A fabulous collection and their US streaming releases are such a mess you won’t have heard the majority -B+

Formentera – Metric – the Canadian new wavers and leader Emily Haines celebrate 20 years in the business with a pretty good, electronic meets pop album – B

Rachel@Fairyland – Rae Morris – analog meets digital with electronics added to semblance of but not the Great American Songbook – B-

Dreamy Collection for a Deep Sleep – The Dreaming – pure ambient sounds – B

Unprecedented – UB40 featuring Ali Campbell & Astro – neither the Kris Kristofferson nor the Bill Withers covers are Neil Diamond, and it is nice having Ali back… just not that nice – C+

Cave World – Viagra Boys – the Swedish post punkers Viagra Boys have been around for seven years with a first rate lead singer in Sebastian Murphy, and without their guitarist Benjamin Valle who died last year, have released one of the better all guitar angles West -A-

LOGGERHEAD – WU-LU – the London based drums n bass stalwarts add tone and thick sounding guitars to the thumperino, like goth wannabe in a dungeon with great echo – B

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