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Brief Encounters: New Album Releases 9-15-23 – 9-21-23 Reviewed

BOOTCUT – Bahamas – Afie Jurvanen might not have another “Opening act” but he can write a good, melodic, pop rock track and here he gets his twang on – B

In Flight – Barenaked Ladies – buckle up for the Canadian band now in their 30th year of indie pop with a folkie edge as they think of middle age and, er the end of everything – B-

The Devil Always Collects – Brian Seltzer – the Stray Cat is like the purveyor of a lost art form on this nothing but fun rockabilly album – B+

PA Tapes (Live in Nashville, 9/24/2022) – Clutch – born to be heard live, and here you can hear well on a set of absolute storming riff months – B+

Black Rainbow – Corinne Bailey Rae – the most disappointing album of the year as she gets into electronics, art pop, and r&b stuck on the back burner, which the artsier they get the harder they are to penetrate. I saw her at Mercury Lounge in 2016 (here) and was wowed by her soulful genuine article, but this doesn’t connect so well: the arrangements are difficult and the hooks distilled and while her voice is lovely, the likes of SZA and H.E.R. (a later iteration) have broken loose this doesn’t – B-

Bigger Houses – Dan + Shay – the thing about this duo is that when they are on their game they are kings of melodic guitar strum; the hooks cascade, the melodies are just genius but not all of it. When the songs don’t hit that sweet spot, they are bores of the first order – B

Dallas 1987 – David Crosby – solo acoustic on stage, the “Long Time Gone” is a must hear – B

REVAMPED – Demi Lovato – rocks up two of her best songs, “Sorry Not Sorry” and “Cool For The summer” and one of her worst “Skyscraper” – B

Plays Mac Rebennack – Dr. John – Volume One of an extended take on the 1981 album which will eventually give us the entire sessions – A

Wish Upon A Star – Herb Alpert – his 49th album finds the 88 year old brass master still at it with a set of golden age pop song instrumentals, highlights include “And I Love Her” and “(Marie’s The Name) His Latest Flame” – B

my neighbours don’t know. – M. Huncho – UK trap by a past master -B

Relentless – Pretenders – the worst thing that ever happened to Hynde was “I’ll Stand By You” -it convinced her she really was middle of the road and the slop has infected every album since. Including this enormously tedious album which even if it happens to work, “the Copa”, still sucks – C

Sea Of Mirrors – The Coral – UK indie guys 20 years later are English Americana with, yes, low key prettiness, and, yes, some Western twang – C+

Laugh Track – The National – part two of a double and more of the same art Americana; peaks a little higher with a late Rosanne Cash feature – C+

Who’s Next : Life House (Super Deluxe) – The Who – the rock opera never completed meets the AOR masterpiece with 109 tracks, including a concert at the Young Vic dating back to 1971 and a recreation of Lifehouse – A

It’s The End Of The World But It’s A Beautiful Day – 30 Seconds To Mars – The Letos with one of their worst to date, a sort of AOR indie tedium – C

Bluegrass – Willie Nelson – this is Willie as I love him (on the rare occasions when I do), that twangy voice and banjoing songs with amazing creativity for a 90 year old – A

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