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Brief Encounters: New Album Releases 9-2-22 – 9-8-22

Phantom Of The Opera: Global Edition – Andrew Lloyd-Webber – 152 songs from performances of the show worldwide, from Japan and Korea to Poland and Hungary, Mexico and beyond. It is an absolute blast and a must hear – A

Bajascillators – Bitchin Bajas – borderline ambient duo with electronic, digital and analog sounds via Chicago – C+

Stellar Drifting – George FitzGerald – English electronic guy, beautiful but a little bland, though the track with Panda Bear is a keeper – C+

If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power (Deluxe) – Halsey – The problem is that the opening song, “The Tradition” is so great it pulls a mediocre album along for the ride and the addition of three tracks changes nothing – C+

Arrow (10th Anniversary Deluxe Edition) – Heartless Bastards – adds three songs to the Alt rock Americana album – B

Summer ’22 – ILOVEMAKONNEN – an exceptional hip hop guy from ATL (you may know him from Drake’s “Tuesday”) with a sound that only harks about trap but exists as deeply real songs that accent autotune and rap but are strong as simple songs with an especial appreciation of the YoungBoy Never Broke Again featured “All My Shit Is Stupid” – B+

Mr. Saturday Night – Jon Pardi – a splendid album set in the blueprint of Heartache Medication, same producer, songwriters, singer, and they get it right with a terrific love and loss set – B+

LOUIE – Kenny Beats – the super popular hip hop producer with a strange, sometimes lovely collection of tracks and sounds on a lean 33 minute dive into electronic indie… features include everyone from Mac DeMarco to slowthai – B-

Waiting for Columbus (Live) [Super Deluxe Edition] – Little Feat – the original album was formed of performances in 1977 from the Rainbow Theatre in London and Washington D.C.’s Lisner Auditorium. I never got the band (1977 was not about blues rock at all), then Lowell George died and that was that. But this repays listening with rock and blues with a funky rhythm section and the 73 songs fail to drag you down at all. A terrific album, try it – A-

The Sick, The Dying… And The Dead! – Megadeth – their first album in six years, how can Dave Mustaine sound in his prime 30 years past his prime? Well Megadeth do it on the heavy metal all killa featuring covers of Sammy Hagar solo and Dead Kennedys. Quite possibly the metal album of the year and ten years after seeing em live (here) this will keep us fans of the politically stupid Mustaine – ALBUM OF THE WEEK – A

The End of the World! – Natasha Hunt Lee – low key, alt folk tracks for the Lilith Fair of tomorrow, less than 20 minutes of music but all of it is lovely – B+

Queen Radio: Volume 1 – Nicki Minaj – Nicki has always been the top of her class, just a powerful and world beating rapper, though not much of an album artist. This greatest hits (including the first rate new single, “Super Freaky Girl”) and the rest is mad good I tell you mad, all in one place – A

Älskar – Nina Nesbitt – the Swedish Scottish singer songwriter with an album written during the pandemic with an 808 in hand, a little nondescript though it definitely has intermittent tracks as good or better than her breakthrough “The Best You Had” – B+

11:11 – Regina Spektor – Regina’s magical realism first album from 2001 that began a fifteen year tear through indie folk and gypsy and then it did end and it has been seven years of whateverisms. This expanded, 33 track deluxe is well worth it, including a live album – A-

Fórmula, Vol. 3 – Romeo Santos – Bachata is like pre-Latin trap reggaeton as a slow bore, headed by Romeo’s first band, the humongous Aventura, it is sweet and melodic and low key balladeering for Latin women and girls. Even the Justin Timberlake song is dreary despite all their efforts – C

Theresa – The Front Bottoms – with the exception of the duo’s earliest work, “Twin Size Mattress”, Brian Sella has never been good enough and yet always a clear cult favorite. This EP isn’t great though “More Than It Hurts You” is a terrific song – B-

I Ran Down Every Dream – Tommy McLain – at the age of 82, the Americana country man from Louisiana is still a beautifully voiced and highly gifted singer songwriter who never broke out of regional. Our loss on this terrific country album – B+

HARD – Tove Styrke – the always talented Swedish popster with a fine collection of queer friendly Swedish pop like it was 2017 and while “Free” is a horrid track, most of the rest represents – B

Keep On Smiling – Two Door Cinema Club – the Irish dance band were big in the 10s and it is easy to hear where and why their skill set as a digital friendly band exceeds even contemporaries like Bastille and Imagine Dragons, “Blue Light” is as good a song as you’ll hear this year and the bass sounds like Niles Rodgers guitar – B+

The Pink Album – Unloved – with features including Jarvis Cocker, Étienne Daho, Raven Violet and Jon Spencer, this electronic indie outing is a large yet small sound feast that swells into boredom and tedium long before the 22 songs are done; your best bet is to sample here and there and hope you fall into another “Waiting For Tomorrow” – C

Yungblud – Yungblud – It beggars the imagination that Dominic is a serious contender and not a cosplayer and while two songs here are worth the while, that isn’t nearly enough. It is like casual sex with none of the pleasure – C+

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