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Brief Encounters: New Album Releases 9-3-21 – 9-9-21 Reviewed

right said Drake

A State Of Trance FOREVER – Armin van Buuren – if not the best DJ out there, certainly the most consistent year in year out at providing trance as house arbitrator if not forever, at least since 2009. If you love trance it doesn’t get much better – A-

Trust The Sopranos: ‘83 Miami Edition (Big Ghost Ltd. Remix) – Benny The Butcher – I’m not a huge boom bat, or Griselda, fan but I could be wrong. Big Ghost Ltd’s remix of a March album is a brutal, strong, OG boomer… try “Price Of Fame” – B+

The Capitol Session ’73 (Live) – Bob Marley And The Wailers – it isn’t Coltrane in Seattle but it is a beautiful collection with both Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer (Bunny would leave the following year and Tosh a little later) still part of the vocal trio though Bob takes lead on nine of the twelve songs; there is a movie dropping as well -A

Beginnings – Booker T. & the M.G.’s – The Stax House Band circa 1962, with “Green Onions” leading the way and their first recording, “Behave Yourself” here as well -A

Certified Lover Boy – Drake – a little over long, the thirtysomething bachelor with a set of tracks zigging towards promiscuity and zagging towards true love with the best song first, second best song last, and a whole lotta Take Care vibes in between. But nothing as adventurous as his UK grime sounding More Life, and nothing as poptastic as View. Drake is fine here, the songs never reach sag, but nothing is great… it is all pretty damn good – ALBUM OF THE WEEK – A-

À TOUS LES BÂTARDS – Eddy de Pretto – de Pretto raps in French and sings in French with a mix of old school chanson Francaise that crossovered onto the French charts. This is his second album and it is a very good update on a sound that has ruled Paris longer than Johnny Halliday did – B

Ramble in Music City: The Lost Concert (Live) – Emmylou Harris, The Nash Ramblers – the 1990 Nashville debut of the acoustic all-star group—Sam Bush, Roy Huskey Jr., Larry Atamanuik, Al Perkins, Jon Randall Stewart—at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center, sounds completely beautiful and as wise a dig into the backpages of Harris as you could hope for, the “Save The Last Dance For Me” is a must hear – A-

Eric Clapton (Anniversary Deluxe Edition) – Eric Clapton – sure, his 1976 -six years after the original version of this album dropped- support of anti Indian and Pakistani racist Enoch Powell was a disgrace (and lead to Rock Against Racism) and sure, his anti-Vaxx position is grumpy old men 101, but his 1970s eponymous solo debut is a goodie and the 40 song deluxe is terrific – A-

Rest In Blue – Gerry Rafferty – still not completed in 2011 when the former Stealers Wheel died, Gerry’s daughter completed it and while this is a career spanning mix and not the new album we were promised, it is a fitting album cap to his illustrious career – A-

Mercury – Act 1 – Imagine Dragons – The 2018 MSG gig (here) has worn off and Dan Reynolds is still plugging his rock meets electronica mix and match without the songs for a pay off – C-

Senjutsu – Iron Maiden – since 1975 Steve Harris has been leading his heavy metal UK style band and here we have more of the same with the strong lead vocalist Bruce Dickinson in fine voice on an album that will work if you like the genre… which I don’t – C+

Coming Down – Jail Socks – The Charlotte, North Carolina trio’s mine emo for all its worth with a fine selection of melodic rockers with the romantic winner “Point Pleasure” ringing like the Byrds meet the Get Up Kids leading the way – B

Timelezz – Jhay Cortez – The young Puerto Rican superstar handles Latin-Trap with ease and adds EDM vibes, especially on “En Mi Cuarto” featuring Skrillex – B+

Dawn Of Chromatica – Lady Gaga- she tricks hyper-pop into her disco worldview on a fine revisit, hang around for the great DJ Planningtorock on “1,000 Doves” followed by the rap inspiring “Babylon” – B+

gg bb xx – LANY – low key singer songwriter bedroom pop band, who are as good as their songs and that means they can be alright. Try “Get Away” – B-

Sometimes I Might Be Introvert – Little Simz – expecting big things? “Introvert” is as great as you know it is but after that the singer songwriter confessionals aren’t up to Grey Area and while her rapping is lovely -her English accent gives her a magical lilt, her flow doesn’t cash in B

The Ultra Vivid Lament – Manic Street Preachers – following Nicky Wire’s parents deaths, MSP’s 14th album is a quiet and moving collection of birth and rebirth songs – B

The British Project – Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla – the City Of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra conducted by Lithuanian Mirga, performing British giants like Benjamin Britten – B+

Ground Control – Rudimental – Rudimental is to r&b what Clean Bandits is to classical, it is the EDM value set they emerge from eleven years after they started. Big in the UK, they’ve grown increasingly generic and this album is a flat tire – C-

The Witness – Suuns – a goodie from the (secretly) Canadian ambient hard rock electronica, it is art rock that knows its name – B

The Major Minor Collective – The Picturebooks – Dennis Lyxzén (Refused) and Neil Fallon (Clutch) come together for what in my day we called headbanger music, aka bluesy hard rock with a standout take on “Corina Corina” – B

Live from Hot Potato Studios: Let There Be Rock-a-Bye Your Bear – The Wiggles – when my great nieces and nephews were toddlers they loved the Australian children’s singing group, who have rotated the entire original band since 1991, and now on their 30th anniversary (their FIFTY-FIFTH release), live from the studios business as usual – B

Starting Now – Toad The Wet Sprocket – The 1990s alty folkie, Blues Travely contemporaries with a new one of jingle jangle rock snoozes – D+

Disco 75 – Various Artists – the box set has 64 disco hits from 1975, but the streaming version I’m listening to whittles it down to ten tracks, many instrumentals, all disco dance tracks, and none of the surefire KC And The Sunshine Band or The O’Jays. And that’s fine, as a taster for the “Legends Of Vinyl” gala on September 14th, it is clearly excellent – A

Shang-Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings: The Album – Various Artist – Oh no, they didn’t add it to the Premier Access on Disney+, I guess it couldn’t last forever. The music seems to have little to do with the Asian-Pacific vibe but why else do you think Anderson .Paak and Rich Brian are here? – C+

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