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Brief Encounters: New Albums 1-13-23 – 1-19-23 Reviewed

Bin Reaper 3: New Testament – Babytron – the Detroit rapper’s second album in three months is a featured blowout with the likes of Cordae and try the Lil Yachty feature “Gimme Dat” and the perfect Ricky Henderson metaphor on the song of the same name. With 80s samples aplenty, Babytron continues to move out of regional – B+

Late Developers – Belle & Sebastian – I haven’t loved Belle & Sebastian since a disappointing gig at the Supper Club DECADES AGO, it reminds me all of bands like Weezer or Magnetic Fields or even Pet Shop Boys: they started with a bang and repeated themselves in ever decreasing echoes of the original. It is true, it was true seven years ago and it was true last year, but this follow up if not great, is quietly melodic indie pop with deep seated thoughts about folk. Try the Brit-Poppy “Give A Little Time” – B

balance is gone – Billy Nomates – this is from September 2022, I don’t know if or how I missed it but this is the English nowave singer speaker at her most melodic, gone is the sense of other and replaced by some clearly, indie rock, not as angular or obtuse as Gang Of Four (or, heaven knows, Sleaford Mods) tracks, the songs are smart and “blue bones” remains addictive – A-

Ace (50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition) – Bob Weir – A Grateful Dead by any other name, this excellent album is given a serious remixing as well as an hour from Weir’s April 22 Radio City concert, it is a good album, a smart remix, a fine live add… Weir was 24 years old when he recorded it – A-

Get Real – CVC – The debut from South Wales psyche rock who took a left turn into some soul vibes on an album with a whole lotta okay tracks even if they need something they don’t have -maybe a better singer – C+

Heart-Shaped Bruise – Etta Marcus – the UK singer songwriters debut EP are very well performed confessionals and on, at the least, “Nosebleed” provides a major song – B+

Turn The Car Around – Gaz Coombes – the Supergrass leader with his fourth, unlistenable, clever clogs, big time sounding, Brit rock based bore – D+

Permanent Damage – Joesef – not bad at all debut from the UK singer songwriter who surrounds indie confessional with soul and a fine singing voice even if the material isn’t all there yet, try “It’s Been A Little Heavy Lately” – B+

Strays – Margo Price – the first great album of the year is hard rock meets classic rock meets Americana with an exciting sound that improves with listening. “Radio” is hard to beat and Price and her husband nail down an explosive Americana – ALBUM OF THE WEEK – A-

The Great White Sea Eagle – Nina Persson, The Second Hand Orchestra, James Yorkston – Scotland’s Yorkston hooks up with Nina – yes, that Nina, “lovefool” Nina, and she adds beautiful singing to barbed wire lyricism by folkie indie, try “Keeping Up With The Grandchildren, Yeah” which is as good as anything on the new Belle And Sebastian – B

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