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Brief Encounters; New Albums 1-28-22 – 2-3-22 Reviewed

Three Dimensions Deep – Amber Marks – mainstream electronic r&b from the former Dirty Projector – C+

Anaïs Mitchell – Anaïs Mitchell – her first album since 2012 is so great that I’ve finally weakened and got a tix for Hadestown which she composed and wrote the libretto for and which is on Broadway. These are simply beautiful Americana singer songwriter confessional’s from the Bonny Light Horseman member and the token girl in indie Americana not named Taylor – B+

Face – Babyface Ray – the Detroit newcomer has one of the best hip hop sounds around, he didn’t even need Pusha T’s help on “Dancing With The Devil” and ups the weed levels with Wiz Khalifa on “Kush And Codeine” ( and that flute is quite interesting) – B

Artifacts – Beirut – Beirut played Beirut for the first time in 2014 and Zach Condon must have been welcomed like a visiting hero with his balkan instrumentation bled into worldview baroque pop. This odds and sods takes Zach from his very first song and the trumpet/flugelhorn/ukulele instrumentalist has made it into a huge scope sound even on his loosies – A-

Dissolution Wave – Cloakroom – Indie from Indiana meets sludge meets shoegaze with a side of glammy psychedelia, “Lost Meaning” is a great song to get seriously fucked up to. A friend of mine tried to kill herself the other day and after the miss told me this is she was listening to Bach as she drifted away on a sea of pills and alcohol which failed to do the job. If I decided to off myself today, I would choose this – A-

Extreme Witchcraft – Eels – definitive classic rock as indie rock, though been there done that a billion times – C

Sometimes a Cloud Is Just a Cloud: Slow Growers, Sleeper Hits and Lost Songs (2001–2021) – Fruit Bats – Anaïs drifts to the distance as Eric B. Johnson, who sings like Mac McCaughan over baroque pop tracks which sifts through decades, try the demo to “Barely Living Room” – B+

The Zealot Gene – Jethro Tull – the only Tull album I loved without reservation was their least Tull like one, Stand Up, helped a lot by the vinyl packaging. Having said that, this is pretty good Tull, it is what Ian does, and he keeps the flute front and center, a pleasant surprise – B

Godmother – Josephine Foster – quietly disturbing, indie folking brooding almost folk (neo-folk) from the vet of 20 years – B

It’s Not So Bad – KYLE – this is a little past its sell date, Kyle is six years after “iSpy” and while he hasn’t hit so big since (neither has Lil Yachty), he still gets his share of hits, and he puts them past the bursting place on this fine and addictive earworm collection – B+

Don’t Forget to Look Up – Maverick Sabre – an interesting guy, the Irish rapper swims with the English and US rappers and here he passes on them with an album of beautifully sung r&b which floats on his falsetto… no rapping? He still sounds Irish from time to time – B

Motordrome – MØ – The Danish popster has been on hiatus since 2019 after injuring her vocal cords, she has returned with a pretty good set of pop tracks EDM electronica but will it sell? Not in Denmark, I mean, we all know Copenhagen will gag for it – B-

Nakama EP – Steve Gunn – Steve exists somewhere between Kurt Vile and The War On Drugs, here he gets with world music rockers who give his new EP a larger scope, Mdou Moctar on one song, art folkie Circuit Des Yeux on another, but it is a complete and surprising bore – C

11:11 – Pinegrove – where emo meets Americana and it is strong enough on Evan Stephens Hall deep feel songs of agitprop and heartache – B

Pink Moon – Pink Sweat$ – his typical R&B for teens who missed out on Khalid, it’s a good album and anytime you can see Tori Kelly or 6lack featured you know it won’t be terrible – B

Let England Shake – Demos – PJ Harvey – a huge critical success in the UK for PJ but I was never that crazy about it, the demos improve a little here and there, less busy though essentially all completed. The demo of the title track is excellent – B

Dharma – Sebastian Yatra – 2022 could be a US breakthrough year for Colombian producer (think Costello’s last two albums) who is no Latin-Trap come lately hanging onto Bad Bunny’s shirt for all he is worth. On his latest album, , he features Rosalia and Daddy Yankee, sings in English and Spanish, and moves from Latin Pop through Reggaeton all the way to trap and then back. Yatra is on “Encanto” and between everything that is going on, this latest album should put him in the middle of Latin Pop 2022 – A-

Ringside, Vol. 1- Smoke DZA, 183rd – all Kush, all the time, and it is very clever, prog weird, drug induced trip into the Kush God Bitch on a 5 song EP… survey says? One more for the cool gods indeed – B

Inviolate – Steve Vai – if you hate Joe Satriani you will hate his protegee no more or less – MUST TO AVOID – D

The Alien Coast – St. Paul & The Broken Bones of ot was half as good as the so soulful Dapking shoulda checked em out 2014 circa Half The City (get it?), eight years later they aren’t as interesting as a garage-y funk bad – C+

IF I DIED WOULD ANYONE CARE – Royal and the Serpent – she has bandages around her wrist that suggests when she sez she wants to hurt herself she means it, and her taste in guys is, well, awful, but she really does get what she’s going through and the songs are very good indie pop rock: it’s the darker side of Olivia Rodrigo – A-

World I Understand – The Sherlocks – The best remnants of Brit Rock and an ancestor of U2 via Oasis (I know!) – B

Temptations 60 – The Temptations – I am getting sick of hearing how this isn’t your daddy’s (or Granddaddy’s) Temptations. Despite major players like last original Temptation Owen Williams and the highly impressive Ron Tyson, it isn’t The Temptations. But it is. David Ruffin died in 1991 (he left the band in 1968 -which is when they realized they were bigger than even the man who sang “My Girl”), Eddie Kendricks left in 1971 and died in 1992. There is no one stable Temptations the way there is no one constant Drifters, but it is still The Temptations. For their 60th anniversary they have raised a terrific collection of new songs and if only the new Smokey Robinson is breathing the same air as the late 60s Temps, nothing here is even vaguely bad with the exception of the via #BLM, too-sub-Mayfield to matter “Time For The People”- so ignore it and flip over the rest – ALBUM OF THE WEEK – A-

Aboogi – Imarhan – The Moroccan world music crossover of Algerian songs from Tuareg, adds beats and electronic to the classical sounds – B+

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