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Brief Encounters: New Albums 10-22-21 – 10-28-22 Reviewed

PHO EP (Deluxe) – Ari Lennox – neo-r&b soul tracks, straightforward and nicely sung – B

Mr. Christmas – Brett Eldredge – for goodness sake, Brett thinks he is Michael Buble on this American songbook take on Xmas from the country guy – C-

60 – Daniel O’Donnell – soft rock for 60 years, and still horrendous though his “Let Your Love Flow” is sweet enough to leave even The Bellamy Brothers wondering whether he is an invertebrate – D+

Actually, You Can – Deerhoof – they are the New Coke of art indie, delicious for a sip but a little acidic over an entire bottle – B-

Amazing Things – Don Broco – better than standard screamo for sure, and at its best, the shoegaze goes hardcore “Swimwear Season” and the brooding rock ballad goes to hell “Bruce Willis,” it is a special change up in the UK sound – B+

Sleep – DVBS – the DJ duo from Toronto put beats on sadboy to consistently pleasant effect -if it had a couple more “Losing Sleep” good songs it would be major – C+

The Lockdown Sessions – Elton John – doesn’t sustain any length of listening, though its ambitions towards modern pop are worthy, the Gorillaz is as dreary as you can imagine, the Glen Campbell song is long gone, the SG Lewis doesn’t give her what she deserves, and nothing here is catalog changing except maybe the “Rocket Man” rework “Cold Heart” – C

The Butterfly Effect – Fetty Wap – The pop trap king of 2015 returns with some autotuned r&b tracks that should stand a chance in a free market but Fetty lost all his cool and it cost him even when he has the goods… try “Remember Me” – B-

Sticky – Frank Carter And The Rattlesnakes – not unpleasant garage rockers with a side of psychedelia and the grace of punk featuring the former Gallows leader with an English accent – B-

Shape – Grouper – oddly ambient sounds, like if dolphins were human – B

It’s Not Them. It Couldn’t Be Them. It Is Them! – Guided By Voices – the dreaded indie band with overwrought and over arranged indie rock – C-

Wild Blue (Complete) – Hunter Hayes – the singer songwriter with overblown middle of the road singer songwriter rock on the extended album – C

CHANSONS d’ENNUI TIP-TOP – Jarvis Cocker – I haven’t loved Jarvis Cocker since 2009’s Further Complications and an album of covers that finds Jarvis between Sacha Distel, Plastic Bertrand, Charles Aznavour and all those 1960s French power ballads, isn’t going to change it – C+

A Love Supreme: Live In Seattle – John Coltrane – one of only two live performances of Coltrane’s devotional, here he doubles the albums length with improvisation and adds three musicians to his original quartet and fills out the sound – A+

LP! – JPEGMAFIA – the thing about art rapper Peggy is that he sounds great and weird, a bloopy , bloppy weird, over a coupla tracks, over an LP! it loses its unique appeal and can irritate – B

KIDZ BOP 2022 – Kidz Bop Kids – they get to “Good 4 U” and close with a real oldie “Goosebumps”,” in between the past its prime franchise rattles off nearly 50 covers, though not 50 hits as the pre-teen phenom fails to make itself significant anymore – C

What A Song Can Do – Lady A – dreadful country trio balladeering, the title track is the best moment and the kitchen sink featured (Carly Pearce, Darius Rucker, Thomas Rhett) “Friends Don’t Let Friends” is a pretty good drinking song – C

Blue Banisters – Lana Del Rey 0- the difference between this and Chemtrails is that I cared that Chemtrails sucked, and I don’t care that this one DOESN’T suck, and that doesn’t save it from being a serious slog – B-

Wildest Dreams – Majid Jordan – Drake go to guys since “Hold On, We’re Going Home” and they remain surreally boring, the Drake song here doesn’t help and neither does the Tyler, The Creator -a tedious, sleep inducing r&b dog – MUST TO AVOID – D+

WEIGHT OF THE WORLD – Maxo Kream – The (former?) crips member can’t get past Texas bounce and the wages of sin where death and prison and illness all come together on a brutally sad collection of warning signs – B

Seven Shades of Heartbreak – Mimi Webb – UK latest in a line that brought us Dua Lipa, though with more MOR and less EDM, the seven songs don’t miss anywhere, and the lead off “Dumb Love” is a hit – B

A Gangsta’s Pain: Reloaded – Moneybagg Yo – extending the April drop into 28 tracks of dank sounds, OG stories, and smooth slow viciousness and trap beats – B

My Morning Jacket – My Morning Jacket – James keeps his ambitions in check on this low key album of jams as Americana, some of it is real good and some of it is “The Devil’s In The Details” – C+

B-Sides & Rarities (Part II) – Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds – 27 somewhat rare finds that occasionally makes you wonder what’s wrong with Nick’s quality control department, “Hey Little Firing Squad” is the pop Cave of your dreamset and the Debbie Harry song is a wonderful meet up – A-

Sympathy for Life – Parquet Courts – the most New Yorker of New York bands, the East Village Eye highlighted them on their one issue return, have added EDM elements and beats to their LES meets Uncle Lou vibe – B-

From Nowhere to Somewhere – Phil Gammage – The former Certain General has been recording blues albums years in years out, without a dog in the lot. 2021 is a specially strong collection of blues as Americana with Presleyish vocals – B+

Hell Of A Holiday – Pistol Annies – charming in its own, limited, country supergroup way, though it doesn’t getting better than its first two songs -not close – C+

Surrender – RÜFÜS DU SOL – the iffy electronic pop band in search of an anthem – C

Prioritise Pleasure – Self Esteem – The Slow Club lead singers second solo album is a veddy British piece of smirking, sex please but watch it, disco pop beats and railing against sexism with her shirt off (not that they are mutually exclusively) – B

Bossa Collection – Stan Getz – a seven song collection of Bossa Nova as smooth jazz with the Gilberto family adding their skills – B

Girl To Girl – Tenille Arts – mainstream country woman whose angle is female friendship – C+

There Are Rules (Deluxe Edition) – The Get Up Kids – I never loved emo but when it was happening I went to Roseland for an emo fest and these are the guys that impressed me with their post punk angularity. Five years later, in 2011, they dropped this unambiguous power play and it sounds even better today than then – B+

Tattoo You (Box Set) – The Rolling Stones – At Creem there could be a three month lead time between writing and publishing, by which point I might very well have changed my mind. If that was true today, I couldn’t change my mind a week after I initial shrugged at the box set. My mistake was I didn’t pay close enough attention to the outtakes, I mean the “Drift Away”? It’s an excellent cover of Dobie Gray’s yacht rocker – B+

So Icy Boyz (Deluxe) – The New 1017 – – doubles the length if the earlier release, a load of Gucci Mane and appearances from rappers on his label, and if you are in the market for the man who steals it, BigWalkDog, this is the place to listen – B

The Monitor (2021 Re-Mastered) – Titus Andronicus – I was sincerely hoping for a Box Set for its tenth year anniversary, however the continuation of the debut album where Patrick quit studying to become a teacher in school in Boston in order to perform rock and roll, on this sophomore effort he drives from Boston to New Jersey and links it to the end of the American civil war. One of the greatest albums of all time, it cut Patrick off from his future by everything else being a disappointment after the best two albums debut since Talking Heads – ALBUM OF THE WEEK – A+

The French Dispatch (Original Soundtrack) – Various Artist – Wow, even Charles Aznavour sounds twee in context, though the Gene Austin is a keeper – B

Folarin II – Wales – late 00s styled featured artist like Rick Ross, Chris Brown, as well as big star Jamie Foxx and top rapper Maxo Kream, meanwhile J. Cole joins Wale on “Vivrant Thing” sampled “Poke It Out”. The vibes have been strong that yet another portrait here follow-up to the 2012 mixtape is a return, if not improvement, of form. Of course, if he stiffs on the charts it ceases to exist – B+

Letter Blue – Wet – the indie popster trio returns with a low key, maybe a little anemic, tracks and melodies – C+

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