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Brief Encounters: New Albums 11-11-22 – 11-17-22 Reviewed

@dannocean – Danny Ocean – if life seems a little quiet on the Latin pop front, Danny, the very popular Venezuelan South American star, does less well in the English speaking world but it’s difficult to see why on this start of the art, very addictive Latin beats and sweet sounds – B+

ELEVATION – Black Eyed Peas – BEP’s never recovered from losing Fergie and now the Haitian American band adds a whole lot of Latin proper as well as featured performers Shakira, Ozuna, El Alfa, Nicky Jam, Anitta, Anuel AA, and Daddy Yankee and the return of The Ender David Guetta. It sucks – D

Spinning the Truth Around (Part I) – Blue October – Part 1? That’s a warning if ever there was for the avatar for mental illness turned into rock on this romantic disaster movie of an album, maybe a tad more upbeat than usual – C+

Befour – Brian Auger And The Trinity – Brian without Julie Driscoll is somewhere between Family Stone and John Mayall and Steve Winwood on keyboards – C+

Redcar les adorables étoiles (prologue) – Christine and the Queens – The French band performs in English and French experimental indie pop and electronica – B-

What Had Happened Was… – Dram – When he was performing “Broccoli” there was something adorable about Lil Baby Dram but he lost it with his contracted name and this is a nothing special r&b album – C+

Song of Salvation – Dream Unending – Tomb Mold’s Derrick Vella and Innumerable Forms’ Justin DeTore find where shoegaze doom metal, industrial and ambience meet in walls of deeply moving sounds – B+

Let Yourself Free – Fitz And The Tantrums – Michael Fitzpatrick has been running the band since 2010 and while it began as a soul band, this is a pop band but a band, an analog rave up – B

New River – Franz Nikolai – the Hold Steady keyboardist with a bad album of art-ballads – D+

Anyways, Life’s Great… – Glorilla – from the world of Megan Thee Stallion, Glorilla is a strong, vicious, yet erudite slice of Texas anger and the one with Cardi B. works like a calling case, compared to Megan, Glorilla is laid back but it is enjoyable because it isn’t always after your scalp – B

SMITHEREENS – Jojii – J-Pop soulful sweetness and sadness confessional but dreary beyond faith – D+

Louis Wishes You a Cool Yule – Louis Armstrong – there is no reason not to love Louis Armstrong flirting with Velma Middleton, but this is a compilation of very oldies, it concludes with Pops reading “A Visit From St. Nicholas” and while a touch on the why? side, if you must hear “Winter Wonderland” by all means let it be from Louis Armstrong – B+

Faith In The Future (Deluxe) – Louis Tomlinson – The other One Directions ended with only one direction and it isn’t Tomlinson, his sophomore album synth pop vibe gives way to variants on 1D indie pop and rock – D

Past Lives – L.S. Dunes – wow, that’s some supergroup they’ve got there: My Chemical Romance’s Frank Iero, Coheed and Cambria’s Travis Stever, Circa Survive’s Anthony Green, and Thursday’s Tim Payne and Tucker Rule. And look which MCR is there. The music is sort of post-grunge, Soundgarden-y loud and slow mood music at first but it breaks into pop punk – C

A Song for You – Luke Williams – the actor lives to make Kiefer Sutherland seem credible while performing self-satisfied soul and Americana – D

11-11-11 – MGMT – a live album (guess from when) from the psychedelic indie duo of limited skill sets – D+

Last Call – Morris Day – The Time leader on the verge of retiring with a cast of featured but none overwhelming and the sound of 80s funk intact – B+

If Not For You (Deluxe Edition / Remastered 2022) – Olivia Newton-John – the Australian soft sing folkie on her way to becoming an American sizzler with a 29 song extended version, none of which add much. This is before she got physical with us – B-

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever – Original Score – with a side of Africa – C+

Live at Electric Lady – Perfume Genius – the electronic producer includes a Radiohead cover on this four song EP – B

Note To Self – Randy Rouser – he sounds like a Chris Stapleton or Jamey Johnson but with a strain of melodic ease travelling through it, like old school country – B

We’ve Been Going About This All Wrong (Deluxe Edition) – Sharon Van Etten – place her roughly with Angel Olsen, Julien Bake, that crowd: very popular, among college girls and 20 something working girls, it is a moribund snooze with complex arrangements that undercuts the rare occasions she writes a good tune – D

Celebrate The Bullet (Deluxe Edition) [2022 Remaster] – The Selecter – in the golden age of Two Tone we had The Specials, Madness, to a lesser extent Bad Manners and undoubtedly The Selecter. Their second album found Pauline Black and the boys at the peak of their power (unbelievably, the album sank without a trace) and the deluxe is definitely luxe with remixes, John Peel recordings, other BBC performance and a live performance from 1980 – A-

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever – Music From and Inspired By – Various Artists – Rihanna exploits it on her two tracks, Stormzy is boring, but Tems is in great voice, always a blast to hear from Dunra Boy plus a plethora of Nigerian stars I’ve not heard of but plan to – A-

Live Forever: A Tribute To Billy Joe Shaver – Various Artist – after a lousy year for tribute albums (the Leonard Cohen was exceptionally rotten) but the country stars – I mean the biggies, the Willie Nelsons, the Lucinda Williams, George Straits and Steve Earles, all of whom do a terrific job, especially Miranda Lambert – A-

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