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Brief Encounters: New Albums 11-18-22 – 11-24-22 Reviewed

A Family Christmas – Andrea Bocelli, Matteo Bocelli, Virginia Bocelli – why is Andrea always dressed in white? Why is his ten year old daughter – C-

The Inspection (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) – Animal Collective – did you read where Animal Collective cancelled their US Tour because they couldn’t make it work financially, in the meantime this is electronic incidental not soundtrack anthems – C

The Family – Brockhampton – Former boy band of a type, Brockhampton have two new albums just released as a farewell, TM I’ll get to below, The Family is overwhelmed by Kevin Abstract and even RZA features can’t help. Brockhampton, and I mean Kevin, have a lot on their mind though really, nothing will change from this as Kevin kickstarts his solo career – B+

TM – Brockhampton – the finally FINAL Brockhampton is the real farewell, The Family was about Kevin Abstract’s future, TM is a great summation of the crew as a whole and a straightforward hip hop work of immense power – A-

CAZIMI – Caitlin Rose – “iself-aware songs of self-destruction, documenting proclivity and impulse control, bad habits in life and in romantic pursuits. Her albums brim with incisive, well-observed tracks full of searching vulnerability, ruminating on the things done to us and the various coping mechanisms and behaviors we adopt to feel in control in their wake. A standout staple of Nashville’s rock scene, Rose is “witty, brilliant company” (Pitchfork)” – why are they always called Caitlin Rose? – D+

Everybody Knows It’s Christmas – Chris Isaak – better than Dylan’s Christmas and not as good as Elvis. But look at the competition – A-

Sonder – Dermot Kennedy – the Irish singer songwriter confessional with electronic production – C

Diamonds & Rhinestones: The Greatest Hits Collection – Dolly Parton – my brother was a huge fan, and I loved her from time to time but the last album I loved was 2011’s Better Day (don’t believe me? try “In The Meantime”) so as a non believer this greatest hits, just 23 songs, is exactly what those like me want – A

softCORE – Fousheé – a Willow-ish mix and match between hip hop, r&b and alt rock with Foushee at her best on alt rock, punk pop if you want but “Simmer Down” is a top rock song of 2022 and Lil Uzi Vert adds some rap credentials on another keeper – B+

Funny Girl (New Broadway Cast Recording) – New Broadway Cast Recording – I did see Beanie Feldstein as Fanny Brice and while her singing wasn’t strong enough, her performance was charming and truly funny, girl. Lea Michele I haven’t seen but she sings the songs exceedingly well – B+

Diamond Life 2 – Hospital Gown – indie alty via Dallas one man band with friends a plenty on the local circuit, but it is so weird, deeply echoey, balancing in tune by the talented but bizarre Rich Loren Balling adding rap to electronic hyper pop – C+

Brighten – Jerry Cantrell – the excellence of the five song EP is on view with Alice In Chain’s Jerry Cantrell’s hard hitting post-grunge pre-post-punk guitar splashing black and white shades on five songs off his last album (which doesn’t but you can’t have everything ), including an excellent try at “Prism Of Doubt” – B+

Los Angeles Forum – April 26, 1969 (Live) – Jimi Hendrix Experience – one of their last gigs together, the drum solo on “Tax Free” is brutal and while the sound is fine you could sure do better – B

Crypto Business – Juicy J, Lex Luger – both Key Glock and Juicy are connected to Three 6 Mafia, this is better than Key because the production is better and trap beats are well beaten with Juicy J – B+

PRE5L – Key Glock – still glocking his way through Memphis gangster rap – C+

Creatures Of The Night (40th Anniversary / Deluxe) – Kiss – second peak Kiss plus demos and a live set – B

King’s Disease III – Nas – one of his better diseases, the rapping is world class and the sentiments strong with Hitboy back on one of Nas’s best attempts in a while… try “Michael And Quincy” – B+

Civilisation Edition Ultime – Orelsan – I had no idea who the hugely successful (in France) rapper was till Dorothy P. introduced us to him (here) and on this expanded take on his 2021 the man brims with charm and a skillset, he can really rap and while I think he should use samples from the 60s France chanteuse golden age, there is no doubt why he is so popular – B

So Much Wine – Phoebe Bridgers – an EP? A Collection of Singles? A seasonal whatever? Yes, and there is zero excuse for the “Seven O’Clock News”/Silent Night” (featuring Fiona Apple and Matt Berninger) the rest of the songs are very gently, swaying and lovely, even “If We Make It To December” – B

ATUM – Act I – The Smashing Pumpkins – The first two songs are much better than anything since “1979” and while Billy still goes into weird and unlikable AOR too much, it is impressive – B-

Is This What It Feels Like to Feel Like This? – The Wombats – mainstream UK rock in a lineage that included Squeeze once upon time. Great lyrics and fair to average tunes BUT the right stuff for the deeply dramatic jokesters – B

Ain’t Nothing But A House Party: 60s And Early 70s Club Soul Classics – Various Artists -the streamer is only 20 songs but if ever a box set should be purchased it is this magical collection of soul and dance from the mid-20th century – A

And In The Darkness, Hearts Aglow – Weyes Blood – her fifth album is over orchestrated Americana on leave from Lilith Fair… again. Maybe even more as it careens over the edge of meh – C

Live At Budokan – Willie Nelson – From a 1984 concert at the legendary venue, 29 perfect songs that play like one long highlight reel including three Kris Kristofferson songs (two of which you know and one of those two is the third best version I’ve ever heard), some classic Willie, “Mama’s Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Cowboy” and “On The Road Again” – the latter recently tributed by Bob Dylan, and some country greatness and more country greatness – ALBUM OF THE WEEK – A

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