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Brief Encounters: New Albums 11-27-20 – 12-3-20 Reviewed

So why change the name from “Be Here Now” to “Brief Encounters”? I just thought since the reviews are so short it would be a full of fun concept. Nothing changes…

Irrational Pull (Deluxe) – 156/Silence – known as revivalcore according to Ellis Heasley of Distorted Sound (here), the Pittsburg band’s sophomore album gets reissued with three additional songs on indie Sharptone Records, the ragers need to step it up a little before Poison The well comparisons – B-

Secure The Bag! 2 – AJ Tracey – both grime and drill at work here on a surprise drop mixtape that is very pure, so pure it sounds samey from a guy who may still end up big time… – B

From The Album ‘American Soul’ – Aaron Watson – an EP taster, less soul and more country Americana with its rough edges surviving – B

EL ÚLTIMO TOUR DEL MUNDO – Bad Bunny -there’s a world of difference between growing and molding, Bad Bunny is growing here on his mash of alt pop and Latin pop, but it needs something that is meatier, a coupla  bangers would be nice. And there is the great “Dakita”. But even the Rosalia is too deep into its synth pop, rock ,ambient sound to blow you away. what it lives you with is something you might not know unless you are paying attention, with the third, difficult one of the year he establishes himself as a Long Term Artist – B+

No Fun Mondays – Billie Joe Armstrong, Green Day – May we all agree that Billie has been a lot of fun lately,  especially the Stiv Bators and Johnny Thunder songs, the Lennon less so (“short haired son of Tricky Dicky” doesn’t work now), but it is also starts with the Tommy James via The Rubinos so how bad can it be? – B

The Best of The Bootleg Series – Bob Dylan – Not a bad idea but Dylan is caught between too many and not enough, Volume 12 has eighteen albums worth ALONE (that’s  every extant recording session from 1965-1966) … there is too much material to choose from.  You say “Blind Willie McTell,” I say “When the Night Comes Falling from the Sky” with the Heartbreakers: it don’t matter who loves who there is still only one of them here  – A

Atlantis – Cats in Space – prog rockers been around for five years, and have that sound if not those songs – C+

Free Advice – Cindy – some wise guy wrote quiet is the new loud about the San Francisco  not mellow but deeply depressed band. That it works is mostly because the intensity is sky high even if the melodies are far from it – B-

Moment – Dark Tranquillity – Swedish melodic death metal, and the most apty name band on earth is dark as fuck, and tranquil? Relatively considered. As for the melodies? They exist, is that not enough? – B-

No Panic No Pain – FLOHIO – a London rapper not dealing in drill or grime, with a straightforward flow and better than average beats, with a light on its feet sound and 29 minutes of concentration with only one feature – B

Music Played By Humans (Deluxe) – Gary Barlow – The other Take That  guy brought together a 60 piece orchestra of average mainstream pop songs, already huge in the UK – B-

Ageless Violence – Glorious Depravity – do you want a complaint? why is death metal so savage and raging that a stupendous idea on “Incel Christ” gets lost: “Never so pious and pure, merely a sermonizer, and thus abhorred, even sweet Magdalene, the legendary whorer Rejected all His carnal implores…” I realize if anything is up for interpretation the New Testament is, but how abstinence becomes incel is another matter. I don’t really care, this is a full on attack on Christianity which is among the best things you can do… the rest of the album throws in prog influences as well – C+

Country Things, Vol. 2 – Granger Smith – country guy, “Where I Get It From” ain’t bad – C+

Weight of the False Self – Hatebreed – nearing their quarter century of no nonsense hardcore, they sound like the worst headache you can imagine, less raging and more throttling… plus a great singer – B

Nights of the Dead, Legacy of the Beast: Live in Mexico City – Iron Maiden – I gave the UK metal reigning heroes a B+ when I saw em at the Prudential (here) and eight years later it is more of the same, overlong and overwrought but with energy to spare and lots of fun for the converted – B

Pardon My French – Jahari Massamba Unit, Madlib, Karriem Riggins – Madlib, eh? I always considered him more hip hop than electronica, but this is a wall of sound electronic tracking of mood music – B-

Jarvis (2020 Complete Edition) – Jarvis Cocker – I don’t know what they mean by complete, maybe that the hidden track is no longer hidden, but it remains a very good, Pulp by other means (with four members of the band, including Richard Hawley on board) album. Though nowhere near as adventurous as, say, This Is Hardcore, it remains a very good album – B+

Further Complications (2020 Remaster) – Jarvis Cocker – I mean, really, why didn’t he include the two Japanese only track on the re-release of his sophomore effort? Better than his first solo (and eight years till his dog of a next one, this includes his two best solo songs, the title track and “Leftovers” -which I had the good fortune to see him perform live and here is my review of the song… which I stand by – A-

THE HUSTLE CONTINUES – Juicy J – you probably remember Juicy J from his verse with Katy Perry on “Dark Horse,” it made him an overnight star with an eye on the charts. Here he adds Logic (signed exclusively to Twitch) and a cast of dozens, biggest names around, doing very average pop rap… unless you are in the market for songs about ODing on weed – C

Ah! (Etc) – Kelley Stoltz – rock guitar power pop by a man who was once part of Echo And The Bunnymen’s touring band, which is good. And the best songs (try set opener “Team Earth”) is pretty darn swell, but it does drift into licks for licks’ sake – B

Tinnitus Tonight – Lars Finberg – The Intelligence leader with old solo songs that had yet to see the light if day is the essence of post-punk, it is a acute and angular set of guitar shards plus synths – B

Lil Boat 3.5 – Lil Yachty – Back three years ago when Soundcloud Rap hit, Lil Yachty was my go to guy and Teenage Emotions was as good as its name, but then Lil Yachty became an also ran despite a huge helping of features. But even the one with Drake and DaBaby both jere, didn’t do well on the charts (surely its only purpose), and nothing here is even that good. The new ones don’t make up the difference  – C+

Together At Christmas – Michael Ball, Alfie Boe – If there is anything worse than this take on  “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home”, I am yet to hear it. A pox on both their houses – MUST TO AVOID – E

Plastic Hearts – Miley Cyrus – Miley in a three way with Debbie Harry and Joan Jett (and Stevie Nicks), using 21st century on early 80s synth pop and rock influenced pop – B+

NCT RESONANCE Pt. 2 – The 2nd Album – NCT – I can absolutely see why NCT, a glocal (global local) K-Pop collective, make BTS sound like a well groomed unit, but NCT are just as disciplined and they crack pop r&b and add K-Pop anthems on the overlong release where songs come at you from all directions but always where they should – B-

Infinite Things (Deluxe Version) – Paloma Faith – the no she isn’t Goth, she is dance, adds a song with Gregory Porter for Christmas and calls it deluxe… good luck with that…

If We Make It Through December – Phoebe Bridgers – Merle Haggard? Really? She sounds like that guy on the stairs in Animal House… where is Bluto when you need him? … that one with the news in the background is specifically annoying  – C-

Home Sweet Home EP – Sam Feldt – ho hum EDM – C

The Balancing Act – Statik Selektah – a who’s who for the popular rap  producer, including the Roots’ Black Thought,  Nas, Joey Bada$$ twice, and some of the Griselda Buffalo crew. It is still all by the number gangster. Action Bronson is in great voice  – B-

What the Future Holds – Steps – another of those UK dance and pop bands who look like ABBA and soundlike like ABBA coming at you from an elevator that’s been stuck between floors for half an hour – C-

folklore: the long pond studio sessions (from the Disney+ special) [deluxe edition] – Taylor Swift – if the program is Taylor’s biggest mistep since the Lover’s abysmal “You Better Calm Down” to an LGBTQ that was probably as baffled as I was by her good intentions, it is much better when you don’t watch and while it is an easy album to recreate live (though when did Antonoff become so smug), it is only beat less than the original album anyway. “August” caught my ear – B+

Ecstasy Rhymes – The High Water Marks – The Elephant 6 band (Hilarie Sidney was co-founder and an original Apples In Stereo)  (I saw them in 2007 at Summerstage and they were terrific) are the finest of power pop on an ear candy on an album – B+

CYR – The Smashing Pumpkins – Billy Corgan always sounds like a petulant child having a tantrum in the local C Town, and some times (Siamese Dreams, Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness) ot works and sometimes (everything including and after Adore) it doesn’t all all. This 72 minute, 20 song behemoth of which he has released half of singles, has moments -I would give it four songs but after “Dulcet In E Minor” I’m not sure which… that makes Cyr good by Billy’s hit and miss column – C

All – Urlaub in Polen – German post-punk duo are the second band here adding synths to guitar rhythms, and they are past pros who do it quite well – B

Sumer Is Icumen In: The Pagan Sound Of British And Irish Folk 1966-75 – Various Artists – the difference between British folk and the stuff we had here is that in the US folk came from Woody Guthrie’s take on the earliest part of the 20th century unionism and protest, and British came from 400 years before that. More, I’m a wandering minstrel stuff than anything human, and even by those standards these are magical King Arthur and Merlin songs of a long ago that didn’t much happen from bands you’ve forgotten if you ever knew them to start with. I bet Tolkien woulda love it   – B+

Deutsche Marks 2 – Willie The Kid, V Don – if you forgot what rap sounded like before trap, this album from Michigan will remind you, it sounds like Action Bronson fronting Wu Tang Clan on  tighter than tight rhymes that reach a height late with “4th quarter” and “Keep Counting” – B

Colossal Youth – Young Marble Giants –  forty years later: this is everything you need from the low key post-punk influencers, and “Searching for Mr. Right” and “Noddemix” sound as great as ever, and “Credit In The Free World” sounds as great as when Hole covered it… ALBUM OF THE WEEK  – A+

Quiet, Heavy Dreams – Zach Bryan – clearly,  Zach has been figuring out how much it takes in this world to carry the coattails of alt country, and it is what it is exactly, six songs of rough edged Americana – C+

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