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Brief Encounters: New Albums 12-9-22 – 12-15-22

PERMANENT.RADIANT – ✝✝✝ (Crosses) – Deftones’ Chino Moreno and multi-instrumentalist Shaun Lopez fIrst release since 2014 is brutal indie goth bad news songs in wall of sound, deep and depressing sound effects – C-

Me vs. Myself – A Boogie Wit da Hoodie – the hip hop guy is good for as many as ten really worthy songs a year and this has four of em – B

Boys And Girls 10th Anniversary – Alabama Shakes – she should never have left, ten years after the initial release it hasn’t aged, the radio concert is a keeper AND the outtake a real one – B+

Welcome To My Island – Caroline Polachek – first rate post-punk from half of Chairlift, a sort of future of hyper pop but more than that with four songs from her Valentine’s Day releasing new album – B+

Evergreen (25 Year Anniversary Edition) – Echo And The Bunnymen – the least of the first three albums but still a fine album and here extended with the typical live, outtakes etc – B

Mercury – Acts 1 & 2 – Imagine Dragons – Act 1 we heard in 2021 where it didn’t do much to add to Dan Reynold’s reputation and now Act 2 is slower and sadder ergo more boring and between the two there is nearly two hours worth of hooky rock and electronics that slowly bores and the question is whether “Symphony” is good enough to hold your interest though hours of tedium – C

Closure – Kodak Black – Kutthroat Bill Vol 1 was a terrific rap album from earlier this year and this five song addendum is, if anything, better, just five rap tracks with wonderful emio like backing tracks with the title track a takedown of rapper Jackboy with a ferocious sense of danger and coolness though Kodak is seriously punching down – A

fear mercury – Mercury – two years in and Mercury is a lo fi brooding rapper with skills, adept at trap beats as well – B

HEROES & VILLAINS – Metro Boomin – Metro Boomin’ is a first rate producer with a lotta friends in the business which here includes John Legend, Future and Travis Scott (together, two times) and what sounds like a Brian Wilson composed harmony – B+

SNOOP CUBE 40 $HORT – Mount Westies – It’s a long way from Compton on this Cali supergroup with minimal wit for over an hour and reaching a sexist nadir for “Big Subwoofer” (geddit?) – D+

SOS – SZA – five years later SZA drops the eagerly awaited SOS and it is a gorgeous, state of the art, hip hop black excellence as middle class mainstream – ALBUM OF THE WEEK – A

Harvest 50th Anniversary Edition Deluxe Box Set – Neil Young – the streaming version has all the songs of the physical box set but it still seems a little anemic with four outtakes and a live album and that is it – A-

APESHIT – The Sound Of Animals Fighting – post punk collective who are much less obstreperous than they sound – C+

The Mercy Suite (20th Anniversary Edition) – Tomas Doncker, Yusef Komunyakaa – The debut collaboration between Tomas Doncker and Yusef Komunyakaa pieced together the way Kanye West pieced together The Life Of Pablo, with featured singers and artists, under the apt name of the Shapeshifters Ensemble. Consider this a “slight return” celebration of a job that endures, with eight of the eleven songs tweaked to a degree as it takes its place before New Apple Blues, Endangered and other Doncker- Yusef Komunyakaa. If you know the album well it is great to get back to “Deja Vu”, and the re-imagined “Sweet Emily – 2022”. In some ways, it is like being shaken awake to an album you’ve always loved and nearly 20 years after its first iteration it sounds better than ever – A

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