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Brief Encounters New Albums 2-11-22 – 2-17-22 Reviewed

Ethereal – $not – the Floridian has a ton of features, including A$AP Rocky and Kevin Abstract, in songs that go from barnburners to ballads and back – B

Wish For You – Allison Moorer – despite being beautiful and clever, a hit in Americana and Steve Earle’s ex, Moorer has had one of those lives, starting with her parents murder suicide, continuing with her sisters mental illness and concluding with her sons extreme autism. In response to the latter she recorded this album based upon her son, who can’t communicate, humming tunes, Moorer writing the songs, and the book that goes with it. That the EP is first rate Americana is an added plus – ALBUM OF THE WEEK – A

The Dream – alt-j – the greatest of the bands that followed in Radiohead’s footsteps are less art distracted and digital enhanced, more a gateway to r&b and funk, soul and pop… they are great on stage as well – B+

Dreamland – Amos Lee – Brutally bad Americana – E- – MUST TO AVOID

Alto Arc – Alto Arc – a nightmarescape of shuddering electronics and wall of sound and something of an acquired taste for the duo, when the woman sings she sounds haunted – C+

Flicker – Andy Bell – The leader of Ride, the UK shoegaze pioneers, couldn’t be more tedious on this endless drags which never seems ready to take off – D+

People Move On – Bernard Butler – an extended take on his first solo album is now 52 tracks where 11 ws more than enough – C-

Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe In You – Big Thief – a 20 song sprawl, Big Thief are in fine form and while Adrienne is so spacey she can appear checked out on stage, and the eight songs that preceded the album sure feel like loosies, the songs are concentrated and strong in context and at its best (“Change”) is very, very good, just pass on “Sparrow” – B+

Ants From Up There – Black Country, New Road – The UK up and coming, winner takes all, post punks have one great song “Chaos Space Marine”, and after that they get too winded and whiny and overblown… still it is a great song – C+

Harold And Maude (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) – Cat Stevens – Love is better than a song and few things are as good as this movie and the lovely songs Cat provides (plus dialogue excerpts) – A

Deadpan Love (Deluxe) – Cautious Clay – the auxiliary man hitting r&b on all cylinders and always, but slow and boring – C-

Just For You – Cousin Stizz – Back as an independent as his relationship with RCA soured and I don’t know why, the samples are fantastic here and the rapping fine, the self portrait of life with the majors is informative – B+

The Long Road North – Cult Of Luna – prog metal symphony – B

The War on Two Fronts – Dissidente – skacore -and that’s a new one on me, it sounds like hardcore with ska beats mixed in – C+

FUTURE PAST (Deluxe) – Duran Duran – I was never a fan, if you were a fan you’d probably still get tired fast of this hour long slog – D

Visitor – Empath – the Philadelphia rock band with the good singer, fuzzy guitar and tunes and tunes and tunes and drums – A-

FTHC – Frank Turner – I’m no fan of the modern day Billy Bragg, except here where he is a modern day Pearl Jam – B-

George Formby My Ukulele – George Formby – George Formby was a big time dancehall (I mean UK dancehall, read Vaudeville here), comedian and comedic singer with either the banjo or the ukulele: considered a working class icon, Formby defined the change occurring between the ruling class and the working poor: consider him a principal on the development between Victoria and the collapse of Rule Britannia and though there is only 24 tracks on the hits round-up. Still, oh me oh my there, is “Leaning On The Lamppost” – A

Lalalalovesongs – Jason Mraz – hating on Mraz is like kicking a puppy who wants to be held… a bad idea but not all of us love puppies, here he collects his most popular love songs so give him a hard kick – C

Heaux Tales, Mo’ Tales: The Deluxe – Jazmine Sullivan – she sounds quite a bit like Mary J, and I do hear why her r&b soul woman generations after Aretha is pretty good (I could do without the spoken word links), but the original version was one of the most well received albums of the year… not with me, of course though I did miss the epic “Pick Up Your Feelings” – B

Stoner’s Night – Juicy J, Wiz Khalifa – the two weed heads work in tandem like Cheech And Chong, on a smart set of pop jonesing – B-

Donda (Deluxe) – Kanye West – Sometimes I can’t take Ye either, but the problem is not musical. The third take on the album is extended past the two hour mark and I can’t wait for the upcoming part two – A

Slut Pop – Kim Petras – is Kim Petras the biggest transgendered pop performer? Maybe third after Laura Jane Grace and Anohni. I did see Kim once and she wasn’t ready for Radio City at all, but her debut was good and Slut Pop is better, sex songs for deep house fans (plus she has great legs). Only seven tracks? Maybe she’s still dropping songs but so far it is one of the year’s best A-

Nightscape – Magdalena Hoffmann – The Bavarian harpist, signed to the major classical label Deutsche Grammophon, with a collection of quiet and tense takes on Chopin and Britten among others – A-

Good Morning Gorgeous – Mary J Blige – so, long over her divorce, and with her excellent performance at the Superbowl under her belt, here she has a good vibe (yes, really) album of life as lived by Mary and features as astounding as Fivio Foreign bang bang don’t kiss kiss “On Top”, the return of Usher (who was opening for Mary J the first time I saw him, back when he had his eye on Michael Jackson’s crown) and best in class so alone “Love Will Never” – B+

Breathe EP – Maverick City Music – a CCM collective, god deserves better – C-

Resentment is Always Seismic – a final throw of Throes – Napalm Death – the UK grindcore are fast and loud, the lead vocal holla’s like a clarion car to the battle and to the death and it is faster than US (or Norwegian) death metal – B+

Bronco: Chapter 1 – Orville Peck – there’s only four tracks on the first post-breakthrough country gay guy Orville Peck, all good and the western in the sands of Tombstone, er, Daytona on “Daytona Sands” – B+

Welcome To The Block Party – Rebecca Block – country women are coming into their own and Priscilla Block on her debut is a sexual and romantic set from the one horse town South where heartache is the major entertainment. As first albums go, not bad – A-

Hetereosexuality – Shamir – Shamir returns with his gay agenda now front and certain on a hip hop productions, synth pop underlining, industrial strength fresh beats and Shamir’s shimmering falsetto album, try the gorgeous “Caught Up” – A-

4 (feat. Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators) – Slash – Proggy guitar pyrotechnics with a white man strain on singer; sure it sucks but at least it’s not Joe Satriani… or is it? – C-

BODR – Snoop Dogg – now he has bought Death Row Records, Snoop’s first release as el capo del capo should have been the best, especially after his indifferent tour and then his indifferent superbowl, so Back On Death Row needed to be Snoop at his best. And it really is. This rat-a-tat gangsterisms and pop moves is all he can do – C

Lucifer On The Sofa – Spoon – I went to see Spoon at Radio City Music Hall -my fifth concert in a row and I was really tired and I hated them, my review was crap but it wasn’t just me, and despite attempts over the years to make it up I can’t take the indie rockers (rocker, Britt Daniel). Here is is another collection seeped in whateverism… maybe try opener “Held” or maybe “Astral Jacket” though that’s a stretch. A bit of a grower – C+

Getz For Lovers (Deluxe Edition) – Stan Getz – on the heels of the deluxe duet album with Billie Holiday, a gorgeous collection of love songs, the “Alfie” is a must hear – A

The Production Of Claude Debussy – The Art Of Noise – The Seduction of Claude Debussy was the band’s final release in 1999, this take is the same and also much better, a disquieting classic tonality – B+

Charmed Life – The Best Of The Divine Comedy (Deluxe Edition) – The Divine Comedy – Neil Hannon is a genius who isn’t, his super sophisticated, Bryan Ferryish baroque pop should have broken huge in the UK, but just missed. If you wanna catchy up, and you should, start here – A-

CM10: Free Game (Deluxe) – Yo Gotti – the Cocaine Muzik Crew with a pretty ace collection of Memphis rap, and on the deluxe gives DaBaby his best song in awhile, one half streets, one half corporate, and together too long but not bad – B

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