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Brief Encounters: New Albums 2-24-23 -3-2-23 Reviewed

High Drama – Adam Lambert – in which Adam reinvents the Great American Songbook as a 21st century mix and match of songs by Lana Del Rey (a strong “West Coast”) and a re-imagined “Sex On Fire” on a pretty good collection of modern pop standards though I can’t hear a hit, and Adam needs one – B+

Shook – Algiers – agitprop featuring Zach De Rocha and a cast of likewise up against the wall political blindsided anger and post-punk meh… did I mention Zach was featured – B-

Real Cultural Shit – Channel Tres – superb last year at Gov Ball (and opening for Robyn in 2018 with “Brilliant Nigga” here), this is a good EP of electronics, r&b, hip hop and cool cool breezes – B+

Love Sick – Don Tolliver – love his voice but his songs are tedious and this goes on and on, still he improves everything he is featured on – C+

The Greatest Thing I’ll Never Learn (Live / Deluxe) – Dylan – the singer songwriter is opening for Ed on his 23 tour and this extended (with a live album added) explains why Ed thinks she is good enough to open for him but not replace him – C+

Cracker Island – Gorillaz – that “Bad Bunny “Tormenta” song is the worst thing Bad Bunny ever put his name to and the best thing on yet another crappy Damon effort – D+

Good Riddance – Grace Abrams – the nepo baby returns with Aaron Dessner producing a set of TayTay circa folklore meets Taylor circa reputation on a bore of an album that might have been better if Aaron had chilled on the echo mood production – C+

The Almond & The Seahorse (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) – Gruff Rhys – from Rough Trade: “The Super Furry Animals frontman has created a double album that reflects the charm, melancholy and poignancy of the Rebel Wilson and Charlotte Gainsbourg-starring feature; showcasing the easy warmth and beauty Rhys finds with a piano and guitar, weaved between moving instrumental interludes and a handful of cosmic pop songs for good measure” and it is much better than I can believe. I also checked out the movie, on VOD, and it looks major – B+

Workin’ On A World – Iris DeMent – written before lockdown and revised with help of her family after, it is an accidental protest album that revolves around her home and family but finds herself at odds with the Red states she represents. My one fear is that it will wear off me but so far… I’ve been listening since Friday and the magic remains. At this moment of time, it is the album of the year or at least – ALBUM OF THE WEEK – A

MAÑANA SERÁ BONITO – Karol G – pop Latino with pretty Bachata and strong and sweet singing throughout – B

Jesus Changed My Life – Katy Nichole – If I could change anything in me I would give myself faith in God, it drives me crazy that, unlike my wonderful big sisters Nadia, Rima and Feriel, I can’t find it in me and unlike 21 year old Katy who recovered from scoliosis (a curvature of the spine) through prayer and won’t let us forget it on this Christ dreamed middle of the road pop – MUST TO AVOID – D+

College Park – Logic – From Genius: “The album will be inspired by an story of Logic, and his friends, 6ix, Big Lenbo and C Dot Castro, as Logic confirmed their participation in the album before. The album also features collaborations from RZA, Lucy Rose, Andy Hull, Fat Trel, Phil Ade, Redman, Seth MacFarlane, Statik Selektah, Joey Bada$$, Norah Jones, Jordan Harris, Lil Keke and Bun B.” – yep, but it is a bore and Logic needs to get his vibe back, no wonder Def Jam bounced him – C+

Even God Has A Sense Of Humor – Maxo – deep bass shudders, monotone rhymes about the hell of his life follows on a well rapped but major bad news album of proto-rap plus experimental sounds – B-

Follow the Cyborg – Miss Grit – the Korean American New Yorker with a softcore singer songwriter of electronic pop melodies and bedroom loneness production – B-

Ferris Wheel on Fire – Neutral Milk Hotel – from the early 90s, initially left in the bedroom draw then in 2011 it was released on vinyl and just last Friday made it to the streaming services. It is, of course, the top indie folker (Americana?) with five songs and all outstanding, especially that acoustic guitar on “Oh Sister” – A-

Everything To Everyone (Deluxe) – Renee Rapp – Renee was in “Mean Girls” on Broadway but returns to her first love, a middlebrow tedium for twenty something women – C

Ten Summoner’s Tales (Expanded Edition) – Sting – his best solo album (mostly because he out Mark Knopfler’s Mark Knopfler on “Fields Of Gold”) , this 30th anniversary adds live tracks, B sides, etc – B-

The Strokes The Singles – Volume 01 is a 7” vinyl boxset comprised of the 10 original vinyl singles released from the band’s first three studio albums. Utilizing the original singles artwork, the boxset will include standard black 7” vinyl of “The Modern Age,” “Hard To Explain,” “Last Nite,” and “Someday,” off of Is This It (2001), “12:51,” “Reptilia,” and “The End Has No End” off of Room on Fire (2003), and “Juicebox,” “Heart In A Cage,” and “You Only Live Once” off of First Impressions of Earth (2006) with their accompanying b-sides” – A

Bless This Mess – U.S. Girls – Meg Remy at her best with a straightforward r&b-soul album that moves that mess around – B

Live at Worship – Ty Segall, Emmett Kelly – Ty can be a back in the garage bore or he can be a veracious riff monster and here he does both and he is only helped by the pro from Dover Kelly – B

Star Power – Wiz Khalifa – Wiz drops his excellent 2008 mixtape, just before he broke pop, and better than his pop maneuvers on an excellent collection of trap and pop before trap had dropped properly – B+

Inhale/Exhale – Those Damn Crows – yet another UK rock band and a shitty one, loud, toney, with lame riffs and limping execution – C-

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