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Brief Encounters: New Albums 2-25-22 – 3-3-22 Reviewed

Love Sux – Avril Lavigne – if you are in the market for a thirty-seven year old woman, produced by Travis Barker, who spells sucks sux, who sings like a chipmunk on helium and doesn’t have the songs to go with it, go head lalalalla. Honestly, is this the state of pop punk? The state of trance is better – MUST TO AVOID — D

Disrespectful – Bad Boy Chiller Crew – English lads embrace house and add boom bat with a whole lotta fun set of energetic rap – B

Nobody’s Home – Bakar – the UK indie rocker is better than the signs would suggest, he appears to be another bedroom sadguy but what sadguy has songs as dynamic as “Not From Here” and personal best, the stupendous “GP” (hook? “I keep fucking up”) – A-

A Tribute To Led Zeppelin – Beth Hart – the reviews have been mixed, and “Stairway To Heaven” should have been replaced by “Rock And Roll” but so what? The blues guitarist and screamer is certainly up to covering Robert Plant, and she bigs a gruffness and undertow that is quite welcome – B

23 – Central Gee – on the verge of a major breakthrough, Central Gee is more than capable at rap offshoots, trap, drill, grime, and very popular in the UK, he is a great rapper – B+

All The Truth That I Can Tell – Dashboard Confessional – Chris Carrabba is Dashboard Confessional, the former crown prince of emo who just kept going through one major depression after another like a nervous wreck teen, now having said that, here and there Chris comes up with a goodie, and “Southbound And Sinking” saves him from anomie – C

Ghetto Gods – Earthgang – imagine that Outkast dropped their coolness and rapped a little less and you would have the excellent duo Earthgang, the vibe is early 00s Southern hip hop and while it chases its own tail here and there it is hip hop r&b and if only they had continued their flirtation with Afrobeats it would have been major (and skits???)- B+

Shining in the Half Light – Elles Bailey – white, electric blues with a side of roots – B-

angel in realtime. – Gang Of Youths – alty band from Australia, with a dramatic lead singer who adds weight to iffy songs – C+

Fever Dreams Pt 1 – 4 – Johnny Marr – Marr is not bottom of the barrel English rock, the former Smiths’ lead guitarist can sure play the sucker, he plays well with classmates, and knows a good dye job when he gets one, but he can’t sing and he can’t write a tune without Morrissey as his muse. The one hour and sixteen minutes Fever Dream Pts 1 – 4 is the equivalent of a rainy Wednesday afternoon in Manchester, England: dreary and boring, but not without its charms – C+

Spellbound – Judy Collins – sweet Judy blue eyes with her first album of only self-composed songs at the age of 82 after sixty-nine years in music. Unfortunately, while her voice remains perfect for folk and Laurel Canyon pop, her songs aren’t quite there. Still, not bad – B

Donda 2 – Kanye West – Ye’s songs of break up and misery is another major work from the always major Ye, “Do I Look Happy To You” is the one here – A-

side effects of being human – Karin Ann – Slovakian teen with an impressive set of songs like the self explanatory “Nearly 20”, “Looking At Porn”, and “I’m A Loser” (not that one) – B-

Back For Everything – Kodak Black – when Cardi B names her first hit after you, it can’t be all bad. Maybe that’s why he references “Bodak Yellow” on the first song. In an out of jail and prison, shot in the leg outside Justin Bieber’s Super Bowl party, and a new album drops two weeks later lifestyle, he reflects it here with a brutal little thing, lotsa autotune, most trap beats, and one bonafide hit and a coupla others hovering – B+

Afrique Victime (Deluxe Edition) – Mdou Moctar – The Tuareg band extend their guitar mash up of Algerian and West guitar sounds for 76 minutes – B

Starfruit – Moonchild – art r&b band with a fine falsetto lead singer and way chill vibes, some Maxwell in their make-up – B-

Mendelssohn: Songs without Words Vol.1 (Lieder ohne Worte) – Peter Donohue – nicely done collection of piano pieces by the English pianist performing the great romantic, Donohue’s moves from a whisper to a thunderingly great roar… and back – A-

TRAP CAKE VOL. 2 – Rauw Alejandro – The Puerto Rican 29 year old dance guy is extremely popular and his partner is Rosalia, which puts us at the top of reggaeton with this strong set of trap tracking pop – B+

Black Radio III – Robert Glasper – Glasper is DJ Khaled with illusions of grandeur – C+

Wild Loneliness – Superchunk – I can’t take that Merge guys voice for any length of time, and in their entire career they’ve only had one great song (“Digging For Something”) but if your taste goes to pop punk these guys deliver – B

Raum – Tangerine Dream – electronic prog now in its 55th year, and have you acquired a taste for it yet? – C

Tell Me What You Miss The Most – Tasha – with all the quiet of In The Wee Small Hours In The Morning, but a different time and a different genre, the Chicago singer bums out over heartbreak and never better than on opener “Bed Song 1” and not as great closer “Bed Song 2” as she starts and ends the album where she began – A-

The Tipping Point – Tears For Fears – Is this the guy with the fucked up haircut? No, that was Flock Of Seagulls, these are the ones that want to change the world. If you were never a fan, the album is better than their 80s work, it really drags but the opening track is good – C

Whirlybird (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) – exactly what it says it is, though not the full orchestra sound of a Randy Edelman, on “Los Angeles News Service” Ty constructs a theme that would be great on an L.A. cop show – C+

A State Of Trance Top 20 – 2022, Vol. 1 (Selected by Armin van Buuren) – Various Artists – while EDM can be volatile as it moves between pure pop MOR artists and house DJs, but Trance never changes so you don’t need to be told how to feel about this – B

15 -vf7 – it had to happen: urban Latino meets pop punk on a terrific collection of catchy songs with better beats – A-

Vino Valentino – Vic Mensa – Mensa the hip hop guy and #BLM cover boy in full soul man disguise on a fine EP – B+

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