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Brief Encounters: New Albums 3-12-21 – 3-18-21 Reviewed

Harmony Woods


Believe For It – CeCe Winans – without brother Bebe, this is still as strong a live show as you will ever hear this side of Trinity network – B

Wild West – Central Cee -London drill guy’s debut is by the numbers grime – C+

ONCE UPON A TIME – CHIKA – Alabama rapper and EXPOTUS Obama fave, sounds more like neo-R&B and the better for it on this excellent EP which doesn’t even need the raps – B+

Dies Occidendum – DJ Muggs, DJ Muggs the Black Goat – an instrumental and sound effects album by the Cypress Hill guy, includes excerpts from the first Star Wars – C+

A History of Nomadic Behavior – Eyehategod – 30 years plus on, this is a hard, heavy, sludgy metal monster of an album about life on the road – B-

When It’s All Said And Done… Take Time – Giveon – two EPs  2020 GRAMMY®Award-nominated debut EP TAKE TIME and the  follow-up EP When It’s All Said and Done, plus a new song as filled in quiet storm style yet youthful r&b – B

This Is This – Grouplove – Socal indie rockers with an indifferent outing of indie pop rockers – C

GRACEFUL RAGE – Harmony Woods – Produced by no less a populist than Bartees Strange, this is very dramatic Indie rock and singer songwriter confessional with some strong emotions and overwhelmed songs that build and blast on a wall of tunes that catch you unaware. Though the songs blame guys for most of Harmony’s (that’s the band name, her name is Sofia Verbilla) messed up emotions -and she may be right and on the strength of the electric guitar on “Rittenhouse” you might believe she has every right to be angry; the first three songs are as perfect an intro as you’ll hear right now  – ALBUM OF THE WEEK – A-

Joshua Bassett – Joshua Bassett – the apex of High School Musicals triangle, he can’t find an answer for Olivia’s “Drivers License” and “Lie Lie Lie” is a shockingly weak retort to her sorrow… he sounds like Justin Timberlake without the charm, and Maroon 5 without the songs – C-

Theory of Ice – Leanne Betasamosake Simpson – sounds like an exercise in mental masturbation if Billie Eilish was a mental masturbator, interesting and a little boring – C+

Serpentine Prison (Deluxe Edition) – Matt Berninger – adds four covers, two originals, to last years solo outing for the national’s baritone, and it sounds better than ever. Matt, can’t help sounding dramatic but he doesn’t let himself become Scott Walker about it, the songs are smaller and better cultured – A-

Spaceman (Deluxe) – Nick Jonas -adds five songs, including one with his brothers. It has grown on me a little… – B-

Notes With Attachments – Pino Palladino, Blake Mills – Mills is part of the LA Mafia of indieish performers, Pino is a master bassist who performed with The Who after John Entwistle died, and together they’ve made a very tasteful instrumental sound shifter that never really gets going – C

Really From – Really From – quasi ambient sound  walls of indifference, dollops of brass – C+

Roses – The Paper Kites – with a handful of major featured artists including Julia Stone, Rosie Carney, Aoife O’Donovan, and Nadia Reid, the Australian folkies are back with a lovely collection of indie tunefulness and folk trappings – B-

Evering Road (Deluxe) – Tom Grennan- typical modern UK singer songwriter guy, soulful but the songs aren’t all that and the voice is an annoying harshness – C

Bills & Aches & Blues EP1 (40 Years of 4AD) – Various Artists – for their 40th anniversary they had 18 members  of their current label covering 18 of their past recordings, including U.S. Girls covering The Birthday Party and Tune-Yards covering The Breeders – B

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