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Brief Encounters: New Albums 3-31-23 -4-6-22 Reviewed

Feel Again – Armin Van Buuren – the king of trance but not very good at ballads whatsoever, this is his worst work ever (an equivalent would be Lil Wayne’s rock album) – D

The A&M Years…And More! – Burt Bacharach – Burt reminded me a little of George Gershwin during his golden years: couldn’t sing and couldn’t write a lyric but man could he compose a great melody. Burt is in his prime and this 103 song compilation of 60s and 70s tracks from the 2004 release is simply spectacular – A+

The Record – Boygenius – they sound like a female Crosby, Stills and Nash aesthetic taken for a trip to Lilith Fair and if their songs were better well, maybe. But while Lucy and Julien have moments, Phoebe has written precisely two great songs in her entire career and was a drag on the proceedings at Brooklyn Steel, Lucy was wonderful and Julien a revelation. But the album? Where are the songs? Where are the melodies? Well, the final song is pretty but… – C

Miracle-Level – Deerhoof – the San Francisco indie band haven’t missed a thing on their latest melding of J-Pop and Americana extant, often sung in Japanese – B

I’M REALLY LIKE THAT – DJ Drama – he is DJ Khaled without the pop sensibility and also without the play by numbers that inflicts DJ Khaled including a great rap by Lil Wayne on one track. But mainly it is first league rappers with second rate raps – C,

Days Of The Underground: The Studio & Live Recordings 1977-1979 – Hawkwind – this isn’t the Lemmy years, but anyway with Hawkwind it is all about Dave Brock. These are major label work and it is not entirely the jam sprawl you might be expecting – B-

The Bus Routes Of South London – Jah Wobble – written in transit on London transport it is an excellent instrumental collection of dubby, very lovely music from the PiL bassist – B+

Lies – Lies – The cousins Mike and Nate Kinsella from great indie band American Football with a new indie band of definitive 2015 Americana mix up, pretty good with an affiliation for if not shoegaze certainly a submersive experience… but I wish they’d return with American Football – B

gisela – NOIA – where Rosalia meets Bjork with Bjork like vocal pitching and wooing and Catalania folk with electronics – B

I’m A Woman (Expanded Edition) – Peggy Lee – recorded in 1962, dropped in the garbage pail of music month releases, January, to coincide with the title single being a hit, here the fine and smooth jazz-blues-R&b and Spanish tracks have an additional 50% added. This shows that there is nothing much better than Miss Peggy Lee having fun – A

Honey – Samia – while Samia is a Nepobaby and also a lesbian avatar ala boygenius, she is even better than that. The best act I saw at Gov Ball last year and this album is as good as her singer songwriter vibe gets but it is a little slow, on stage she, you know, rocks out – B

Avatars Of The Night – Sondre Lerche – Sondre reaches the rarified air of a Rex Sexsmith or Freedy Johnston, he just knows how to record fine and lovely, deeply melodic pop songs. This isn’t best but it is the same general vicinity – B

Let the Moon Be a Planet – Steve Gunn – rural guitar picking and mood music piano – C

The Price of Progress – The Hold Steady – “Sixers” is not only good, it is equally important, everything else is important without being very good, “Sideways Skull” stays positive – B-

Continue as a Guest – The New Pornographers – the Canadian indie band featuring Neko Case have gone from Matador to Concord and on to Merge Records on their first release since 2019, a not untypical power pop meets indie album – B-

The Who With Orchestra: Live At Wembley – The Who – I saw this exact same show at Jones Beach in 2019 as well, from the second row (here), it was a terrific show but as a live snapshot of orchestrated Who it needs the visuals – B

Different Game – The Zombies – sounds like Procol Harum until they decide to go garage prog and out there psychedelic – B-

The Monkey Dance – The Wiggles – I loved the band from the days when my great-nieces and nephews were children and their songwriting is actually improving – ALBUM OF THE WEEK – B+

CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST: The Estate Sale – Tyler, The Creator – the album was his best to date and so was that MSG gig (here) and this expanded addition loses nothing with the adds except some sense of romantic subtext – A

Dancehall Riddim: Nookie 2K6 – Various Artists – three dancehall triumphs featuring Beenie Man and Buju Banton circa 2006 – A

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