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Brief Encounters: New Albums 4-29-22 – 5-5-22 Reviewed

Cocodrillo Turbo – Action Bronson – a mix of a lizard king and psychedelic hallucination that big ups when Action raps – B

Manhattan Beach, Swept By Ocean Breezes – AJ Lambert – when you are Frank Sinatra’s granddaughter you can do anything you want to even “Mood Indigo” and the 44 year old AJ does that on a quiet and absorbing set of synth mood music, and not all Frank’s either (her mom is Nancy so you gotta think). I up the grade because… IT IS FRANK SINATRA’S GRANDDAUGHTER – B+

Fierce Bliss – Ann Wilson – except for Dreamboat Annie, Heart were overrated -at the same nobody really believed women could rock out so kinetically so they mattered, in 2022 it is hardly worth mentioning and while Ann still mines the same hard rock riffing tied to her strong singing adds nothing new, neither does it mess with your memories – B-

A State Of Trance 2022 (Mixed by Armin van Buuren) – Armin van Buuren – if your taste moves towards trance, by which I mean electronic melodica that drops the bass, here is where you will find it four times a year – B+

Alpha Games – Bloc Party – the UK indie rockers sound like a side of prog on a bummer that veers into post-punk while it’s at it – C

Another World (Deluxe Edition) – Brian May – the sophomore solo album from the Queen guitarist is a proggy piece of moondog matinee part of the way with Carl Perkins, Jimi Hendrix and Hank Marvin covers from May’s home studio in 1998, now given a nearly two hour extended version – D+

Senses Out Of Control EP – Buzzcocks – Pete Shelley is irreplaceable but having said that, while the melodies aren’t as catchy and lyrics aren’t as brilliantly angsty, Steve Diggle manages to reclaim some of the music simply because the guitar sounds right – B+

True North – Caroline North – folk Americana with a voice that undertows an ache and has a country vibe, try the excellent “Clean Getaway” – B

All In – Chris Janson – if the song is in retreat in 2022 pop, it is alive and well in country, including this fine set of electrifying rockers – B+

Down Every Road – Eli “Paperboy” Reed – a set of Merle Haggard songs as country soul by the always just about good enough Eli – B

I DON’T LIKE YOU – Future – his ninth album is precisely what the ATL trap superstar is good for, he can rhyme and his subject matter is the usual unusual, but his voice is like a cough syrup mixed with codeine, he drags like a slow motion OD and his angriest verses still sound as though he has just woke up – A-

Psychokinetic Love Songs – Hey, Ily – fans of the Smash Bros extreme fighting gaming platform got back behind the console to explore some electronic rockers – C+

Hymns-Some Of Old, Some Of New – Julie + Dan – country style spirituals, pretty as far as it goes which is a whole lot further away the less you are into Jesus – B-

blue water road – Kehlani – Syd is on one song and Kehlani might have asked her about performing extreme love songs for the woman of your dreams after you break up, Kehlani is in the midst of a serious romance and the album is a dreamy and beautiful thing. I caught Kehlani at Gov Ball in 2021 and she was magnificent (here) and this is her best album to date, a lovely dance album of requited love and romance with the Justin Bieber duet the highlight, followed by the Jessie Reyez featured track and the glorious “Melt” – ALBUM OF THE WEEK – A

Two Ribbons – Let’s Eat Grandma – UK’s synth pop duo Jenny Hollingworth and Rosa Walton’s third album is very 80s synthy pop vibe, some of it works very well – B

Expansions In The NYC – Louie Vega – EDM with the accent on E, featuring Robyn on two tracks and a whole lotta fresh beats elsewhere, from his NYC nightclub – B

Palomino – Miranda Lambert – I may have underestimated it a little, Miranda always has that voice to draw you in and when she can get her hands on the right song… but when does she? Every “Pursuit Of Happiness” has a “Carousel” – C+

PSY 9th – PSY – first rate K-Pop dance from the “Gangnam Style” singer, who, ten years after, is as great as Korean dance can possibly get. PSY is not boy or girl band conglomerates, he performs thrilling dance music, try “Celeb” to see just how unique an artist PSY is, and “Snowdrop” to find PSY capable of a fine dance ballad – A-

Zeit – Rammstein – I loved the industrial metal band from Germany’s excellent last album in 2019 and stuck at home during the pandemic instead of touring behind it, Rammstein recorded the excellent follow up Zeit, a blaze of electronic noise and gothic wowism – B

Profound Mysteries – Röyksopp – The Norwegian electronic snooze ambience, the same after twenty years (and let’s be honest, the only reason we are here is because of their Robyn remixes) – C

Still Jealous – Tegan And Sara – a revisit of their breakthrough So Jealous, and while I am not sure why they re-recorded the album I am fine with them doing so because at least we get to hear these wonderful songs as new – A-

What Can I Say? No Regrets… Out of the Grey + Live, Demos & Outtakes (Deluxe Edition) – The Dream Syndicate – Out Of The Grey is, debatably, Steve Wynn’s best moment as it is maneuvers between psychedelic acid folk and classic rock and of those first three it is the one and adding tracks on a deluxe only helps – A-

i don’t know who needs to hear this… – Tomberlin – a quiet indie folk via Saddle Creek, singer songwriter loveliness that would reward close listening if it wasn’t so boring – B

MAHAL – Toro y Moi – the chillwave purveyor with another album of hi-tech dreaminess and electronic dream sounds and glossed out bummers – C+

More About Nothing – Wale – the 2015 mixtape hits streaming services and is significantly better than you might remember, the Seinfeld samples have lasted well – B

A Beautiful Time – Willie Nelson – of course it is slow and pretty, and boring, but at 89 years of age give him the benefit of the doubt, “I Don’t Go To Funerals” is specific enough and the Beatles cover is fine – B

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