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Brief Encounters: New Albums 4-7-23 – 4-13-23 Reviewed

Blondshell – Blondshell – the former Baum returns as an indie rocker, and any woman who wears an autumn sweater that well (with one of the best band names ever) will be noticed and it is a middling to good rock album that could do with a little speed somewhere – C+

Jesus At The Gay Bar – Cub Sport – Aussie Indie band returns with an album of indie pop rock that almost lives up to the title – B

NEVER ENOUGH – Daniel Caesar – Caesar is one of those lo-fi r&b guys, like PARTYNEXTDOOR, but a little better. This is a bore but not terrible – C+

Stereo Mind Game – Daughter – London indie band as boring as humanly possible – C-

Live 1982 – Darlene Love – re-released after 30 years, this was as Darlene was getting involved on Broadway and hear her give her lungs a thorough airing on an impeccable set hurt by a nondescript backing band – B

Timeless – Davido – the Nigerian producer and afrobeats master has more than a touch of dancehall to him, and everyone one from Angelique Kidjo to Skepta make an appearance in this fine if not shattering add to the vibe – B

On the Romance of Being – Desiree Marea – South African guy with a 13 piece orchestra and songs that both excite and sooth, something completely different – B

How Many Dreams? – DMA’s – electronic dance meets UK rock, it needs a hit – C+

Higher Than Heaven (Deluxe) – Ellie Goulding – Looking for Max Martin and Shellback? Will you take the second stringers Greg Kurstin and Julia Michaels? That’s what you get on Ellie’s latest, the blonde singer has been around forever (I saw her open for Katy Perry maybe ten years ago), disco pop shiny stuff and not much else… but what else do you want from her? – B

Skinemaxxx (Side A) – Fly Anakin – very 1990s with all electronics, piano slices, beats and beats and Fly’s impeccable flow – B+

Labyrinth – Heather Woods Broderick – lo fi, low key indie Americana and pop. I bet Alyson Camus loves her – C+

Meteora 20th Anniversary Edition – Linkin Park – nu-metal certainly felt like a conjob but it stands up very well 20 years later, Chester is gone, Mike is left to rap alone now, but then they made a powerful one-two and changed pop for a moment – A-

Champagne For Breakfast – Madlib – the man has been at it for decades , his sound is hard, sometimes harsh, though what he does with backing voices is original and worth hearing it as he tries to deal with his legacy – B+

Plastic Eternity – Mudhoney – the grunge avatars (or is that abattoir) are amazingly still on top of their game; still noisy, still politically astute, still with an ear for hardcore. In the thirty-five years they’ve been together, they’ve had exactly one change of members and have only ever recorded for Sub Pop. All of which leads to an album that is less nostalgic then a straight up, obstreperous success – ALBUM OF THE WEEK – A-

Hope – NF – the Michigan rapper poster child for depression got married, had a kid, and has emerged as a man trying to find the positive and the title track is absolutely excellent with a tempo switching speed rap at the end, the rest of the album is pretty good even if killing yourself is a better topic than having a son – B+

Sremm 4 Life – Rae Sremmurd – Young Thug is in prison so it’s a blast to hear him on one track, otherwise a disappoint album from the black beatles and it is a serious effort as well, unfortunately the badass teens grew up and while this certainly has moments, the two voices have always meshed, it gets lost at some point – B

The Weakness – Ruston Kelly – the Americana guy who got divorced from Kacey Musgraves returns with a downer of acoustic melodrama, quite well sung – B

The Deep End – Susanna Hoffs – nobody in their right mind would review a Susanna album just to dis her, even a covers album, though a poorly judged opening track had me worried. She immediately steadies herself with a Holly Humberson song and it is clear sailing – B

Thomas Bangalter: Mythologies – Thomas Bangalter – Former half of Daft Punk returns with the soundtrack of a 2022 ballet created by the French choreographer Angelin Preljocaj and composer Thomas Bangalter. The ballet focuses on scenes stemming from human mythologies and features original orchestral compositions from Bangalter. It doesn’t stand up without the dancing – B-

Rat Saw God – Wednesday – this year’s Wet Leg though I prefer their post-punk shoegaze to most and if they had a better grasp of melodic dynamics I would say more – B

WILLOW: Live At Electric Lady – Willow – Willow remains a unique player in the world of pop, a nepobaby by definition but not by culture. I once saw her walk on the stage at Barclay’s between Cardi B and Jay Z with just a guitar and make her point. This is sot of post-punk, guitar shards, art-rock – B+

With A Hammer – Yaeji – The Japanese American wiz woman is an acquired taste as she moves between her genres with a secret ingredient, great songs. However, her fluttery vocals are annoying – B

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