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Brief Encounters: New Albums 5-12-23 – 5-18-23 Reviewed

Melodies on Hiatus – Part 1 – Albert Hammond Jr – the Strokes guitarist hasn’t been all that solo and having said that, the melodies are not on hiatus and the classic rocker indieness of it all shines throughout. A surprisingly good album – B+

The Love Invention – Alison Goldfrapp – if synth pop can be progressive, Alison’s, half of Goldfrapp the band, is that, with a sparkling and sound bountiful set of beats and synth – B

Religiously. The Album. – Bailey Zimmerman – the country singer’s debut album is same old same old, though he seems to be very popular he hasn’t proven it – B-

As We Speak – Béla Fleck, Edgar Meyer, Zakir Hussain – The Flecktones were a fine, bluegrass plus band lead by Bela’s banjo. Here he also leads with his banjo on a set of world music instrumentals – B

Random Access Memories (10th Anniversary Edition) – Daft Punk – so the French EDM and electronic duo’s last album was also their most popular, owing much to Niles Rodgers and Pharrell on “Get Lucky”. It stands up nicely where you might think a work based around production values might have aged fast – B+

London Ko – Fatoumata Diawara – Damon Albarn introduced us to Mali Music back in 2011 and he is here as well but Fatoumata doesn’t need him to bring us down on a fine set of songs from Africa – A-

Okemah Rising – Dropkick Murphys – the follow up to their This Machine Still Kills Fascists, finds them still adding music to Woody Guthrie’s unrecorded music. It is too on the nose, too generic, and the trick is good enough not to work twice and it doesn’t. But as for the words: “When I get rid of Taft and Hartley, Hoover, Truman, Wall Street, Congress, debts and troubles, chills and fevers, my eyes are gonna shine…” – B-

Lauren Daigle – Lauren Daigle – Christian Contemporary Music is the near beer of pop: it has no lift. Lauren nails the first two songs here, Christ Confessionals if you will, and then falls apart but it is the real deal for sure – C+

Battle of Armagideon (Millionaire Liquidator) [Expanded Version] – Lee “Scratch” Perry – the late great producer’s most accessible album from 1986 expanded with same odd workouts and dub versions – A

UNFORGIVEN – LE SSERAFIM – K-Pop girl group, better the weirder they get but mostly just all girl dance business as usual – B-

Gummi Soul: Another Rubber – Matt Whipkey – I reviewed it earlier today (here), a magical re-imagination of the Beatles’ masterpiece – A

Enter Sandman EP – Motörhead – the title track dates from 1998 where it was part of a Wrestling compilation, plus their own “R.A.M.O.N.E.S”, plus “God Save The Queen” and more. Five songs. All perfect – A

Wilderness Within You – Parker Millsap – indie, alty, Americana that gets awful tedious – C+

An Evening at Macri Park – Seán Barna – “Sparkle when You Speak” is a terrific and quiet singer songwriter confessional gay man at a gay bar “Macri Park”, and telling us about the denizen – This is his sophomore effort and a lovely piece of work – B+

O-Mit – The Fall – four outtakes from the excellent Re-Mit and all of them should’ve been on the album, this is Mark at his most accessible and the tracks function as a death dream. I’d forgotten how much I miss them – A

The Album – The Jonas Brothers – the brothers have this going for em, they remain heartthrobs and they remain dance oriented boyband vibed out, yes NSYNC but also BTS. Built to be toured behind, it is a nothing special piece of pop product – C+

SHADOWKASTERS – The Rocket Summer – Bryce Avary always seemed to surrounding popularity while remaining purely cult. This electronic dance wonk sounds nothing like his earlier work and instead is difficult to penetrate weirdness with a lot of instruments you neither expect nor want – C

Live At Drury Lane – Toyah – performed live for the 1981 December 24th, Old Grey Whistle Test, this was the time of the band’s Anthem, a big hit in the UK, and Wilcox adding prog to new wave for some stamping sorta Antmusic beat em hard – C+

First Lap – Tunde – his debut mixtape is a straight-ahead drill positive, out of prison and ready to roll to the top of the charts it is highly dramatic OG… try “Fresh Home Freestyle” – B

Air (Amazon Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) – Various Artists – the movie, about the business deal that changed basketball, is a goodie, the soundtrack is all taken from the Air Jordan era of the 80s, and is therefore a typical representation of a disappointing decade – B

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