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Brief Encounters: New Albums 5-5-23 – 5-11-22 Reviewed

United Blood l.p. – Agnostic Front – released as part of Record Store Day, originally recorded and released in 1983, it helped lay the foundation for the New York hardcore scene. It beyond stands up, especially Adam Mucci on bass who at this late date is revelatory – A

Road to CASABLANCO.- Armani White – opening with his grandma telling Armani he looks tired on his first breakthrough post- “BILLIE EILISH” release (which is reprised with features from N.O.R.E. Busta Rhymes and Ludacris, at the end). Elsewhere, it is modern post-success with a penchant from trap beats – B-

MTV Unplugged – Bastille – along with Imagine Dragon they reinvented electronica for straight ahead mainstream rock bands… so getting rid of the digital aspect doesn’t help – D+

Laughing with Liza – Davie Jones And The King Bees – The Vocalion and Deram Singles 1964-1967 Plus – Pre Stardom, and well documented early Bowie back when he was a London boy garage rock cusp popstar though it would be of little interest except historical purpose and signpost weirdness like “Rubber Band” … still, we completests are happy to see everything in the same place – B

Arrived Anxious, Left Bored – Flume – UK DJ rifles through his files and lands a mixtapes of tracks he never released so less pop, no features, but some great songs (try “Road To Japan”) – B

Blood Orange – Freya Ridings – Florence Welch-y vibe and on the title track, a super soulful and thrilling song. You believe Ridings but when she slows down? Meh singer songwriter – C+

Won’t He Do It – Conway The Machine – His best to date is adult rap from the Buffalo master who can really rap despite being shot in the face eleven years and being partially paralyzed, there is a run from the dynamic “Flesh Of My Flesh” to the dramatic soulfulness of “Water To Wine” and including the ode to “Kanye” that is as great as you’ve heard this far – B+

A Garden of Dead Flowers – Death Goals – “UK queercore duo DEATH GOALS have today released their sophomore album, and Prosthetic Records debut, A Garden of Dead Flowers. On A Garden of Dead Flowers, DEATH GOALS unapologetically embrace their LGBTQIA+ identity against a backdrop of chaotic hardcore punk…” And it is better than that sounds, ear bleeding hardcore thrash with occasional hard rock verses, also any band who can pay off a song called “Genderless Clones of Gameshow Hosts” demands to be taken seriously – ALBUM OF THE WEEK – A

‘-‘ (subtract) – Ed Sheeran – Save us Marvin Gaye, you’re our only hope. MOR dreck without a “Happier” or “Thinking Out Loud” in the bunch, it’ll be huge and while Ed can write a song he is also a simpering blow hard. It will find an audience and we might be punished all summer – C

Secret Life – Fred Again… Brian Eno – ambient music? ‘scuse me while I roll my eyes. Still it is better than those blasted instrumentals Eno has been sticking down our throats all year – B-

I Love You, I’m Trying – grandson – the electronic one man band from Canada can write a song that finds the sweet spot between shyboy and bedsit, though the lyrics are a little stifling – B-

The Chicago Sessions – Rodney Crowell – Crowell goes to Chicago with a few of his folks and Jeff Tweedy produces him in Jeff’s studio. and it is Rick Rubinesque in the way it boils the sound down to what the sound is in a fabulous collection of country Americana – A-

THE RAT ROAD – SBTRKT – nine years since his last release, English producer Aaron Jerome is reunited with Sampha (his go to for live performances) and Little Dragon (who he put on the map) and while I was clearly ready to subtrack him, actually this is an electronic confessional with its roots in story telling – B

Never Worry – Snakehips – EDM duo from London with a pop veneer over standard beats – C

Just The Two Of Us: The Duets Collection (Vol. 1) – Olivia Newton-John – the late, great Sandy with a compilations of duets from her lustrous yet less than thrilling career: it defines middle of the road – B

Darkadelic – The Damned – it is knocking on fifty years since “New Rose” so excuse em for having no new tricks as they work their way to eternal damnation… C+

Atum – The Smashing Pumpkins – Billy claims this is his follow-up to Mellon Cholia -his only great album, and it details the story of a man lost in space… The two hour plus rock opera is sonically alright but the songs are sodden whatevers and Billy won’t stop whining, still his best in decades – C+

Guardians Of The Galaxy: Volume 3 – Various Artists – there are two mixtapes battling it out, the one with original songs finds us dealing with a matter of taste so if you are need to hear Radiohead’s “Creep” again, please help yourself , the other one I’ve heard is a ton of covers of classic songs for no discernable reason – C

An Inbuilt Fault – Westerman – indie confessional with a bit more in the arrangement and a disquiet which first urges and then surrenders – C+

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