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Brief Encounters: New Albums 6-11-21 – 6-17-21 Reviewed


Bodies – AFI – hard rock with an emo turn to it – C

Bigger House – Angel Du$t – punk band turn art rock plus eletronica – C

For Sale – Blu – Blu has been rapping for ever, the LA musician is a semi-tough art guy, try “Funkorama” – B-

Manifest – Bobby Sessions – Texas offers up another rapper, you might recognize his name from his “Savage” co-sign, otherwise he is new to me for one, his debut is certainly filled with good rapping (Rick Ross is featured on one song, Benny The Butcher and Freddie Gibbs on another), with a mix of 90s style rap and Wu Tang-y backing and dour tracks, as he discusses his manifest destiny – B+

Inside (The Songs) – Bo Burnham – the stand up comedian recorded the entire album, alone, in isolation… is comedy over, he asks? It sure is here – C+

Mingus At Carnegie Hall (Deluxe Edition) [2021 Remaster] [Live] – the 1974 concert, adds over 70 minutes of unreleased material including “Big Alice” off the CD release of the underrated Mingus Moves – A

Big Mess – Danny Elfman – the former Oingo Boingo, current motion picture soundtrack king, returns to his new wave-Post Punk roots on an acute angle effort of sound grinds – B-

I’m Only Dancing (The Soul Tour 74) [Live] – David Bowie – this is Bowie’s post Young Americans tour live album, literally somewhere between David Live and Stage, better than the former, not as good as the latter (which has him in Low mode as well), nothing stands out except the stand out “John, I’m Only Dancing” on his tenth live album since he died – B

No Gods No Masters – Garbage – clinky clanky, agitprop horrible songs with some of the most boring up against the wall cliches… and it goes on and on  – C-

Natty Dread – Jesse Royal – reggae is the genre that never got a big time second act, even while the likes of Bounty Killer on the dancehall side and Buju Banton on the rastafarian, certainly deserved it. Yes, to both, from the 90s, but Chronixx was all set to give reggae a return to the charts and failed. Jesse Royal is excellent, straightforward reggae but it won’t do the job – B+

What’s Your Pleasure? (The Platinum Pleasure Edition) – Jesse Ware – adds eight songs to the excellent 2020 pop dance album – B+

Hardcore from the Heart – Joana Serrat – “For the recording, Serrat travelled from her home in Vic, a small city near Barcelona, to Redwood Studio in Denton, Texas, where she teamed up with engineer and producer Ted Young (Kurt Vile, Sonic Youth, Lee Ranaldo)” it says here on a borderline shoegaze, wall of sound singer, songwriter confessional collection of sturdier than you’d think ethereal pop – B

Now Serving: Royal Tea Live From The Ryman – Joe Bonamassa – look at it this way, “Why Does It Take So Long To Say Goodbye” is nine minutes long – C-

Squint – Julian Lage – guitar picked, jazz-folk instrumentals from the former child prodigy, current faculty member at the New England Conservatory of Music – B-

The Arrival – Kah Lo – “New York City-based, Nigeria-born, Grammy-nominated dance-pop sensation …” EDMIDENTITY claims (here) for the woman who adds trap and house beats (not Afro) to EDM pop tracks on this 5 songs EP – B

SURVIVORS GUILT: THE MIXTAPE// – KennyHoopla & Travis Barker – punk pop, sometimes the arrangements are so good they blur the genre, and sometimes not so much – C+

L.W. – King Gizzard And The Lizard Wizard – near the top of the genres that leave me icy, there is Psyche Rock which owes so much to The Cramps and always fails to pay it. Especially this prolific quasi-jam band, who stuck in the lab last year made this synth rock album, a real drag and their worst to date – MUST TO AVOID – D

KISS Off The Soundboard: Tokyo 2001 (Live) – KISS – you wanted the best, you got yet another live Kiss album – D+

Happy Birthday Kodak – Kodak Black – The best in class (still alive best in class) soundcloud rap, with a brief and not wasted four tracks – B+

Top Chef Gotit – Lil Gotit – the “Toosie” guy has great flow and if nothing else hits the pleasure zone like “Toosie,” “Live with 10Fifty” is a classic flow set opener – B-

A Few Stars Apart – Lukas Nelson And Promise Of The Real – brutally bad country Americana from Willie’s kid – D+

Ancient Dreams In A Modern Land – Marina – fifteen years on and the Welsh pop dance wannabe has lost that early, fascinating perception and has replaced it by arty poeticness and discovers unique isn’t synonymous with good, though it is with musical ambition – C+

JORDI (Deluxe) – Maroon 5 – album number seven(ish) is the same ol post Songs For Jane mix and match of rock, pop, electronica, ballads, dance and featured stars… C+

Shockwave – Marshmello – the DJ with a natural affinity for low grade pop and pro-tool, featuring Megan Thee Stallion on “Bad Bitches” -a classic bass drop track… this is stronger than usual, he seems to have forgotten the mellow on these bangers  – B

Culture III – Migos – I caught Migos on tour for Culture II where they blew Drake off stage TWICE A NIGHT (here), though the album wasn’t much, and none of the solo stuff was that great -all very boujee. III is their best since 2017, over an hour of big time features adding shading to hooks upon hooks, the Justin Bieber feature is ear candy, and it doesn’t hurt to hear Pop Smoke and Juice WRLD again. And sure, in the end, it’s just Atlanta Trap -and the word just is doing a whole lotta work here – B+

The Night They Came Home (Live) – Mr. Bungle – recorded in quarantine last Halloween, the experimental artcore band kill it, though maybe not on the Mr. Rogers cover, elsewhere, like the incredible anti-racism featuring a great pun “Eracist” -one of the best songs of the year – B+


Back The Way We Came: Vol. 1 (2011 – 2021) – Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – as UK rock goes, I’ll take it over Johnny Marr if not Morrissey, and if Noel hasn’t lost the knack of the big anthem, can even perform em on synths and protools, he doesn’t have his brothers voice and the songs aren’t as good as early Oasis… not close – B-

Cruella – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack – “Call Me Cruella” is Florence + The Machine at its best, but otherwise the punk tracks are actually new wave, the cover of “I Wanna Be York Dog” by a minimalist going maximalist John McCrea is a revolution, and “Love Is Like A Violin” reminds you that Ken Dodd was a comedian first – B-

In The Heights  – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack – before there was “Hamilton,” there was Lin-Manuel’s ode to Washington Heights and the Dominican Republic, and as a nonfan (I didn’t love “Hamilton” either -liked it, sure), the songs leave me shrugging, thought “It Won’t Be Long” and “96,000” -the centerpiece, are pretty okay. They make much more sense in context – B-

The Life Of Pi’erre 5 – Pi’erre Bourne – the rap producer who went in front of the mic is catchy and his production is word class and state of trap, not bad for a guy whose sole reason for recording himself was because he wanted to get Kanye West’s attention – B

Hall Of Fame – Polo G – emo rap works better in small doses, listen to the hot “Rapstar” -the second song here, it is still great but less great – B

EAT (NXT Soundtrack) – Poppy – art punk screamo EP, plus orchestrated big breaks  – B-

Lovesick – Raheem DeVaughn, Apollo Brown – old school, 80s style r&B by a fine singer, his fourth album in four years, and Apollo is borderline analog – B

Moments In Between – Ruth B – singer songwriter with better production than you usually hear, via Canada – B

Big Colors – Ryan Adams – no features except John Mayer on “Fuck The Rain” -before the fall. The songs are Americana rock, stunningly executed tracks that are greater than anything he has given us since Cardinology in 2008, much better than last year’s spotty and sad Wednesday, here he is depressed but pressing forward on one great song after another. Really, if this doesn’t get Ryan out of purgatory, what will? – A-

Path Of Wellness – Sleater Kinney – no “Hurry On Home” here, but a return to a more angular post-punk sound after St. Vincent messing with the secret sauce, the pandemic Portland #BLM protests lead the now duo from the streets back to the studio where they produced Path Of Wellness themselves: a little hit and miss, they are yet another band whose first three albums set a pace they haven’t matched,  but it certainly has some strong moments – B

Ten Songs of Worship and Praise for our Tumultuous Times – St. Lenox – singer songwriter Andrew Choi’s Americana as indie pop and more, as the gay singer tries to maneuver between faith, organized religion, and self-awareness. These are neither songs of worship, nor are they songs of praise, but deeply melodic and clever songs about how difficult faith can be. St. Lenox is new to me, but not for long as this is one of the best things you’ll hear this year: borderline rap and prosaic rhymin’ and ideas both complex and simple, “Hallelujah, I am not a religious man but I can understand religion” –  ALBUM OF THE WEEK – A-

FEMULINE – Todrick Hall –  the LGBTQ star and American Idol 9th season success, adds rap to EDM pop on a spritely and addictive, light hearted and danceable triumph – B+

The Chaos Chapter: FREEZE – Tomorrow x Together – meaning behind the K-Pop  band is five individuals who “come together under one dream in hopes of building a better tomorrow”… like getting Olly Mur to co-write one of your it takes village songs and writing an ode to dessert “Ice Cream” -cold indeed – C+

Replica of a Strange Love – wristmeetrazor – metalcore with screamo vocals and add to sked bowels from hell, and sure you’ve heard that description before but take it from me, it couldn’t be better as far as the band performance is concerned though suicide name? Yuck – B

Time – Your Old Droog –  MF Doom shares the spotlight on a quiet, arty, underground rap album that is as beautiful as it could possibly be – B+


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