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Brief Encounters: New Albums 6-17-22 – 6-23-22 Reviewed

the storm before the calm – Alanis Morissette – maybe it’s overkill to keep complaining how the woman who wrote “Hand’s Clean” has become such a dreary wreck, but there is zero positive to say about this meditative instrumental tedium, it makes Such Pretty Forks In The Road sound like Jagged Little Pill – E+

Farm to Table – Bartees Strange – now signed to the UK indie label that taught Creative how to do it for his sophomore album, the genre malfunctioning genre screwing rocker is mostly pulling variants on jangle on a fine album of melodic rockers, headed by the superb “Heavy Heart” and while he can’t maintain the level, he tries very hard to bring the thumpelina – B+

Songs About You – Brett Eldredge – I gave up on Brett circa Glow and since then have considered the country popstar a journeyman bore, this doesn’t change my mind – C-

What Came Before – Chase & Status – dance seems to be having yet another moment, between Drake and Beyonce taking it hard bop and pop and now Chase & Status, drum and bass mind-blowing hard beats life – B+

Disciplined Breakdown (Expanded Edition) – Collective Soul – The longest break these melodic indie to mainstream guys ever took was six years between albums, they keep on churning em out and we keep ignoring em. When we actually listen, they are about as average as they were in the 90s though not bad as ever – B-

Honestly, Nevermind – Drake – one of Drake’s best album, like Take Care with beats, and with songs about romantic love and malaise, it is a stunningly compact adding dances to Baltimore club and it is a very effective album that seriously repays a close listen – A

Diary of The Flow Queen – Erica Banks – If Megan Thee Stallion, the Houston rapper, is stripper street, Dallas’s Erica Banks is Dallas club on a set of non stop bangers, with a quick shout out to DreamKing for the excellent closer “Toot That” – B

We May Grow Old But We Never Grow Up – Example – on his eighth album, UK dance star adds heavy rapping to pure dance beats and synthy lines with some rap ego and house and bass drops- B+

Life Is Yours – Foals – bass and drums disco on a surprisingly swift footed disco album from the Oxford rock band – B

Zappa / Erie (Live) – Frank Zappa – “Three complete shows from the Vault based on appearances made in and around the Vaultmeister’s hometown of Erie, PA: Edinboro College and Gannon University ’74 with Erie County Fieldhouse ’76. Also includes bonus tracks from the same tours. Three separate band line-ups, newly mixed from the original 4-Track tapes by Craig Parker Adams and mastered by John Polito at Audio Mechanics. Historical essays by Dan Schell & Joe Travers. Available on 6CD Box Set.” according to the Zappa website, and at seven hours in length it defines goes on, but it is as accessible as you will hear Frank and the reason these shows were released is that they were great shows – B+

So Icy Gang: The ReUp – Gucci Mane – the Godfather of ATL rap can get Quavo, Lil Durk, even the late great Young Dolph, for his features on the first disc, on the second Gucci introduces the gang, especially Pooh Shiesty and Big Scarr… it would have been a better single album (the one where Gucci takes the lead) – B-

Khaza – Kevin Gates – The Baton Rouge rapper is almost poppy here and there as he overshares his break up with his wife and drives himself crazy. The tracks are a wonked out horror story of betrayal and when it hooks, “Bad For Me” but that’s about four times – B-

The Phoenix – Grey Daze – Suicide is the definition of a major bummer and Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington’s suicide was a scary thing, Grey Daze were his first band and this is the second post-humous release. And it isn’t TERRIBLE, I mean as bad news anthems go it keeps the energy level sky high – C+

Rich White Honky Blues – Hank Williams Jr – he sure has a nerve appropriating the blues when he is a such a racist, confederate flag waving, Red state patriot bullshit guy (here) that it hurts me to say that this is a pretty good southern blues boogie and hurts me more to note that Dan Auerbach produced it! The Robert Johnson cover is credible – B+

Houses of the Wind – John Luther Adams – ambient sounds of nature AGAIN – B

Vinyl Days – Logic – Logic does indeed go back to the 90s and vinyl 12inch boom bap power moves on an album that starts by shouting out the late J Dilla, and includes the likes of Royce da 5’9″, RZA, and The Game, and true hip hop heads will love it – B

Ugly Season – Perfume Genius – more or less instrumental with a side of electronic wall of sound and some classical leaning, but even when he is singing on “Hellbent” it is difficult to penetrate – C+

Snoop Dogg Presents Death Row Summer 2022 – with features from disciples Tha Dogg Pound, The Eastsidaz, Raphael Saadiq, Miguel, LaToiya Williams, Butch Cassidy, and Snoop sounding so Snoop all you can hear is that voice, an indifferent set of jams – C+

The Bridge (Super Deluxe) – Sting – My dislike of Sting is so intense I actually listened to the entire super deluxe to make sure I wasn’t underselling the pompous muso, but the super deluxe is as lame as the deluxe is as lame as anything known to man – MUST TO AVOID – E+

The Very Best Of The Beach Boys: Sounds Of Summer (Expanded Edition Super Deluxe) – The Beach Boys – there may come a time when we get sick of The Beach Boys, I mean how many times can you hear the Cali time teen dreams without saying you got it? Without a doubt once more at least, “Little Worm” might not be your idea of prime Beach Boys but really, in context, nothing sags over 80 songs – A

Hey Doll Baby – The Everly Brothers – compiled by Tom Petty’s daughter Adria Petty, with input from Patti and Jason Everly (Phil’s widow and son) as well as Don himself – the last project before he died last year (here), it collects some of the lesser-known, buried treasures in the Everly Brothers’ rich catalog, though how deeply buried was “When Will I Be Loved”? And who cares? – A

Endangered – Tomás Doncker & The True Groove All-Stars – although the musical portion of a multimedia extravaganza of politics and poetry to a genre shifting sound, Endangered stands alone no problem and includes some of Doncker’s very best songs to date (words by Yusef Komunyakaa) including two showstopping bangers of the first order, “Universal Bunnies” and “Outlaw” – ALBUM OF THE WEEK – A

Generation of Me – Tor Miller – a singer songwriter who overwrites a bit but guess it’s right often enough, unsustainable over an entire album – C+

SZNZ: Summer – Weezer – from the baroque “Lawn Chair” to the Weezer as genre “Cuomoville”, this is Rivers at his not worst, cheerful, unassuming, if a little over worked, pop symphonies… they are about to perform on Broadway so make sure you’re busy that week – C+

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