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Brief Encounters: New Albums 6-18-21 – 6-24-21 Reviewed


The Blixky Tape 2 – 22Gz – the Brooklyn native via Guyana is a cold and icy OG trap tracks as violent as the most violent drill on these strong and bad news rap songs from a man who has been arrested for murder… twice. Try “Fallen Blixky” – A-

What the Flood Leaves Behind – Amy Helm – it is impossible for Amy to get out of her father’s shadows but don’t let that stop you from her lovely Americana, “Verse 23” is her best song to date  – B

Devastations – Andrew Hung – The electronic fascinated half of Fuck Buttons performing electronic tracks way too lively to be considered ambient with buried vocals that nevertheless catch your ear – B

Mother Nature – Angelique Kidjo – “Brothers, why we fighting each other?” the Queen of Africa asks. So Kidjo  offers an alternative filled with afrobeats, and reclaims her throne with a strong Afropop collection featuring some of the genre’s biggest stars including the undoubtable Yemi Alade, Mr. Eazy, Sampa The Great, and more. A terrific state of the art album that will be considered one of Kidjo’s greatest achievements – ALBUM OF THE WEEK – A

Remedy – Azure Ray – The indie duo’s first album in over ten years is well worth the wait, with the pure, low key beauty we always great from these gifted women harmonizers – A-

I LIE HERE BURIED WITH MY RINGS AND MY DRESSES – Backxwash – I really admire how people of color have immigrated from Africa and embraced rap, Backxwash is from Zambia (the most African country in Africa) to Canada, and excels at samples, an industrial clang of sound as spits with a shredding anger – B

Inside (The Songs) – Bo Burnham – The comedian’s inside the pandemic songs from facetiming mommy to two timing Amazon, not very funny though it has moments and mostly songs like Magnetic Fields (ps: I wasn’t crazy about the Netflix special either)  – C+

Migration – Bosk – post-metal from England, with deep melodies between the white noise – B

Live From Europe – Brett Eldredge – Brett is one of those country guys who ended up not fulfilling their promise, and this is his first undeniable release since, why since 2017’s “Love Someone” -which makes an appearance here – B

Prosthetic Boombox – Cola Boyy – we heard the great “Don’t Forget Your Neighborhood” when Boyy gave the song to The Avalanches last year, it sounds better among these disco electronic songs – B

Blue 50 (Demos & Outtakes) – Joni Mitchell – A sampler from the upcoming box set, if you aren’t in the market for a demo of “California” you’re a better person than I am – A

Disco! – Mike – pretty good beats from the Bronx underground rapper and electronic spaces – B

Wary + Strange – Amythyst Kiah – I have a lot of time for LGBTQ+ and it isn’t all underdog; Kiah, who used to play in a band with Rhiannon Giddens, doesn’t need my condescending on this excellent singer songer, folk indie rock triumph, the songs are depressing (one song is about her mother who drowned when she was a teen) . The songs are uniformly excellent with “Black Myself” the very best protest song I’ve heard this year – A-

Black Metal 2 – Dean Blunt –  Dean Blunt is, in fact, Hype Williams (the video director) and this isn’t vaguely black metal, it is low key indie goth – B-

Stains – De’Wayne talented rapper rocker who has dubbed himself a Kurt Cobain and moves effortless between rock guitar full throttle and rap – B

Zappa ’88: The Last U.S. Show – Frank Zappa – Frank’s experimental rock and roll was always a little too difficult, where he was always willing to pass on the hits (as such) for the jazz rock jams, why he rewrote the lyrics on the Beatle medley is a good question – C

One Foot In Front Of The Other – Griff – a seven song indie popish mixtape from the Brit Award “Rising star” winner – B

Ice Daddy – Gucci Mane – The track with E=40 is a goodie, and the trap beats are an art form by themselves. Gucci invented Atlanta Trap and while this is coasting, it is good coasting  – B+

Back Of My Mind – H.E.R. – We’ve been waiting for Gabi’s (aka H.E.R.) debut album for three years now, and our expectations were probably too high. The album is first rate neo-r&b, immaculately sung and produced with plenty of songs to get into and way too much filler –  B+

Lonely Cinema II – HILOTRONS – ambient electronic mood music – C

Melancholy Grace – Jean Rondeau – Rondeau is a classical harpsichord instrumentalist and here he is excavating the Renaissance period  with compositions from the 16th and 17th century – B+

Consequences  – Joan Armatrading – The English singer songwriter is now 70 years old, and still shrouded in privacy, and while all she has that is immortal is “Love And Affection,” certainly the slower songs, the acoustic guitar driven “To Be Loved” for instance, comes from a similar place – B

Peace Or Love – Kings Of Consequences – a quietly devastating folk-jazzy sound with the returning Norwegian duo’s fully formed set of well arranged and melodic acoustic songs – B

Teatro d’ira – Vol. I – Måneskin – The Eurovision song contest Italian winners with a straightforward rock album – C+

Megabear – Me Rex – conceptually killer, 52 songs in 30 minutes from the electronic band, composed and arranged to be played on shuffle, and the concept works as more than a hook. The songs seem to free flow into each other and Myles McCabe comes into his own on this serenely beautiful and strange collection – B+

Broken Hearts & Beauty Sleep – Mykki Blanco – the gay rapper returns with a first rate collection of rap and electronic pop songs, the transgender HIV Positive musician is at the top of they game on this too short EP of future-funk and r&b and rap in a move on the pop charts, I guess that’s why Hudson Mohawke is producing – B+

The BBC Sessions – Phosphorescent – slow burn, singer songwriter, guitar angst, just  the dreariest thing you’ve ever heard – D

Troubled In Paradise – Slayyyter – electronic disco mesmerized with techno heavy hitting beats, in other words: hyperpop, and good hyperpop with the attitude of pure pop plus experimentation  – B

DisNigga Vol 2 – Soul Glo – hardcore meets rap on agitprop, black anger personified, try the great “Nigga Don’t Uplift Me”  – B+

Live From Tokyo – The Interrupters – Ska punks from the Tim Armstrong stable, catchy stuff – B

Taste Of Love – Twice – K-Pop all girl band, with a unique and jazzy sound – B

F9: The Fast Saga (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) – Various Artists – there is no “See You Again” but there is a who’s who of rap pop and Latin-Urbano including the dead and buried Pop Smoke and King Von – B

間違いの実 / The Fruit Of Errata – Yumbo – Japanese singer Koji Shibuya introduces you to Jindie with lo fi songs – B

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