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Brief Encounters: New Albums 6-2-23 – 6-8-23 Reviewed

I Thought I Was Better Than You – Baxter Dury – not untypical BD, some rap, some ballad, some electronic and as an added plus the excellent “Aylesbury Boy” on a sad bummer of an album, but still okay – B

Bing At The Movies (Volume 1) [Vol. 1] – Bing Crosby – da Bing remains a triumph of pop crooning, this album opens with “Just You, Just Me” a song from the 1929 musical film Marianne, and the penultimate song is “Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head” from 1969, why the compilers didn’t take him in chronological order, and why they didn’t keep to movies Bing appeared in (he has seventy plus to choose from) is beyond lazy. Who is responsible for these short, sweet, but disconnected compilations? Still, any excuse to hear Bing – B+

Live Evil (40th Anniversary) – Black Sabbath – doubles the size of the 1982 original and is precisely what half the world believes in when it comes to heavy metal – B

Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band – The Darkness Tour ’78 – live in Passaic New Jersey, it is released (released on streaming I mean) in celebration of the greatest Bruce album forty-five years later – A

Lucky For You – Bully – the top indie rock band… anywhere, they put boygenius and Haim (and Paramore) in their pocket and you get back change back, and this is their best album yet: a breathtakingly good, one melodic high and riff bent beauty after another opening with two high points and never looking down – A-

But Here We Are – Foo Fighters – now that Grohl has become all back story all the time, he returns with his band post-Hawkins and fashioned the first good album of his solo career, classic rock with melodic songs throughout. By these guys standards, it is nothing short of a miracle – B-

Mindsets – Joan Jett And The Blackhearts – guitarist wrote or co-wrote the entire six song EP, and Joanie and her band perform more than credible versions of the pandemic based songs, glam rocking as the mood takes them. Currently on tour with Bryan Adams and taking it from me, as last years gig at Citifield proved Joan can handle arenas, but this is a nightclub excellence and a sweet surprise – ALBUM OF THE WEEK – A

Life Is Like A Song (Deluxe Edition) – Kenny Rogers – Kenny waited ten years and then dying before releasing a new set of non Christmas songs . It is pretty good, he has that voice, and while this is filled with MOR like “Wonderful Tonight” though even while you know it is no “Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love To Town”, it is a pleasant farewell to a talent we maybe underestimate a little after a weak third act – B

Sleepwalker – Louise Post – The Veruca Salt singer with a a revealing set of singer songwriter break-up make-up though sometimes with a surprise power – B-

METRO BOOMIN PRESENTS SPIDER-MAN: ACROSS THE SPIDER-VERSE (SOUNDTRACK FROM AND INSPIRED BY THE MOTION PICTURE) – Metro Boomin – he sounds like DJ Khaled with a hangover on a boring set of features where even Future and Lil Uzi on the same song can’t save us – C+

Council Skies – Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – the earliest singles gave me the impression that this was going to be a major, “Easy Now” was a goodie, but after awhile it manages to be pretentious and small, overblown and not anthemic and nostalgic and gnomic at the same time – C+

The Diamond Collection – Post Malone – nine songs greatest hits but greatest hits, the most RIAA Diamond (aka 10M units shifted per…) -certified singles from any artist,”Allen Iverson” sure songs great – A

Blossom – Pupil Slicer – terrific screamo with battering ram triplets and bowels of hell singing playing against an emo chorus, in a lift and flipper – B

Tomorrow Never Comes – Rancid – old school, loud fast rules, 15 songs in less than half an hour and all burn down the house wildness… still – B+

Folkocracy – Rufus Wainwright – the “Shenandoah” is lovely but nothing else can beat it here, and Mitchell Froom wouldn’t have been my choice for the folk for smarties – B-

SCREAM – Sam Huber – straight off his latest tour of Europe, Sam has a post-punk classic rockisms, big bang album of electric rockers, and some general weirdness to keep us honest with a sound like a nervous breakdown breaking up – A-

5 star – Stray Kids – wanna talk about racism? I considered the boy band a well manufactured K-Popper but that’s it, a product. But they were formed by JYP Entertainment through the 2017 reality show of the same name… just like One Direction with American Idol. So, let’s put racist manufactured questions to the test and ask how good the prolific (second release this year, fifth since 2022) kids are? Not great but when they calm down on the electronic the English language singers have moments of self-satisfying weirdness – B

Wicca Phase Springs Eternal – Wicca Phase Springs Eternal – the former Tiger Jaw and Lil Peep contemporary with the collective GothBoiClique, with a hard bubble of beats, autotune, emo tunefulness and post-00s vocals for an independent – B

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