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Brief Encounters: New Albums 7-14-23 – 7-20-23 Reviewed

Since I Have A Lover (Endel Sleep Soundscape) – 6lack – why on earth is the strong r&b man with a few hit songs under his belt, regrinding as an ambient musient? Just tedious sound modulations – C-

Penn Station – Andrew Barth Feldman – the guy who had sex (almost) with Jennifer Lawrence on that lousy romcom earlier this year is, apparently, also a singer songwriter in this hugely indifferent set of limited vocal range but pretty good vibes – C+

Jelly Road – Blake Mills – the highly overrated L.A. musilogist is a bore and then some, his muse is himself and his tricky and yet predictable set of electronic fidgeting is a distraction – C

Alchemy – Disclosure – back in the day, the EDM duo changed the genre from dance to pop and with Alchemy, an instrumental album of bass drops and swirling synths without a featured artist or a sample on it, they return to their roots with a fine collection on dancefloor swerves – A-

Angels & Queens (Deluxe) – Gabriels – soulful trio of r&b performers, fair songs and a terrific vocalist – B

I AM WOMAN – Jane Birkin – released in March but I missed it, this is typical French chanson and not up to her devastating “Oh! Pardon tu dormais…” about the suicide of her daughter, it is a work of formal revelation – B

Beautiful and Brutal Yard – J Hus – three years on, the London returns with the likes of Burna Boy and Drake with an album that will be huge in the UK, but over here is too loosey in genres – B

SCARING THE HOES: DLC PACK – Jpegmafia, Danny Brown – these guys have two of the best voices in the business, the album was great and so are these outtakes – B+

La conga Blicoti (Remastered) – Josephine Baker – the title track was the 1926 breakthrough for the black American who started an exodus of black artists to the friendlier climate of Europe, the “Bésame mucho” is the best I’ve heard, the sound pristine, and the honor is ours – A

Grandson – King Von – dead at 26 years of age, King Von spent his life on the south side of Chicago and was in and out of prison for the entire time. But he knew from drill and his attack is vicious ; King Von was known as a serial killer and he raps through these tracks with the same intensity if his life depended on it… and it might have – B+

People Just Wanna Have Fun – Kool & The Gang – every decade or so the disco giants record a new album to keep the live celebration going, but this one is the follow-up to a 2021 recorded after losing some original members. This is exactly what it says it is, a hard dance, hard disco party and a pleasure though I coulda done without the rapping – B+

MIRROR – Lauren Spencer Smith – MOR girl singer songwriter from the American Idol alumni, and although well sung it is up to nothing much – C

222 – Lil Tjay – perfectly poppy, girls understand, autotuned yet still tuned set of approximate hits -B

Sticks and Stones – Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real – Willie’s boys and Youngs backers return with a straight ahead Americana ode to booze more that pot with some really enjoyable vocals, a little like Canned Heat and without a clunker in the lot in a good time party- ALBUM OF THE WEEK – A-

IRL – Mahalia – yet another solo winner from the UK alt r&b woman, with features by Stormzy and JoJo and a real good track, the intense hook monster that is “In My Bag” and the jazz-folk inflections just adds to “November” – B

hell is a teenage girl – Nessa Barrett – early Billie Eilish style bedsit goth songs, big but not powerful, though “the one that got away” comes close – C+

EVERGREEN – PVRIS – electronic beats and synth-y hooks, the alt vibe is haunted till it dissipates and what remains is alt dance – B-

You & I – Rita Ora – on her third album, kudos for the Fatboy Slim cover, and the rest of them sound like they should be hits even if they aren’t but as pure pop goes it seems to be missing something – B

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