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Brief Encounters: New Albums 7-22-22 – 7-28-22 Reviewed

ASOT 1078 – A State Of Trance Episode 1078 – Armin van Buuren – if you don’t know what it is then you won’t like it, if you do it’s a pretty good episode with Armin’s new single, “One More Time” making an appearance and a two hour rave – B

Masquerade – Bananarama – Keren and Sarah but no Siobhan on an awful synth dance album with an 80s vibe – D

Emotional Creature – Beach Bunny – Lili Trifilio is a Tik-Tok poster girl for teenage girls (according to Pitchfork here, the band’s live shows are dominated by all girl moshpits), performing indie rock pop tracks with hooks aplenty and a dreamy Best Coast vibe – B

Bloodline Maintenance – Ben Harper – Ben is a boring, smug singer songwriter who I’ve disliked since I caught him opening the No Code tour for Pearl Jam (or was it Vitalogy?) in the 1990s. Either, he is the most tedious songwriter in the world and remains just so, “We need to talk about slavery?” Perhaps, but not with this turkey – D

Bob Marley with the Chineke! Orchestra – Bob Marley and the Wailers with the Chineke! Orchestra – The Chineke! Orchestra is the flagship ensemble of Chineke! Foundation and while the idea of orchestration of popstars may be giving you nightmares of Elvis Presley and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, this ain’t that. Instead it is a beautiful world music imagining that works very well on ten hits – B

MAYBE SOMEDAY IT’LL ALL BE OK – Clinton Kane – the Norwegian-Filipino singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist is like overwrought bedroom pop, he can write a song but the arrangements are minimalist in a sad way – C+

Fantasy Gateway – Cuco – the Mexican-American 24 year old man can certainly write a song, and while you might expect something more, well, Mexican, you don’t really get it but rather indie pop variant songs of loneliness during the pandemic – B

Misadventures Of Doomscroller – Dawes – this is where Taylor Goldsmith finds himself better than two songs out of every ten, the loose and magical Laurel Canyon wannabes reach a height on the eight minute “Everything Is Permanent”, their best song since “All Your Favorite Bands”… a song so good it can echo jazz chops and not lose its ways – A-

You Still Here, Ho ? – Flo Millie – the thing about Flo isn’t that she loves fucking, which figures, but that she is so much fun about it. She slam dunks everyone with an acute, trap plus boom bap sound and rap that is youthful but eleven years into her career she is still only 22 and the Alabama native can make every song both unique and one of many as she snaps back at the world – B+

Golden Hits (Original Musicor Records Recordings) – George Jones – on the heels of the sublime Starday collection is the Musicor collection, from 1964 to 1972, it isn’t as good though his singing is, in fact, better, and what price his take on “King Of The Road”? Plus the hits are hard and fast, starting with “She Still Thinks I Care”, truly it is time to re-release every single album from both periods… including the Melba Montgomery duets – A

Driven – Gilbert O’Sullivan – the singer songwriter had a terrific album in 2015, Latin A La G, though the 2018 release wasn’t that hot and this is alright but a little fussy and none of them have that “Nothing Rhymed” genius – B-

CHECKMATE – ITZY – more K-Pop for the people and more from the South Korean paced manufacturing of instant pop idols, so it is time we got over that K-Pop has a minimum of credibility, also the terrific “What I Want” should be sued for plagiarism by Spice Girls. It is as good as K-Pop can get, dance pop plus rap but bubblegum – B

The Theory Of Whatever – Jamie T – English singer songwriter (dubbed “the chip shop troubadour” according to the Guardian) has been rasping and complaining for fifteen years with no change in sight; if you are gonna call a song “50,000 Unmarked Bullets” for goodness sake don’t have em dripping down your face – C

Entering Heaven Alive – Jack White – his best album since Blunderbuss is his most easygoing in an indie Americana way ever, a real pleasure on song after song and is at least an excuse for him: he sucks elsewhere because he wants to suck elsewhere – B+

2000 – Joey Bada$$ – Joey can rap but he isn’t where he needs to be on this Wu-y, goth bummer sounds. It is time to wonder what precisely Joey is going… I mean besides being hugely disappointing – C+

The Last Goodbye – Odesza – one of the weaker EDM bands with a bore that is saved by bass stamps on the Houseyer tracks – C

Las Ruinas – Rico Nasty – more rap meets pop punk with a hip hop sensibility on a pretty ace, 17 song set of neo-rap – B

Play – Ricky Martin – Spanish language modern but not too modern Latin pop, not bad though where are the hits? – B

RZA Presents: Bobby Digital and The Pit of Snakes – RZA, Bobby Digital – RZA is a talented guy though this soundtrack to his comic book is a drag – C

SEVENTEEN 4th Album Repackage ‘SECTOR 17’ – Seventeen – like a lesson in numerology, the thirteen members of Seventeen (K-Pop of course) repackages their fourth album and it is pretty good, certainly “Circles” is ace… a coupla more numbers, 2 billion streams and 10 million albums sold – B-

Melt Away: A Tribute To Brian Wilson – She & Him – I was ready to go after this as though Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward were extras in a horror movie and I had a cleaver, but the Pitchfork review was so shitty (here), I gave it another listen. Two things, Pitchfork, who have slightly more resources than I do, mistakenly called it a low-stakes set of Beach Boys covers when if it is low stakes anything it is a low stakes Brian Wilson set of covers. Also, Zooey’s “Please Let Me Wonder” is pretty good and “Don’t Talk (Put Your Head On My Shoulder)” is pretty good, and if they had included “Love And Mercy” it might be not bad really – C+

10 Tracks to Echo in the Dark – The Kooks – The problem isn’t their synthy, dark hued sound, which works intermittently, it is their songs which adds up to nothing near “She Moves In Her Own Way’ from back when they wanted to be The Kinks – C

Colder Streams – The Sadies – guitarist Dallas Good died last February and his final album with the great alt country band The Sadies is his best work, a gorgeous, guitar ringing, sad and strong collection that finds their eleventh album their best including a fine alt country “All The Good” and the first song “Stop And Start” the best of the best – ALBUM OF THE WEEK – A-

“Hello, Hi” – Ty Segall – come home Kurt Vile, all is forgiven – MUST TO AVOID – D

Miles Out To Sea: The Roots Of British Power Pop 1969-1975 – Various Artists – Rupert “Pina Colada Song” Holmes offers a direct Beatles tribute on “I Don’t Want To Hold You Hand’, and the other 37 artists give a less direct Beatles tribute with song after song taking off from the Brit Pop John and Paul personified. You may recognize a few of the bands, pub rockers Duck’s Deluxe more the Shadows then Beatles on “Something’s Going On” for instance, Starry Eyed And Laughing’s Byrdzy zoom guitars “Going Down” for another, but the rest of the names are somewhat list in the midst of time even if, doubtlessly, they were good for at least a song each – B+

RAW (‘That Little Ol’ Band From Texas’ Original Soundtrack) – ZZ Top – losing bassist Dusty Hill is pretty devastating for the country blues rockers but it doesn’t affect what amounts to a greatest hits with plenty of “Tush” and “Legs” – A-

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