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Brief Encounters: New Albums 7-23-21 – 7-29-21 Reviewed



House of Lull . House of When – Alexis Marshall – The lead singer of Daughter has created something that Beats Per Minute (here) claims  replaces melody with found  percussion (chainsaws, like that) and along with Alexis strangled and anguished bark makes a difficult to penetrate but intoxicating hell of life after god died. We follow Alexis through a major breakdown, veering on insanity, and try to get in there somehow. There is no catharsis and only darkness visible on an industrial rock hybrid – ALBUM OF THE WEEK – A

Therapy – Anne-Marie – in a different time she would be a Disco Queen, in these times she is a UK dance and EDM giant with features aplenty (and always pleasant to hear from Rudimental), and gooey enough to be a big hit… at least in the UK -B

Save Energy – Bizzy Banks – after Smoke Pop’s death no one considered Favio Five as a serious replacement for the face of New York drill, he didn’t have the voice. Neither does Bizzy Banks but Bizzy has some very tough minded, super-violent drill and the best Brooklyn flow. Even if nothing kills you here, the lack of major features is proof of his self-confidence and the tracks catch you and keep you – A-

Jaime (Reimagined) – Brittany Howard – can we please put to bed “reimagined” when we mean remixed. Or, in modern parlance, if you released it once, why not release it again? The keeper is from Childish Gambino, first runner up Bon Iver, and third in show Syd – B

Live at the Vineyard – Bucky Pizzarelli, John Pizzarelli – recorded in 1995, John was coming into his own and Bucky was near yet another peak, give “Concierto de Aranjuez / Spain” a listen not just for the Flamenco touches but also the speed and dexterous soloing, on a release that seconds as a memento mori for Bucky from his son – A-

We’re All Alone In This Together – Dave – Brixton born to Nigerian parents, Dave is conscious raising and yet mainstream autobiographical rap, and musically is the best rap sound of the year, he rhymes well as well… but listen to the Stormzy featured “Clash” and the problem is clear, his voice isn’t good enough. Hang around for the Wizkid track – B

For Free – David Crosby – Crosby’s late career resurgence has been a pleasure even if it reached its latest height in the mid-10s. Considering all things David, this is a professional and artistically valid return to an aspect of CSN&Y where jazz influences haunt it and the ponderous nature of life keeps on swimming. Donald Fagen doesn’t help that much – B-

9th & Walnut – Descendants – 18 songs, 25 minutes? They think they’ve become the Vandals – B-

Bigger Than Life Or Death – EST Gee – feature heavy attempt for the mainstream OG tracks – C+

Siamese Dream – Fruit Bats – a low key, electronic cover of the Smashing Pumpkins second best album – B

Downhill From Everywhere – Jackson Browne – pleasant enough, especially when he is dating women much younger than him, and not proselytizing, here and there he sounds like Paul simon!- B

Donda – Kanye West – still not officially released, I taped this off a youtube video of his listening party in Atlanta. I went to his The Life Of Pedro listening party at MSG and considered the first iteration a touch better than the final version, that may happen for Donda and despite the poor sound it sounds like every aspect of West, including being born again, in one place – A

Ledisi Sings Nina – Ledisi – the r&b singer from New Orleans returns with a fine collection of songs made famous by Nina Simone that swings jazz more than R&B and highlights with the genre switched “Wild Is The Wind” – B+

Gold-Diggers Sound – Leon Bridges – a worse than normal, less tuneful exercise… except for “Don’t Worry” which kills – C

Faith (Deluxe) -Pop Smoke – it sure isn’t every day that i agree with Pitchfork, but they got this disappointing cash in with Smoke snippets morphed into songs for money, right  – C+

Shostakovich: Symphonies Nos. 1, 14 & 15; Chamber Symphony in C Minor – Dmitri Shostakovich – one of the top classical composers of the 20th century, the former Soviet Union denizen’s tone doesn’t suggest the melodic roundness of a Schubert and, as Glenn Tilbrook mentioned to me some 40 years ago, can only be connected to through repetition. The avant-garde is also Uber-Russia populism. The Boston Philharmonic Orchestra and conductor Andris Nelsons, continue to record all of his work, and here we get one of his earliest symphonies when he was nineteen and his latest, a couple of years before his death – A

Straight Outta Caledonia – Jackie Leven – in the late 70s, the Only Ones and Doll By Doll were my fave new wave bands, and Jackie -dead ten years now, lead Doll By Doll. Then he went solo. These are songs from his solo years and while I thought he was better with Doll By Doll it is mostly just a question of degree – A-

Better Days Ahead (Solo Guitar Takes on Pat Metheny) – John Pizzarelli – John’s father, Bucky, a legendary jazz guitarist died of Covid last year, joined a week later by John’s mother. John recorded these instrumental, melodic, acoustic takes of jazz fusion Pat, and it wouldn’t be lovelier or more calming and… well, not timely because any time is perfect for it – B+

Triage – Rodney Crowell – In which Rodney morphs into Willie in an Americana country set of past its prime songs, anybody who names a song “Transient Global Amnesia Blues” deserves it to be this lousy – C+

Tiny Music… Songs From The Vatican Gift Shop (Super Deluxe Edition) [2021 Remaster] – Stone Temple Pilots – If Scott Weiland is remembered for anything it should be this magnificent grunge glam rocker album and not their earlier “Plush” period and definitely not anything after Tiny Music. For its 25th year anniversary it gets the triple album remastered original, alt takes, and live box set and desreves it, You show me an album with a song as great as “Pop’s Love Suicide and I’ll show you In Utero – A

Fire Of Love – The Gun Club – all those psychobilly garage rockers like King Gizzard And The Lounge Lizards owe their being to Jeffrey Lee Pierce, Fire Of Love adds alternative versions to the remastered debut album from 1981, if you don’t know em “She’s Like Heroin To Me” is a good place to start – B+

Moon Boy – Yung Bleu – From Mobile, Alabama, Yung Bleu is a standard bearer of hip hop today, with a leg up from Drake, he broke pop last year and on Moon Boy does an all too typical mix of OG and r&b autotune ballads to varying degrees of not bad, and tailor made for the pop charts – B-

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