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Brief Encounters: New Albums 8-18-23 – 8-24-23 Reviewed

AR – Addison Rae – the Tik Tok influencer may have some skills, but this dance beat product isn’t one of them (the 88 Million followers is) – C

Waiting On the Sun – Braam Brothers – Hand it to the very prolific, live and breath melody, brothers Tom and Scott. An acoustic beauty of an album loosely based upon their parents marriage, the guitars ring like power pop but the mode is folk rock: a timeless sense of America and family, a build up to prophetic synthesis of here and there and on “Flow Wire” a keening timelessness – B+

No Destroyer – Burning Spear – his first album since 2007 is a masterful piece of lover’s rock, it swings like dancehall but with less intensity and a complete sweetness of melody – A-

Wake of the Flood: The Angel’s Share – Grateful Dead – another look at their sixth album, hardly their finest moment, a slow and melodic sleep enhancer – C

Drama Queen – Idina Menzel – with a name like Drama Queen, you might expect Idina to do a set of American standards but instead it is pure EDM and not a good idea – C-

World Music Radio – Jon Batiste – Stephen colbert’s former band leader leaves me cold and while this is an ambitious mix and match vibe, the songs aren’t there – C+

Volcano – Jungle – the UK electronic duo’s latest is a place where dance meets songs, sometimes quite successfully but it is all a little lite – B

Best JUDY GARLAND Movie Themes & Songs, Vol. 1 – Judy Garland – an all time pop great who seems a little lost in the shuffle of time. Simply a crime. Of course, we know them all, “The Trolley Song”, “But Not For Me”… “Somewhere Over The Rainbow”… a gorgeous voice, a little cloud that cries singer, her joy sounds like bursting into tear. There is no reason for it and yet there is an excuse, our excuse to listen to Judy again – A

Rocket Power – Quavo – Quavo’s nephew, one third of Migos, was murdered last winter and Quavo (and Offset is pretty devastated as well). Here Quavo’s second solo album seconds as a state of trap and the immenseness of loss and the power of success in a huige rap mess of devastation and self-reference – B

Snow Angel – Reneé Rapp – the title track is real good and she absolutely has a fine voice with a wide range but she is pretty and boring and Tik Tok will know what to do with her – C+

You’re the One – Rhiannon Giddens – there is some full blown soul as though Sharon Jones never left us; this isn’t Rhiannon’s wheelhouse – she was born for Americana and folk soul, but she is better at r&b Rhiannon has a gorgeous undertown to her voice and never better than straighter. But if “You’re The One” isn’t oversung, it is overplayed. “Who Are You Dreaming Of” is a credible Great American Standard co-written by the woman herself – A-

Homo Anxietatem – Shamir – The non-binary Shamir’s seventh album (and first for Kill Rock Stars) is a fine piece of indie pop with one of the best songs of the year in “Oversized Sweater” and a purely gorgeous album with Shamir’s gender indifferent vocals – ALBUM OF THE WEEK A-

Live in Brooklyn, Ny. – Sonic Youth – just about the last live performance of the seminal noise band back in 2011, it is strong meat and going out on top – B+

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