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Brief Encounters: New Albums 8-20-21 – 8-26-21 Reviewed


Aisle – Angel Olsen – her 80s tribute album, “Forever Young” is alright and “Safety Dance” isn’t – C+

drug opera – Chynna – Chynna died of an accidental overdose last year at the age of 25 years old, but left us with a just about completed album of bummer, goth like rap – B

Against All Odds – Dare – debut album from the hardcore Orange County band with powerful riffology and a strong mix and match vocalist who can scream in tune – B

Infinite Granite – Deafheaven – the hardcore band go shoegaze and rid themselves of screamo vocals with an entrancing version of orchestrated guitars and hook and tune rimmed tracks. A huge breakthrough for the band who have left off blackgaze for a fuller and more beautiful sound that stands up for itself – ALBUM OF THE WEEK – A-

Cheers to the Best Memories – dvsn, Ty Dolla $ign – dvsn are a tedious r&b duo Drake find and Ty peaked two years ago, and this is a complete bore – C

Try It…You Might Like It: GA-20 Does Hound Dog Taylor – GA-20 – Charlie Musselwhite’s lead guitarist, I prefer Matthew Stubbs with electric blues band GA-20 than with his psychedelic garage rock and here his blues band covers the Chicago legend – B-

Summertime – Isata Kanneh-Mason – part of the seven family members Kanneh-Masons, Isata is the one to find, the young piano virtuoso is the recipient of the 2021 Leonard Bernstein Award. On her sophomore album she tackles the Great American Composers, highlighted by George Gershwin and a beautiful collection that should further her international reputation – A-

The Horses and the Hounds – James McMurtry – His late father wrote “The Last Picture Show” -small town Texas in the early 50s, the son also has a Texas vibe on a fine collection of Americana country-folk storytelling with the slightest of twangs – B

Loving In Stereo – Jungle – overblown dance pop that still has an invigorating sound and will work where it has to work… on the dancefloor. Play it right after the new Kool & The Gang and hear how disco morphed to dance – B+

SpeedStar – Justus Proffit – indie folk pop via LA – B

Perfect Union – Kool & The Gang – with the death last week of DT, but with the rhythm section intact, this isn’t a swan song but it isn’t particularly good either. Modern disco but also one big cliche – C+

Solar Power – Lorde – the third album finds Lorde with the sophomore jinx. The first mistake was getting the overextended Jack Antonoff to produce, the next was doing a full court press on a not all that good album… the title track is a goodie – C+

Love Will Be Reborn – Martha Wainwright – albums, a marriage, a couple of kids, and a divorce later, the “Mother Fucking Asshole” singer returns with a lovely album of songs about moving on and finding her life again – A-

Year Of The Spider – Shannon & The Clams – 50s influenced pop meets garage rock… again. But there isn’t the sort of pop hit they usually deliver – C+

The Ballad of Dood & Juanita – Sturgill Simpson – very, and very intentional, old fashioned country but exists if only to prove that even our best country performers in 2021 aren’t in the same league as the 70s – B

interrobang – Switchfoot – Christian rock a la NeedToBreath – but without the odd blow out – C+

Swim Out Past The Breakers – Telethon – lives on the borderline between pop punk and hard rock indie style with enough hooks from a band who named itself off an Everclear song – B

Into the Blue – The Joy Formidable – remember when we had tons of indie Americana crossover bands, these guys were one. A strong sound but banal – C

Trip At Knight – Trippie Redd – the last soundcloud guy still neither dead nor turning to drill, with autotuned and yet deeply melodic bummer songs… lyrically not so much – B

Deep States – Tropical Fuck Storm – post-punk art rock, a shambles but a creative one via Australia – B-

Scared to Get Happy – Various Artists – A compilation from the UK takes off with the early 80s Postcard Records and ends with shoegaze, which when seen like this is an offshoot of power pop not metal, if the children of Alex Chilton were once of a sound this will remind you that Pop Will Eat Itself was not Microdisney. If you don’t know Fantastic Something, “If She Doesn’t Smile It Will Rain” will set you on your way…. the version for streaming platforms miss some big names, no Stone Roses, but we’d rather hear the smaller ones anyway – B+

The Bob’s Burgers Music Album Vol. 2 – Various Artists – my problem with Bob’s Burger is the animation, so I don’t watch it, though clearly they are pretty good at song parodies that are clearly original in scope. But who wants to listen to what amounts to snippets from the TV show – C

Encore – Wanda Jackson – let’s be absolutely clear, if musicians want to glom on the long reigning queen of rockabilly better Joan Jett than Jack White. The 83 year old Wanda is in strong voice on a terrific collection of old school country and rockabilly (but it is better when faster) that is probably her final release – B+

Primordial Arcana – Wolves In The Throne Room – 18 year black metal vets, the brothers Nathan and Aaron with a full on electric guitar orchestrated instrumental blast of ear bleeding beauty – B+

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