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Brief Encounters: New Albums 8-26-22 – 9-1-22 Reviewed

Versions of Me (Deluxe) – Anitta – adds five songs and the Missy Elliot feature is excellent – B+

Golden Child, Chapter 2 – Autumn! – seven song EP of rhyming and echoes in a tense yet dreamy rap flow, “Can We Talk!” is a strong one – B

in loving memory – blackbear – fifteen years on, blackbear can conduct emo pop with the best of em, though he has better albums than this one… hang around for Machine Gun Kelly and The Used (both early) and even earlier, the brilliant “dead inside” – B-

Against The Odds: 1974 – 1982 – Blondie – if ever a band was ready for more than a three hour box set, this is that. It is weird how finished everything sounds, even the Alan Betrock productions. It’s a total blast to hear the evolution of “The Disco Song” to “Heart Of Glass” and “I’m On E” emerges as the guitar lick of the future – ALBUM OF THE WEEK – A+

Bad Since ’97 – BNXN fka Biju – afro fusion via Nigeria, a fine 7 song set without a dud in the pack – B+

Broken Gargoyles – Diamanda Galas – the Goth in the extreme mistress of tech sounds and extended nightmares still, in the 80s she dealt with AIDS and became the sound of the horror, and here she sounds like flesh being ripped off you – B-

God Did – DJ Khaled – did you see him on the VMAs? The self-satisfied dick remains the single most overrated half wit in hip hop and this is a relative piece of wank with features coming out its nose and self-satisfied mash-ups, the guy got Future and SZA on the same song and it still sucked – MUST TO AVOID – D

FULL TIME LOVER – Eyedress – the Manila born, musical maelstrom adds rap to beats and funk sideways as well as synth explosions – C+

All Of Us Flames – Ezra Furman – trans goddess Ezra with her best album to date, a powerful collection of old fashioned pop rock with attitude to burn over lovely, small pearls of a song – B+

The Forever Story – JID – hip hop more than rap, it is JID at his trickiest with dance beats under rap and trap pffts at every turn, reportedly a return to form, it is too weird for the mainstream and JID is nothing if not mainstream – B-

Game Changer – Jim Lauderdale – the popular Americana before it was, Lauderdale with another fine collection of pure country songs – B

Vol 2 – Jjulius – signed to DFA Records, this Swedish singer songwriter with an edge of electronica witness is fitting for the label if nothing else – C+

PRE PLEASURE – Julia Jacklin – the Australian singer songwriter with straightforward confessional tracks that come to life from time to time, try “I Was Neon” – C+

Let’s Turn It Into Sound – Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith – the synthesizer as main instrument, some of it is too weirdly off kilter but some of it is so beautiful you forgive her for being off kilter – B-

King Scratch (Musical Masterpieces from the Upsetter Ark-ive) – Lee “Scratch” Perry – the premiere reggae producer of all time died a year ago at 85, this two and a half hour greatest hits doesn’t, ahem, scratch the surface and is still excellent – A

Dollar Menu 4 – Mach-Hommy – last year’s Pray For Haiti was so good the follow ups were gonna be tough, but if this isn’t that it isn’t bad, the rapping is specifically strong and the backing tapes strange and enticing – B

Young Blood – Marcus King – the first great blues album since Regina Bonelli’s Truth Hurts, it is white boy blues bummer with sparkling guitar work and one killer song, three tracks in “Rescue Me” is a towering piece of electric guitar blues – B+

Gothic Luxury – Meechy Darko – The Flatbush Zombies rapper comes into his own on a terrific set of Darko nightmares, telling a goth, street story plus tons of strings – B

Will Of The People – Muse – the problem with Matt Bellamy’s proggers is that while they can manage hard rock texture and dynamics for an exciting roar, they can’t write memorable songs and this is another collection that fails to register – C

Limp Wrist – Paisley Fields – the Lavender County keyboard player on a set of songs about growing up gay instilled with fear and desire, very well done set that should be a boon for gay Southerners…. and for everyone else – B+

Drift – Pianos Become The Teeth – post-hardcore but if you go for that kinda things, they can’t compare to Touche Amore – C

To Dream In Color – Rapper Big Pooh – ah yes, regional rap, Pooh is from North Carolina and he has a semi popular sound that is as straightforward as rap can get – B-

Public Housing – Real Boston Richey – Tallahassee rapper sounds like he has a cold and despite some neat rhymes and some snitching to the Feds, an also ran – C+

Lung – Stella Donnelly – Americana folk from a very sweet sounding woman with an ear for a tune, try “How Was Your Day” to start – B+

Hidden Youth – Surfaces – you may know the Texan electronic duo from their song with Elton John, “Learn To Fly” and this is more pop electronica – B-

honeybee table at the butterfly feast – Teen Suicide – thelineofbestfit dubbed it slacker punk, not bad except it’s not punk, it is a lo fi, low key thinking of what if you wrote an emo album without the aid of emo, it could sound like this DC band – B

Thee Sacred Souls – Thee Sacred Souls – SoCal band goes Daptone on a lovely, old school debut soul album – B

Bleed Out – The Mountain Goats – John Darnielle spent the pandemic watching action movies and the last year writing about the movies in an action packed rock album without changing their sound, and certainly without improving it – B-

The Painter – William Orbit – If all you know from Orbit is his epic production of Ray Of Light (or “Impressive Moment”, you know enough to know that the ambient, digital composer is a deeply influential musician and proves it on these lovely blandouts – B-

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