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Brief Encounters: New Albums 9-16-22 – 9-22-22 Reviewed

Who Are We? – Al Qasar – rock, electronic, Arabic pop and classical fusion on a set of unique sounds that still remind you of everything that has come before, Jello Biafra and Lee Renald are featured as is the Sudanese-American singer Alsarah who has great lungs – A-

Infinite Dream – Bazzi – thisclose to being the next big thing in the hip hop-r&b world, but he couldn’t follow up COSMIC from 2018, and this album is simply not going to penetrate the market as it stands – C+

BORN PINK – BLACKPINK – the biggest K-Pop band this side of BTS sure have their ups and downs, at their best on the electronic dance weirdness “Pink Venom” and never worse than on the unspeakable ballad “The Happiest Girl” – C

Sunrise on Slaughter Beach – Clutch – 20 years plus into their career and with their first album since 2018, the Maryland hard rock band are very impressive when they keep away from prog, Neil Fallon’s outstanding singing is one part of the equation, the bands riffing is the other – B

At The Royal Albert Hall (At The Royal Albert Hall / London, UK / April 14, 1970) – Creedence Clearwater Revival – John Fogerty as swampy, Louisiana blues rock… next time let’s hear them at their poppiest – B+

Some Of Us Are Brave – Danielle Ponder – the former public defender (!) becomes soul singer with an ear for Gospel and a lovely and equally powerful voice on her debut album – B+

Asphalt Meadows – Death Cab For Cutie – this is the great return to power? Not really, though the surging instruments up it, the singing and lyrics remain meh, that “disappears like sugar in my coffee” is typical – C

DECIDE – Djo – Djo is Stranger Things’s Joe Keery and his album isn’t situational advantage, it is a serious electronic DJ meets almost there songs, the horns on “Half Life” are worth hearing – C+

I Never Felt Nun – EST Gee – If you remember his Future feature “Shoot It Myself” you’ll already be excited for the Southern rapper who stared down five shots in 2019 and has the skillset to remain a great OG rapper with some Nyquil down his throat – B

Live at Electric Lady – Father John Misty – re-imagined? Not by much on the Spotify set, though the Stevie Wonder (I really know Art Garfunkel’s cover) “I Believe (When I Fall In Love It Will Be Forever)” is worth your time – B-

Girl Of My Dreams – FLETCHER – Lesbian pop comes of ageless with “Becky’s So Hot” about her exes new girlfriend with the line to circle “Ooh, she the one I should hate but I wanna know how she taste” -the best of sexy, smart, well written pop dreams – B+

Solidaritine – Gogol Bordello – the Ukrainian band have been around much longer than the war, which doesn’t mean they aren’t angry on the punk-gypsy which sounds like Dropkick Murphys with a reason to be angry – B

What Consumes Me – Hippie Trim – screamo meets emocore on a set of heavy duty hard rockers – B

Joe Strummer 002: The Mescaleros Years – Joe Strummer – the three Mescaleros albums and an outtakes – ALBUM OF THE WEEK – A

god’s work – LeAnn Rimes – the born again country tot grows up, finds god, and parks herself in the middle of the road – C-

Words & Music, May 1965 – Lou Reed – early demos for the first time released, including “I’m Waiting For The Man” and “Heroin” and “Men Of Good Fortune” which could only have been written by Bob Dylan – A

Centrifics – Marina Allen – singer songwriter without the gift, 70s influenced but really just a little more than boring – C

The Trouble With Fever – Michelle Branch – I was never much of a fan of either Michelle or her husband – the domestic assault charging Patrick Carney, and this somewhat lugubrious and occasionally lovely set of singer songwriter Americana won’t do – C+

That’s What Happened 1982-1985: The Bootleg Series, Vol. 7 – Miles Davis – this won’t resurrect his reputation in the synth added, 80s sound so reviled by his biggest obsessors, but if you don’t know the period it should convinced you not to believe all you hear – B+

demon time – Mura Masa – the hugely popular producer from the UK with a set of gorgeous sounding hyper pop – B+

The Hardest Part – Noah Cyrus – low key indie folk with Noah’s haunting, almost anti-folk vocals and sadgirl moodiness of sound variant, Ben Gibbard is featured on a goodie with lovely harmonies – B-

No Oblivion – No Devotion – The guy from Thursday’s other band with their sophomore effort, low key rock modulations and electronic and sludgy metal guitars – C+

Real Bad Flights – Pink Siifu, Real Bad Man – Real Bad Man sells clothing when he isn’t making mix tapes with experimental rappers like Boldy James, Armand Hammer and Pink Siifu for this moody hip hop and quietly intense album – B

The Misfit – Rhett Miller – relatively ambitious, deep arrangement, digital leaning art-pop – B-

Hold The Girl – Rina Sawayama – J-Pop via Britain, the pop rock and dance tracks are hooked to very strong songs of lesbian love – B+

EP3 – Ringo Starr – with Ringo the hit to miss ratio today is 1:10 and the hit is the fine “Everyone And Everything” – C+

Expert In A Dying Field – The Beths – New Zealand’s Elizabeth Stokes and her band at the height of their strengths on a gorgeous set of folkie pop rock with plenty of guitars – B+

Autofiction – The London Suede – Suede’s always been a Roxy Music wannabe who released two great albums before getting swept away by Brit Rock, they never had more than one “The Wild Ones” in em – C

The Mars Volta – The Mars Volta – Omar Rodríguez-López and Cedric Bixler-Zavala -the two constants, return with a folkie prog snooze – C+

Rapscallion – The Murdocs – rock opera about teenage reprobates in Suburbia, and it is a loud and ferocious winner via Australia on their sixth album – B

Dentures Out – The Proclaimers – perhaps the most underestimated band, they’ve been around for nearly 40 years and “500 Miles” dropped in the late 80s, and since then the Scottish brothers have continued to tour (which figures) and continued to release great albums that mix the wiitiness of Prime Chris Difford with the sound of Scottish indie folk rock. This is a terrific album. Every song a gem and the leadoff and second song more than that – A-

Gotta Get A Good Thing Goin’: The Music Of Black Britain In The Sixties – Various Artists – Andy Kelman in (here): “(It)documents the musical impact of postwar Caribbean and African immigration on Britain in the ’60s and leaves ample room to accommodate selections by Black American expatriates. Its four discs celebrate Black artists whose music — issued on labels ranging from independents Planetone, Blue Beat, and Island to the majors — circulated first through domestic blues parties and mobile sound systems, extending to the annual Notting Hill Carnival (launched in 1959 as Caribbean Carnival, following a wave of racist attacks) and beyond…” And of course Northern soul was its resting place. The title track was by Soul Brothers -Tony Wilson went on to form Hot Chocolate – A

Shepherd Head – Young Jesus – electronic indie singer songwriter band and better than that sounds on a terrific and weird set of tuneful covert ambience – B

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