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Brief Encounters: New Albums 9-23-22 – 9-29-22

5SOS5 – 5 Seconds Of Summer – the Australian boy band reach the Hanson as grown ups stage of their career, not unpleasant – B-

The Cage – EP – Billy Idol – the new EP is as indifferent as Billy’s 2021 EP, and “Rebel Like You” is precisely what you are afraid it is -C

Live At Yankee Stadium – Billy Joel – on any given night Billy’s MSG residency knocks this into a paper bag and throws it away – C

CYBERKISS* – BLACKSTARKIDS – the genre bending trio like rap as much as dance, and even a hint of hyperpop – B-

Sonics In The Soul – Buzzcocks – as good as it has any right to be, and Steve Diggle is no Pete Shelley but this is pretty good Buzzcocks, I miss Pete’s voice and words but the band sounds as good as ever and “Manchester Rain” deserves a place in the mid-tier of Buzzcocks classics – B+

U Wasn’t There – Cam’ron, A-Trak – not prime Cam’ron or prime A-Trak, so it is a testament to Cam’s voice and slide on rapping and A-Trak’s skill set with soul samples – B+

Baby On Baby 2 – DaBaby – DaBaby has yet to fully recover from his homophobic comments that lead to his being cancelled even though he has remained really good on any track he jumps on and the sequel to his 2019 breakthrough is actually just as good, highly addictive pop rap from a world class rapper (and homophobe) – B+

Moonage Daydream – A Brett Morgen Film – David Bowie – much better than the movie, especially the live takes on “Rock N Roll With Me” and “The Jean Genie” -the latter with Jeff Beck, though the Moonage remixes are irrelevant – B

Things Happen That Way – Dr. John – Dr. John’s first posthumous release was being readied before his passing, a collection of country covers from Johnny Cash to Hank Williams twice, to, well, to the Travelling Wilburys. The Wilburys cover featured Aaron Neville and is a highlight on this, the other half are Dr. John oldies, re-recorded at the same sessions – B+

London 71 – Faces – only nine songs here, an odd set that included two Stones and a McCartney cover but is just as rowdy but also tighter than you probably remembered; it was the “A Nod’s As Good As A Wink” Tour 1 – B

The Lead – Flo – modern day Destiny Child wannabe all girl trio with lovely harmonies – B-

Chapter 1: Things We’re Not Saying – Georgia Webster – it’s odd that not more people have taken off from Taylor Swift’s debut album, Webster has with a set of twang cosmopolitan teen dramas – B-

Madison Square Garden, New York, NY 3/9/81 (Live) – Grateful Dead – ugh forty years of “Drum” and “Space” -Jerry is long gone but those two dogs remain. However, there is a twelve minute “Uncle Tom’s Band” , not a particularly good one but there you go – C-

Palladium – Greyson Chance – a slow, alright but boring album of electronic pop – C+

Origins – Lucie Horsch – the recorder player prodigy from the Netherlands takes on Charlie Parker, DeBussy, Stravinsky and more on a delightful 24 tracks – B+

FLAWLESS LIKE ME – Lucki – the Chicago rapper has trap beats and druggy vocals and it is all very good on his first album nine years after he broke out – B

The Sound of Yourself (Acoustic Versions) – Mac McCaughan – six acoustic takes off his 2021 album and if you remember Superchunk’s “Digging For Something” you know how good it is – B+

Through The Madness Vol. 2 – Maddie And Tae – the witty country duo with a strong 8 songs – B

The Ultra Vivid Lament – Manic Street Preachers – this is the extended version of their 14th album which arrived last November, they claim it isn’t about the pandemic but the lack of politics and woven tributes to Nicky Wire’s well loved parents is inside the superbly moving album, and the extended version has some demos, etc for a 34 track album – A-

(self-titled) – Marcus Mumford – sometimes, with his famous folk rock band, Marcus can be very good but this mainstream classic rock album is as studied as that Steven Spielberg video – D

MOSS – Maya Hawke – Ethan’s daughter as well as a Stranger Things teen, with an indie folk Americana set of also rans saved by a certain weirdness that seems to encapsulate an added twee – C+

After School Club – Monét Ngo – acoustic sadboy strums meets r&b soulfulness – B-

Iron Fist (Deluxe 40th Anniversary Edition) – Motorhead – the follow up to Ace Of Spades, and even Lemmy hated it. But it has worn very, very well, and whatever problems there might be with production doesn’t make this 44 track deep dive any the worse – A-

Denim & Diamonds – Nikki Lane – Lana Del Rey likes her, and it is easy to see why as she adds a honky tonk vibe to indie singer songwriter confessional with electric guitars – B-

Animals (2018 Remix) – Pink Floyd – their worst album with Roger Waters in tow’s remix from 2018 makes it to streaming services – B

B-Sides, Demos & Rarities – PJ Harvey – PJ finishes cleaning her closet with a demo of “Dry” leading the way, streamers get 8 tracks on this sampler, the box set coming in November and has 59 songs so the grade is for the sampler – B

Early Home Recordings – Sandy Denny – twenty-seven 1960s recordings of pre-Fairport Sandy Denny – nearly all making their first appearance includes two different demos of her classic “Who Knows Where The Time Goes” – A

Vanessa – The Mighty Sparrow -The great Calypso giant’s superb 1987 album reaches streaming services, we haven’t had a new album since 2018 – A-

The Hum Goes on Forever – The Wonder Years – Soupy Campbell grows up, has kids, still depressed – C+

SZNZ: Autumn – Weezer – that they couldn’t sell out, or at least come within spitting distance, for the planned Broadway summer residency is a shocked, figure 20 nights equals 40K seats, surely it isn’t THAT MANY? This is an alright EP, “Can’t Dance, Don’t Ask Me” is a winner – B-

Ali – Vieux Farka Touré, Khruangbin – the son of Mali guitar legend Ali Farka Touré and the Houston based instrumental psyche band join together for an immediate contender for album of the year, a cool, gorgeous African psychedelia covering his famous father’s material. Recorded in under a week, I sure wish we had it in the summer of 2020 – ALBUM OF THE WEEK – A

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