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Brief Encounters: New Albums 9-8-23 – 9-14-23 Reviewed

BORN FOR GREATNESS – Buju Banton – there was a time, before he went to prison, and even earlier, when the bass singer followed 1995’s ‘Til Shiloh with 1997’s Inna Heights and was the first man to touch the mantle of reggae king since Bob Marley’s passing. He couldn’t maintain it and this is more okay nothing special rastaman – B

Rumours Live – Fleetwood Mac – glomming on the first two Mac albums with Buckingham and Nicks, and mostly the latter one (hence the title), and Christine perfect and in great form and the entire band riding the heights of youth and superstardom – B+

Last Chance To Learn The Twist – Graham Parker And the Goldtops – when pub rock met new wave and, along with Dexy’s and Wreckless Eric a coupla weeks ago, reminds us that some of the 70s stars left their best for last as Parker keeps the melodies pretty and the horns jumping, try “Wicked Wit” – B+

The Sherry Lee Show – Jackie DeShannon – from before she opened for the Beatles on their debut US tour, she appeared on this Hee Haw knockoff as Sherry Lee. An innocent pleasure from way over there – B+

Playing Robots Into Heaven – James Blake – the experimental electronics are pretty and weird and when he gives into his commercial chops from time to time it is better – B+

Music Box: 30th Anniversary Edition – Mariah Carey – that voice makes these iffy pop and r&b tracks by design hit much harder; not my scene but I get the attraction – B

GUTS – Olivia Rodrigo – Olivia studies the problems with being on the receiving end of fame fucking on a set of rock new standards. It isn’t what you are being told but it isn’t bad – B+

Hit Parade – Róisín Murphy, DJ Koze – a fantastic electronic warped dream of thwarted land requited desires blows up in their faces after Murphy coming out against puberty blockers. According to the Guardian in a US Study followed 104 trans and non-binary youth over 12 months at a gender clinic found that those who received puberty blockers, gender-affirming hormones or both had 60% lower odds of depression and 73% lower odds of self-harm or suicidal thoughts.” So, c’mon transgendered youth needs more thought at the very least before condemnation – B+

MidAir – Romy – The XX’s guitarist singer Romy Madley Croft with her solo album, a set of electronic pop musings on the joys of being a lesbian in a dreamlike fuge of desire. Apparently, she loves her – A-

Bird Machine – Sparklehorse – Mark Linkous killed himself in 2010 but the indie rocker with an ear for drama wasn’t forgotten and his family cobbled together one final album and they really don’t make em like this anymore. A glorious set of moody and sad songs with varying degrees of brilliance – A-

Stop Making Sense (Deluxe Edition) [Live] – Talking Heads – remastered and adds “Cities” – A

How Do You Sleep At Night? – Teezo Touchdown – his opening set for Tyler The Creator two years ago had me dubbing him “bizarre, somewhat Adult Swim-y” and a taster for this also weird and also very good set of modern rap pop art – B+

For That Beautiful Feeling – The Chemical Brothers – better living through electronics, a fair collection of woosh push dance music – B

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2023 Broadway Cast Recording) – Various Artists – the superb Josh Groban revival currently on Broadway. With a full orchestra and a powerful lead vocal from tenor-baritone and a tour de farce by Annaleigh Ashford (in a role that the late great Angela Lansbury originated), in front of a full orchestra it is a Grand Guignol goth work of extended genius – ALBUM OF THE WEEK – A

BB/ANG3L – Tinashe – hip hop/r&b now indie artist with seven songs of beats and mood – B

Layover – V – another K-Pop BTS star with a soulful collection of jazz worked songs – B

A Song For Leon (A Tribute to Leon Russell) – Various Artists – U.S. Girls “Superstar” is a must hear, meanwhile Margo Price, Orville Peck and Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats are also credible – B

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