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Brief Encounters: New Albums Reviewed 4-28-23 – 5-4-23

D-Day – Agust D – the former lead singer of the Beatles of K-Pop , BIGBANG, goes solo on a better than average but kinda business as usual mix of r&b and electronica – B-

Bing & Ella – Bing Crosby And Ella Fitzgerald – only eight songs? Oh well, one even features Satchmo – A

Stereotype Broken – Cole Swindell – This is the deluxe version of his 2022 goodie (and got him a crossover hit), 17 tracks of fine, straight up country plus his masterpiece re-imagination, “She Had Me At Heads Carolina” and a duet with Morgan Wallen buddy and hardcore country rocker Hardy on “Down To The Bar” – B+

The Best Of Hank Williams – George Jones – I don’t know who is managing Jones’ catalog, and I do wish they would go back through all his albums and do Special Editions of each. However, the last couple of compilations by label have been masterful and who doesn’t want to hear George covering Hank? – A

Consequences Coming – Glen Matlock – many years ago I was a huge fan of Rich Kids (they’re not all there) and thought he gave the Pistols an edge (because he wrote great melodies). He couldn’t sustain it and proved

Jackman. – Jack Harlow – “The suburbs are filled with ebonics and trap sonics, Frat boys sayin’, “No cap, put racks on it” is a cultural assessment and Louisville white boy, heartthrob rapper Jack with a dark, trap heavy hardcore r&b with no “First Class” or “What’s Poppin’”. Less pop and less fun but well rapped and a serious take on the surrounding society for a major player in rap – B

That! Feels Good! – Jessie Ware – we’ve waited three years for this and the disco diva has a whole lot to live up and man does she live up to it. A very strong set of disco barn burners, sexy as fuck. In a world where everybody is talking about their mental health, Jessie deals with her physical well being – album of the week – ALBUM OF THE WEEK – A-

Damn Love – Kip Moore – the title track is a wallopping good song and the rest sure aint – C+

Que Dios Te Maldiga Mi Corazon – The Mars Volta – long past their At The Drive-In roots, and more a highly arranged acoustic thrust and parry than either indie or Americana, a recording of their eponymous album from last year, it is a pleasurable exercise in maximalist minimalisms – B

Rave & Roses Ultra – Rema – the Nigerian Afrobeats star you know from the remix of “Calm Down” with Selena Gomez, this adds five new songs and the already mentioned remix – B+

Gasms – Smokey Robinson – At his very worst, Smokey is a soulful loverboy to the tips of his toes. The album name is ghastly and the songs are proforma, but they are very Smokey and I love em al, especially “Beside You” – A-

Anxiety Replacement Theory – The Lottery Winners – a coupla interesting featured artists (Boy George anyone?) bt this is Brit rock and not great Brit rock, they have energy and hooks but they bore me.. much loved across the pond and from Manchester which must help – C+

First Two Pages of Frankenstein – The National – middle class, middle aged, middle of the road mediocrity, four years after I Am Easy to Find dropped to universal acclaim now we hear that no, it wasn’t that one at all, it was this one. Except, this one is a boring snooze fest and neither Taylor Swift nor, God knows, Phoebe Bridgers who has two songs and begs an answer to the musical question “how do you keep her off a track?” help. An exceptionally tedious exercise in rock star iconography except, well, “Once Upon A Poolside” featuring Sufjan Stevens is gorgeous – C-

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