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Brief Encounters: Top Albums 1-15-21 – 1-21-21 Reviewed

Unstoppable – Angie Rose – the definition of hip hop, or to be clearer, Christian Hip Hop. Not bad – B-

Blame Game – Beach Bunny – Chicago’s Lili Trifilio with a four song pop punk beauty to add to the previous five, and while it doesn’t update their 2020 album debut’s sound, neither does it subtract at all – B+

Two Saviors – Buck Meek – Folk Americana from the Big Thief guitarist, and not bad but not great as Big Thief by a longshot, Buck has a nasal voice that pushes to confidential whinge – B

Rat-A-Tat-Tat! – Dale Crover – The Melvins drummer/bassist with a collection of 70s style guitar rockers – B

The Helm of Sorrow – Emma Ruth Rundle, Thou – goth, electronic beauty with guitars haunting it and a rolled in metalcore sludge – B+

Hope in The Highlands: Recorded Live From Dunvarlich – Foy Vance – the Scottish indie folkie always hit me as a form of ed Sheeran, but Sheeran would never be so stupid as to only play a snippet of his biggest hit – C

Strange Boy – Kate Davis – “In collaboration with the Hi, How Are You Project, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing open conversations around mental health and well-being, Davis will release Strange Boy, a unique rendering that is named after the eighth song on  Daniel Johnston’s original masterpiece…” the masterpiece in question being 1984’s Retired Boxer”. The jazz singer turned indie rocker – and not only do you get the lo fi saint’s “True Love Will Find You In The End” but also “I’ll Do Anything but Break Dance for Ya, Darling” with spoken word intros by the late great Johnston – B+

Mountains (20th Anniversary Expanded Edition) – Mary Timony – I loved her in Wild Flag, not to mention Helium, and here she adds four tracks to her outstanding indie art-rocker  2001 debut – B+

Catspaw – Matthew Sweet – man, he plays a beautiful guitar but Sweet’s problem remains the same, he doesn’t have another “Divine Intervention” in him and his mix of guitar hero and indie pop doesn’t work if the pop isn’t there – C+

Painting The Roses – Midnight Sister – Stereogum wrote  “a blend of Jon Brion film scores, old Hollywood strings, and the kind of glam and disco songs that tended to soundtrack ’70s independent film -” but not as good as that sounds, it is like dreamscape meets a wakemare – B-

Magic Mirror – Pearl Charles – songs of love and heartbreak by the LA singer, the livelier she gets the better her MOR sounds and the disco enabler opening track “Only For Tonight” is best of all – B

Cheater – Pom Poko – Norwegian art punks with their sophomore album  that adds the angularity of Gang Of Four to the pop sensibilities of the Buzzcocks – B+

Drunk Tank Pink – shame – post-punk scream sing, wall of guitars and also thin mercury power impingement, includes the last words first  on 2021: “I can’t get up, I won’t get up” – ALBUM OF THE WEEK –   B+

Lockdown 2020 – Sammy Hagar, The Circle – the former Van Halen lead singer streaming live covers is now an album, so if you wanna hear shitty versions of “Three Little Birds” or “Heroes” knock yourself out – C-

Spare Ribs – Sleaford Mods – one part more of the same, bass hooks, chant speak and words, words, words, but the songs are stronger than they were and “Glimpses” is one of the duo’s best to date, and the inclusion of the great Billy Nomates on “Mork n Mindy” reminds us that the sound has legs and Sleaford Mods might very well exist to shift a jaundiced eye on the long lockdown – B

Vladimir Martynov: Utopia – Vladimir Martynov, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Vladimir Jurowski, London Philharmonic Orchestra – the Russian composer, commissioned by Singapore, the religious sounding choir and orchestra plus violin, was recorded in 2019 and arrives as a modern thing of intense beauty – B+

SUCKAPUNCH – You Me At Six – The UK hard rockers blast through the cobwebs as best they can on declarative rock anthems better than your average UK rock band – B

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