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Brief Encounters: Top New Albums 2-5-21 – 2-11-21


Tasjan! Tasjan! Tasjan! – Aaron Lee Tasjan – guitar rocking Americana, the songs need something -especially when a song as potentially great as “Computer Of Love” loses you on the chorus when it shouldn’t… well, then something isn’t happening  – C+

I Told You I Was Trouble: Live In London – Amy Winehouse – from 2007 Amy live at the top of her skill set in shepherd’s Bush, which was released as a DVD and now four songs reach streaming services… maybe the rest is on its way – A-

Nothing is Ordinary. Everything is Beautiful. – Apollo LTD – dance pop for the masses – C+

Subconsciously – Black Coffee – South African DJ with a gorgeous and soulful collection of Afrobeats meets EDM pop and r&B – B+

For the first time – Black Country, New Road – a post-punk rocker from the UK, the well buzzed band will not burn your ears off but will consistently interest with clanging guitars and speak-sing  vocals – B

Chronicles, Vol. 1 – Bob Dylan – his great memoir, read in German… wait for names you recognize among the guttural sounding translation -C+

Vamos Bien – Calibre 50 – horns and tuba a-plenty for this Regional Mexican pop band, four members of whom caught and have recovered from Covid. A fine, easy going effort – B

Not Your Muse (Deluxe) – Celeste – she has a lovely voice, and you can hear why John Lewis likes her cabaret meets lo fi pop, but it isn’t enough to keep your attention – C+

Snakes & Ladders – Chip – the also ran grime guy is pretty good but he shouldn’t be throwing punches at Stormzy yet, on this average collection – C+

CIX 4th EP Album ‘HELLO’ Chapter Ø. Hello, Strange Dream – CIX – K-Pop boy band supergroup with an entire greater picture boyband soul band, plus “Stairway To Heaven” (no, not that one) – B-

Déjà Vu – CNCO – the hotter than you Latin pop band return with a covers album featuring (according to Billboard) songs  such as Ricardo Montaner’s “Tan Enamorados,” Chayanne’s “Dejaría Todo,” Sin Bandera’s “Entra En Mi Vida” and Big Boy’s “Mis Ojos Lloran Por Ti.”… – C+

The Raging River – Cult Of Luna – 20 years on, a dark metal proggy album of guitars and bad vibes – B-

Detroit Blues – Danny Kroha – Detroit local hero Daddy (once of the Gories and Demolition Doll Rod) drops his second album on Jack White’s Third Man record. Using songs available from public access (though I’m surprised “Up Above My Head” let its copyright lapse), he performs acoustic blues, Americana, folk takes and all, much like his side job renovating houses, looks much sharper in this context – A-

Riding on the Tide of Love – Deacon Blue- if you must listen to songs by a band named after a Steely Dan song (not the team, they’re English), choose these super-sophisticated rock clever clogs from the 1980s, and from 2021… they gave us “Dignity” after all. The UK band have maintained a consistent presence for the past nine years, and while they don’t have the pop they used to, they are a consistent pleasure on this thirty minute album – B

Tell Me I’m Bad – Editrix – debut album via Massachusetts adds art pop to post-punk to punk and beyond, a winning trio – B+

Legacy + – Femi Kuti, Made Kuti – Afrobeats agitprop from Fela’s son and grandson – B+

Medicine At Midnight – Foo Fighters – mostly I hate it, but the title track is pretty good metal EDM messing about… somewhere David Bowie is chuckling – C+

Oh! Pardon tu dormais… – Jane Birkin – Serge’s widow, Charlotte’s Mom, Brigitte Bardot’s lover, with a memento mori for her late daughter Kate Barry, ten years after Kate’s passing. Did she jump or did she fall, Birkin works through these questions on a dark and heartbreaking pop Francais – A-

brent ii – Jeremy Zucker, Chelsea Cutler – sure, a little low key and boring, but “This Is How You Fall In Love” is a beautiful true love comes to us all – B

FLOWERS for VASES / descansos – Hayley Williams – what becomes of the broken hearted? Well, Hayley wrote “Still Into You”  before the divorce from Chad Gilbert, which sent her into a tailspin. so now, here comes the second set of break up songs, even quieter and sadder, by which I mean better, than the first set – B-

Nothing Gold Can Stay – Jimi Somewhere – a sadboy from Norway with a lotta quiet, low impact pop songs – C+

Somewhere Between Beauty & Magic – Joeboy – the young Nigerian popstar has a perfect feel for afrobeats, but his songs seem out of step with the new meld of r&b and African pop, heavier on the latter. Still, his debut is brimming over with strong songs and potential hits -in Africa if not in the US – B+

7 – JUDAH. – Christian Americana, perhaps the problem is the lyric? “he just loves me because he loves me because he loves me, because he does” is a smart lyric so maybe not, but this guy acts as though he has mistaken loving god with having a personal relationship with god – MUST TO AVOID – C-

Los Legendarios 001 – Los Legendarios – Major reggaeton producers Marcos Ramírez and Raphael Torres with a hatful of bangers joined by clients like Wisin, Nicky Jam and Sech, on this simple but it handles the job of fun, dance reggaeton winner – B=

She’s Calling EP – Octo Octa – the transgendered DJ finds a divining line between house and tradition, and it is fun, true, but a little opaque conceptually – B

Shiesty Season – Pooh Shiesty – signed to Gucci Mane’s 1017 records, the Memphis rapper is all about the hooks, and repetition, on a slight but enjoyable rap collection – B-

In Praise Of Shadows – Puma Blue – Like The Weeknd with an 808 and heartbreak, this UK debut is a collection of soft burns and a bit of a drag – C+

Ventura – Sofía Valdés – The 21 year old Panamian’s debut is a handful of singer songwriter tropes with a soft jazz shuffle and a strong voice – B-

Somewhere – Sun June – The Austin, TX five piece have the alt-pop “Driver’s License” on “Everything I Had,” and on their second album they bypass their sophomore jinx on a gorgeous load of what they call regret pop, every song hooks you in the end with a pop yet art implied winner.  A contender for album of the year, “Everything I had” is better than “Driver’s License”  – ALBUM OF THE WEEK – A

the “ladies lunching” chapter – Taylor Swift – forget the Sondheim reference, it is meaningless. Per Tay: “In my mind all of the evermore and folklore album ladies are a part of the same universe, so I put them in a playlist together.” It doesn’t hurt and it doesn’t help – A-

The Thule Grimoires – The Ruins Of Beverast – one man band with a black metal horror show of electronics and sludginess, also known as melt your face time – B

Good Woman – The Staves – the UK three piece harmony folkies, get more Americana on this too busy album – B-

Ignorance – The Weather Station – Tamara Lindeman, a  talented state of the art singer songwriter, who has a touch of the Carole King about her (though not the melodies) on a strong collection of full band plus arrangements of good confessionals – B+

The Highlights – The Weeknd – Abel is the r&b Drake, singing sad songs about things that can be happy and sad, and over three albums and a coupla mixtapes he has hit the charts on a consistent basis. Just before his boring Super Bowl halftime show, he dropped this greatest hits that is one – A-

40:42 – Vampire Weekend – The less than two minute long, Americana song off Father Of The Bride, is given two extensive remixes, 20:21 minutes each, one track by Sam Genden’s art-rock jazz mash up, and the other by Goose’s prog rock Deadish jam – B+

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