Brief Encounters: Top New Albums 4-9-21 – 4-15-21 Reviewed

Written by | April 15, 2021 6:56 am | No Comments

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In Another World – Cheap Trick – Here is a word of warning, be careful of outing “summer” in your songs, you are neither Frank Sinatra nor Brian Wilson, it is a (cheap) tricky business (and I specifically hate it, many people loved Springsteen’s “Girls In Their Summer Dresses” -not me), Cheap Trick lead off with a dog but they regroup fast on a fair to middling late career exercise (Steve Crawford preferred it here) – B

Now – Damon Locke and the Black Monument Ensemble – The 18 piece band join the protest singer Damon on some not very good songs – C

ROADRUNNER: NEW LIGHT, NEW MACHINE – Brockhampton – whether you consider Kevin Abstract’s Brockhampton a boy band or an alt rap art band doesn’t matter, they are consistent enough to be at least in the running for best band alive, and when your featured performers include everyone from Danny Brown to JPEGMAFIA (to Charlie Wilson), and the songs are intensely catchy and unique, you can consider them anything you like. for sure: they are what youth in 2021 is, every color, every gender, every sound, entirely one of a kind and just like everybody else (plus they kill live here) – ALBUM OF THE WEEK – A-

Spotify Is Surveillance – Evan Greer  – Trans activist singer-songwriter Evan sticks it to the man, everyman, with this great sounding and thrilling alt rock album that is like a guidebook to how you are being screwed by everyone. And she is right – Emma Goldman would have beaten your ass – B+

In Due Time – Lakeyah – The Atlanta based rapper’s sophomore effort includes the great Gucci Mane on one feature, and the rest has a completely focused set of rap songs, not neo-r&b, not hip hop, and is a serious attempt to define her self-art as rap rhyme – B

Born Here Live Here Die Here (Deluxe Edition) – Luke Bryan – The former Spring Break MC grew up (though when your opening song is called “Knockin’ Boots”… not grew up all the way), and remains a capable country, if not bro, then certainly idiom , genre specific. Here he adds six songs to the already very good ten from last year – B

Beautiful Scars – Merry Clayton – you remember Merry as the Stones’ “just a kiss away” back up singer, what you might not know is that she was in car accident in 2014 and had both her knees amputated (here): “I just looked at them and said, ‘Really? Well, did anything happen to my voice?'”… Nope, nothing wrong with her voice, and she found God on the upswing and we got this beautifully performed Gospel album of original songs that even Diane Warren can’t hurt – B+

Art Dealer Chic 4 – Miguel – ten years later here is Miguel’s Part 4 and it is more psychedelic art funk than the first three, to its detriment – C+

Promenade Blue – Nick Waterhouse – Waterhouse re-energize white boy soul of the 60s sound, unfortunately the songs, while they have moments, are not in the same league as the original  – C+

Something Wonderful: Peggy Lee Sings the Great American Songbook – Peggy Lee  – from her radio show, one of the great interpreters of the classics returns, including duets with the men who wrote em, including Johnny Mercer and Frank Loesser – A

The First farewell – Peggy Seeger – American folk singer Peggy Seeger was married to the legendary Ewan MacColl and at 85 years of age, her new album, recorded with sons and daughters, is all original material and all quiet, pleasant, light hearted and yet not really – B+

I will Be Gone – Primal Fear – a strong, five song EP of towering anthem tracks, I swear I though it was CCM at first but I got the wrong fealty – B

They’re Calling Me Home (with Francesco Turrisi) – Rhiannon Giddens – the couple have moved to Ireland and here do folk covers of Irish, Italian, and American sounds – B-

ENTERTAINMENT, DEATH – Spirit Of The Beehive – electronic sound collages and strange songs about from the long running band – B-

Fearless (Taylor’s Version) – Last year I thought Swift’s “Love Story (Taylor’s Version)” re-recording was a terrible idea and not as good as the original. But “Love Story” is not “Fifteen” and the rest of re-recordings simply don’t gave the historic importance, so why complain? Nice, though not spectacular, to have re-recordings of songs that didn’t make the cut and Bob Lefsetz’s ridiculous whining about it is, at the least, misplaced – B+

97 Blossom – The Blossom – with help from her Brockhampton buddies, this is electronic singer-songwriter confessional meets bedroom pop – B-

Uncommon Weather – The Red, Pinks And Purples – San Francisco music guy Glenn Donaldson, sounds like an ancestor of early R.E.M. with a set of brooding “DIY Pop” including the great “Don’t Ever Pray in the Church on My Street” – B-

Long Shots – Tim Montana – bad ass name, bearded business man, country boogie also ran – C

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