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The Early Bird: New Recorded Releases 2-18-22 – 2-24-22 Reviewed

The 1973 release of Patrick Hagerty’s band Lavender Country, a gay country eponymous album, has been coming back to prove its point fifty years later with an all new release, Blackberry Rose on Don Giovanni Records, featuring some explicit same sex odes as pure country swing, and though they should have reactivated the classic “Cryin’ These Cocksucking Tears”, on their second album you will get the formidable “I Can’t Shake The Stranger Out Of You”, a fine if obvious “Stand By Your Man” with a funny new lyric (“tell him he’s got to change the diapers, tell him to clean his pants…”) and the wonderful mountain country “Don’t Buy Her No Roses”, a just about fantastic country swing album (Grade: A).

Remaining with albums, blues belter Regina Bonelli returns with Truth Hurts, a nine song set of blues beauties, six originals, three covers and the cherry on top an exceptional one two near the start of “Not My Truth To Bear” and “Mama Raised A Sweet Thing’ (Grade: A), The Kinks Live may still be migrating songs, and it is clearly finding material off their Kelvin Hall from 1967, though not all, and it reminds you that of all those 60s bands, The Kinks were the second best on stage after The Stones; this is one of several EPs recently released by The Kinks (other titles include 70s Classics and Ballads) (Grade: A-), with its first release since 2017, welcome to the brilliant EDM production meets Americana meets reggaeton folk Hurray For The Riff Raff (aka Alynda Segarra) on an album larger and more encompassing than we expected and yet it is tight and concentrated in its force on Life On Earth (Grade: B+), Stro Elliot has been a DJ since 2003 and while it is debatable whether there is anything to be gained by re-imagining James Brown, a man who is constantly reimagined, still kudos to Stro for Black And Loud, all of which seem to melt into a James Brown deep immersion (Grade: A-), why are they releasing a “Complete” version of the better than it has to be Fighting Demons, not much added but I am happy to hear the Justin Bieber feature again (Grade: B+).

At singles, I reviewed April Rose Gabrielli’s classic rock, sophomore solo single “Bad Habit (Don’t Make Me Bad)” earlier today (here) (Grade: A-) , kudos to the UK 90s great Natalie Imbruglia on her return with a beautiful take on One Directions “Story Of My Life” (Grade: B+), Fontaines D.C. are the post-punk band of the moment though “I Love You” is a whiny snooze (Grade: C), Jack Harlow is the white hip hop go to guy who broke big on “What’s Poppin'” and huge on “Industry Baby”, the horn intro to “Nail Tech” is a little Lil Nas X-y, but the song is average (Grade: B), remember when Jon Spencer’s Blues Explosion were anointed the greatest band in the States and NOTHING HAPPENED, well, it should have and his latest single “Junk Man” as Jon Spencer & the HITmakers is garage rock with an indelible keyboard lick (Grade: B+), Kurt Vile has seven minutes of woozy Americana as baroque pop on acid with “Live Exploding Stone” (Grade: D+)

I Love You – Fontaines D.C. – C

Life On Earth – Hurray For The Riff Raff – B+

Black & Loud: James Brown Reimagined By Stro Elliot – James Brown -A-

Nail Tech – Jack Harlow – B

Junk Man – Jon Spencer & the HITmakers – B+

Fighting Demons (Complete) – Juice WRLD – B+

Like Exploding Stones – Kurt Vile – D+

Blackberry Rose – Lavender County – A

Story of My Life – Natalie Imbruglia – B+

Truth Hurts – Regina Bonelli – A

Live – The Kinks – A-

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