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The Early Bird: Top New Recorded Releases 1-20-23 – 1-26-23

The indie fave Mac Demarco has always been a boring take on Robert Morse but never at the level of his disastrous instrumental road album of milquetoast, dull as a roadside gus stop, tasteless as Oatmeal milk, the slow and ponderous if quietly melodic instrumentals with smooth jazz drums and acoustic everything, Five Easy Hot Dogs is as witty as its name (Grade: C-).

Though not quite an album yet, three songs have dropped early from boygenius and, unlike Alyson Camus (here), I am quietly positive of at least one song, Julien Baker’s break-up a second time “$20” is easily the highlight of the three, Phoebe Bridgers is up to nothing much but I always admire Lucy Dadus, you can hear all three tracks on the sampler for the March dropping debut album the record (Grade:B-), the compilation of the outtakes, demos, B-Sides that PJ Harvey has been dropping for a coupla years and which sounds great as a piece on B-Sides, Demos & Rarities (Grade: A-), another sampler, this time from an upcoming box set of The Songs Of Bacharach And Costello and have dropped three live tracks, including a lovely “Anyone Who Had A Heart” so we will see when we get closer (Grade: B), the 2021 London West End revival of Cabaret starring Eddie Redmayne -it sounds alright but the time before last time I saw Cabaret ON STAGE was starring Alan Cummings and Natasha Richardson and this ain’t that though it is hard to go too wrong (Grade: B).

Over at singles, I reviewed Hardy (with Morgan Wallen dueting) on the country rocker ode to blue collar small towns “Red” earlier today (here) (Grade: B+), Dolly Parton’s pleasantly indifferent Diane Warren song “Gonna Be You” isn’t helped by a cast featuring Belinda Carlisle, Cyndi Lauper, Debbie Harry, Gloria Estefan -begging an answer to the musical question, where was Miley? Nothing wrong with a new Ian Hunter recording, and the ubiquitous Mike Campbell plus Ringo himself add their instruments and it works better than it had any right on “Bed Of Roses” (Grade: B+), Sam Smith has resurrected his moribund career with last years masterful “Body Shop” and the psalm like ode to same sex sexiness “Gloria” promises well for the album (Grade: B+), and finally, apparently Taylor Swift gave em the day of and the National welcome us back with a surprisingly catchy though a little the same ol same ol “Tropic Morning News (Grade: B)

the record – boygenius – B-

The Songs Of Bacharach And Costello (Sampler) – Burt Bacharach, Elvis Costello – B

Gonna Be You – Dolly Parton, Belinda Carlisle, Cyndi Lauper, Debbie Harry, Gloria Estefan – B

Bed Of Roses – Ian Hunter, Mike Campbell, Ringo Starr – B+

Red – Hardy, Morgan Wallen – B+

Five Easy Hot Dogs – Mac DeMarco – C-

B-Sides, Demos & Rarities – PJ Harvey – A-

Gloria – Sam Smith – B+

Tropic Morning News – The National – B

Cabaret (2021 London Cast Recording) – Various Artists – B

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