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The Early Bird: Top New Recorded Releases 2-24-23 – 3-2-22 Reviewed

Illinois’s the Braam Brothers eleventh album, American Sky, is an even keeled collection of lo fi classic rock and Americana aided by the brothers Scott and Tom sitting harmonies and the tightly coiled duo working together splendidly and familiarly; at an hour and a quarter it is too long but what do you drop? Definitely NOT the title track (Grade: A-).

Still with albums, nepo baby Gracie Abrams uses daddy’s connection to hook her up with one of lodestar Taylor Swift’s producers for a set of sadgirl bedroom bummers but produced like her debut Good Riddance is mixed with folklore (Grade: B), only Damon Albarn could convince Bad Bunny to feature on a song and it still sucks, Cracker Island is nothing much (Grade: B-), everybody loves The Raincoats and bassist Gina Birch is central to the band, but solo she sounds like post-punk meets classic rockisms and it sounds good (“Wish I Was You” is great) but it could have been wilder (Grade: B+), at some point I will write a full review of Iris Dement’s brilliant Workin’ On A World, till then every song is a diamond and “Goin’ Down To Sing In Texas” is quite possibly the song of the year (Grade: A).

Over to singles, April Rose Gabrielli might be getting tired of releasing gorgeous, fully formed songs with little traction, and on “Bookstore” she emerges with a queer anthem (Grade: A-), Jason Isbell (and the 400 Unit) are maybe five years past their prime, he can’t write “If We Were Vampires” anymore, instead we get a bluesy piece of meh like “Death Wish” (Grade: C+), when I first noticed Dionne Warwick and Dolly Parton on a song called “Peace Like A River” I imagined they had covered Paul Simon’s masterpiece but no search luck, it is a Dolly dog (Grade: C-), the new National single “New Order T Shirt” is excellent with Matt’s baritone absolutely gorgeous, very impressive (Grade: A-). Finally, seven years after it dropped on Starboy, The Weeknd’s rides Tik Tok to the front of the line and our reward is a fine remix with Ariana Grande taking over (Grade: B+).

Bookstore – April Rose Gabrielli – A-

Peace Like A River – Dionne Warwick, Dolly Parton – C

I Play My Bass Loud – Gina Birch – B+

Cracker Island – Gorillaz – B-

Good Riddance – Gracie Abrams – B

Workin’ On A World – Iris Dement – A

Death Wish – Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit – C+

American Sky – The Braam Brothers – A-

New Order T-Shirt – The National – A-

Die For You – Remix – The Weeknd, Ariana Grande – B+

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