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The Early Bird: Top New Recorded Releases 3-11-22 – 3-17-22 Reviewed

Alyson Camus and I do most of the reviewing on and while we don’t disagree about everything, we disagree about enough to make it interesting. One of the things we don’t see eye to eye on is the bathetic and self-centered Father John Misty. That’s my opinion, not Alyson’s. Alyson said this about Misty’s performance in LA in late February (here): “the music was massive and the energy in the room was palpable”. The one time I saw him I thought he was an overblown twit with way too many crappy songs. However, the second song from his upcoming album is an astonishingly adept attempt to meld Harry Nilsson, Jimmy Webb and Lee Hazlewood with “Everybody’s Talkin'” melody added to a heartbreaker about a break up that is finally completed with the death of their cat, “Goodbye Mr. Blue” (Grade: A).

Over at albums, I reviewed Lil Durk’s dark pop drill album, 7220, where reality dissipates the glamor of gangs and death, earlier today (here) (Grade: A-), Dolly Parton has had an iffy decade but Run, Rose, Run is a return to fine form even as it seconds as a soundtrack to a thriller she wrote with James Patterson (I know), the first two songs are vintage Dolly with a big band and a fiddle (Grade: A-), the Glasgow band Franz Ferdinand are a witty and intelligent bunch of wiseass rockers and they should be the best of what survives from Brit Rock but the songs don’t snap you into place, not even over a greatest hits like Hits To The Head celebrating their 21st anniversary (Grade: C+), Phish are a live band experience, and they are pretty good even over nearly eight hours in two days in 1996 on The Clifford Ball (Live, August 16 & 17, 1996), the first night included “David Bowie” (don’t get excited, it’s not up to much) and a terrific cover of “Life On Mars”, the second night included some of their greatest moments, “Tweezer”, “Fluffhead” -like that (Grade: B). Orville Peck may not have the history or the the immense bravery of Lavender Country, but he has a better voice and his latest release Bronco: Chapters 1 & 2 is his best work to date, sort of country as indie pop with a side of that booming baritone (Grade: B+).

Back at singles, Alanis hasn’t written a great song since the classic Hands Clean, “Olive Branch” is dour adult pop (Grade: D), Gruff Rhys return with a godawful Boris Johnson dis “People Are Pissed” (Grade: E+), John Doe has a new collection of songs that all take place in 1890 though that has nothing to do with the sound on the well played but boring Americana “Never Coming Back” (Grade: C+), I have sky high hopes for the Chainsmokers as the second single though not quite as good as the first single from the soon come set, “Ipad” is a sweet as molasses EDM pop track (Grade: B+). Finally, Hall & Oates return with a blueprint funk disco that proves they can still write songs with “Hold On To Yourself” (Grade: B+)

Olive Branch – Alanis Morissette – D

Ron, Rose, Run – Dolly Parton – A-

Goodbye Mr. Blue – Father John Misty – A

Hits To The head – Franz Ferdinand – A-

People Are Pissed – Gruff Rhys – E+

Never Coming Back – John Doe – B

7220 – Lil Durk – A-

Bronco: Chapters 1 & 2 – Orville Peck – B+

The Clifford Ball (Live, August 16 & 17, 1996) – Phish – B

Ipad – The Chainsmokers – B+

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