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The Early Bird: Top New Recorded Releases 7-30-21 – 8-5-21 Reviewed



Angel Olsen is better as a concept than as a musician, she is like some sort of folk-pop middleground between Julien Baker and Alanis Morissette but none of that saves her on a dirge and dreary take on Men At Work’s “Safety Dance” (Grade: C), Madi Diaz is a singer songwriter with a lot of angst in her soul, she co-wrote “Resentment” and gave it to Kesha,  who added Brian Wilson and Sturgill Simpson, and Madi’s take on the song is more alone and sadder (Grade: B+), as Joni continues her way through her backpages, a live show recorded by Jimi Hendrix in 1968 is about out to see the light of day and “The Dawntreader” is better sung than it was on Song For A Seagull (Grade: A), the easy going beauty of Alexis voice on the electronic pop duos’  Sleigh Bells “Lotus Laced” is just great and catchy, it feels like dynamite (Grade: B+), Amyl and The Sniffers are not looking for trouble but looking for love on the rowdy pop punk “Security” (Grade: B+), Bruno Mars joined by Anderson .Paak are back, still mining late 70s disco on “Skate” (Grade: B).

Albums: I reviewed Billie Eilish’s new life with fame and non disclosure pacts  Happier Than Ever earlier (here) (Grade: B+), Torres has been building to Thirstier for years, the place where her rock guitar songs of dread and desire highlighted by the sublime “Don’t Go Puttin’  Wishes In My Head”, both experimental and pure pop,  divides the line and wins (Grade: A-), remember Steve Earle circa the mid-90s, when he followed Train A Comin’ with I Feel Alright, and then was done? I never much gave him the benefit of the doubt after that, and the same with Laura Marling who followed A Creature I Don’t Know with Once I Was An Eagle and then… nothing that matters. Her duo with English folkie Mike Lindsay, Lump, are an electronic singer songwriter band, and I can’t hear them at all on Animal (Grade: C), recorded live in 1994, released in Japan in 2003, an impeccable collection of Laura on piano performing her songs (and a lovely “Dedicated To The One I Love”) on Trees of the Ages: Laura Nyro Live in Japan (Grade: A-), is this Madonna’s best album? it is way up there (but I’d still go with The Immaculate Collection) and if you don’t know why True Blue (35th Anniversary Edition) is a stacked set of the album plus extended mixes from back in the day, remind yourself (Grade: A). I’m holding off discussing the new Prince till I listen to it more, so go with the great grime superstar Skepta’s new EP All In, only five songs but Kid Cudi kills one of them and J. Balvin joins in on another (Grade: B+)

Security – Amyl and The Sniffers – B+

Safety Dance – Angel Olsen – C

Happier Than Ever – Billie Eilish – B+

The Dawntreader – Live at Le Hibou Coffee House, Ottawa, Ontario, 3/19/1968 – Joni Mitchell – A

Trees of the Ages: Laura Nyro Live in Japan – Laura Nyro – A-

Animal – Lump – C

Resentment – Madi Diaz – B+

True Blue (35th Anniversary Edition) – Madonna – A

Skate – Silk Sonic – B

Locust Laced – Sleigh Bells – B+

All In – Skepta – B+

Thirstier – Torres – A-


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