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The Early Bird: Top New Releases 10-18-19 – 10-24-19 Reviewed

Ghetto Sage is Noname’s supergroup with Saba, and Smino, who were all over her debut album. The first single, “Häagen Dazs” is instantly the coolest thing you’ll hear all week, an addictive bloopy, flow like fuck, banger, Saba’s never sounded better and NoName -I realize opinions differ, but I put her up there with SZA and H.E.R. is  best in class neo-R&B. A terrific Saba verse and hook, and then a Noname verse that’s just devastating (Grade: A-). Maria Taylor had the best single last week, and the Taylor Swift cover meets her own 2007  song is gorgeous, call “Lover/Clean Getaway (Mash Up)” Maria Taylor Swift and everything you could possibly hope for, the drums are a little heavy but otherwise she’s in the business of stripping the songs and adding in an electronic dream world (Grade: A-). Phoebe Bridgers has exactly one great song, “Motion Sickness” and, honestly, ever since she morphed from being down for Ryan Adams to throwing him under the bus, every time I’ve seen her name I’ve been a little creeped. The National are such assholes that even the Dessner brothers father couldn’t wangle either a seat at Beacon or a five minute interview. Fortunately, both the classical album and the new album were dogs, so who cares? As for “Walking on a String” -the Matt Berninger and Phoebe Bridgers indie pop single… it’s pretty good, good melody, well sung, lyric a bit iffy (Grade: B).  I loved the first two singles but “Maggie May” with The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra), finds Rod Stewart  a just awful ,overwrought piece of shit (Grade: C-). Last time I saw Marilyn Manson, he was being taken out a stretcher from Hammerstein Ballroom after jumping on a  prop and falling off. Drunk of course, and do you think we got a refund? “God Gonna Cut You Down” as moldy Goth blues (Grade: C). X’s “Delta 88 Nightmare ” was first released as a bonus track on Los Angeles back in 01, it has been re recorded and a video (directed by Exene’s son and featuring her son and niece), and it ranks among their best songs there, not up there with “Back To The Base” and “See How We Are”, but up there. It isn’t that they don’t make songs like this anymore, it is that they don’t think songs that follow in Steinbeck’s footsteps. Easily one of the best songs of the year (Grade: A).

Over at long player’s, The Milk Carton Kids  25 minute, 7 song EP, The Only One,is perfect Americana folk, stunning harmonies, beautiful songs, and less is more, it doesn’t slacken its emotional grip for one second (Grade: A). I’ve always considered G-Eazy a lame, white rapper. but my dislike for white rappers has always influenced my taste: I missed Post Malone, Mac Miller, Logic… it takes me forever to warm up, so I’m being more careful. The surprise drop Scary Nights , is a seven song EP of electrifying pop and rap chops (Grade: B). Speaking of pop drops, Gucci Mane has always been a money guy and his latest album finds his steadily waivering powers since the great Everybody Looking, continues apace. Of course, Gucci waivering is like most rappers peaking and Woptopia II is a commercially planned hit job with featured artists galore (Grade: B+). When I was recently asked who were the best indie guys out there , I namechecked Caroline Polachek, of Chairlift, who has released six songs prior to the release today of her album Pang. All of them are goodies: 14 songs, not a dog in sight (Grade: B+). Finally, Finneas is Billie Eilish’s brother and musical counterpart (he was all over the stage at Radio City Music Hall earlier this year), but his best friends would have advised him to can singer songwriter confessional EP Blood Harmony, all it proves is Billie deserves top billing for sure (Grade: C)

PANG – Caroline Polachek – B+

Blood Harmony – FINNEAS

Scary Nights – G-Eazy – B

Häagen Dazs – Ghetto Sage – A-

Woptober II – Gucci Mane – B+

Lover/Clean Getaway (Mash Up) – Maria Taylor – A-

Walking on a String – Matt Berninger, Phoebe Bridgers

Maggie May (with The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra) – Rod Stewart, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra – C-

God’s Gonna Cut You Down – Marilyn Manson – C

The Only Ones – The Milk Carton Kids – A

Delta 88 Nightmare – X – A

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