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The Early Bird: Top New Releases 8-24-18 – 8-30-18


Let’s start the proceedings with some singles from acts you might not be aware of. Eric Contractor is an independent artist  who sounds like Roy Orbison and when he is in the mood and he was in the mood all over his masterful 2011 Night Escape. “Bunny & Grudge,” with Sylvana Joyce, who has been dubbed drama rock, is a perfect foil on this soap opera set to singing. I’ve expected Eric to break through for years and years, so it isn’t even worth the bother to say it again, but what the hell: the man should be hugely popular (Grade: A-). I read about Sir Babygirl for the first time yesterday, in Brooklynvegan, and she is great. “I wanted to revisit the sound of all my favorite early 2000s TRL-era pop heroines like Britney, Xtina, Avril and Ashlee but make it gay as hell.” What an excellent idea and on “Heels,” what a great execution (Grade: A-). “Girls In The Suburbs Singing Smiths Songs”? That’s a hard song name to live up to but Canadian singer, songwriter, producer Goody Grace comes close on this broody mood song, hurt by G-Eazy’s phone it in verse (Grade: B+)

Over in albums, the one thing that running a website that is active just about all the time is that you get it wrong. I’ve messed up everybody from Lorde to Adele… Blood Orange, first I loved him and then I hated him, and now his art funk soul geez is back in favor on Negro Swan. It really repays a close listen and, more important, it also repays a perfunctory listen. Start with “Saint” then jump to “Charcoal baby” (Grade: B). Oddly enough Lambchop produced Unstoppable, a pretty good soul funk workout by Candi “Young Hearts Run Free” Staton (Grade: B). Speaking of 70s stars that are alone again, Ireland’s  Gilbert O’Sullivan’s eponymous new album could be a little stronger in the songs, but lyrically is as clever and self-deprecating as you could ever dream of from the man who wrote “Nothing Rhymed” and god knows the genius “Who Was It?” (Grade: B+). Ozuna isn’t Maluma, and Aura sounds less like reggaetón than bachata, but it is still pretty and attractive, even if a little boring (Grade: B-). I was never into Interpol and for all its skills, “The Rover” was a good single, “Stay In Touch” is surf guitar bad news, Marauder  doesn’t really make (Grade: B-). Liam Payne has a very good EP of dance pop First Time -nothing serious but an effortlessly smooth set of dance rhythms (Grade: B).


Negro Swan – Blood Orange – B

Unstoppable – Candi Staton – B

Bunny And Grudge – Eric Contractor and Sylvana Joyce – A-

Gilbert O’Sullivan – Gilbert O’Sullivan – B+

Marauder – Interpol – B-

Girls In The Suburbs Singing Smiths Songs – Goody Grace and G-Eazy – B+

First Time EP – Liam Payne – B

Aura – Ozuna – B-

Heels –  Sir Babygirl

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