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The Early Bird: Top New Releases Reviewed 8-10-18 – 8-16-17


“All 14 tracks on the Where No One Stands Alone album feature archival vocal performances by (Elvis) Presley paired with new instrumental and vocal accompaniment, including contributions from well-known musicians and backing singers who worked with Elvis in the studio or onstage. Among the backing vocalists who contributed to the album are Darlene Love, Dr. Cissy Houston and members of Presley’s backing-vocal groups The Imperials and The Stamps. Elvis’ original version of “Where No One Stands Alone” appeared on his 1967 gospel album How Great Thou Art. The new record also includes updated renditions of Elvis’ 1965 hit “Crying in the Chapel,” the Leiber & Stoller-penned gospel rocker “Saved,” the classic ballad “You’ll Never Walk Alone” and the traditional hymn “Amazing Grace.”” Who can complain about Darlene Love or Crissy Houston? No one right (Lisa Marie has made enough off her dead father), but if all you knew about Elvis Presley was stuff like this and that Christmas with Elvis and the Royal Philharmonic, you would consider him the most overrated man who ever lived; dead over 40 years, these acts of carnage and musical necrophilism just won’t do. Put it this way, imagine if Bono dueted with Jimi Hendrix on “Purple Haze, how would you feel?  Nothing needs added to Presley’s spirituals. nothing can improve them, leave him alone (Grade: F).

But the big album of the week is Trippie Redd’s Life’s A Trip, his debut album (doesn’t mean what it used to, does it?) is a sonic drone dream with rock and r&b added to a hip hop template by the nineteen year old from Ohio. I know what you think, but this isn’t mumble rap at all, it is genre twisting., “Dark Knight Dummo” has already been a hit, and “Together” should be (Grade: B+). What’s the difference between Jake Shears and the Scissor Sisters? No difference except the name  on his eponymous debut album (Grade: B+). Jem Records latest power popper is the spritely and addictive Nick Piunti’s Temporary High, you know as well I do all the reference point though Nick has a light hand and doesn’t overstate the case, he isn’t Apples In Stereo, this is very fast on its  feet… he ain’t a slouch with a lyric either: “Heaven is a place on earth” is a neat steal, “You invented hell” a better retort (Grade: B+). Put Linda Gail Lewis and Robbie Fulks together and what you get is her brother Jerry Lee and a Dave Edmunds sings country vibe on Wild! Wild! Wild!, and let’s hear it for this line: “Of all the men that hurt me, Jack Daniels hurt me least”(Grade: B+). The Proclaimers are one hit wonders sure, but they’ve maintained a career with Scottish accented classic rock, like Big Country without the Big and without the country on stuff like the well named Angry Cyclist (Grade: B)

A quick run through of some new singles, Cassadee Pope (the American Idol winner) returns with a fair enough country rocker “One More Red Light” (Grade: B-). Cher’s “Gimme Gimme Gimme (A Man After Midnight)” off her upcoming Abba album is definitely better than her last Abba cover (Grade: B-). Gucci Mane takes one of the children of Gucci Mane, Lil Pump, on a ride for the minor “Kept Back,” smooth rap from Gucc (Grade: B). Jessie Reyez is so close to winning everything, “Sola” is a lovely singer songwriter confessional (in Spanish!) with flamenco vibes, terrific singing (Grade: B+). From the eagerly anticipated Roger Miller tribute album, Loretta Lynn gets all of “Half A Mind” (Grade: A) and Kacey Musgraves is pretty good with “Kansas City Star” (Grade: B). Finally the second song released by supergroup LSD “Thunderclap” is the keeper, a gorgeous little number much, much better when Sia is singing (Grade: B+)


One More Red Light – Cassadee Pope – B-

Gimme Gimme Gimme (A Man After Midnight) – Cher – B-

Where No One Stands Alone – Elvis Presley – F

Kept Back – Gucci Mane and Lil Pump – B

Jake Shears – Jake Shears – B+

Sola – Jessie Reyez – B+

Kansas City Star – Kacey Musgraves – B

Half A Mind – Loretta Lynn – A

Thunderclap – LSD – B+

Temporary Hell – Nick Piunti – B+

Wild! Wild! Wild! – Robbie Fulks and Linda Gail Lewis – B+

Angry Cyclist – The Proclaimers – B

Life’s A Trip – Trippie Redd – B+

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