Saturday, 16 May 2015

Short Attention Span Record Reviews May 2015, Volume II


ARCTURUS – Arcturian 
Progmetal pretentiousness, overproduced to the point of suffocation and featuring the most annoying falsetto ever. (5)

ARMORED SAINT – Win Hands Down 
It’s been 30+ years since “Can U Deliver” and these guys still deliver kick-ass, twin-guitar driven heavy metal with another excellent vocal performance by John Bush. (8)

EVERCLEAR – Black Is The New Black 
Art Alexakis & Co always were the most arena-friendly among their 90’s “alternative rock” peers so this one’s got more hooks than a tacklebox, but it’s also their hardest-rawkin’ album to date. (7)

PAT BENATAR & NEIL GIRALDO – 35th Anniversary Tour 
The rare showbiz couple that’s been together on the stage and in the bedroom for 35 years, they manage to come across both as a classy classic rock act and as your favorite cool auntie and uncle. Plus they find a way to sneak snippets of Roky Erikson and White Stripes songs into “Heartbreaker”. (7)

WHITESNAKE – The Purple Album 
Coverdale and his current band play Deep Purple Mk. 3&4 classics. Nostalgic, but sacrilegious: Everything is downtuned because Coverdale can’t hit the higher notes anymore and nobody can hit Hughes’ notes anyway and in any case, how can you play “Burn” without Jon and Ritchie? I mean, Reb fucking Beach and Joel fucking Hoekstra? (–)


BANDITOS – Banditos 
They sound like Big Brother & the Holding Co. with a banjo. Interesting debut, but definitely not mind-blowing as some reviewers suggest. (7)

“Driving needs good driving music and that means country” he said to himself as he got into his pickup truck, turned the engine on, slipped Chris Stapleton’s album into the stereo and headed out to the wilderness of the desert, singing along to “Was It 26”. (8)

Follow-up to 2013’s “Old Yellow Moon” continues on the same old-school country, duet-based motif. (7)

HOME BLITZ – Foremost & Fair 
Powerpop is supposed to be catchy and fun, not fucking annoying. (4)

JOE JACKSON – Steppin’ Out: The Collection, The A&M Years 1979-89 
His “Elvis Costello/Graham Parker-style intelligent angry young punk with skinny tie” phase is my favorite and it’s accurately represented on this collection, along with his “I’m a pop star with jazz asprirations” phase that followed. (8)

KENDRICK LAMAR – To Pimp A Butterfly 
Dropping just a few months after D’Angelo’s “Black Messiah”, “To Pimp A Butterfy” rivals it transcending hip-hop, moving with ease into funk and jazz territory and firmly establishing itself as an important piece of African American protest art. (9)

MUMFORD & SONS – Wilder Mind 
This is like a really bad Kings Of Leon parody. (3)

RYAN ADAMS – Live At Carnegie Hall 
I prefer him rocking out rather than doing this touchy feely solo acoustic stuff, but anyone who does a bit of comedy between songs and then covers “Black Sheets Of Rain” is OK in my book. (7)

Jangly sugary indie pop with girlish vocals. Not bad if you like that sort of thing I guess, even though personally it makes me want to play power chords on a distorted Flying-V. (6)

SHARON VAN ETTEN – I Don’t Want To Let You Down 
Much more than a bridge between albums, this EP once again proves that Van Etten is Lana Del Rey for smart people. (8)

THE WORD – Soul Food 
Gospel/blues/southern rock supergroup consisting of the North Mississippi All Stars plus pedal steel guitarist extraordinaire Robert Randolph and Hammond wizard John Medeski, it ends up channeling the Allman Brothers. (8)

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