Saturday, 2 February 2019

Short Attention Span Record Reviews, February 2019


BASSEKOU KOUYATE & NGONI BA – Miri
The Jimi Hendrix of West Africa, ngoni innovator and virtuoso Kouyate, goes unplugged and brings in the guests, African and Western, for an excellent Malian folk album. (8)

BEIRUT – Gallipoli

If you were a sensitive 20-year old in 2006 (or an immature 38-year old for that matter) that year’s “Gulag Orkestar” probably means quite a lot to you. “Gallipoli” is a strong return to form, once again combining Zach Condon’s indie rock pedigree with those beloved world folk sensibilities. (8)

BOB MOULD – Sunshine Rock

Good on him if he’s found love and internal peace but in my mind Bob Mould is not supposed to sound so, you know, happy. Some of the songs feature strings for Chrissake. (6)

CANE HILL – Kill The Sun

Nu Wave Of Nu Metal band from Nu Orleans shows a different side on semi-acoustic EP. Turns out that side looks like mellow Linkin Park. (6)

CASS McCOMBS – Tip Of The Sphere

Genre-hopping Californian releases beautiful new album. You’ll read comparisons to everyone from Nick Drake to Paul Simon but really, this guy’s just unique. Will make several prestigious year-end Lists 10 months down the road. (9)

FRANK TURNER – Don’t Worry

EP featuring his latest single plus a brand new song, a track previously released only on vinyl and a fun new version of “Little Changes” with a choir. (7)

HOLY GROVE – II

Holy Grove? Holy Shit’s more like it, this is first-rate heavy-as-fuck doom metal, hot ‘n’ sweaty like Satan’s armpit where it probably came from. (8)

KAIA KATER – Grenades

Released back in November this could’ve made the year’s best-of list if I’d heard it earlier – an eerily beautiful, modern folk album (think Joni Mitchell) exploring Kater’s family history and Grenada roots. (8)

METALLICA - Helping Hands: Live & Acoustic At The Masonic

Live double-LP on colored vinyl, released for charity purposes and featuring 7 originals and 5 covers. It’s Acoustic. Some tracks work surprisingly well in this format (e.g. “Disposable Heroes”, “The Four Horsemen”), others fall flat (“e.g. Enter Sandman”). (7)

MICHAEL FRANTI & SPEARHEAD – Stay Human Vol. II

Franti’s political reggae/soul hybrid band returns with a follow-up to 2001’s excellent concept album. Good, but not as good as the first one and no Woody Harrelson this time around. (7)

PEARLS BEFORE SWINE – Balaklava (50th Anniversary Restoration)

Psychedelic cult classic from 1968 revisited. It’s really out there and otherworldly and a must for any serious 60’s collection, and great background music for your next bad acid trip too. (8)

SHARON VAN ETTEN – Remind Me Tomorrow

A bold departure from her signature guitar-driven sound, “Remind Me Tomorrow” features lots of synths but the same solid songwriting. (8)

STEEL WOODS – Old News

The Lynyrd Skynyrd to Blackberry Smoke’s Allman Brothers, or vice versa. (7)

VARIOUS ARTISTS – All The Young Droogs: 60 Juvenile Delinquent Wrecks

Another excellent Cherry Red box set – 3 CDs of 70’s glam, pre-punk and bubblegum featuring a couple of top-shelf names (Stooges, Mott The Hoople), a few great outliers (Taste featuring Rory Gallagher before he went solo, The Spiders From Mars post-Bowie…) and a whole bunch of fantastic unknown Sweet and Slade knock-offs you’ll love. (This one goes to 11)

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