Tuesday, 19 May 2020

Short Attention Span Record Reviews, May 2020


THE LOUDER STUFF

BRANT BJORK – Brant Bjork

If you’ve heard any one of Bjork’s solo albums you know exactly what to expect since they’re all the same (and all pretty good), and he sticks to the formula here: Warm and fuzzy, laid back, melodic desert rock. (7)

FAKE NAMES – Fake Names

Punk supergroup featuring members of Refused, Bad Religion, Girls Vs. Boys etc. is as good as you could possible hope it to be and a dream come true for people raised on Husker Du and/or who love the aforementioned. (8)

GREEN CARNATION – Leaves Of Yesteryear

Tchort’s prog metal band is back after a long hiatus. The album’s no dud, but compared to recent releases from Katatonia and Conception it falls a bit short. (7)

HORISONT – Sudden Death

Retro hard rock heavily influenced not by late-era Beatles, but rather by those 70’s semi-prog/semi-power pop bands influenced by late-era Beatles. (7)

JIMMY URINE & SERJ TANKIAN – Fuktronic

Mindless Self Indulgence & System Of A Down frontmen do soundtrack for imaginary gangster film, it doesn’t work without a film. (5)

OLD MAN GLOOM – Seminar VIII: Light of Meaning

Second album this year, just as noisy as the other one. (7)

PARADISE LOST – Obsidian

Strong late-career album from goth metal veterans, this time blatantly emphasizing the Sisters Of Mercy influence on a couple of tracks. Their best in many-many years. (8)


THE OTHER STUFF

GRETCHEN PETERS – The Night You Wrote That Song: The Songs of Mickey Newbury

One of the great living americana/country songwriters pays tribute to one of the great dead ones with stripped-down versions of classics and deep cuts. Stunning. (8)

HOT COUNTRY KNIGHTS – The K Is Silent

The Steel Panther of country music, but the jokes are smarter/funnier. (8)

JASON ISBELL & THE 400 UNIT – Reunions

Isbell’s a slow-burning one, on first listen of an Isbell album you always think “OK, a solid 7” and then, several listens down the road, its greatness suddenly dawns upon you. His songwriting and storytelling remain world-class on “Reunions”, even if production-wise there’s a departure from the straightforward country rock sound of previous albums in favor of a richer, Dire Straits-like vibe. (8)

JESS WILLIAMSON – Sorceress

A step forward with Williamson’s mix of country rock and folky pop getting more cinematic – like an earthier Lana Del Rey, with none of the meta- stuff. (8)

KAMASI WASHINGTON – Becoming (Music from the Netflix Original Documentary)

Soundtracking different scenes for a Michelle Obama documentary, Kamasi serves up 15 bite-sized nuggets of (mostly) smooth jazz. By the time you get into the groove of each, it’s over. (7)

MARIACHI EL BRONX – Musica Muerta

The mariachi alter ego of The Bronx (one of the best punk bands around) release double LP featuring unreleased songs, demos, covers, live tracks etc. It’s fun. (7)

WILLIE NILE – New York At Night

Even when he favors a rootsier sound reminiscent of Springsteen/Dylan, Nile is that very “New York” type of rock person like Lou Reed or Debbie Harry or the Ramones, and this album is his ode to that great city. (8)

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