New Music 3/15/19

(re-post from Facebook, edited)

Completed New Music Week 11 through Tidal.

Each Friday release day, I’m going to download 5 albums with the only criteria being name recognition or the best pieces of cover art and review them. These are the releases of 3/15.

Song of the Week: UB40 “Gravy Train”
  • Album: UB40 – For the Many
  • Previous Knowledge: Much of their 80s music
  • Chosen: Name recognition
  • Review: I didn’t realize that in 2008, lead singer Ali Campbell left the band and his brother Duncan took over vocal duties. Since that point, Ali has mentioned that his brother was destroying the legacy of the band. If that’s the case, he brought it back here. In fact, this is a fucking perfect record. Although all reggae sounds to me like there’s a half dozen basic rhythms and artists just change the lyrics, there’s something about this wonderful record that makes it so enjoyable. It varies between midtempo and upbeat, is rhythmic as hell and every song is simply brilliant. I have five records I’ve listened to that I’ve given a 10/10 so far but this one is far better than the other four.
  • Rating: 10/10
UB40, “What Happened To UB40?”
  • Album: The Faint – Egowerk
  • Previous Knowledge: Their 2001 album Danse Macabre, which I still own on CD for some reason that I’m really unsure of.
  • Chosen: Name recognition
  • Review: It’s hard for me to remember these guys from more than a decade ago but I have a feeling they haven’t changed much but maybe took a little rock edge away and got a bit more electronic-dance oriented. But really, to me, this is kind of what I would expect say, Simple Minds or a band in the same vein to have sounded like in 1986 had today’s technology and instrumentation existed back then. Solid, electronic post-punk record overall and certainly worth a listen.
  • Rating: 8.5/10
The Faint, “Alien Angel”
  • Album: Mark Mothersbaugh – The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part (Score)
  • Previous Knowledge – We are Devo!!
  • Chosen: Why the hell not?
  • Review: Other than those Reznor / Ross soundtrack/scores, I never really listen to scores. They just aren’t my thing and I feel like I have so little time to listen, why waste it. But it seemed like a cool thing for this series since I’ve never heard a Mark Mothersbaugh score before (and he’s done so much movie and TV music). And… it was pretty cool. I will never listen to it again and I haven’t seen the movie so I can’t relate it to parts of the movie at all but hey, it was really good background music. That’s the best I can give on a score at this point. Good background music.
  • Rating: 8/10
Lego Movie 2, “Main Title”
  • Album: Dizzy Wright – Nobody Cares, Work Harder
  • Previous Knowledge: None
  • Chosen: The album name just spoke to me
  • Review: Pretty standard hip-hop album here. It’s not trap, so that’s good and you can understand what he’s spittin’ so that’s good as well. But overall, he’s got nothing special going for him at all. Just one of a million generic rappers.
  • Rating: 6/10
Dizzy Wright, “Problems and Blessings”
  • Album: Karen O & Danger Mouse – Lux Prima
  • Previous Knowledge: Danger Mouse’s work with MF Doom
  • Chosen: Name recognition
  • Review: I’ve heard a lot of great things about this album in the last week and I can see why. I’ve never listened to anything from the Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs, so I’m not really all the familiar with Karen O other than knowing her name but I know that Danger Mouse has a good ear for talent and has had some fantastic collaborations over the years. Although not trip-hop, I immediately got a Portishead, Dummy vibe. Or like a sweet symphonic score for a science fiction movie. The music is fantastic and while I don’t really know Karen O’s material, I know that this ethereal vibe isn’t her normal style – and that’s really the point of Danger Mouse collaborations – to get great artists out of their comfort zone.
  • Rating: 9/10
Karen O & Danger Mouse, “Woman”

Albums ranked 10/10 in 2019 (ordered by release date)

  1. Terror Jr. – Unfortunately, Terror Jr.
  2. Emily King – Scenery
  3. Good Fuck – Good Fuck
  4. The Claypool Lennon Delirium – South of Reality
  5. UB40, For the Many