Weekly Capsule Reviews – 04/12/2016


This week: Common, Meltybrains?, Angel Olsen, The Rolling Stones, Robbie Williams

Common – Black America Again (04/11/2016 – ARTium Recordings/Def Jam Recordings)

In which our activist seems to blame/praise everyone alike. “Now women get paid as much as men do” he projects with the pomp of confident ease—surprising for a liberal-leaning effort to acknowledge women’s progress in the Western world rather than honing in on total far-left rhetoric. Well put. And whether his activism is for music more so than the societal cause he cares about I don’t think it matters. Why? Well, it’ll have an effect either way. More fame more reach. Is that activism or slacktivism in this case? A far-reaching activist or slacktivist? I can’t tell anymore. (8/10)

Meltybrains? – Kiss Yourself (18/11/2016 – Meltylabs? Records (self-released)) – (EP)

The first track is Kanye West and then gradual post-rock from there. Post-post-rock I nearly always hate. Nearly. Not this time. Just as brainless as Girl Band but with outro crescendos which are more “thought out”. If the group’s name matches their witless approach on this musically-imbecilic EP I suppose I can have no complaints. I’ll find some eventually, don’t worry. (8/10)

Angel Olsen – MY WOMAN (02/09/2016 – Jagjaguwar)

Looks don’t seem to play much of a part for whoever’s getting that kiss (they will after MY WOMAN‘s ascent, though); she’s desperate enough to cling to anything. Its critical acclaim is attained through the crits themselves clinging to its folk-meets-garage, hushed Nirvana-isms. We’re all looking for something to cling to these days. And this isn’t a bad start by any means. With some Siouxsie Sioux lite, her melismatic vocal hooks are enjoyable and come to fruition in the ballady, think-pieces of the final stretch. Beats the “folk” rehashes we have now. If we’re forced to clasp ourselves to the acoustic wobblers I wouldn’t mind it being this. We have Sheeran, Howard, Odell, Bay, Ezra, Blake. At least she’s female. That legitimises our/her viscidity even more. (8/10)

The Rolling Stones – Blue & Lonesome (02/12/2016 – Polydor Records) – (Covers Album)

As authentic as any cover piece can get. The best roots band around at the moment. Obviously. (6/10)

Robbie Williams – The Heavy Entertainment Show (Deluxe Edition) (04/11/2016 – Columbia Records)

I hated it but wasn’t begging for it to be over, like most conveyor-belt pop music. The first two lines had me in stitches—the “saviour” meets swing and then on to Russian oligarchies. I thought Robbie would enlighten us but, y’know, the oligarchy is actually a party. That’s okay, then. This is probably his rockiest album—dysfunctional families, “Bruce Lee” is glam rock, and “David’s Song” is Eagles-lifting. “And I’m a Big Mac short of a Happy Meal”—he’ll be waiting a while, Big Macs aren’t even in Happy Meals. Even I know that. Shielding it from pure dreg material is the easily-adoptable “Love My Life” (almost too easy) and the two deluxe-edition tracks—the Bond-theme-sounding “I Don’t Want to Hurt You” and his anti-depressant story in “Best Intentions”. Still… (4/10)


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