Album review overview 2023 week 49

Photo (c) Jorge Fakhouri Filho

Dozens of new albums arrive at Maxazine’s editorial staff every week. Way too many to listen to them all, let alone review them. It ensures that too many albums are left behind. And that’s a shame. That is why today we post an overview of albums that arrive at the editors in short reviews.

Ron Coolen – Here to Stay

“Here to Stay” is the new album by multi-instrumentalist Ron Coolen. The 13 tracks are full of wonderful and very varied guitar playing, you often hear multiple guitars at the same time. This comes from Ron, and from seven guest guitarists who play the cool solos. Ron plays the other instruments, and his dynamic drumming stands out positively. The ballad “Jaded Eyes” has a surprising start. The rough edge of Keith St John’s voice comes through nicely again. The power vocals (in several layers) and the high tones are excellent. The tracks are well constructed, although you may have to get used to the transitions in the very short and special title track. Both the intros and outros are good, and there are several surprising sound effects and/or details. The accessible tracks vary from ‘old school’ hard rock to metal, and invite you to turn up the volume. (Esther Kessel-Tamerus) (8/10) (Own production)

Doctor Bionic – in the Infinite

Deep, powerful Soul Jazz meets Dub in the instrumental analogue grooves of Doctor Bionic, a musical project that transcends the boundaries of the genre. The mastermind behind Doctor Bionic is Jason Grimes, a native of Cincinnati who was previously the producer of the influential hip-hop group MOOD, collaborating with emcees Main Flow & Donte. His musical background is rooted in the Scribble Jam scene, where he came into contact with well-known artists such as Hi-Tek and Talib Kweli.
Doctor Bionic is constantly evolving, from its early days with sample-based loops to today’s live instrumentation, enriched with deep layers provided by a diverse group of local musicians. While the signature drum breaks are a constant throughout the tracks, the tempo changes and diverse instrumentation provide a collection of songs that evade specific genres, yet are united by the impeccable drums, often provided by Josiah Wolf of the indie rock band Why? The new album, already the third this year, ‘In the Infinite’, is a revelation. Awesome. (Jan Vranken) (8/10) (Chiefdom Records)

Ludovico Einaudi – La Petite

Pianist and composer Ludovico Einaudi was born on November 23, 1955 in Turin. His talents earned him a scholarship to the Tanglewood Music Festival in 1982, where he first came into contact with American minimalism. With “Le Onde” (The Waves), his first solo album, inspired by the novel by Virginia Woolf, he attracted the attention of the piano world. His music is reminiscent of the solo work of Rick Wakeman, especially his composition “Stepping Stones”. Now Einaudi has released the film music for the film “La Petite”. Serenely beautiful. (Jan Vranken) (8/10)(Ponderosa Music Records)

Kidd G – If We Were a Love Song

Kidd G is just 20 and a few years ago he wormed his way into the music industry via TikTok. Initially with hip-hop, but nowadays he is becoming a big country guy. He sings the stars from heaven more than his latest album ‘If we were a love song’, he can do that, but my goodness, what kitsch music this is. Not even noble kitsch, but just enamel-breakingly sweet love songs with a sob in the voice. Country music is no longer possible without autotune. “Silverado in the Sky” is just too much to take. You have to love it, and luckily for him, more than enough people do. (Jan Vranken) (5/10)(Rebel/Geffen records)

Blue Öyster Cult – 50th Anniversary Live – First Night

There are legendary rock bands and LEGENDARY rock bands. Blue Öyster Cult definitely belongs to the latter category. The band celebrated its 50 (!) year anniversary with three sold-out shows in a row at Sonny Hall (NYC). For these shows, Blue Öyster Cult will play one of their first three albums in its entirety, supplemented with the classics, audience favourites and some songs that are rarely played live. On this first evening of the three, we get to hear the debut album in its entirety. Blue Öyster Cult is in top form and shows through this live registration that they have had a major influence on (classic) rock music. Of course, “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” is also included in this live recording. This is not only a great live album but also a classic rock history lesson. Hence the well-deserved maximum score that I rarely give. (Ad Keepers) (10/10) (Frontiers Music)

Carlou D-Higher

Carlou D is a Senegalese singer who, together with Duggy T and Didier Awadi, founded the African hip-hop pioneers Positive Black Soul. Later he went solo and became a star in the Sahel Musical for which he even won the Prince Claus medal. Now he is back with the album “Higher”. His majestic voice has only gained in power. The music is jazzy as in “Jamm” and then theatrical as in “Guemm di Guiss”. Carlou D remains a standard bearer and an absolute legend in West African music. This album is also of absolute top quality. A pearl. (Jan Vranken) (8/10) (Look’art Studio)

Tate McRae – Think Later

Tate is from Canada. This pop singer still thinks she needs to present herself to the public with a terribly sexist and misogynist cover and ditto video clips. It’s a terribly bad album. The title must be prescient, if Tate thinks back about this later, when she now has a nice job, where she gets appreciation for who she is and not just because of her breasts, I hope she can laugh about it. This was probably all invented by men. (Jan Vranken)(3/10) (RCA)

Rosa Butsi – Fruitful Days

Rosa Butsi is the Soundtrack winner of 2020 and artist in residence at pop venue Het Depot in Leuven, Belgium. She inherited her musical genes from her Hungarian grandmother, whose name can perfectly function as a fitting alter ego. Her music is pop with a thick jazzy edge. Wonderfully sweet, yellow and as if the sun is coming through the windows on a nice spring day. Life is good. Nice album. (Jan Vranken)(7/10)(Polymon)

Mula B – Narco doll

Hicham Gieskes from The Hague uses the name Mula B when he raps. Hicham is now known for rapping with a lot of autotune and his Wikipedia mentions the fact that he was arrested with a firearm in his car. What exactly does that have to do with rapping? It must be about things other than music. His new album “Narcopop” has no fewer than 16 songs. Titles such as “Fentanyl”, “Brikkie voor een Prikkie” and “Blokkie gepikt” are not of any quality textually. The album is autotune galore. Not musically and not interesting anywhere. But it will be immensely street, I can’t judge that. Not really about this album itself, I’ll have to leave that to others. I don’t like it, so let’s just stop there. (Jan Vranken) (2/10) (Plus Records)

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