Music » Album Reviews

New releases from Bun E. Carlos, Paul Kelly, and Badbadnotgood

Sound Advice

Bun E. Carlos
  • Bun E. Carlos

Bun E. Carlos

Greetings from Bunezuela!

Entertainment One Music

File next to: Guided by Voices, Cheap Trick, Paul Revere & The Raiders

In the wake of a confusing and bitter divorce from his band of many decades, former Cheap Trick drummer Bun E. Carlos has put together his first solo album. Carlos (born Brad Carlson) doesn't sing, and he's not a songwriter. What he is, instead, is a drummer of thundering intensity and impeccable taste. He also has a pretty ace record collection at home; that collection informs his choice of covers here: an obscure Who single ("Armenia in the Sky"), a terrific Paul Revere & The Raiders cover ("Him or Me"), and an early Van Morrison tune from his days with Them ("I Can Only Give You Everything"). Guests — or front-people — include Guided by Voices frontman Robert Pollard, Hanson, Carlos' Candy Golde bandmate Nicholas Tremulis, Alejandro Escovedo and even Xeno, the original lead vocalist in Cheap Trick before Robin Zander joined. — BK

Paul Kelly
  • Paul Kelly

Paul Kelly

Seven Sonnets & a Song

Cooking Vinyl

File next to: Richard Thompson, Davey Graham

Australian treasure Paul Kelly has long been recognized as a consummate musician, bridging the chasm between singer/songwriter, country/roots artist and rocker. In recent years, he's moved in some rather ambitious directions, including 2014's The Merri Soul Sessions, which largely ceded vocal duties to other singers. Kelly's outside-the-box aesthetic shines with his latest, an EP-length project that sets the poetry of one William Shakespeare to music. With a decidedly Americana-esque musical sensibility — as opposed to what would have been the more obvious UK folk/Elizabethan angle — Kelly sings familiar lines like "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?" in a manner that suggests the bard wrote those lines to be sung, not spoken. Merri Soul Sessions guest Vika Bull returns to sing an adaptation of "My True Love Hath My Heart." — BK

  • Badbadnotgood



Innovative Leisure

File next to: Flying Lotus, Death Grips

Toronto's young foursome Badbadnotgood has won a reputation for melding jazz and hip-hop, stemming in part from a 2015 collaboration with Ghostface Killah. Except for vocal contributions from Charlotte Day Wilson and Mick Jenkins, however, the band's fourth album is more notable for merging woodwinds with the kind of slightly distorted electronics favored by everyone from The Residents to 1990s chill-jazz groups. This style works best with full-ensemble arrangements such as the title track or "Chompy's Paradise," but can sound thin with a single sax or CS60. Nevertheless, sonic treatments build effectively over nearly 50 minutes of keyboard-centric compositions. The sonic manipulations on this extended, dreamy and cerebral affair are too off-center to be mistaken for smooth jazz, but this album is perfect for after-midnight listening on hot summer nights. — LW

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