Support Local Journalism, Join the SA Current Press Club.

Bite-size album reviews 

Easy Tiger
Ryan Adams
(Lost Highway)

The rock’s gotten a little softer and Adams is singing duets with Sheryl Crow these days, but Easy Tiger is still a justification for the fans who stood up for this douche bag while he’s been playing rock star, honky-tonk man, and drunken frat dude. Adams, in his attempt to make an album in nearly every country-rock subgenre, has  released a “Ryan Adams” concept album. Surprisingly, though, he’s still capable of cranking out a decent off-brand Heartbreaker. Though I think the inconsistency of his catalog is exaggerated, Easy Tiger does have the most highlights of any album since his debut.

The Mix-Up
The Beastie Boys
(Brooklyn Dust)

A Beastie Boys instrumental disc should be a soundtrack for car chases and raunchy drive-in movies (e.g., “The In Sound From Way Out”). Instead their latest album is mostly innocuous enough for grocery store ambience. Maybe the real “Mix-Up” is that they forgot to rap over the tracks. Aw, damn.


Desire

Pharoahe Monch
(SRC)

This album has Monch feeling everything from the claustrophobic despondency of Liquid Swords (“When the Gun Draws”) to the wet-eyed hopefulness of Marvin Gaye (“Hold On”), imitating everyone from Chuck D to Elvis, but never cracking a grin. Even his wordplay’s kind of a bummer (“Get serious, or die laughing like John Ritter”), and his club tracks (“Let’s Go”, “Bar Trap”) and porn soundtracks (“So Good”) have a nihilistic desperation to them. But why shouldn’t they? Listen to Public Enemy throwback “Welcome to the Terrordome” where Monch loses his shit big-time over the nightly news reports we’ve been shrugging off for the past five years or so, and try not to lose yours.

Of course, no amount of relevance will save a lame album. Fortunately, Desire is so consistent and exciting that by the time Monch gets all R. Kelly with a nine-minute melodramatic “Trilogy” album closer you might even be in a good enough mood to leave the disc in the CD player.


Support Local Journalism.
Join the San Antonio Current Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the San Antonio Press Club for as little as $5 a month.

Read the Digital Print Issue

July 28, 2021

View more issues

Newsletters

Join SA Current Newsletters

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Calendar

© 2021 San Antonio Current

Website powered by Foundation