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Album reviews: Future, John Coltrane, Deafheaven [The Philadelphia Inquirer :: BC-MUS-ALBUMS:PH]




Since they slipped by while I was listening to the mushmouth rapper, a quick lyric scan reveals that drugs are indeed still referenced in seven out of nine cuts, and no one on the charts does so more luridly or grimly: "Codeine, it sit on my kidney and dissolve" is the opening line of "Some More." Yet the grotesquerie quotient for this guy is overall pretty down on the most-streamed mixtape of all time, and the, er, emo levels are up. So there's less "molly, molly, percocet" than plaintive melodies warbling reflections such as "Got more guns than a terrorist when I think about it," and "Damn, I hate the real me." Latter is from the same closer where Future's mom expresses disappointment and he gets a rousing chorus out of "I'm trying to get high as I can." Someone tell the streamers it's anything but a drug anthem. - Dan Weiss

John Coltrane

"Both Directions at Once: The Lost Tapes"


On March 6, 1963, at Rudy Van Gelder's New Jersey studio, saxophonist John Coltrane - quickly moving forward from the sharp harmonies of his immediate past to a deeper, spiritualized sense of unbound improvisation - recorded an album capturing his richly incendiary, live quartet dynamic; the intuitive force he shared with bassist Jimmy Garrison, drummer Elvin Jones, and Philly pianist McCoy Tyner.

Then, everyone put away, and forgot about the tapes. Until now.

The release of "The Lost Tapes" - which just gave Coltrane his highest-ever Billboard Top 200 Album Chart position at No. 21 - is more than historic, era-appropriate (fits handsomely between the equally vivid "Coltrane" of 1962 and 1964's "Crescent"), or representational of Trane's transitions. It's fresh and alive - a frenetic, moody set of seven modern full-fledged compositions (with seven additional takes on a deluxe edition) that casts new fiery light on the Coltrane canon. Most potent within those "Tapes" is the frisky bop of "Nature Boy," the sensualist swing of "Untitled Original 11386," and the snake-charming invocation "Slow Blues," and its pulsing, improvisational flow. Most thought provoking, however, is the "Impressions," of both standard and deluxe editions, with its ever-so-slightly varied versions. Like naturalist, unscripted dialogues among its chatty, competitive players, each take ticks the tempo and the testiness levels higher and livelier into an epiphany of laughs and tears.

With the impeccability of "Lost Tapes," here's hoping Coltrane's crew digs for additional treasure. - A.D. Amorosi


"Ordinary Corrupt Human Love"


I don't normally listen to black metal, but when I do, I prefer Deafheaven. To genre purists, that dilettantism might label me a loser, a wuss, or, even worse, a "hipster metal" fan. That's because while the San Francisco quintet employs many hallmarks of the genre - snarling voice of Beelzebub vocals, distorted guitars, all-the-way-up-to-11 sheets of noise - the George Clarke and Kerry McCoy-led band also borrows from atmospheric subgenres such as shoegaze, and refuses to be monolithic in its musical approach.

Deafheaven makes music that can literally shake you to your core. But the band also mixes melody with mayhem and specializes in interludes of shimmering beauty, often employing both tactics in individual compositions such as the alternately pounding and also really pretty "Honeycomb." The band's fourth album takes its name from a passage in British author Graham Greene's 1951 novel "The End of the Affair," whose narrator wishes for a measure of normalcy in his life, rather than the emotional roller coaster ride he finds himself on. Likewise, "OCHL" seeks meaning in the mundane, as it takes pleasure in slow rolling ballads such as "Near." But though it may be less histrionic than previous Deafheaven records, its seven songs - four of which last more than 10 minutes - still instinctively make the push toward transcendence. - Dan DeLuca


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