New releases from Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, Doug Tuttle, and Seth Bogart 

Sound Advice

click to enlarge Macklemore and Ryan Lewis
  • Macklemore and Ryan Lewis

Macklemore and Ryan Lewis

This Unruly Mess I've Made

Macklemore Records

File next to: Childish Gambino, Wiz Khalifa, Eminem

Up until now, it's been anyone's guess whether Kanye West or Macklemore would release 2016's most disappointing megastar hip-hop album. But while West's Life of Pablo is overly tweaked and egotistical, its vision is at least discernible. Macklemore and collaborator Ryan Lewis try very hard to provide a cohesive vision, but that effort is often what gets in the way on This Unruly Mess I've Made. Give them credit for a few tracks that really do work, like "Light Tunnels" and "Buckshot," but there are still way too many half-baked ideas here. It's only when Macklemore stops trying to repeat novelties like "Thrift Shop" — and instead delivers a solid political message on tracks like "White Privilege II" — that his unruly mess even comes close to working. — Loring Wirbel

click to enlarge Doug Tuttle
  • Doug Tuttle

Doug Tuttle

It Calls On Me

Trouble in Mind

File next to: Tame Impala, Plasticland, Starling Electric

On his self-titled 2014 debut, Doug Tuttle staked out his musical territory: a shimmering, woozy, yet highly tuneful 21st-century take on the gentler side of mid-'60s psychedelic rock. The New Hampshire native nailed the era's vibe while deftly sidestepping overtly retro production flourishes, coming across as a slightly less-crazed American version of XTC's alter egos, The Dukes of Stratosphear. With It Calls On Me, Tuttle continues to mine the music of 50 years ago for its inspiration. (He even revives the '60s approach of releasing albums that are over in a half hour or so.) And while the songs here may be cast from the same mold as their predecessors, Tuttle gives them a sharper melodic approach. If you miss the '60s, a spin of It Calls On Me just might take you there. — Bill Kopp

click to enlarge Seth Bogart
  • Seth Bogart

Seth Bogart

Seth Bogart

Burger Records

File next to: The B-52s, Apples in Stereo, The Television Personalities

There's always a place for quality trash culture dance pop, and Seth Bogart knows just where to find it. The flamboyant San Franciscan got his start under the Hunx & His Punx moniker, crafting a clever amalgam of bubblegum and punk that's somehow both naughtier yet more innocent than The Ramones. Now, with this first release under his own name, Bogart puts together synthy dancefloor classics full of silly ideas ("Eating Makeup"), witty social commentary ("Hollywood Squares"), and inspired wordplay ("Nina Hagen-Daaz," "Supermarket Supermodel"). His gay-themed subject matter is never far from the surface, and it's delivered in a joyous, devil-may-care manner, full of twinkly Casio synths and drum machines. Even when Bogart goes melancholy on "Forgotten Fantazy," he manages to make his moroseness sound like a helluva lot of fun. — Bill Kopp


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