Five Cool Ones: Five Cool New Songs Our Ears Are Enjoying This Week (January 15, 2021)

One of the more enjoyable things to do this time of year is to catch up on the singles that dip towards our years in anticipation of the proper release likely to hit the shelves in the upcoming 3-6 months. This time out we have ear-picked 5 choice cuts to rock your world.

Julien Baker – Hardline

The new record, Little Oblivions, comes out on February 26th, but here, with her single “Hardline,”  you get a chance to check out Julien’s more expansive less introspective sound. And, so far we like what we are hearing.

Field Music – Orion From the Street

Shimmering and lush, this expansive track that brings to mind early Electric Light Orchestra is a great placeholder for their new record to be released later in the year.

Baio – Dead Hand Control

The title track from the upcoming January 29th release of his solo record from the Vampire Weekends member Chris Baio.

Still Corners – White Sands

The new record, Last Exit, comes out on January 22nd with their terrific single carrying a bit of a Chris Isaak vibe into the new year.

William Doyle – And Everything Changed (But I Feel Alright)

We will need to wait until March to enjoy the new record from William Doyle, formerly known as East India Youth, but in the meantime, we have this bit of Syd Barret and Robyn Hitchcock wholesomeness to savor.



Five Cool Ones: Five New Albums Released This Week (January 15, 2021)

The yearly musical hiatus seems to be over. Artists that have been waiting in the wings for the right time to elicit maximum exposure for their music are back and ready to entertain us once again hanging on to the hopes that they will be able to get back on the road very soon. In the meantime, Rock is the New Roll favorites Moon Taxi performs “Stay” a song from their upcoming album to be released later in the year looking pretty lonely at a Tennessee Titans playoff game.

The Last Internationale with frontwoman Dilila Paz for some reason dressed like Zorro delivering a beautiful socially aware song and video with “Modern Man.”

The Power Pop mavens Radio Days bring joy to the world with their Big Star meets the Rubinoos “I Got A Love.”

Here are five new records that are tickling our ears, touching our soul, and are making the world a better place.

Kurt Vile – Speed, Sound, Lonely KV

Mostly known for his Slacker Rock vibe, here, Kurt Vile leans into the Country and Americana side of life with an impressive 5 song E.P. that serves to pay tribute to his hero John Prine, having toured with the songwriter just before he passed away in 2020. Vile’s handling of Prine’s “Speed of the Sound of Loneliness” is hero-worthy and floats into Gram Parsons territory, the version of Cowboy Jack Clement’s “Gone Girl” could have been on a Steve Earle record, and the gemstone of the record, “How Lucky,” a duet with Prine himself is worth the price of admission alone.

One of the shorter Kurt Vile efforts we have heard in a while, his records typically go one hour or more, here, less is more as this short-stack of sublime tunes is pretty much perfect.

Beach Bunny – Blame Game

The E.P. is all the musical rage these days as artists are floating out little nuggets of wonderfulness as they raft the COVID waters waiting to release a full album until they can hit the stage and entertain the troops live and in person.

Here, in a short burst of perfectly hooky teenage-anthems the Pop-Punk burst of energy from the opener “Good Girls (Don’t Get Used)”  as well as the closer “Blame Game” will have you firmly convinced that the problems of the world may finally be solved.

Pearl Charles – Magic Mirror

Already earmarked for the 2021 top album list, Pearl Charles has finally found her voice. After experimenting with Garage and Psychedelia, here, she definitely sticks the landing with a laid back blend of Southern California Beach Soul and late ’70s Country Pop in the Bobbi Gentry mold.

The sun-warmed touchstones are in abundance right from the ABBA inpired opener “Only For Tonight.” From there, she takes a left turn toward the coast with the Fleetwood Mac evoking “What I Need,” a song that brings to the ear “Baker Street” as well, with “Imposter” she delivers Dr. Hook without the eyepatch vibes, and The Carpenters make an appearance on “Don’t Like Myself.” The spot-on production value is highlighted on the George Harrison-esque “Sweet Sunshine Wine” and don’t sleep on the Helen Reddy loveliness of “Take Your Time.”

Vintage sounding while still being fresh, this record will stay in your rotation on into the summer when it will be the perfect time to pick it up once again and bathe in its dandelion glory.

Matthew Sweet – Catspaw

With Catspaw, his third record since joining the mass exodus out of Los Angeles, Matthew Sweet has returned to the studio in his home town of Nebraska on another set of Power Pop Wizardy. Turning the guitar dials up just a bit, a-la Crazy Horse, this record has a raw sound with a bit more of an edge than we may be used to from the Fuzz-Pop maestro.

Sweet plays all of the instruments with the exception of the drums here and does so impecibly well. Rooted firmly in ’70s inspired rock, songs Like “Driftwood” have a Sweetheart of the Radio era Byrdsian vibe to them, “Stars Exlode” could have been on any mid-era Neil Young record, and “Challenge The Gods” is Tom Petty fronting Big Star.

Bring out the good stuff and warmly embrace and old friend.

Midnight Sister – Painting the Roses

There is no sophomore slump going on here with Painting the Roses, the fine new record from the Stylized-Pop mavens, Midnight Sister. Delicately mood setting from the sultry “Satellite” on to the disco dancefloor worthy “Limousine” calling for you to put on your Sunday Dancing shoes there is nary a miss-step on this one. “Wednesday’s Baby” is a love song to a dog, and the opener “Doctor Says” is a great string-laden introudiction to the album and to a band that deserves more attention.

Cover Song of the Day: Luke Spiller & Jesse Hughes – Stuck In The Middle With You (Jam in the Van)

When two of your favorite artists throw down a collaboration on one of your favorite YouTube shows and cover one of your favorite songs the results should be epically cool. And they are.

Five Cool Ones: Just Five Cool Ones for This Week (January 8, 2021)

As musicians are dusting themselves off and getting ready to make their plans for the new year, the new record releases for this week have been a bit tepid, to say the least. But, fear not musical buckaroos, we will be back in full glory in the next couple of weeks as there are some really cool tunes primed and ready to hit our ear-waves very soon. In the meantime, here five cool ones that have hit our radar recently.

Grace Potter – Release

Somewhere along the line, Grace Potter has started to morph into a slightly more hip Beth Hart. But, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Here, on her fresh as a daisy new video for some inexplicable reason, we see her pulling a boat down the beach in a bikini, slow walking seductively in a field of flowers, and sitting down at the piano singing like a bird. But ours is not to question why ours is only to enjoy the ride provided by this song from her highly excellent 2019 record, Daylight.

Lukas Nelson – Set Me Down On A Cloud

Son of Willie proves once again that the apple falls right next to the tree. His series of quarantine songs, Special Soundcheck Songs, has been a beautiful respite of calmness during these trying days. Here, he performs an acoustically lovely version of “Set Me Down On A Cloud” from his debut self-titled record.

Peanuts Gang – Roundabout

This is a tough song to cover, but here the entire Peanuts gang joins in on one of the best versions of the song you will ever hear. Spoiler alert, Snoopy plays a mean upright bass.

Brothers in Exile – Last Orders

The former member of the Welsh band Sonny Jim, Lloyd Jenkins partners with Stu Calder for a new project, Brothers in Exile. With this, their latest single, the boys deliver a bouncy hook-laden gem in the Wildhearts mold.  Classic Rock magazine describes the tune as more fun than a clown car driven at speed into a bouncy castle. And, heck they may have something there.

The Quins – Wild Ones

Put a pin in this one and save it in your musical memory banks because you are going to bearing a lot more great music emanating from this band in the coming months, you can bet on it. Solid riffs, Power Pop textures with a dynamically voiced singer that can carry the day. For practice dive into their back catalog that includes their 2019 epic of an album, The Woods Look Good.

And, for extra credit check the band out live performing “The Devil’s Abode.”


Video of the Day: Coach Party – Can’t Talk, Won’t

It is pretty amazing that such a great band would come from such a small island, Isle of Wight. But naturally, the limited square miles available for wandering about means it is fairly inevitable that like-minded musicians will find each other and form a band. Newly signed by Chess Club Records, the folks who brought you, Wolf Alice, the band provides razor-sharp melodies and killer Indie-Pop hooks that should put them on the map in relatively short order.

Video of the Day: Mary Ann Cotton – Get It On

Named after a serial killer from the mid-1800s whose weapon of choice was poison, the band Mary Ann Cotton stops such sort of ’70s Alice Cooper tribute band territory all the way down to the endorsement directly from Alice himself along with high praise from the original Alice Cooper band member Dick Wagner who discovered them. With true talent to back up the gimmick, this Danish-American band should be on your Rock and Roll radar.

Five Cool Ones: The Top 5 Rock and Roll Songs from 2020

If you have not heard the news rock is not dead, and the demise of good old barn burning Rock and Roll has been extremely exaggerated. Here are our top five singles worthy of checking out to increase your musical street cred.

Thundermother – Driving In Style

These hard-driving all-female Swedish rockers delivered their stellar record, Heat Wave, carrying a ’70s rock groove that can stand fret for fret with any of their male counterparts. The lead-off single “Driving In Style” will take you pedal to the metal down to the parts of your subconscious that you have not visited in a very long time.

The Struts – Cool

It’s no secret that we love Luke Spiller and the Struts. In fact, their new record, Strange Days, would have been our record of the year were it not for the fact that Robbie Williams appears on the single, and we will have none of that. Here, on the appropriately named “Cool” the most dynamic frontman in the game today struts his stuff in a fine fashion.

The Dirty Denims – Last Call For Alchohol

Another fine band with a female rocker leading the way, this time courtesy of Mirjam Sieben, the vibe is pure AC/DC by way of Joan Jett and the Blackhearts. With this ode to blasting past the last call at your local bar, or these days in your living room, and letting things rip you can start your own countdown to ecstasy.

The Wild – High Speed

Another Born to Be Wild jump on your Harley and ride hard groover of a tune. You will grow a mullet just listening to this one.

King King – Dance Together

As groove-laden a rocker as you are likely to come across in recent months, these Scottish rockers will make you miss putting a couple more tokens in your local’s jukebox just to make the night last a little bit longer.