This video is well-deserving of multiple plays for the prominent display of the vinyl of the Leon Russell And The Shelter people record alone, not to mention it is a great song. “Modern Woman” is from the freshly minted e.p. released in advance of her proper full-length, Lighten Up. Produced by Jonathan Wilson in his Topanga Canyon studio, this one is setting up to be a stunner.
A somewhat unnerving rendition of the standard courtesy of Nancy Sinatra’s daughter and Frank Sinatra’s granddaughter. This one is captivating after multiple listens.
The wait is over, the new year is upon us, and we lie in wait for a bevy of new releases over the next few months. It should be a big first part of the year as John Mellencamp has a guest-laden record in the hopper called Strictly a one-eyed Jack, the mighty Jethro Tull is coming out of hibernation, and speaking of Classic Rock titans, Bryan Adams, The Scorpions, Tears For Fears, and Ozzy Ozbourne all will be tickling your ears soon in 2022.
In the meantime, the always intriguing Mitski has already released an e.p. in advance of a formal long-player later in the year. Her single, “Love Me More” is already getting buzz for inclusion on many year-end lists.
Never sleep on Bryan Adams as the Canadian Rocker has, coming to eardrums near you, a new album with the release of So Happy It Hurts. And, well it sounds like Bryan Adams.
And, Eddie Vedder has teamed up with a couple of Chili Peppers forming a new band called The Earthlings with a platter due in February.
And now, without further ado, we have five tasty nuggets all set to tickle your eardrums and rattle your senses this week.
Elvis Costello – The Boy Named If
With this follow-up to 2020s Hey Clockface, Elvis Costello shows no signs of slowing down. From the scorcher of an opener, “Farewell, OK,” Costello and his band, The Imposters, kick things into gear and party like it’s 1977 and they are living in the My Aim Is True glory days. The voice hasn’t changed too much, Elvis never was one for stretching out the high notes, and, here he stays very much within his range with his delivery that is pure E.C. vocal splendor.
The title track, with If actually meaning imaginary friend, is Classic Costello with its off-beat eccentric songwriting, and returning to ballad form, “Paint The Red Rose Blue” should stand the test of time as one of his best songs. And, “Magnificent Hurt,” to our ears, is best in class. This one is a lost-in-time record that is could have been released anytime from 1980 to the present.
Put a pin in this one for top album of the year consideration.
Cat Power – Covers
It only took 12 years for Cat Power, aka Chan Marshall to come up with the follow-up to her 2010 release, The Covers Record, the album that featured her seminal version of “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.” This time out, she covers songs by Bob Seger, The Replacements, and Billie Holiday among others in her own style making the songs almost recognizable but no less glorious.
Seger’s “Against The Wind” is transformed into a night-noir ethereal wonder, the piano-based Replacements seldom covered “Here Comes A Regular” has a definite Tom Waits touch to the proceedings, and the one-two punch of Jackson Browns’s “These Days” and “It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels” strays into Nina Simone territory when it comes to an artist making the song their own.
Ari Roar – Made To Never Use
Ari Roar is the name that singer/songwriter Caleb Campbell uses for his self-released projects. With a Ben Folds by way of Wilco vibe, the songs are all Indie-Pop bangers that you will be able to digest in short 2-3 minute jangly bursts. “Take Me Over” is Jack Johnson by way of John Lennon, and “Far From The Rest” could have been a Replacements with a slight Police vibe.
The hooks, rhythms, and melodies, all coalesce into a catchy set of songs that you should bring back out when the weather gets warmer and the drinks get colder.
Poco – One Night in Nashville
For many, the seminal band Poco is considered to be one of the original OG’s of Americana and the Country-Rock sound. Originally formed by Buffalo Springfield members Richie Furay and Jim Messina, the band released 18 albums with multiple hit singles including “Crazy Love,” “You’d Better Think Twice,” and “Rose of Cimarron.”
Now, the 2004 live concert from Nashville has been polished up into a spectacular blue vinyl edition that should serve to satisfy longtime fans of the band as well as those who are just starting to explore the roots of American Music. Reuniting original members Furay, Rusty Young, and drummer George Grantham, the band runs through all of the hits with particularly stellar versions of “Call It Love” and the harmony-laden “Good Feeling To Know” as stone-cold standouts. “Bad Weather” is a deep-cut must-hear.
Jacob Bryant – Barstool Preacher
Once you get past Garth Brooks, the ’80s flavor of Country music is not deserving of the scorn and ridicule that it seems to get in some circles. Travis Tritt, Alan Jackson, Clint Black, John Anderson it’s all good music, certainly better than the “all hat, no cattle” purveyors of the scene that seem to be prevalent today.
Here, with his latest record, Bar Stool Preacher, Jacob Bryant’s ear-melds ’80’s Alan Jackson country along with contemporary outlaw country in the Jamey Johnson and Chris Stapelton mold that would fit in perfectly at your next fourth of July party or your next bourbon binge.
“Well Whiskey (Discount Cigarettes)” could have been a hit song for Keith Whitley, and on the semi rocked-up “Good Ol’ Boy,” Bryant laments his local turning into a hipster bar with boys in skinny jeans and no Skynyrd songs in the jukebox.
It still will be a couple of weeks yet until things start heating up and the River of new releases starts to flow again. But, in the meantime, there are a lot of groovy tunes to dive into while we wait.
The Sheepdogs – Singing in the Band
Rock is the New Roll uber- favorites The Sheepdogs are keeping themselves busy making some new music that will see the light of day in 2022. Their blend of James Gang by way of Blackberry Smoke vibes will have the toes tapping and ears twirling all in a Smokey haze.
Goodbye June – Stand and Deliver
The first really great E.P. of 2022 has declared itself. And, it’s a stunner. Having dribble-released the songs as singles in 2021, all four songs have been included on their debut E.P, Stand and Deliver. These Nashville Cats walk that tightrope between AC/DC and Lynyrd Skynyrd.
The Districts – Outlaw Love
These Pennsylvania Indie rockers blast off like a slightly less cool Rebel Yell-era Billy Idol on one of the first great songs of 2022.
Band of Heathens – Rock and Roll Doctor
Americana rockers Band of Heathens never fail to impress by coming up with unique ways to present their new music. Here, they release another of their collaborative cover songs, this time Little Feat’s “Rock and Roll Doctor” with Dallas psych-rockers White Denim. For extra credit, Search out the collabo with Ray Wylie Hubbard covering “Papa Was A Rolling Stone.”
Edgar Winter, Joe Walsh, David Grissom – Johnny Be Good
Joe Walsh and David Grissom on saxophone sit in with Edgar Winter on a scorched earth version of the Chuck Berry classic. Edgar is in fine form on this one.
It is no secret that here at Rock is the new Roll we love Pop music in any form. Whether it is Power Pop, Indie Pop, Pop-Punk, or Paul Simon and “Kodachrome” 70’s Pop we will be giving it a spin on our turntables. Here are 5 top-flight pop nuggets that hit our ears this past year.
The Lickerish Quartet – Threesome, Vol. 2
Formed from the ashes of famed S.F. Bay Area pop icons Jelly Fish, Eric Dover, Roger Manning, and Tim Smith are carrying the pop torch with their band, The Lickerish Quartet. Named after the Randy Metzger 1970 erotic drama, the band released a pair of stunning records over the last 18 months with Threesome, Vol. 1, and Threesome Vol. 2.
Roller Disco Combo – The Sun After The Rain
With their new e.p., Barcelona popsters Roller Disco Combo offers up Teenage Fanclub on “Indonesian Breakfast,” and a bit of a Laurel Canyon vibe courtesy of “Holes on the Grass.” In its entirety, The Sun After The Rain is a five-song e.p. that will have you yearning for more.
Sorrows – Love Too Late … The Real Album
This re-recording of a record that was originally released in the ’80s is a solid combination of Cheap Trick Power Pop, British invasion Garage Rock, and ’60s Rock and Roll with the cover of the Kinks “Tired of Waiting for You” a stellar standout. The back-to-back sound flurry of “Love Too Late” and “Crying Time” have the essence of The Knack Meets the Specials.
Bros. Vol. 2
BROS, the sidepiece band for Ewan and Shamus Currie from the ’70s throwback band The Sheepdogs deliver on a set of tunes that will have you reaching for your old KC and the Sunshine Band records. Never Gonna Stop is Hall and Oates meets The Greg Kihn Band, and Hesitationg is The Little River Band if they were just a wee bit cooler.
Radio Days -Rave On
Big Star with a bit of Replacements danger vibe is the cocktail of the day served on the latest L.P. from Radio Days, Rave On. Early Elvis Costello is also an appropriate touch-point for this record should cover all of your musical bases.
Blues guitar player Joe Bonamassa continues to shift-shape himself, bending the blues continuum to his will. Here he expresses the Rock side of Blues Rock with this anthemic cut from his latest, Time Clocks.
If you haven’t hipped yourself to Springsteen’s guitarist Little Steven and his side gigs with his three XM radio stations, Little Steven’s Underground Garage, Coolest Songs in the world, and Outlaw Country, jump in on it now. And, for an even deeper dive, he’s got his own record label, Wicked Cool Records, where he digs deep with a stable of some of the coolest bands on the planet that you have never heard. With their debut set for Wicked Cool Records, the Dirty Gems have come up with a gem of a record with virtually no miss-steps over a tightly constructed 10 song set.
Avoid the temptation of glossing over the opener “She Likes To Party” with its Sly Stone by way of “Play That Funky Music” mojo as a one and done wonder. Sure this song is groovy, but trust us, this is only the tip of the coolness spear.
Overt genre-hopping has been been the death knell of many an album, but here, jumping from the mothership funk of the opener to the Motown worthy “I Can Still Feel It,” and be-bopping on to the Robert Palmer groove of “Can’t Give It,” the transition is as pure and smooth as a good bottle of whiskey.
Kris, as a piano player, will definitely render comparisons to early Elton. And, if after listening to “See You Again” and his spot-on terrific extended-jam reading of “Take Me To The Pilot” you don’t agree with this assessment, your Elton John fan club membership will be revoked. Bad Company By Way of REO Speedwagon makes an appearance on “I’m Your Man” and Deep Muscle Shoals vibes spring from every pore of “Don’t Turn Around.” “Tortuga” even has a Santana tinge to it.
It is not often that an album comes around that is this good that nobody has heard. Kris Rodgers and his mates deserve a wider following. Let’s make it happen.
If “Dance Around” wasn’t your summer anthem in 2020 there is still time to crank it up for this summer. This stadium and festival banger could be The Bangles by way of Pat Benatar playing at 45 speed.
The mystery value inherent in the work of Vancouver, British Columbia artist Art d’ecco is only enhanced by the inability to find out what his first name is. Despite this closely guarded secret, this cool-cut for the 2021 release, In Definition, will take you back to the glory days of David Bowie, Iggy Pop, or a more amped-up Rufus Wainwright.
Any time you have the Black Pumas involved in a project, it has no choice to be great. Here, Jamil Rashad under his moniker Boulevards brings the Funk with the fervor of someone that has just been beamed down from the Parliament- Funkadelic mothership.