You are going to be hearing this refrain for a bit, but this is the best week of the young year on the new record front. My boys Green Day from the Bay Area are front and center with a new one, and it is excellent. The Stone Temple Pilots are out with another surprisingly cool effort, and Leon Bridges and Houston Psyche Rockers Khruangbin hit you between the ears with their collaboration. Here, are five worthy candidates for more of your valuable ear-time.
The Cadillac Three – Country Fuzz
This one is already declaring itself as the party album of the year. Somewhat of a guilty pleasure listen, the debauchery inherent in just about every song will remind you of your late high school and early college years.
It has everything, from driving around in your El Camino with a long-legged girl in the passenger seat with her bare feet on the dash to an old flame coming back in town and showing up in your dive bar. If that’s not enough to wet your whistle, there are girls shaking what God gave ’em, and Happy Hour shenanigans thrown in for good measure. Color us in for the thrill ride. It’s got all the makings of a Saturday Night.
Brent Cobb – No Place Left To Leave
We jumped squarely on the Brent Cobb bandwagon with his highly excellent 2018 record, Providence Canyon. Letting you in on the secret that Brent Cobb is super-producer of-the-day Dave Cobb’s cousin, the talent apple does not fall far from the family tree. This latest record is quite simply, in a word, stunning.
Walking the Country Music tightrope between Outlaw Country, Americana Country, and Laurel Canyon Roots Rock, there is a head-spinning moment when you can’t figure out if this record was made in 1975, 1982 in the Garth and King George era, or if this was made 7 years ago with Brent and his band backing up the Black Crowes. This one has moved right up there as an album of the year candidate. And, oh yeah, there is more than a little Tom Petty going on here as well.
William Prince – Reliever
Laying our cards on the table William Prince is a new artist to our ears. Heck, even Jeremy Wren our resident Americana/Singer-Songwriter major-domo who also happens to have an office right next to mine in the halls of Rock is the New Roll had never heard of him until we received an advanced copy of this record. Hailing from Manitoba, Canada, this record, his sophomore effort, just might be a coming of age moment for this young artist.
His vibe and deep baritone are reminiscent of The White Buffalo without the annoying Sons of Anarchy tie-in. There is a delicate sparseness to this record that addresses father and son dynamics, the interplay that takes a relationship from stranger to lover, and places where real connections seem to happen. And if that is not enough, this is a Dave Cobb (See Above) produced gem.
Christopher Paul Stelling – Best of Luck
Placing this one delicately on the stereo, at first listen, the first song, “Have To Do For Now” has a dusting of Paul Simon about it, and that’s never a bad thing. Produced by Ben Harper this is a bit of a genre-defying record. The hints of Americana are sometimes washed away with the scent of folk and some good old fashioned Rock and Roll.
This finely crafted record as he comes to a crossroads with himself and music as a friend and as a person seems to meet at the intersection where folk and soul meet.
Nada Surf -Never Not Together
Having been sitting on the sidelines since 2016 Nada Surf is back, and it’s like they never left. The Jangle Pop, bouncy sound has not changed even a little bit and their writing has become more sophisticated.
The record has a 90’s Power Pop shimmer that sets a place in your ears and in your soul that is wholly pleasing. From folk confessionals to Psych Rock dream weaver goodness this is a sweet sprawling record that will soothe the soul in a time when this type of record is desperately needed.