There seems to be a bit of focus in the records this week as we get a new record from the Strokes a politically charged release courtesy of Eliza Gilkyson with one of the best version of Dylan’s “A Hard Rain’s-A-Gonna Fall” you likely have heard in quite a while, and to add a touch of class to the proceedings The Dream Syndicate has delivered a tidy five-song 58 minute set of Psychedelic Rock. Here are five nuggets that we particularly are digging this week.
John Anderson – Years
This album came to be after Easy Sound major-domo Dan Auerbach randomly called John a few years back just from the standpoint of a fan reaching out to say hello to one of his musical heroes. A friendship developed that has now resulted in the two artists collaborating on a set of Country tinged Americana songs that walk the line between 80’s country crooner and present-day singer-songwriter Country Rock. No one song really stands out here, but that is pretty much the point. There is meandering pleasantness that has always been inherent in Anderson’s voice that has a calming effect that sort of washes over the listener. Feel free to skip the vibe killing Blake Shelton guest appearance on “Tuesday I’ll Be Gone.”
Webb Wilder – Night Without Love
Still refusing to be pigeonholed, Webb Wilder has released another stellar record full of whimsical songwriting and Honky Tonk pathos. His diverse influences and exceptional talent take you on a journey from the way-back ’70’s all the way to present-day in the blink of an ear. The cover of “High Heel Sneakers” featured on this one is worth the price of admission alone.
Jackie Lynn – Jacqueline
Jackie Lynn is Haley Fohr’s side-piece band and, believe it or not, this record is the travelogue of the co-conspirator of a multi-million-dollar cocaine business, on the run after making a hasty retreat from Chicago. But trust us, It’s cool. The record shimmers with celebratory horns, wicked guitars, and space-disco anthems. “Shugar Water” is a perfect Glam-shuffle soundtrack to a cross-country escape, “Diamond Glue” is a nice slice of disco-funk served a bit on the greasy side and “Short Black Dress” has a certain Scott Walker grandiose element to it. All in all, this is pretty much a perfect record for those ears that are looking for a bit of an escape.
Pokey LaFarge – Rock Bottom Rhapsody
Pokey LaFarge has spent the last couple of years literally reinventing himself. Having moved from the Midwest to Los Angeles where he found Christianity and developed a passion for working with the homeless while at the same time dealing with almost life-crippling depression. Now, with this record LaFarge seemingly has come out the other side in fine fashion. “End of My Rope” could have been a long lost Travelling Wilbury’s single and the record in its entirety seems to celebrate the crooners, Elvis, Roy Orbison, and even Bob Dylan. Good stuff indeed.
Hamilton Leithauser – The Loves of Your Life
After his band The Walkmen disbanded in 2013 it seems to have taken a while for front-man Hamilton Leithauser to find his footing, but with The Loves of Your Life, his latest solo effort, he seems to be well on his way to next-level stardom. Inspired by random moments and characters crossing his path, case in point, “The Old King” written as sort of a Pogues style shuffle about a friend he happened to run into that he had not seen in over 10 years. Each little vignette presented here celebrates extraordinary people leading ordinary lives. This is one of the best records to be released this year.