As things show signs of getting back to semi-normal, the release front is full of singles to be savored in advance of future releases. Our friends in Cats In Space are out with the fantastically retro “This Is London,” Classic country-inspired duo My Darling Clementine take us back to yesteryear with “Different Finger,” and even Foster The People do what they do best on the anthemic “Lambs Wool”.
Here are five records we really like this week.
Reckless Kelly – American Jackpot/American Girls
Reckless Kelly is one of those Texas hardscrabble road bands that have traveled the country for years, releasing one stellar record after another, but never really getting the recognition that they deserve. Their latest, an ambitious opus of a double album that includes the album American Jackpot along with an extra album’s worth of songs that were written and recorded during the same sessions. With a bunch of stellar guests including Charlie Sexton, Suzy Bogguss, Gary Clark Jr., Shawn Sahm, and Wade Bowen, If you are a fan of Texan Red Dirt Roots music then this is your jam.
Captain Black Beard – Sonic Forces
First of all, here at Rock is the New Roll we are all suckers for cool band names and this one fits the bill quite nicely. Secondly, when we hear a band that so fully envelopes their retro-ness that your ears must do a double-take to figure out what rock era the record is coming from, then we double down and jump into the pool.
The Band Captain Black Beard fits the bill on both points. The one and really only musical touchpoint here is mid-era Journey with a lead singer that actually sounds like a likable hybrid of their current crooner Arnel Pineda and the old-school Journey stylings of Steve Perry. While technically an AOR, album, “Adult-Oriented Rock'” or, if you prefer, “Album Oriented Rock” if you forced us to assign a genre to this band, don’t let that pigeon-holed description stop you from kicking back and enjoying the record in all its retro glory. There are a lot of high points to savor including extended guitar interludes, combustible driving anthems, and an overall vibe that will take you back to much simpler days.
Juicy Lucy – Juicy Lucy
In a rare appearance of a re-release record in this forum, the new 180 gm vinyl pressing of the debut album by Juicy Lucy is definitely worth a mention. Mostly know for their fast and mean cover version of Bo Diddley’s “Who Do You Love” included on this record, the reality is that this Blues-Boogie band goes much deeper than that. Originally released in 1969 the album includes a curious blend of harder-edged Blues-Rock, Grateful Dead worthy jams like “Whiskey In My Jar” and a scorched earth version of Chuck Berry’s Nadine that sounds like it could have come from the Sons of Anarchy’s jukebox. Their version of “Built For Speed” with the mid-song greasy sax solo will have your ears lamenting the fact that this band crashed and burned far too soon.
The Sleep Eazys – Easy To Buy Hard To Sell
Imagine in your mind’s-ear that Joe Bonamassa formed a surf guitar band complete with a wonky organ that delivers groovy original tunes along with retro versions of secret spy anthems including “Hawaiian Eye,” and “Bond (On Her Majesties Secret Service)”.
Well, that is exactly what he has done. Inspired by his guitar mentor super-session guitarist Danny Gatton, Joe’s side-piece band The Sleep Eazy’s have released what should be the ears-down instrumental record of the year. It is almost pointless to pick out the highlights here, there are so many, but notable nuggets include the chick-a-boom drenched “Polk Salad Annie,” the ventures inspired take on “Ace of Spades,” and the Les Paul vibing final refrain of “It Was A Very Good Year.” This one is out of left field in all the best of ways.
The Teskey Brothers – Live at the Forum
The Teskey Brothers first arrived on our musical radar in 2019 with their most-excellent release, Run Home Slow. Now, with this live record originally scheduled to be released on record store day 2020, we are treated to intimate live versions of their last couple of records along with a cover of John Lennon’s “Jealous Guy.” Recorded old-school style directly to analog tape capturing during their four night stand in their home town of Melbourne, Australia, the brothers Teskey might be the best Aussie export since Foster’s beer and the boomerang.