Sure, we have to dig a bit deeper as the December freeze-out time for new releases starts to hit us, but heck, we never said it was going to be easy. And besides, we are doing all of the heavy liftings so you don’t have to.
Aaron Lee Tasjan continues to release solid immaculately produced songs.
Icecream Hands are out with a Beatlesque gem with “No Weapon But Love.”
And, an epic version of “Stand By Me ” that features Roger Daltry and Gary Moore has recently surfaced.
Here are five deftly curated gems for your ears to savor this week.
Kenny Wayne Shepherd – Straight To You: Live
Kenny Wayne Shepherd who, fun fact, is married to Mel Gibson’s daughter, pretty much consistently stood in the shadow of fellow guitar slinger Jonny Lang until recent years. And, with this his the first live concert recording in 10 years, he may now be on top. A mix of covers along with Shepherd staples like “Blue on Black” the band crackles in places and explodes in others. “Mr. Soul” is a highlight with a scorched earth solo, and “King Bee” takes things a bit lower and slower and demonstrates the versatility of the band along with Noah Hunt’s impressive vocals not to mention featuring an off the rails organ riff.
Cats In Space – Atlantis
After settling in with Damien Edwards, the latest new lead singer for Cats in Space, one of the best present-day AOR bands, we are all in here at Rock is the New Roll. With a vocal range that can time-warp back to the early ’80s, the music here is big, bombastic, and over the top in all of the right places. Very much in the Styx or Boston mold, songs like “Spaceship Superstar” and “Listen to the Radio” are pure Pomp-Rock pleasures, and the requisite ballad “I Fell Out of Love With Rock and Roll” is Queen meets Electric Light Orchestra with a side order of early Journey. And, of course, don’t sleep on the Glam wonderment of “Marionettes.”
Kelley Stoltz – Ah!
Guitar Pop Impressario Kelley Stolz with his latest effort Ah! proves once again that he can stand fret for fret with Matthew Sweet for Power Pop supremacy. Combining Power Pop, Indie Rock, Jangle Pop along with moody Post-Punk sensibilities, this record combines everything that Stolz does best. “Never Change Enough” is a bit of a Country Rocker with a bit of an Old 97’s feel, “She Likes Noise” has a Post-Punk ‘My Sharona feel to it, and “and “Moon Shy” puts it all in a blender of cool smoothness.
The High Water Marks – Ecstasy Rhymes
Their first proper release in over a decade, the Indie Rock pairing of Hilarie Sidney and Ole Bratset is still as strong as ever. Wandering just on the outer edges of lo-fi, the title track comes dangerously close to shoegaze, and the cleverly titled “Some Like It Lukewarm” cranks things up a bit. With Sidney as a founding member of the terrific band Apples In Stereo, these guys know their way around an Indie-Pop rock song, just listen to the R.E.M. flavored “The Trouble With Friends” and tell us we’re wrong.