With a corker of a week, this year is looking to be one of the best in recent memory on the new album front.
Perrenial favorites My Morning Jacket are front and center with a steller song and video, “Love, Love, Love.”
Wet Leg is a band on the rise with their ear-worm-worthy song, “Chaise Lounge.”
And, rockers Dangereens bring out their inner Mott the Hoople and T Rex on the scorching “Thieves.”
The Felice Brothers – From Dreams To Dust
Light and Breezy, From Dreams To Dust, is the first record released by The Felice Brothers since the critically acclaimed Undress in 2019. Leading off with “Jazz on the Autobahn,” a tune that is in contention for song of the year, to the mildly political “To-Do,” the story nuggets on display here are a bit on the eccentric side with a deep affinity for Richmond Fontaine and Deslondes real-life-noir storytelling.
Bringing to mind a slightly less verbose Bob Dylan or a distant relative of James McMurtry, the breezy stroll that the brothers Felice take you on will alter your mind. And, after listening to “Inferno,” you might feel differently about Kurt Cobain.
Charley Crockett – Music City USA
On the shortlist for classic country album of the year, Charley Crockett’s Music City USA covers all of the bases, including George George, Hank Williams, all the way to Bill Withers and beyond.
With the songwriting perfectly complementing his syrupy voice, “Are We Lonesome Yet,” and “The World Just Broke My Heart” are at the head of the class as standout tearjerkers.
The title track harkens back to Hank Sr., and the cover of “Skip A Rope” presented here wanders slightly into murder ballad territory, while “I’m Working” has a bit of New Orleans Jazz tilt. Whether it is Texas Swing, Classic Country, ’80s George Strait, or ’70s Outlaw Country, Charley Crockett can do it all.
Jose Gonzales – Local Valley
Local Valley, his first proper album since 2015’s Vestiges and Claws, spotlights Jose Gonzales at his pastoral best. Part Nick Drake, part Jim James, the virtuoso Lyndsey Buckingham style guitar work against the hushed vocals and textured production make this one a sipping an Americano in the garden listen.
Melodic and existential, “Valle Local” is hypnotic escapism at its best, “Lilla G” has a Belafonte rhythm to it, and the garden vibe of “Honey Honey” is about as calming as a song can get.
Spend some solitude time with this soul-inspiring, heart-enhancing beauty of a record.
The Delevantes – A Thousand Turns
The Devalantes, brothers Bob and Mike Delevante, offer close-knit, skin-tight harmonies against a backdrop of infectious melodies, taut songwriting, and sparkling musicianship.
Sharing DNA with Neil Young and Tom Petty by way of The Bodeans, “Little By Little” is perfect mid-era Neil Young, “Come and Go” could have been on a 90’s John Hiatt record, and “If You Let It” brings the Everly Brothers into the mix.
There is no bad song on this record. A contemporary ear-guide might be Ray LaMontagne, but every tune presented here seems to sit on its own mantle, each one more tuneful than the last. “Junk Man” is downright Dylanesque, and “A Lot of My Mind” could have been on any of the early Byrds records. This exciting new find will be getting a lot of ear-play for many months to come.
Ronnie Wood & Friends – Mr. Luck: A Tribute to Jimmy Reed (Live at the Royal Albert Hall)
In the second installment of his live album trilogy, Ron Wood and his band released a tribute to Chuck Berry in 2019, now immortalizes Jimmy Reed, one of the founding fathers of the electric blues scene. Recorded at the Royal Albert Hall, this scorching album also features Mick Taylor, Mick Hucknall, Bobby Womack, and Paul Weller.
Sure, the guests are great here, but they never overwhelm the proceedings. The songs, rightly so, are played pretty close to the vest, and it doesn’t take long to hear the influence that Jimmy Reed had on The Rolling Stones. The highlights are many, most notably “Good Lover,” “Rock and Roll Rhumba,” and Paul Weller’s turn on “Shame Shame Shame.”
The solos are electrifying here with guest Mick Taylor, who Ron Wood replaced in the Rolling Stones, swapping licks, and the greasy harmonica will take you back to the delta.