Hold on to your ears, fall is here, and we are about to enter into the best time of the year when artists pool their resources and release music for the holiday season. And, of course, everything is just a placeholder until the new Elvis Costello record comes out.
In the meantime, Elton John and Stevie Wonder have collaborated on a single in advance of Elton’s collabo-heavy record to be released later in the year.
Sleaze rockers ’80s Bush have a new video, “Sleazy, Dirty, Rock ‘n Roll,” from their latest single.
And, Rock is the new Roll favorite Jason Isbell has released a terrific version of “Midnight Train To Georgia” from his upcoming sure-to-be spectacular album, Georgia Blue. Amanda Shires, Mrs. Jason Isbell commands the song as if she wrote it.
And, if all of that is not enough, here are five albums that we think are cool that were released this week.
Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga – Love For Sale
With what will likely be Tony Bennet’s final album, the King of San Francisco revisits the partnership with Lady Gaga that was forged back in 2014 with their stellar album, Cheek to Cheek.
There is no new ground trailed on this one, the songs selected here are all reliable standards, but that’s not the point. Tony Bennett is a national treasure, and if this is the last hurrah, he will be going off to the sunset on a very high note, with one of his best albums in several years under his belt.
The arrangements and production value put forth here are pretty much perfect. The string and instrumental interludes show up in just the right places at just the right time. And Bennet’s voice, if it is even possible, seems even in better form than he demonstrated on his last proper record, 2018’s Love Is Here To Stay with Diana Krall.
With nothing mailed in on this record, this one is for fans of ’50’s cocktail jazz, standards, classic crooners, and lovers everywhere.
Illuminati hotties – Let Me Do One More
Sarah Tudzin, the singer, songwriter, producer, and overall girl-genius behind the Illuminati Hotties, delivers a solid set of pop-punk tunes that is eccentric, off-kilter at times, and altogether refreshing.
Self glossed as “tenderpunk,” the blend of punk, Indie Rock, Desert Psych, and Pop seems to provide a perfect siren for those late-twenties young adults that are leaving their childhood behind and blasting into full-fledged adulthood.
The bouncy opener “Pool Hopping” is a proper introduction to the band and their genre-hopping ways. “Cheap Shoes” sounds like it could have been a Replacements tune, and “KickFlip” is an aggressively atmospheric doozy.
Pay attention to this record. It has top five of the year written all over it.
Ducks Ltd. – Modern Fiction
All of the cool-band touchstones are present and account for when it comes to the Toronto-based duo, Ducks Ltd. Big Star-worthy jangle-pop chords, Replacements ramshackle splendor, and Indie Rock grandiosity that could have appeared on the Pixies Doolittle record are all represented on this record.
The opener “How Lonely Are You” hits on all cylinders while “Sullen Learning Hope” puts the jangle in jangle pop. “18 Cigarettes” is a slow-burning corker that would have been quite neighborly with The Replacements Let It Be album, and “Twere Ever Thus” has a bit of an Elvis Costello flair in its DNA.
This top-notch listen should put Ducks Ltd. squarely on your Indie Rock Radar as a new band to watch.
Doobie Brothers – Brothers of Liberte
The best thing about Liberte, the new record from The Doobie Brothers, is that they still sound like the Doobie Brothers. The better thing is that they sound like the pre-Michael Mcdonald Doobie Brothers.
Three of the core members are present and accounted for on this one. Tom Johnston, Pat McFee, and Pat Simmons are all in fine form, singing and playing like it was 1979.
“Oh Mexico” is a lilting country rocker that would fit in quite nicely on a Blackberry Smoke record, “Easy” is pure, vintage Fandango era Doobies, and “Amen Old Friends” will be added to my circle of life playlist to be played at my funeral.
If you were a fan of the band before Takin’ It To The Streets was released, this record is a must-hear for you.
Brandi Carlile – In These Silent Days
In These Silent Days, the latest from Brandi Carlile is quite simply a tour-de-force. With elements of 70’s singer-songwriter along with a genre-defying sensibility courtesy of producers Dave Cobb and Shooter Jennings, it wouldn’t be a stretch if we were to find out that Carlile is actually the love child of Elton John and Joni Mitchell.
“This Time Tomorrow” is a beautiful ode to better days, while “Broken Horses” flips the script back to the days of mid-era Dolly Parton, and is a powerful song that might be the best of the set.
With a voice that floats somewhere South of k.d. Lang and North of Susan Tedeschi with songwriting chops to match, it is a good thing that Carlile has taken time off from riding with the Highwomen and resurrecting Tanya Tucker’s career to deliver one of the best albums of the year.