The Top Songs of 2019 (61-65)

There have been a lot of really great songs released in 2019. This year, we will be revealing our top 100 songs five tunes at a time all the way to number one. Here are our picks for 60-56.

60. The Limboos – Where Did She Go

The limboos are the very definition of an eclectic band. Doing business out of Barcelona, Spain they combine Funk, 60’s Surf, and Soul into a gumbo of Coolness. The greasy sax on “Where Did She Go” is worth the price of admission alone.

59. The Avett Brothers – High Steppin’

This high Steppin’ anthem courtesy of Scott Avett and the Avett Brothers from their album, Closer Than Together, will literally put a little pep in your step.

58. Frank Turner – Sister Rosetta

Frank Turner pays tribute to Sister Rosetta Tharpe, The Godmother of Rock and Roll, the Sister of Soul. This one is a history lesson in a song.

57. Sheryl Crow – Tell Me When It’s Over (feat. Chris Stapelton)

An outstanding duet with Chris Stapelton lamenting that point in a melting relationship where neither party knows it’s over when it actually has been over long ago. This one is from her record, Threads, an album that features in addition to Stapelton, guest turns from Joe Walsh, Jason Isbell, Bonnie Raitt, and several others

56. The Who – All The Music Must Fade

The gut pinch of a rhythm section, this time with Zak Starkey beating the skins, is still in fine form and Roger Daltry is back, but not quite better than ever. On this first single from their upcoming release, The Who. With a “You Better You Bet” feel to it, the song and subsequent record feels like it will be a great last waltz for an iconic band.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Top Songs of 2019 (70-66)

There have been a lot of really great songs released in 2019. This year, we will be revealing our top 100 songs five tunes at a time all the way to number one. Here are our picks for 70-66.

Go back in time to picks 100-96

Go back in time to picks 95-91

Go back in time to picks 86-90

Go back in time to picks 81-85

Go back in time to picks 80-76

Go back in time to picks 75-71

70. Petrov – Divine Wine

Petrov is another one of the great bands to come out of North Carolina, this time Charlotte. With the addition of Mary Grace McKusick as the primary songwriter and lead vocalist, an added Post-Punk attitude was developed giving the band a bit of a harder edge. With a passing resemblance to the Police song “Message in a Bottle”, this is the sort of song that might be what Janis Joplin would have been recording.

69. Tiny Ruins – School of Design

It is hard to imagine that a chance wandering into the library of a school of design to kill some time would yield such elegance, but imagine no more. This sparse pastoral beauty finds beauty in simple things like the well-designed clocks all ticking in time.

68. Bryan Adams – Whiskey in A Jar

Listen closely, as you likely will never see this sentence written in this space ever again. This new Bryan Adams song is really cool, and unironically so. Playing things acoustically safe Adams’ gargle with razor blades voice seems to be perfectly suited to this Thin Lizzy rocker. Sure, he goes all Rod Stewart unplugged on the arrangement, but hey, it is sort of good to see the guy relevant again in this new Millenium.

67. The National – Light Years

As you work your way through the highly excellent new National L.P., I Am Easy To Find, and the 16 songs presented to you, there, at the very end, the last track on the record is “Light Years.” It seems like a simple song, starting off with a piano melody morphing into the hushed vocals of Matt Berninger. Simple it may be, but it is a beauty.

66. Anderson . Paak – Make It Better (feat. Smokey Robinson)

This one is clearly the bedroom, between the sheets, jam of the year. Who among us wouldn’t want to rekindle a bit of romance by getting jiggy with it in a motel room just like you used to do? With Smokey Robinson in fine form, this one could have come right from a 1972 hot tub time machine.

 

 

 

 

 

The Top Songs of 2019 (75-71)

There have been a lot of really great songs released in 2019. This year, we will be revealing our top 100 songs five tunes at a time all the way to number one. Here are our picks for 75-71.

Go back in time to picks 100-96

Go back in time to picks 95-91

Go back in time to picks 86-90

Go back in time to picks 81-85

Go back in time to picks 80-76

75. Ezra Collective (feat. Jorja Smith) – Reason in Disguise

There is more than a little bit of Talking Book era Stevie Wonder vibing going on with this highly groove-able jam that features Jorja Smith providing the vocals fronting the Progressive Jazz ensemble Ezra Collective.

74. Illiterate Light – Carolina Lorelei

The band Illiterate Light is one of our under the radar bands of the year. Blending the ethos from Neil Young, My Morning Jacket, and Fleet Foxes, these guys produce soaring, psychedelic Indie Rock of the highest order. “Carolina Lorelei” is a love song wrapped in a sweater of Rock and Roll.

73. Josh Ritter – Old Black Magic

A touch of Petty, a bit of Dylan, there is a lot of coolness going here that is made even hipper with Jason Isbell’s crackin’ band The 400 Unit backing Josh Ritter on this one. The album, Fever Breaks, is one of the best of the year.

72. Karen O & Danger Mouse – Turn The Light

With a bass line that would make Bootsy Collins blush, this mid-tempo Funk soong is hipper than an episode of Hugh Hefner’s Playboy After Dark. The entire album, Lux Prima, is well worth a serious listen.

71. Mandolin Orange – The Wolves

The band Mandolin Orange is slowly creeping into our list of favorite bands. This North Carolina band has a lot to say and on “The Wolves” they tackle the handling of grief and coming through that tunnel to brighter days. Andrew Marlin has a real Jason Isbell tenor to his voice and can stand quill for quill with him on the songwriting front, and Multi-Instrumentalist Emily Frantz brings to mind Allison Krause and Amanda Shires.

 

 

 

 

 

The Top Songs of 2019 (80-76)

There have been a lot of really great songs released in 2019. This year, we will be revealing our top 100 songs five tunes at a time all the way to number one. Here are our picks for 80-76.

Go back in time to picks 100-96

Go back in time to picks 95-91

Go back in time to picks 86-90

Go back in time to picks 81-85

80. Marcus King Band – Carolina

Marcus King and his band are one of several new groups that are gaining popularity with their fan forward live shows, superb musicianship, and stellar songwriting. Recorded at RCA’s Studio A in Nashville and produced by producer du-jour Dave Cobb, the six-minute slow roll sort of a song features the soaring vocals and stinging guitar courtesy of the bandleader and namesake, Marcus King.

79. Bill Callahan – What Comes After Certainty

With a voice so low and slow it would make Leonard Cohen proud, this delicate love song sort of strays around to from professing his love to the woman of his dreams all the way to signing Willie’s guitar without The Red Headed Stranger knowing he was doing it and surfing in Kaui on his honeymoon. True love is not magic, it’s certainty.

78.  Billie Eilish – Bad Guy

959,703,699 (make that 959,703,700) plays on Spotify can’t be wrong, can they? The song has an infectious driving down the highway at 120 miles an hour driving beat with a distinct essence of Krautrock wafting in the air. The song is about people that expend a lot of hot air telling you what kind of person they are when, in reality, they are someone totally different. Pretty ambitious for a 17-year-old.

77. Black Keys – Low/High

The Black Keys, Patrick Carney and Dan Auerbach, are back and better than ever. Their latest record, Let’s Rock, very much lives up to its billing, and the best song in this barrel of pickles, “Low/High” is a T-Rex by way of Ty Seagall stomper with a little touch of The Sweet thrown in for good measure.

76. Ex Hex – Rainbow Shiner

While Ex Hex may be somewhat of a supergroup featuring members of Wild Flag, Aquarium, and Fire Tapes, what they really are is one hell of a Rock and Roll Band. “Rainbow Shiner” very well could have been the B side of The Runaway’s “Cherry Bomb” from back in the day.

 

 

Five Cool Ones: Five New Records Released This Week (November 15, 2019)

Yes, we are definitely in the dog days of music releases. More Christmas records are starting to pollute our atmosphere, and there is a limited palette for artists to release a record with limited time to crank up the marketing machine to get the word out before the holiday lost in the shuffle scramble kicks in. But don’t panic, we have done the work so you don’t have to and cherry-picked a couple of fine listens for you to enjoy. Editors note, we contractually obligated to let you know that the cue tip on a stick, as Elton calls her, Celine Dion, has a new record out. Unless you are a fan of Cher, stay clear of this one.

Lady Antebellum – Ocean

Not sure why, but Lady Antebellum is somewhat of a guilty pleasure band in the halls of Rock is the New Roll. Every time we listen to them most of us, Bernie Sparrow, is somewhat of an old-school purist, but the rest of us will wonder why we don’t listen to them more. On this record, sure there are some soul-shattering bro-country, cookie-cutter tunes, but, mixed in are some downright semi-rockers like “You Can Do You.” The buttery vocal interplay with all of the band members jumping in is still as cool as when our ears first experienced the band courtesy of their mega-hit “Need You Now.” There is no splitting of the atom going on here but on songs Like “Boots,” there is even a bit of Rock in their Roll. All this being said, they should be forgiven if at times here they sound like a combination of Hall and Oates and The Little River Band.

Joe Henry – The Gospel According To Water

Working through this set of songs as he was battling his treatments for prostate cancer, the tightly woven set of songs was recorded in his home studio over the course of two days. As expected the record has a definite DIY feel to it which is exactly what was intended. Originally approached as a project to gather a series of demos for use in a more fully fleshed out record,  Henry rightfully decided to release these close to the bone recordings as a cathartic experience for himself more than anything else.

Milky Chance – Mind The Moon

The duo that brought you “Stolen Dance,” the absolute monster earworm of a song that was pretty much the soundtrack of 2014, is back with their third long-player, and it is pretty strong. The opener “Fado” is a multi-textured affair that carries a bit of a Santana feel with it, and “Eden’s House” with Ladysmith Black Mambazo sounds like it could have been a lost Graceland demo. Overall, this one won’t have you at hello but the diverse soundscapes that are created with varied textures as you stroll through the tracks will reward your ears with frequent visits. “Scarlet Paintings” is pretty much an aural stunner.

Juliana Hatfield – Juliana Hatfield Sings The Police

If Juliana Hatfield likes a band you can be sure that we are going to hear about it. As a quick follow-up to her 2018 record, Juliana Hatfield sings Olivia Newton-John, Hatfield memorializes another influential band from her teens with the appropriately named Juliana Hatfield Sins The Police. Thankfully, she keeps things interesting and offers unique, almost Go-Go’s worthy arrangements for most of the songs. Not sticking to the hits, a couple of deep cuts are covered including the splendid up-tempo tunes “Landlord” and “Murder By Numbers” cranking up the guitars to 11.  Throwing everything she’s got into each number, even if you are not a big Police fan the energy that zips from song to song makes this one a real winner. “Canary In A Coal Mine” is worth the price of admission alone and Juliana does the impossible and makes “De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da” listenable.

Jack Broadbent – Moonshine Blue

Pay close ear-tention here. You will be hearing much more from this dude in 2020 and for years to come. Already hailed as the new master of the slide guitar by the folks that run the Montreaux Jazz Festival Broadbent offers up a unique blend of virtuosic acoustic guitar playing to accompany his from The Crossroads slide work. Having recently opened for Peter Frampton, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Robben Ford, Moonshine Blue, his fourth album, should put this guy on the map.  The title track “Moonshine Blue” is one of the better songs of 2019, and “If” has Duane Allman rolling over his grave reaching for his guitar to challenge Jack to a slide guitar duel. “Wishing Well” is a jaw-dropper. Editors Note: After five listens the Rock is the New Roll review team as moved this record into the top 10 for 2019.

 

 

 

 

The Top Songs of 2019 (85-81)

There have been a lot of really great songs released in 2019. This year, we will be revealing our top 100 songs five tunes at a time all the way to number one. Here are our picks for 90-86.

Go back in time to picks 100-96

Go back in time to picks 95-91

Go back in time to picks 86-90

85. The Cactus Blossoms – Desperado

When the guitar kicks on at about the 1:30 mark you can pretty much close your eyes and picture yourself sitting in a bar in North Beach S.F. listening to the Everly Brothers play a set just before the last call. This song is some sort of devil hybrid of The Righteous Brothers, The Everly Brothers, and Simon and Garfunkel. To add to the sweetness here, the record was produced by Rock is the New Roll favorite, Dan Auerbach.

84. Cherie Currie, Brie Darling – The Motivator

What do you get when you combine a favorite Runaway, Cherie Currie, along with the drummer from the 70’s all-girl band Fanny, Brie Darling, with a covers album of under the radar and over the radar hits? A cool as hell record, that’s what. The best of the lot on this highly listenable album is the outstanding cover version of the T Rex classic, “The Motivator.” Glam respects Glam.

83. Dale Watson – Call Me Lucky

When all is said, as the old school Honky Tonk singers are one by one carried by six white horses to the pearly gates, Dale Watson just might be the last sawdust dance floor crooner standing. On his latest record, Watson isn’t reinventing the stetson, he’s just doing what he does best. “One on the right, one on the left one is a blonde one’s a brunette if you don’t know my name I bet that you can guess, they call me lucky.”

82. Durand Jones & The Indications – Cruisin’ To The Park

Duran Jones along with his band, The Indications, has released quite probably the Soul record of the year, American Love Call. With retro-coolness inherent in everything they do, Smokey Robinson, The Temptations, and Marvin Gaye all come back to life right before our very ears. “Cruisin’ To The Park” is not from their 2019 release, it is a surprise throw-out single, but don’t sleep on it. This one should be your slow jam get jiggy with it in the boudoir song of the year.

81. Flying Colors – Love Letter

A supergroup of sorts consisting of members culled from Dream Theater, Spock’s Beard, and The Dixie Dregs, this one is for fans of ELO, Queen, 70’s era Beach Boys, and Pre-“Show Me the Way” Peter Frampton. Soaring harmonies, crisp melodic instrumentation, and skin-tight drumming courtesy of maestro Mike Portnoy all adds to the fun. Don’t let that slight wafting of progressive rock courtesy of the bong smokers in the corner steer you away from this one.

 

Live Video of the Day: The Black Crowes – She Talks To Angels (Live In Atlanta 1991)

The office halls of Rock is the New Roll are giddy with delight over the reunion of the Brothers Robinson and their subsequent tour next year. Now, if only the Davies brothers can get their stuff together for a Kinks get together. Are you listening, Noel and Liam?