Five Cool Ones: Five New Albums Released This Week (November 4, 2022)

Halloween is over, the Christmas season is here and the last real week of album releases is still a fortnight away. But, in the meantime there are a lot of new releases to savor.

The Electric Mob are out with a rock-stomper and their single, “By The Name (nanana).

Indie rockers Sloan are back and bubbling up with their new single, Dream It All Over Again.)

And, newcomer Felix Weaver is scorching the earth with his new record.

But, wait, don’t put down those head phones just yet. Here are five new albums to tickle the earbuds this week.

The Lone Bellow – Love Songs For Losers

Morphing themselves from a Roots-Americana sound to a more Indie Rock AOR vibe that brings to Mind Fleetwood Mac, the resulting output may sound like an entirely new band, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

The opener, “Honey” could have been a “Big Love” B side from Tango In The Night, “Gold” is a smartly written song that blasts across the speakers with the flair of Joshua Tree era U2, and “Wherever Your Heart Is” hits the ears like Dawes guesting on a Paul Simon single.

You might be familiar with the single “Homesick” as the song is used in the renovation series The Williams Family Cabin. And, “Caught Me Thinking” adds some horns and R&B tones spicing up an already eclectically delicious brew.

Moon City Masters – The Famous Moon City Masters

A throw back in all the best of ways, the opener, “Takin’ It Back” from the latest Moon City Masters record will take you all the way back to the James Gang ‘70s, bell-bottoms, cowbell and all. “”Spinning Wheels” is pure Toulouse Street Doobie Brothers, and their cover of the Beatles “I’ve Got A Feeling” has a Bad Company vibe to it and is one of the best songs we have heard all year.

Firmly riding in the neo-classic rock genre, Moon City Masters are painting their own soundscapes making fresh an otherwise tired genre.

Classic Rock Magazine says that their music is full of heart, harmonies, and rays of California sunshine. And, who are we to disagree.

Glen Phillips – There Is So Much Here

As the lead singer and major-domo of Toad The Wet Sprocket, Glen Phillips knows his way around a pop song. On his own since 2001, Phillips may not have surpassed the dizzying heights of the “Walk On The Ocean” days, but ignore at your own peril, his solo work is pretty great.

The opener, “Stone Throat” lays down the palate quite nicely with a breezy tempo on a layer of sparkling guitars. “Other Birds of Prey” has a Tom Petty feel to it, and “Center of the Circle” reminds us all to seek our better angels.

As the title might suggest, there is so much to see here. This one is pure pop for pure people.

Tuk Smith & The Restless Hearts – Ballad of a Misspent Yourh

Back to the ‘70s in the Hot Tub Time Machine, Tuk Smith rises from the ashes of his tumultuous period with the Biters to lay down an energetic, set of pure rock and roll the way it was meant to be played.

Part glam in the Sweet mold, part Thin Lizzy, most notably with the “Boys are Back In Town” spirit that “Girls on the East Side Of Town” Inhabits, every song in this set seems to be a festival-worthy anthem.

“Everybody Loves You When You’re Dead” is an interesting take on “Nobody Loves You (When You’re Down and Out), and “Love Sick City” is a Motley Crue worthy anthem.

First Aid Kit – Palomino

With Palomino, their fifth proper long player, Swedish siblings Klara and Johanna Soderberg, collectively known as First Aid Kit, have certainly hit their stride.

With their signature Fleetwood Mac meets Kate Bush sound still intact with songs as brilliantly constructed as “Wild Horses II” with the stellar line, you prefer The Rolling Stones, and I like Gram, their songwriting prowess has jumped to to the next level.

The song “29 Palms Highway” is perfect late night drive fare, “Ready to Run” could have been yet another hit on Jagged Little Pill, and “Angel” could have been on any Fleetwood Mac album.

Considering the mix of Indie Folk, Fleetwood Mac Pop, and Everly Brothers harmonies along with Simon & Garfunkel worthy production techniques presented here, with Palomino, First Aid Kit may have just painted their masterpiece.

Best Albums of 2022: Librarians With Hickeys – Handclaps & Tambourines

From the opening blast of “I Better Get Home” from Handclaps and Tambourines, the latest album from Librarians with Hickeys, you will think you have been time-warped all the way back to the middle of the groove line at Austin Powers’ wedding reception. This record is that cool.

Fresh, propulsive, Power Pop in power drive, with a distinct undercurrent of Psychedelia, these bookworms lay down plenty of hookworms. “Lady Overdrive” is a perfect soundtrack for that early summer convertible drive down the Pacific Coast Highway, the ebullient “Over You” sounds like the best of Badfinger if they had been a little less depressed, and the ballad-ish “Stumbling Down Memory Lane” clearly demonstrates that this band is no one Cheap Trick Pony with the songwriting chops to match the Power Pop splendor.

Certainly subject to change as we are only 6 spins into the record so far, a favorite song in the set is “Last Days of Summer,” a song that likely would have been a hit song in the canon of the mid-era Beach Boys. Avoid the temptation to pigeonhole this one into any one particular sub-genre, put on the headphones, and immersive yourself in what is turning out to be one of the wholly satisfying listens of the year.

Five Cool Ones: Five New Albums Released This Week (October 7, 2022)

Albeit, if we are being honest, this week is a bit tepid on the new release front. But fear not gentle readers as we are doing the work so you don’t have to.

The excitement is building in Rock is the New Roll HQ with the new single and video “Turning Onto You” from First Aid Kit. Look for a new album in early 2023.

New Skynyrd loving Southern Rock favorites Black Stone Cherry are releasing songs from their Live From The Royal Albert Hall album, this time featuring “Peace Is Free.”

And, Tuk Smith & The Restless Hearts are out with one of the best songs they have ever put out. Part Cheap Trick, some Jellyfish with a bit of Queen thrown in, and all cool.

But wait, that’s not all. Here are five voice albums to tickle the earbuds this week.

The Mahones – Paint The Town Red

This Celtic-centric band from Kingston, Ontario Canada is the real deal. And, with this record, Paint The Town Red, the band having been around since 1993 is at the top of their game.

It is rare when an album comes out that is the perfect salve for a point in time that desperately calls out for a set of anthems the likes of which are presented here. All of the familiar Emerald Isle touch points are front and center from The Waterboys to This Lizzy, The Chieftains and beyond.

Devil in the bottle is the requisite drinking song that would make the Dropkick Murphys blush, “Rise Up (Be Strong) comes rolling down the rails like some devil hybrid of The Dexy’s and U2 with even a bit of a ramshackle Replacements vibe, and the propulsive base line on the lead track, “Paint the Town Red,” is the most purely Irish sounding song in the set and prepares the palate just perfectly for what is to come.

A nuanced listen for sure, this one is a lot of gold at the end of a listening rainbow for sure.

Ginger Wildheart & The Sinners – Ginger Wildheart & The Sinners

Mostly known for his rock and roll side with his band The Wildhearts, with this incarnation as Ginger Wildheart & The Sinners there is an Americana bent to the music much in the mold of his work Jason and the Scorchers.

The Country rock and ‘70’s rock interplay on this record is refreshingly eclectic on this record and the cover songs curated here in The Georgia Satellite’s “Six Years Gone,” as well as the Status Quo classic “Dirty Water” represents a band that is at the top of their game.

The opener “Wasted Times” is best consumed with the top down rolling down the Pacific Coast Highway, and “Code of the Road,” a song that provides a glimpse behind the scenes at what life on the road with a touring band is like would have made for a perfect Dr. Hook song back in the day.

The Cult – Under The Midnight Sun

It seems that a band that has been around for over 40 years should have more than 11 albums under their belt, but here, Ian Astbury, Billy Duffy and the rest of the band clearly know the formula that works for them as their latest record, Under The Midnight Sun, represents the band at the top of their game.

The vocals are soaring throughout particularly on “Vendetta X” where Astbury rings to the cheap seats of the stadium with a vocal that would make Bono proud, and “Outer Heaven” is as swirling a powerhouse of a rock song that the band as ever laid own. And, “Knife Through Butterfly Heart” could have been on any of the early Doors records.

The most fulfilling aspect of this record is that the band really seems to enjoy playing together with a spark an energy that is palpable on every song. Don’t look now, but the rock album of the year may have just mad it’s presence known.

The Bobby Lee’s – Bellevue

This high energy, furnace blast of a record puts the post in Post-Punk. As frenetic as the Ramones before Phil Spector got a hold of them, the Bobby Lee’s are all about blasting through the status quo in short, sometimes off-kilter blasts of sub 2:00 CBGB worthy glory.

“Ma Likes To Drink” has a B-52’s “Rock Lobster” in its DNA, and “Death Train” roars down the tracks as if Ty Segall was a member of Van Halen, and the band even stretches things out a bit on the lower and slower slow burn of “Strange Days” with the song weighing in at 2:43.

Nuanced where it needs to be and perfectly apoplectic in spots, this is a record that will bring out the secret punk rocker that resides in all of us.

Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott – N.K-Pop

Having been part of the Housemartins in the ‘80’s and The Beautiful South in the ‘90’s, Paul Heaton definitely knows his way around a pop song. And, here with N.K-Pop, his with Jacqui Abbott, we have exhibit A.

As close to a perfect pop record that your ears will savor this year, the chemistry and lyric sparring skills that booth artists have on display here are complementary sides of the same coin. “Good Times” is a bouncy and ebullient opener, “I drove her away with my tears” is a perfectly constructed Brit-Pop single, and “Baby It’s Cold Inside” is a poignant juxtaposition of the original classic.

And, as if you needed another reason to admire Paul Heaton, to celebrate his 60th birthday he left 1,000 pounds behind the bar in 60 random pubs throughout the U..K.

Five Cool Ones: Five New Records Released This Week (September 30, 2022)

Another week in the books and things seem to be cranking. We were a bit skeptical when we heard that The Boss was putting out a Soul covers record, but holy Motown, by the sounds of this single that has leaked out it is going to be great.

Librarians with Hickeys have a new one out that is a Power Pop pleasure.

And, the Big Star, Badfinger devotees The Bablers tickle the ears with their new single “You Are The One For Me.”

Dead Daisies – Radiance

For those about to rock, we salute you. Here at Rock is the New Roll H.Q. we are big fans of Glen Hughes, next to David Coverdale our favorite Rock singe. And, by extension, we are cards to the middle of the table, all in, on the latest Dead Daisies record, Radiance.

Full of high-tone ‘70s rock swagger in the Deep Purple mold, this super group that consists of former Whitesnake guitarist David Aldrich, Glen Hughes, major-domo and bandleader David Lowy, and drummer for hire Brian Tichy, pull out all of the stops on a record that is full of heavy riffs, soaring vocals, and monster drumming.

Sure, the music is not very subtle and there is not much room for nuance, but if you like Alice Cooper, Deep Purple, Rainbow, or Ronnie James Dio, then this record is right up your horns up street.

2nd Grade – Easy Listening

The Philadelphia five-piece that is 2nd Grade is poised for next-level greatness with their third proper full-length, Easy Listening.

The texture transitions from song to song that the band pulls off makes for not only an interesting listen, but also rewards the listener with new signature Nuggets to be unfurled with each successive spin.

The opener “Cover of Rolling Stone,” no not that one, is a short fuzz-laden, straight ahead rocker, and “Strung Out On You” is a Power Pop gem in the Weezer and Fountains of Wayne mold. And, believe it or not, there is a bit of James Gang essence on “Controlled Burn.”

“Wouldn’t It Be Nice To Let It Be” shows the band’s softer side as well as highlights their songwriting acumen, and “Keith and the Telecaster” has a bit of a Ramones feel to it.

Pound for pound one of the most eclectically cool records of the year, look for this one to show up on several best-of lists later in the year.

The Airport 77s – We Realize You Have A Choice

From the opening Journey by way of Night Ranger riffage on “One Good Thing About Summer” to the Cheap Trick if The Struts Luke Spiller fronted the band splendor of “Birthday Girl” the ears are tuned to coolness with this sophomore release of Airport 77s.

With the lyric, “He has a photo with Sammy Hagar and tattoo that says Aloha,” on “Losers Win,” you get a sense of the whimsical side of the band, and the soaring gang vocals imbedded in “Somebodies” is pure ‘80s rock that would make The Romantics proud.

Putting the power in Power Pop and the radio in Radio Friendly, this banger of a record might force you to change the needle on your turntable you will be playing it so much. And, yes, there is cowbell.

Buddy Guy – The Blues Don’t Lie

Blues man Buddy guy doesn’t stray too far from home here, but when you apply your craft so well, that is never a bad thing.

From the opener, “I Let My Guitar Do The Talking” it is abundantly clear that there is a lot left in the blues tank and Guy has lost nothing on his fastball, either vocally or instrumentally.

The title track is a poignant reflection on Sonny Boy Williamson that told Buddy that the blues never die when he left Chicago for Little Rock to die, and “The World Needs Love” is a slow burner with a message for the times.

The proceedings heat up in the back half of the record with guest turns from the likes of James Taylor, Elvis Costello and Bobby Rush. And the emotionally devastating “Gunsmoke Blues” with Jason Isbell lays bare the issue of gun control. And, for the record, the cover of The Beatles “I’ve Got a Feeling” presented here is epic.

The pristine production, careful curation of the contributors, and strength and tenor of his playing and his vocals combine to make this record one of the best albums the blues legend has put out on the last 10 years.

Alice Cooper – Live From The Astroturf

This 12th proper Alice Cooper live Alice Cooper record this one was recorded live in 2015 at Good Records Dallas, Tx.

Featuring mostly the original Cooper line up, Alice, Dennis Dunaway, Michael Bruce and Neil Smith with Ryan Roxie filling in for the late Glen Buxton, this intimate performance is notable in that stripped of the often over the top stage theatrics Cooper engages the audience with story telling stage banter that adds to the enjoyment level of the concert.

With songs focusing on the glory days of the band, “Be My Lover,” “I’m 18,” and “School’s Out” blast from your speakers as if these men of a certain age were playing them for the first time.

This one is a must-have for fans of Alice Cooper and a definite peek into the glory days of rock and roll. For extra credit there is a documentary of this event that includes Q&A’s with the band members.

Five Cool Ones: Five New Records Released This Week (September 16, 2022)

Somehow, Ozzy Osborne was able to convince Eric Clapton to play on his new album and the latest single, “One of Those Days.”

Magnolia Park is doing their best Fountains of Wayne impersonation on the fantastically catchy “Addison Rae.”

And, the garage rock noise-nicks Murlocs come out blasting with their new one, “Ballerine Ballerina.”

But wait, don’t turn those ears down just yet, here a five more cool sounds for you to savor this week.

Crossword Smiles – Pressed & Ironed

As debut albums go, Pressed & Ironed, delivered by Crossword Smiles, is as great a debut record that you are likely to hear all year. From the breezy Little River Band adjacent “October Leaves” to the calmer side of The Replacements on “…Where’s The Sense,” and sliding into the early Who evoking wonderment of “The Girl With a Penchant For Yellow,” on this one, all of the coolest touchstones coalesce into a pool of power pop perfection.

From the opener, “Feet on the Ground,” the listener is introduced to a sparkling new band that brings to the minds-ear pre-Sweethearts of the Rodeo Byrds, and “Take It On the Chin” would have fit in quite likely between Full Moon Fever and Damn the Torpedos in the Tom Petty canon while the epic “Parallel Lines” seems to share some DNA with The Zombie’s and “She’s Not There.”

With the crisp and pristine production combined with an ear-pleasing mix with the vocals floating just in front of the guitars, there is no puzzle to be solved with these crosswords. 5 across, 6 letters……WINNER.

Rhett Miller – The Misfit

Rhett Miller, the head man of The Old 97’s doesn’t come out to play solo very often, his last effort was way back in 2018 with The Messenger, but when he does, the results are typically outstanding as is the case with The Misfit.

Once again teaming up with Sam Cohen, a former member of Apollo Sunshine, this time out the order of the day is psychedelic infused Indie Pop instead of the Americana version of The Replacements like we are used to with him. Touches of Big Star, The Beatles and Tom Petty make this one a relaxing sail in calm waters.

Starcrawler – She Said

With front-woman Arrow De Wilde and their new record She Said, the band Starcrawler is in full throttle mode to continue their assault on rock and roll supremacy.

With a style that brings to mind John Doe and his band X, The Distillers, along with the sleazier side of The Rolling Stones, it is no wonder that they count Jack White, Dave Grohl, Angel Iggy Pop in the fold as super fans.

Lead single “Roadkill” travels down the highway sounding like The Go Go’s on steroids, “Thursday” would make The Runaways proud, and “Midnight” takes thing low and a bit back alley slow.

If this five piece L.A. collective can stay raw and hungry there is no telling the heights they can reach.

Ondara – Spanish Villager No. 3

Having taken the Americana world by storm with his Grammy nominated album Tales of America, Nairobi, Kenya native Ondara moved to Bob Dylan’s Minnesota stomping grounds in an attempt to capture some of the mojo from his idol.

Now, three years beyond his debut, Ondara finds himself settling into his new life quite nicely, case in point the autobiographical “An Alien in Minneapolis.” With songs like “A Shakedown in Berlin,” “A Seminar in Tokyo,” and “A Drowning in Mexico City” the album is part travelogue, part vagabond love letter, and all heart courtesy of an artist that really should be more widely known than he is.

The Black Angels – Wilderness of Angels

Remaining slavishly devoted to Psychedelic Rock forbearers Syd Barrett Roky Erickson, and Arthur Lee, Austin’s Black Angels deliver on all fronts with this mellotron forward, swirling tour de force.

On “The River” Syd and Roky along with members of The Velvet Underground are name-checked, while “Firefly” is straight up ‘60s flashback, Donovan by way of Austin Powers. And, “A Walk on the Wild Side” careens down the paisley highway managing to bring itself together just as the proceedings seem to be blindly veering into magical mystery tour territory.

This record is yet another ambitious undertaking from a band that continues to push the psychedelic boundaries.

Best Albums of 2022: Color Green – Color Green

Color Green consists of the Los Angeles-based duo Noah Kohll and Corey Madden. Brought together on a shared love of Laurel Canyon-tinged Americana, there is a wafting of Grateful Dead, free form Allman Brothers, and The Byrds throughout their eponymous debut record.

“Bell of Silence” has a psychedelic aura about it that would make Pink Floyd proud, “Ill Fitting Suit” is The Grateful Dead by way of Gram Parsons era Burrito Brothers, and “Ruby” slinks along like a classic Doors Song.

And, whatever you do, don’t miss the astral head trip journey that “Verdolaga Dreams” will take you on. Stopping just short of genre-hopping the eclectic mix of Americana, Cosmic Cowboy, and Funk-lite makes this one a platter worthy of multiple spins on your turntable for the rest of the year.

Five Cool Ones: Five New Records Released This Week (September 2, 2022)

Out of pocket for the last couple of weeks, but we are back and better than ever. The rumors of our demise have been greatly exaggerated.

The Struts are back to once again save Rock and Roll.

If Blackberry Smoke backing up Sheryl Crow is your jam, then the latest from the Poe siblings means the latest Larkin Poe single is up your street.

And, The Hu, your favorite Mongolian throat singing band, are back and as mind boggling as ever.

But let’s move on. Here are five solid albums released this week to tickle your ears.

The Orchids – Dreaming Kind

Back and better than ever after reforming in 2020, Scottish popsters Orchids with their new record features everything that you love about the band, Meandering guitar melodies, emotive vocals, and songs that go from beauty to sadness at the drop of a note are the order of the day.

“This Boy Is A Mess” will bring to mind vintage Echo and the Bunnymen, “Limitless #1 (Joy) has a real mid-era Beach Boys vibe, and “Something Missing” is a slow burn Jangle Pop delight.

A joyful new find for these ears, this record will get multiple plays in the Rock is the New Roll listening rotation.

Jon Pardi – Mr. Saturday Night

Coming out of the gates with another dose of Honky Tonk ennui much in the same vein as 2019’s Heartache Medication, Vol. 2, Mr. Saturday Night walks that delicate line between Bro Country, Midland vintage Nudie Suit Country, and traditional Honky Tonk.

The title track, laments the Sunday morning side of a Saturday night blowout, “Neon Light Speed” is a bit of an ‘80s Brooks and Dunn throwback, they are even name checked on the song, and “Smokin’ A Doobie” is pure escapist fare where Pardi manages to rhyme doobie and Guadalupe without the slightest hint of irony.

A slightly slick affair, with not much outlaw in this country, but there is enough to like on this record to give it a spin while your drinking a Margarita at the Tipsy Turtle in Galveston.

Kenny Neal – Straight From The Heart

One of the torch bearers of the Louisiana Swamp Blues movement, Kenny delivers a guest-laden master class in the genre with his latest, Straight From The Heart.

Hot newcomer Christine “Kingfish” Ingram scorches the earth on “Mount Up On The Wings of the King,” New Orleans OG Rockin’ Dopsie let’s the good times roll with “Bon Temps Rouler,” and Neal takes things into his own strings on the horn-laden tribute to his home town on “New Orleans.”

Given that his pops counts Buddy Guy and Slim Harpo among his friends, it comes as no surprise that Kenny Neal is carrying the New Orleans sound to dizzying new heights.

Kris Kristofferson – Live at Gilly’s, Pasadena, Tx, 1981.

Not quite at the peak of his powers, yet a powerful earmark of the artist at his grizzled best, this set from the famed Gilly’s Roadhouse might be his best live record this side of the Austin City Limits sessions.

Kicking things off with a scorching version of “Me and Bobby McGee,” the energy is tuned to 11 and the crowd seems to be well lubed up and appreciative. The deeper cut, “Here Comes That Rainbow Again,” is pure Kristofferson with that raggedly tinged voice , clear and sharp, as if he were delivering the lines for the very fist time. And, by the time “Sunday Morning” comes down you can hear a pin drop as the lucky fans in attendance feel every word he is singing to the core of their bones.

Best consumed with a double bourbon on the rocks with a fine set of headphones, this is a must-listen historical document from an artist that will stand the test of time.

Pat Green – Miles and Miles of You

Having lost his way for a bit chasing that neon rainbow of a major label deal, Pat Green is back to his road-worn Honky Tonk roots with his latest, Miles Andrew Miles if You. With his first set in the last three years, the opener, “… I’m Going Home” pretty much says all you need to know about this record and Pat Green’s state of mind. “If You Don’t Have a Honky Tonk” is classic Pat Green in the “George’s Bar” mold, and April 5th very much has a Jerry Jeff Walker tilt to the proceedings.

Sure, his best work at be behind him, and his collaboration with Cory Morrow on Song We Wish We’d Written is pretty epic, but it is great to have Pat Green back in his wheelhouse.

Five Cool Ones: Five New Records Released This Week (July 15, 2022)

There is a distinct anticipating in the air as the artists and the record companies are gearing up for the summer season.

Auckland, NZ’s four-piece, The Beths, has released a new video for “Expert In A Dying Field” from the album of the same name to be released in September.

Singer-songwriter Beth Orton has released “Forever Young,” no not that one, in advance of an August release date.

And, The Black Angels are zooming up our radar with the intoxicating “Firefly.”

But, don’t change the channel just yet. Here are 5 choice nuggets for your listening pleasure.

Beabadoobee – Beatopia

Beabadoobee is Indie DIY singer songwriter Bea Kristi. Famous for theTic Toc hit single, “Coffee,” her sophomore full-length is very much a fully formed affair.

Part Pop, part Psychedelic, there is even a distinct ‘90s Indie Rock feel on “10:36.” With “Talk” a summer anthem for those of a certain age.

This record is as perfect a pairing of singer-songwriter fare and Pop sheen as you will find all year.

Arlo McKinley – This Mess We’re In

Emerging out of the other side of a tough year of personal losses in the last couple of years, Arlo McKinley’s second effort is, more than anything else, about change.

“Dancing Days” mourns the death of his mother, and “Back Home” laments the death of his Beth friend to addiction.

The songwriting is crisp, the vocals front and center in the mix, and the messaging circling around addiction and mental health is perfect for the times.

Nick Dittmeier and the Sawdusters – Heavy Denim

One of those bands that built their chops on touring with a Grateful Dead-worthy road dog mentality, and if you would be so lucky as to stumble into a bar where they happened to be playing.

The songs presented here, gritty and character-driven, have been stripped down from their usual barroom fare to a more laid-back approach with a flavor of Dire Straits carrying the day.

“Doing Wrong For All The Right Reasons” has a real Sturgill Simpson aura about it, while “… Turned and Walked Away” is a strong vocal turn in the Charley Crockett mold.

Elf Power – Artificial Countrysides

Elf Power, out of Athens Ga., is another of the bands along with Apples (In Stereo) and Neutral Milk Hotel associated with the Elephant 6 collective. With hints of early R.E.M. as well as Vic Chestnutt, a former band collaborator, there is a pastoral cohesiveness to the record that makes for a pleasant listen.

The title track “Artificial Countrysides” would have fit in quite nicely on R.E.M.’s Murmer, and “Dark Rays” could have been on any of the self-titled Peter Gabriel albums.

A nice pastoral listen with hints of progressive rock and British folk to make things a bit more relaxing.

Tami Neilson – Kingmaker

Don’t let the Bond-theme swagger of “Kingmaker” the title track on Tami Neilson’s eclectically pleasing latest release sway your opinion. Shirley Bassey Bombast aside, there is a dangerous curve around every corner on this one. “Careless Woman” has a bit of R&B girl-group gravitas while “Baby, You’re A Gun” would be perfect fare for Kill Bill 3 should Tarrantino ever design to make another one.

The great Willie Nelson is even on board and featured on “Beyond the Stars,” while ’60s mojo in the dojo vibes is essenced on “Mama’s Talkin’.” Things even go lower and slower into Laura Nyro’s territory on “I Can’t Forget.”

If you are scoring at home, this record ticks off many of the cool genre boxes including Classic Country, ’60s Chanteuse, R&B, Rockabilly, Western-Noir, ’70s Rock, and more. Highly eclectic, indeed.

The 50 Best Albums of 2022 (So Far)

50. Fontaines D.C. – Skinty Fia

A turbulent record for turbulent times. Reminiscent of Joy Division at their peak, if they had been around long enough to have a peak.

49. Miranda Lambert – Palomino

15 tales of love and chasing the American dream as only Miranda Lambert can deliver. Palomino represents an artist that is maturing before our very ears.

48. Sarah Shook & The Disarmers – Nightroamer

Pedal steel-era country-tinged Rock and Roll. Sarah Shook will make you want to drink, dance, or fight in whatever order you choose.

47. St. Paul and the Broken Bones – The Alien Coast

Paul Janeway and the band venture into new musical horizons. Loosely based on the land in the Gulf of Mexico and unwanted colonization, there is a lot of soul to go with the vocal swagger.

46. Sharon Van Etten – We’ve Been Going About This All Wrong

Sharon Van Etten transfers her pandemic angst into her most personal album to date.

45. Wet Leg – Wet Leg

Hailed as the saviors of post-pandemic guitar rock, their song “Chaise Lounge” may very be the earworm of the year.

44. Jody and the Jerms – Flicker

Upbeat and sonically pleasing Power Pop from Oxford, England. Blondie, The Go Go’s, The Bangles, all of the touchstones with a scent of Americana are all front and center.

43. Father John Misty – Chloe and the Next 20th Century

Floating between bossa nova, swing, big band, and John Barry soundtrack-noir this one is about as expansive as it gets.

42. Sundowners – Pulling Back The Night

With Paul Weller and members of The Coral collaborating there can be nothing less than gorgeous harmonies and Laurel Canyon vibes.

41. The Hanging Stars – Hallow Heart

Terrific cosmic cowboy stuff from a Scottish band that wears their influences on their collective sleeves with aplomb. Listen closely and you will hear some Pink Floyd and mid-era Fleetwood Mac fertilizing the garden.

40. Jon Spencer & The Hitmakers – Spencer Gets It Lit

The Garage Rock dynamo that is Jon Spencer fires up a set of scuzz-laden grooves worthy of a night of Rock and Roll debauchery at CBGB’s. A return to worm town, indeed.

39. Kevin Morby – This is a Photograph

A love letter to Memphis of sorts, the album was inspired by a two-week stay at the historic Peabody hotel where he visited the Lorraine Motel, Graceland, and the exact bank of the Mississippi where Jeff Buckley met his demise.

37. Calexico El Mirador

Forced to stay home, these tour dogs made good use of their pandemic-induced isolation to produce this Desert-Noir classic.

36. The Lazy Eyes – Song Book

These young Aussie popsters channel everything from Revolver-era Beatles to Foxygen all the way to your favorite new psychedelic band of the day. A warm and fuzzy jam of the highest order.

35. Mordecai Smyth – Things Are Getting Stranger On The Shore

A lavishly adorned Psychedelic Pop record. Don’t let the latter-day prog feel of this one-stop you from lounging in the octopus’ garden under the influences.

34. Kai Danzberg – Satellite

All in on Jeff Lynne and ELO down to the spaceship on the cover, you are not going to hear a better hot tub time machine record this year.

33. Fantastic Negrito – White Jesus Black Problems

Never has the story of an indentured Scottish servant who falls in love with a black slave been told with such rock and roll panache. Merging Black Sabbath, James Brown, Frank Zappa, and a whole lot of Prince-ly funk, learning has rarely been this toe tapping.

32. Nicki Bluhm – Avondale Drive

Girl group Phil Spector’s swagger mixes with tropical Tiki vibes and Sheryl Crow singer-songwriter pathos for an immensely pleasing listen.

31. Sheepdogs – Outta Site

The best new band to hit our ear holes in the last 5 years. These guys are what the James Gang could have been having if they stayed together long enough to be fully formed.

30. Michael Head & The Red Elastic Band – Dear Scott

A perfect follow-up to 2017’s Adios Senor Pussycat, here, Head delivers a set of perfectly crafted songcraft.

29. Los Peyotes – Virgenes

Bold, sexy, and ear-catching, Los Peyotes is Tarantino-Noir at its most dangerous. The Surf Punk album of the year without a doubt.

28. Willie Nelson – A Beautiful Time

Another deftly produced record from the twilight of Willie’s career. The guitar picking, dusty vocals, and songwriting remind us that we should all age as gracefully as Willie.

27. Kurt Vile – (watch my moves)

With spit-shined lyrics and Pop sensibilities that would make Matthew Sweet blush, this set of laid-back missives will swirl around in your head long after the last note is played.

26. Monophonics – Sage Motel

With heavy doses of Marvin Gaye and Curtis Mayfield, never has a concept album about a by-the-hour flophouse sounded so grand.

25. Anton Barbeau – Power Pop!!!

There isn’t much Power Pop on this record, but that is pretty much the point. What you do get is a delicious concoction of ABBA if they were a synth band, glam-dusted flower power, and Bowie if he ever went techno.

24. Ceramic Animal – Sweet Unknown

Another fine effort from Easy Eye Sound, Ceramic Animal lays down a palate of T-Rex, Todd Rundgren, with Tame Impala thrown in for those that like their musical touchstones less dated. A fresh record with a vintage feel.

23. Ghosts of Jupiter – Keepers of the Newborn Green

No less than Shindig magazine has hailed this record as a potential album of the year candidate. And who are we to argue. The music has shades of West Coast ‘60s pop, ‘70s psychedelic grooves, and English Canterbury sounds.

22. Goodbye June – See Where The Night Goes

Rock and Roll is not dead And, neither is Lynyrd Skynyrd despite a plane crash it seems. Come for the Southern Rock vibes stay for the AC/DC bombast of the opening track, “Step Aside.”

21. Classless Act – Welcome To The Show

No inhibitions showing with this Sunset Strip-worthy record. All your favorite bands are spirited here in unfiltered, lighter waving style.

20. Hollis Brown – In The Aftermath

After much debate in the halls of Rock is the New Roll as to whether or not to include this on the list, common sense prevailed. After all, Aftermath is a favorite Stones album among many. Here, the presentations are not slavish interpretations and don’t try to replicate the swamp-boogie of the original. Which at the end of the day is extremely cool.

19. Simon McBride – The Fighter

This Blues-Rock guitar slinger from The Emerald Isle channels Paul Rodgers and Bad Company with the best of them. Just listen to the opening track, “Don’t Dare,” and tell us we’re wrong. And, things only get better from there.

18. Banditos – Right On

Mary Beth Richardson is the secret sauce behind Banditos, an eclectic band with touches of Los Lobos, Lone Justice, and the backing band for the Titty Twister bar in Tarantino’s From Dusk Til Dawn.

17. The Coffis Brothers – Turn The Radio Up

Seemingly hailing from Woodstock, laying down tracks that easily could have been songs from From The Big Pink, with Tom Petty and his Heartbreakers as the backing band, this is an Americana treasure.

16. Fernweh – Torschlusspanik!

T Tex meets ‘80s Brit Pop with a lot of Classic Rock nuances sprinkled in is the order of the day on this fine sophomore release. Listen for Paul McCartney and Harry Nilsson touchstones as well.

15. April March – In Cinerama

Truly, a cinematic wonder to behold April March walks that delicate line between the sultriness of Dusty Springfield and the bombast of Shirley Bassey. The French Pop arrangements sprinkled in only serve to enhance an already eclectic listen.

14. The Americans – Stand True

With no less than musical Sensei Rick Rubin in their corner, L.A.-based band, The Americans, are blazing a new Americana trail by putting one fret firmly in the here and now while placing another clearly in the past. If your Jam is Springsteen, Mellencamp, or Petty, these fellas will wet your whistle just fine.

13. Band of Horses — Things Are Great

Another raggedly glorious effort from The Band of Horses, this one is a bit of a return to form. Back to their Indie Rock roots, with a bit more jangle in their step than demonstrated on their previous two albums, Bill Barnwell and his latest band of horses deliver on one of the better Americana releases of the year.

12. Mike Campbell and the Dirty Knobs – External Combustion

A bit more rock than you might expect from the guitar player for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, but that definitely is not a bad thing on this set of Midwest-rooted, Americana-tinged, tunes. Guest turns from Margo Price and Ian Hunter make this one even cooler.

11. Silverbacks – Archive Material

There is more than a hint of The Talking Heads in the DNA of this Irish five-piece. The melodies are catchy with a post-punk flair that will bring to mind Devo.

10. Hurray For The Riff Raff – Life On Earth

Best described as Folk Blues Punk, Alynda Seggara and the rest of the Riff Raff deliver a thoughtful set of songs that seem to reflect on their new found outlook on life with a fresh perspective and a less jaded world view.

09. Horsegirl – Versions of Modern Performance

Artfully blending ‘80’s Indie Rock and ‘90s shoegaze, Horsegirl has risen above the radar to emerge as on of the most vibrant young bands on the scene today.

08. Angel Olsen – Big Time

Much less symphonic and much more introspective, the new Angel Olson L.P. is a study in restraint. Going down like the last call at a honky tonk bar, the subtle arrangements and dreamy pedal steel coalesce with Olson’s dream weaver vocals to create a perfect antidote for a poisoned world.

07. Gymnasium – Hansen’s Pop ‘N’ Rock Music ’22

A who’s who of the Boston music scene pitch in on this robustly energized set of 22 songs that will rekindle your love for Power Pop. The Cheap Trick-induced “Tavern at the End of the World” is worth the price of admission alone, and the ghosts of Pink Floyd that make an appearance on “Down to a Glimmer” will leave you wanting more.

06. Gyasi – Pronounced Jah See

Glittering bombast of rock and roll excess, shades of T Rex, early David Bowie, and all the glam you can fit in one record, Gyasi will be your next favorite guilty pleasure.

05. The Delines – Sea Drift

Sure, the singer is mostly Amy Boone on this one, but the heart and soul of this band is Willy Vlautin, the songwriter and novelist. You probably missed this since it came out pretty early in the year. This one is a collection of William Faulkner’s short stories come to life in a song.

04. Bye Bye Blackbirds – August Lightning Complex

With Lenny Gill back and better than ever, Bye Bye Blackbirds have released their best record to date, which is saying a lot since 2020’s Boxer at Rest was an instant classic. Blending REM, Big Star, and the more listenable aspects of The Replacements, this record is rich in diversity, tones, and texture with first-class songwriting courtesy of bandleader Bradley Skaught who delivers a set of vocal turns that veer between Elvis Costello, lost weekend-era John Lennon, and Alex Chilton.

03. Black Keys – Dropout Boogie

Following quickly on the heels of Delta Kreame, the 2921 deep blues cover, album, this layer record is more loose and lively with a lot of Blues-Boogie to savor. “Baby, I’m coming home” gives a nod to The Allman Brothers “Midnight Rider,” and Kings of Leon’s Angelo Petraglia lends a hand on “Wild Child,” and the king of Boogie himself, Billy Gibbons even makes an appearance.

02. Michael Rault – Michael Rault

Fully entrenched in the studio wizardry of the ‘60s and the ’70s, this is a delicious throwback melding of ‘70s FM rock, pop, and soul.

01. Spoon – Lucifer On The Sofa

With a nod to The Kinks, Prince, and Motown, ten records in, this one might be their best. Good old-fashioned rock and roll, glam, and ’70s riffs all coalesce into one of the best albums of the year.

Best Albums of 2022: Kai Danzberg – Satellite

You will be hard-pressed to find another record that is released this year that will be as perfectly crafted, concisely produced, and all-around fun as this one. Holding his fingers to the frets, his hands to the piano, or his feet to the fire, Kai Danzberg would tell you that his greatest musical influences are Michael Jackson, E.L.O., Jellyfish, Drake Bell, and The Beatles. Listen carefully and you will find every one of these artists making an appearance on his terrific new record, Satellite.

“Lonely Together” jaunts down the highway with a hint of mid-era “I’m In Love With My Car” Queen vibes by way of The Little River Band, and “Voodoo Woman” pumps up the party vibes with more than a little dusting of Elo’s “Evil Woman” if George Michal recorded the song in a New Orleans studio complete with a horn section that is. And, yes there is cowbell.

With “Diva Eyes” and “Oh Baby,” two songs that would have slid in quite easily on any of the E.L.O. Discovery era records, Danzberg’s immense talent in crafting a perfect Pop song is on full display, if you are looking for a musical miss-step in this song cycle there is none to be found.

And, if you are still not convinced, heed the advice on “Turn It Up” and turn up the volume up to 11 to savor this ear-worm-worthy epic that features Roger Manning of Jellyfish on keyboards.

With an entirely new listening experience awaiting around the corner, track to track, your ears are not deceiving you. An early candidate for album of the year may have just surfaced.