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.

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.

Five Cool Ones: Five New Records Released This Week (June 10, 2022)

The weather is starting to heat up and so is the tune-space

Amanda Shires, otherwise known as Mrs. Jason Isbell is out with a scorching new single, “Hawk For The Dove” in advance of her new record set to reach our shores later in the year.

Michael Monroe, ex of Hanoi Rocks proves once again that Rock is not dead with his latest record Dead, Jail or Rock and Roll.

And, Aussie siblings The Buckleys just might have released the hit of the summer with “Oops I Love You.”

And, hang loose everyone. On top of all that aural blissfulness, here are five hot-stepping records worthy of your ear-time.

Rust – The Resurrection of Rust

Rust was the name of a short-lived duo that consisted of Elvis Costello, then known as Declan MacManus, and singer songwriter Allan Mayes. Existing for approximately one year, the lads played the Liverpool pubs and coffee houses before Costello set out to find fame and fortune in London.

After connecting again in early 2021 to flesh out the idea of doing a one-off Rust reunion gig for charity, Elvis countered with a proposal to record a full-blown E.P.. and thus The Resurrection of Rust was born.

With a set list that harkens back to their pub rock days, every song on this set will strike a Rockpile chord. “Surrender To The Rhythm” is classic pub rock splendor circa 1962, and “Don’t Lose Your Grip On Love” would have been a perfect song for The Attractions to caress back in the day. But, it’s on “Everybody Knows This is Nowhere,” the Neil young staple, where the sun really shines and all is revealed as to why the duo got together in the first place.

Kelley Stoltz – The Stylist

Certainly on the medal stand of contemporary Power Pop mavens along with Brendan Benson and Matthew Sweet, weaving a tapestry of Rock, Folk Rock, Post Punk, and Power Pop, Kelley Stoltz proves, yet again, that he is simply incapable of making a bad record.

“We Grew So Far Apart” could have been a Standells Garage Rock Classic,” “It’s A Cold World” carries with it a bit of Harry Nilsson in the DNA, and on the opener, “Change,”Stoltz channels early ‘70s Steve Miller.

There are hooks everywhere on this record, “Wrong Number” even evokes the spirit of David Bowie. There is nary a miss-step anywhere on this one and it stands right up there with his best work.

American Aquarium – Chicamacomino

Almost twenty years into their career now and having produced two stellar records in the last five with Lamentations and Things Change, American Aquarium continues to play to their audience on their new record, Chicamacomico. A bit more stripped down and less edgy than their prior efforts, this one nevertheless has the band very much on-brand in telling working man stories from the perspective of the denizens of America’s heartland.

Death and mortality are the two centerpieces on display here, bookended by “The First Year,” a song that recalls the emotions that seem to be strongest the first year after a loved one’s death, and “Waking Up Echo’s,” a poignant tune that surfaces the ghosts brought about from a friend ending their life on their own terms.

The breezy first single, “All I Needed” is about as Country has things get on this album, and should be the most familiar to long-time fans of the band. And, “Wildfire” chronicles a relationship that goes from an ember to a forest fire at the flick of a match.

Make no mistake, the fact that Chicamacomico is a bit more of a sedate affair than you are used to hearing from BJ Barnham and the boys, the band has not lost their edge. They simply have found their groove.

The Dream Syndicate – Battle Hymns and True Confessions

Somewhat overlooked in the pantheon of ’80s Indie bands that have reunited, restructured themselves, etc, including The Pixies, The Replacements, Dinosaur Jr, among many others, The Dream Syndicate may be the most under the radar of them all. Growing up in the “Paisley Underground” scene, Steve Wynn and the band were mostly known for their stretched-out affairs with stylistic curves thrown at the listener from song to song on their albums. And, here on their latest, the fourth album since re-forming, equalling their 80’s output, the song generally remains the same.

On “Hard To Say Goodbye” the Velvet Underground influence and particularly the Lou Reed speak-sing vocal turn is somewhat difficult to hide, “Lesson Number One” is a bust-out rocker that has a bit of a Mark Lanegan despair about it, and “Every Time You Come Around” is a woozy Bowie evoking affair.

With Chris Cacavas, formerly of Green on Red on keyboards and now an official member of the group, there seems to be a more focused approach to the songs. This one is a timeless affair that can easily transport you back to 1985 and will have you pulling out those old Depeche Mode and Duran Duran CDS.

Florence Dore – Highways & RocketShips

An artist in the true sense of the word, Florence Dore is a professor of literature and creative writing at the university of North Carolina and has written a scholarly work entitled Novel Sounds drawing the link between Southern fiction in the Faulkner mold and Rock and roll.

Her latest, Highways and Rocket Ships, her first in four years, is a rollicking diverse affair. Part Country with a Mary Chapin Chapin Carpenter vibe, part Americana, and part Tom Petty, most strikingly on “Thundercloud (Fucking With Your Heart).”

With influences the likes of Lucinda Williams showing on “Rebel Debutante” and Steve Earle on the title track, which makes sense as her husband Will Rigby is Earle’s drummer, there is something for everyone on this record.

Given this cauldron of smart, literate songwriting mixed in with a Cracker Jack band with Hootie and The Blowfish, R.E.M., Steve Earle, and Son Volt pedigrees, it should come as no surprise that this one should be a contender for top 10 billing when the best Americana album of the year lists start to roll around.

Five Cool Ones: Five New Records Released This Week (May 6, 2022)

Time keeps rolling along, and as the year progresses, the hits are starting to pile up.

’90s vintage Country dwellers Midland are once again summoning the ghosts of Garth Brooks and George Strait with their latest, “Longneck Way To Go.

The Afghan Whigs have released “The Getaway” in advance of a new album to be released on September 9.

And, the Waterboys are out with another album that sounds like The Waterboys. That is great.

But wait, that’s not all. There was a bevy of prime musical cuts to select from this week, so many that we had a tough time paring the list down to five albums this week. But, we did the work so you don’t have to. Here are five groovy platters spinning at Rock is the New Roll HQ this week.

AWOLNATION – My Echo, My Shadow, My Covers & Me

Sometimes, when there is really no legitimate reason for a band to cover a certain song or the song is such an earworm that our ears can’t comprehend anyone but the artist performing it, there can be magic in the air when it is done well. And, that is certainly the case with My Echo, My Shadow, My Covers & Me, the latest missive from AWOLNATION.

With a playlist that is as tight as the skin on an apple, every song presented here is a nostalgic trip down top 40 memory lane from the days that radio play actually meant something. The rendition presented here of “Maniac,” from the movie Flashdance, has enough curves to make this a different listening experience from the original, and the Scorpion’s iconic “Wind of Change”, with a guest turn from Incubus and Portugal. The Man, shouldn’t work, but it does quite well.

Were not sure that there ever has been an attempt at covering Alan Parson’s “Eye In The Sky,” and although this version paints pretty much between the lines, the guest turn from Beck is pretty cool. “Flagpole Sitta” is worthy of some ear time simply because you likely have not heard the song in a while and Elohim very much does it justice, “Alone Again (Naturally),” yes that one, shouldn’t really work either, but in this context with Retro-Country dudes, Midland sitting in it works quite well. If you have never heard the tune with a pedal steel guitar give this one a try.

And, once you add the anthemic “Beds Are Burning,” ABBA’s “Take A Chance On Me,” and the Cars’ “Drive” what you are left with is a highly polished, exquisitely curated set of songs that just might come together as the best covers album of the year when all is said and done.

Chateau Chateau – Grow Up

With the punk attitude of Blondie along with the buoyant energy of The Bangles, Chateau Chateau is a loose-knit collective of Tucson-based musicians that self describe themselves as making cathartic indie pop for weirdos, outcasts, queer folks, and anyone else who needs it.

Grow Up, the band’s sophomore record is a concept record of sorts detailing the various relationships that frontperson Bleu has maintained, both good and bad, throughout her life. “I Don’t Love You Anymore” is a CBGB-worthy rocker with Phil Spector girl group interludes that rails against her abusive father, and “Converted” walks the ground once traveled with a narcissistic ex.

“Push Your Luck” would have been a superb Pretenders single back in the day, and the ‘Til Tuesday Indie Rock classic “Voices Carry” is a perfect cover version to bring out the versatility of the band.

After a couple of spins of this record, especially on the song “Pray,” the specialness of individuality surfaces and is celebrated in its truest form.

Luke Winslow King – If These Walls Could Talk

Recorded in Memphis, New Orleans-based Luke Winslow King with the release of If These Walls Could Talk represents his most pleasingly diverse set of songs to date. From the peppy “Slow Sunday, June,” a song that has them sitting in the shade under a banyan tree on a sultry New Orleans Sunday afternoon to “Love At First Sight” that will transport you to a stroll down Bourbon Street.

Proving he can rock with the best of them, the Jonny Lang evoking “Have A Ball” is pure Blues-Rock Big Easy Style. The title track is a somber look at a relationship that is ebbing away, and “Leaves Turn Brown” is a perfect winsome closer.

Proving that he is no vintage Country and Jazz one-trick pony, this mostly settled down affair will reward the soul wit multiple spins on the turntable.

The Coffis Brothers – Turn My Radio Up

With the very appropriate album title, Turn My Radio Up is perfect Laurel Canyon, Pacific Coast Highway, peaceful easy feeling fare. Produced by Tim Bluhm, frontman for The Mother Hips, the record gives a definite nod to the radio dial harkening back to the late ‘70s, when radio still mattered.

The opener, “One That Got Away” could have been a Timothy B. Schmidt vocal-led single from an early Eagles record, and the single “Turn My Radio” up would have been perfect on a Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers record.

“Ramona” travels into Flying Burrito’s Cosmic Cowboy territory, and “Two of a Kind” brings to mind Jackson Browne in his Running On Empty days.

Growing up in the Santa Cruz mountains in California seems to have been the perfect backdrop for brothers Jamie and Kellen Coffis to hone their craft using Buddy Holly and The Everly Brothers as influences to craft one of the best album releases of the year so far.

Pink Mountaintops – Peacock Pools

With their first record in 8 years, Stephen McBean and his collective Pink Mountaintops weave a magical mystery tour of a record, Peacock Pools.

Full of neo-psychedelic turns around every corner, this record combines early Kinks with Pink Floyd and Alan Parsons if your ears can grasp all of that coolness in one sitting.

Playing it mostly straight on the tender “Nikki Go Sudden,” a tribute to the late Post-Punk icon Nikki Sudden, the rest of the album seems to be in constant motion with “Shake The Dust” propelling down the road with a bit of Kraftwerk in its DNA, and “Miss Sundown” summoning the ghost of early “Jean Genie” David Bowie.

As is the case with most really good records, this takes you down a different Alice in Wonderland rabbit hole with every turn of the groove.

Five Cool Ones: Five New Albums Released This Week: April 29, 2022

Holy mother of pearl, this is a great week for new music. If you don’t believe us, just check out the new single from The Lickerish Quartet, a band that features most of the iconic SF Bay area band, Jellyfish.

Or, expand your mind with the latest from Rock is the New Roll’s favorite’s, Cats in Space. “Poke The Witch” is an epic tune.

And, Delicate Steve is out with a sweet instrumental single, “Playing In A Band” that will be on his upcoming album. For Delicate Steve, it is all about his 1966 Stratocaster.

And, don’t change that channel. There are five really cool records worthy of your earphones this week.

Willie Nelson – A Beautiful Time

Hitting the streets on April 29, 2022, on Willie Nelson’s 89th birthday, the red-headed stranger once again teams up with producer Buddy Cannon on a set of songs that takes old age head-on and addresses his mortality. Taking on themes of life, death, and love from the opening song, co-written with Chris Stapleton and Rodney Crowell, “I’ll Love You Till The Day I Die” to the whimsical Willie at his humorous best, “I Don’t Go To Funerals,” where he professes to be not even going to his own funeral. The voice may be a bit frail and dusty, but the guitar work courtesy of Trigger is as strong as it has been on any record. 

If you have ever wondered what it would be like to play in one of the legendary poker games at Willie’s home in Maui with Owen Wilson and Woody Harrelson, you will get a seat at the table courtesy of “We’re Not Happy (Till You’re Not Happy).” They are there to shoot the bull and shoot tequila, play some cards and hide out from their wives. And on “Dusty Bottles” you will be able to sit down and have a beer with father time.

For someone who has put out as many records as Willie Nelson has, likely over 200, this one should go down in history as one of his best, maintaining a decade-long winning streak of quality performances.

Eli “Paperboy” Reed – Down Every Road

Mostly known for his R&B in the late ’60s to early ’70s Revivalism mold, Eli “Paperboy” Reed puts his blue-eyed soul stamp on a set of nicely curated Merle Haggard songs. The Haggard songbook runs the gamut from Country to Americana music to Jazz, always delivered with a whole lot of soul and, as such, is a perfect background for Reed to explore and interpret in his own style.

Playing it straight Like he does on “Mama Tried” and “Lonesome Fugitive” Reed brings out the soul of the song with the emotion of a Jerry Butler Ballad from back in the day. But, it is on the deeper Hag cuts where this record really shines. “It’s Not Love, But It’s Not Bad” reaches the depths of Sam Cooke’s soul, and “I’m Gonna Break Any Heart I Can” is Wilson Pickett-worthy.

A master class in how to curate a cover’s record, the juxtaposition of selections that walk the line of the original and those that share enough DNA that the essence of the song carries the day makes this one an eclectic listen that will garner multiple spins on your turntable.

Dianne Coffee – With People

Applying his trade with his side-piece band Diane Coffee between Foxygen gigs, Shaun Fleming has released his fourth record with the band, the first since 2019. Produced by Foxygen major-domo Jonathan Rado, on this one, Fleming strays away from the Glam-Pop of his main gig in favor of a more subtle ’70s and ’80s soft rock aesthetic.

From the opener, “Corrina From Colina,” there is a Southern California beach vibe laid down, sort of like a cross between Holland Era Beach boys and Hall and Oates. This is a song that will catch your attention and entice you to head to the beach and paddleboard out in the ocean to catch those bigger waves ahead.

“Our Love/The Run” would have been a perfect vehicle for Freddie Mercury and Queen most notably at the piano break with the repeated angry whisper “You don’t get to treat me this way.”

With Foxygen level pop bombast reached on “Sharks,” and “The Great Escape” that give the record a breezy pop feel, this record is a perfect album for the now, but put a pin in this one and bring it back around when the sounds of summer are ready to dominate the airwaves.

Thunder – Dopamine

Applying their trade going on 35 years now, U.K. rock provocateurs Thunder have released a double album of riff-ready rock and roll that reflects back to ‘70s era guitar rock in the Tesla, U.F.O, and Nazareth mold.

“The Dead City” has leader Danny Bowes channeling his inner Paul Rodgers Bad Company persona and on “Black,” the band takes glam-rock to new heights.

There is beauty in diversity to be found everywhere on this record. “Is Anybody Out there” starts off as a Billy Joel-worthy ballad before it morphs itself into a mid-era Journey via way of Elton John stunner, and “Last Orders” meanders from Pink Floyd to Led Zeppelin with the aplomb of a best in class driving song.

For a record that has Rock album of the year written all over it, this one should settle the rock is dead controversy once and for all.

Trombone Shorty – Lifted

Practically born to be a musician, Trombone Shorty was playing the trombone going back to the days when the instrument was bigger than he was. Mentored by the Marsalis family and close family friends with Dr. John, Lifted Troy Andrews’s latest record has injected all of these New Orleans bloodlines into his veins on his latest record.

A gumbo of R&B, Soul, Funk, and New Orleans Brass, is served on every cut of this impressive piece of work. “I’m Standing here” could have easily been a Lenny Kravitz smash hit in the “Are You Gonna Go My Way” mold, “Everybody in the World” has that Harry Connick Jr. jazz vibe about it, and the opener “Come Back” lays it down like the best of Earth Wind and Fire.

With the single “Lie To Me,” a song that takes second-line gospel chants and melds them with Santana Band vibes and Preservation Hall local color with trumpet and trombones taking center stage, the message is clear. Trombone Shorty is in it to love it.

Five Cool Ones: Five New Albums Released This Week (April 8, 2022)

Boom goes the dynamite this week with a ton of really cool music to delight the ears and tickle your sonar system.

Rock is the New Role super faves, retro ‘70s rockers The Sheepdogs, are out with a really hip new single and video with “Find The Truth.

The latest Beach Bunny single, “Fire Escape” straddles the Pop Punk, Indie Rock line.

And, Dawes delivers a mighty fine live video from their upcoming release, Live from the Rooftop, With a sparkling long-form rendition of “Somewhere Along the Way.”

But, wait. Don’t give the party the Irish exit just yet. Here are five ear-worthy records carefully curated this week for your listening pleasure.

Albert Cummings – Ten

One of those underrated consummate musicians you will find, Albert Cummings very much needs to be on your radar if he is not already. With a vibe that walks the back alleys of B.B. King and Delbert McClinton, every song on his latest record, Ten, is a Blues Rock banger.

While the single “Need Somebody” strays into rock territory on the Blues-Rock spectrum, Albert’s ability to pen a honky tonk rabble-rouser of a tune is on full display thanks to the songs “Too Old To Grow Up,” along with the “you don’t have to go home but you can’t stay here anthem” “Last Call,” featuring a Vince Gill vocal turn.

“Beautiful Bride” should become the next great wedding song, and “Sounds Like The Road” is a paean to the pull of life on the road for a working musician. If you haven’t been in a proper roadhouse since Patrick Swayze was the bouncer, spend some time with this record and it will be as if you never left.

Jack Broadbent – Ride

Growing up in Lincolnshire, England tagging along with his father on open mic nights, Jack Broadbent absorbed the scene ultimately playing drums in his father’s band while learning to be a Nashville-class slide guitar player.

With his latest record, Ride, Broadbent channels his Tony Joe White by way of Lou Reed vocal style into a set of songs that will take you way down the alleyways of New Orleans and off into the horizons.

The opener, “Ride” eulogizes the path of ghosts left behind, and the delicate balance in knowing when to leave before it is past time to go, while “New Orleans” may be the destination and a love letter to his favorite city as well.

Spend some time with the jaunty “I Love Your Rock ‘n’ Roll” as it earworms itself way into your brain, while “Midnight Radio” will have you drinking French 75’s with Tony Joe White on Bourbon Street.

Romero – Turn It On

It is no secret that some of the best vibrant, electrified, pure Rock and Roll currently is generated down under, in this case, Melbourne Australia. Turn It On, the debut record from the Band Romero is, simply put, a party on a platter.

With Blondie fronting The Undertones in the DNA of this band, the punk-laced Power Pop presented here is confident, brazen, and timeless. “Honey” is the Go Go’s on steroids, the opener “Talk About” an air blast of energy, is a tightly constructed stunner, and yes, there is cowbell. “Crossing Lines could have been a Siouxsie Sue hit song, if she ever had one that is, and “Turn It On” is another cowbell-infused classic.

For a debut record, this one represents a band that is fully formed and ready to scorch the earth on the festival circuits this summer.

Paul Cauthen – Country Coming Down

A member in good standing of the younger gun Outlaw Country movement along with the likes of Chris Stapleton, Cody Jinks, and Sturgill Simpson, Paul Cauthen has released a record that to many ears might be his best effort to date.

With a vocal timber that goes deep into the Waylon Jennings well, the songs presented here range from honky tonk worthy staples to glint in the eye semi bro-country tunes.

“High Heels” is a perfect song for that hour of preparation time while you wait for your lady to get ready for a night on the town. “Champagne & A Limo” ironically states the case for becoming rich, and “Country as F**k” is a subversive middle finger raised to the establishment.

One gets the sense that Pail Cauthen had a lot of fun making this record. The fact that he doesn’t take himself too seriously makes this one a good listen for a poolside margarita party.

Calexico – El Mirador

From the opening horn-centric Babalu worthy refrains of “El Mirador,” the lead-off track from the eclectically groovy latest record of the same name from Calexico, the stage is set for a fantastical listening journey.

From the Tarantino-noir vibes of “Harness The Wind,” a tune that would like fit in quite nicely in the middle of any of the once upon a time in … [insert location here] movies, to the corner of Hollywood & Vine Tom Waits vibing “El Paso,” there is a surprise around every musical corner. Mixing Spanish language mariachi-lite with English, as the band is known to do, seamlessly accents the listening experience with varied song textures cut after cut.

Fully realizing we are just barely past the quarter pole in this race, it is not simply hyperbole to declare this one a candidate for album of the year.

Wet Leg – Wet Leg

It has been quite a while since a record hit the halls of Rock is the New Roll H.Q. that carried the hype that the band Wet Leg brings to their self-titled release.

Once the most non-sensical first single “Chaise Lounge” ear-wormed itself into our skulls, you either hated the song, or you reveled in the post-punk Ty Seagall evoking, French disco-inspired, Joie de vie of the whole experience. For some, they landed squarely in the camp of the former, and after several carefully curated, semi-sober listening sessions, color us, chips to the center of the table, all in with this record as well as this band.

Picture Joan Jett, Pat Benatar, and Suzi Quattro as members of the Go Go’s, and you get a real minds-ear view of what this band sounds like. Tight, harmonic, aggressive CBGB mini anthems from the perspective of a 20-something duo, Rhian Teasdale and Hester Chambers.

Mixing the buoyant risqué-ness of “Wet Dream,” a song that name-checks the Christina Ricci cult classic film Buffalo 66, with the swooning Florence and the Machine inspired “Convincing,” with a side order of “Loving You,” a song that could be a long lost Abba single, what you are left with is a roller coaster ride that is well worth taking.

Five Cool Ones: Five New Albums Released This Week (March 18, 2022)

There seems to be a bit of a lull on the new music front as the heavy lifting is underway in preparation for the summer releases. But, that doesn’t mean there aren’t a few gems to be mined.

Jukebox The Ghost have released a bouncy new pop song, “Wasted.”

Rock is the New Roll stalwarts Ducks Ltd. are back with a rollicking collaboration with the Illuminati Hotties.

And, the band Lucius has collaborated with Brandi Carlile and Sheryl Crow on a bouncy new single, “Dance Around It.”

But, don’t spend all of your lunch money just yet. Here are five new records that were released this week for you to digest.

Ray Wylie Hubbard – Co-Starring Too

No need to mix words here. Ray Wylie Hubbard is a bonafide Texas outlaw legend. Here in the sequel to Co-Starring, with Co-Starting Too, Hubbard is back in true collaboration glory spinning to include Willie Nelson, Steve Earle, and Hayes Carll along with harder rockers John 5 and Lzzy Hale. And yes, Hubbard BFF Ringo Starr is invited back to the party on “Ride or Die – Montar O Morir.”

There are no slips here, after all Ray Wylie is incapable of penning a bad song, but a clear standout is “Groove,” a song that name checks among others J.J. Cale, Tony Joe White, and Delaney and Bonnie.

If blues is your thing, if Rock is your jam, don’t blame it on the boogie, get in with the groove and this fine sequel. This one’s for cowboys, old drunks, paramours, and thieves.

April March – In Cinerama

It is best not to overthink things when it comes to, In Cinerama, the spectacularly cool new album courtesy of April March. Pretty much every genre that you hold dear to your ears is represented within the the pages of this record. Beach Boys sunshine, surf rock, French pop, Spector girl group, Tarantino – Noir, you name it, it’s here.

“Open Your Window Romeo” is a a great Parisian-Pop tune that would have played quite nicely in the recent vintage One Upon A Time in Los Angeles movie, “Ride or Divide” would have been a perfect song for Diana Ross and The Supremes to cover, and “Down the Line” has has a contemporary sunshine swing that would make Bethany Constantino and her band Best Coast blush.

And, if all of that doesn’t want you to staple your ears directly to the speakers, “Stand in the Sun,” and “Rolla Rolla” will take you back to your favorite ‘60s vintage hipster a-go-go.

Chip Z’Nuff – Perfectly Imperfect

As bass player and major-domo for the power pop band Enuff’s Z’Nuff, Chip Z’Nuff and his band have always stood in the shadow of Cheap Trick and have been criminally ignored in the realm of Classic Rock heroes.

As the only remaining member from the stalwart band, Chip gives a master class in Power Pop that delivers on a set that includes the gang-harmony splendor of “Heaven in a Bottle,” the pulsating virility “3 Way,” and the hooks-a-plenty “Honaloochie Boogie” that has Fountains of Wayne meets Weezer in the DNA.

Give this one multiple spins and as Chip and guest artist Joel Hoekstra would say two songs in, “Welcome to the Party.”

Colin Hay – Now and Evermore

Colin Hay, the former frontman for Men at Work, is still at work with the release of his first solo album since 2016. Having relocated to Los Angeles, where this record was recorded between L.A. and Nashville, the songs have a distinct Americana feel to them that is both comforting and inspiring.

“Where Does The End Begin” finds a man at peace with his life’s journey, and the title track features Ringo Starr. The song “Undertow” is a perfect lamentation of life’s ups and downs, and “All I See Is You” is an Irish tinged coming home to you love song.

This is a perfectly uplifting record for these times that are not so uplifting.

Duke Robillard – They Called It Rhythm & Blues

Amazingly, They Called It Rhythm & Blues is Duke Robillard’s first record that is pure vintage-style danceable blues, and as such this collection of R&B, Blues, and jazz covers is a treat for the ears.

The swing is the thing right from jump street with “Here I’m Is,” a treatise in jump blues. Sue Foley add’s some grace to the proceedings on “No Good Lover,” and the horn-centric party anthem “In The Wee Wee Hours” is house-boogie perfection.

Even when the vibes drop low and slow like they do on “Someday After A While,” with a stellar vocal turn courtesy of the Fabulous Thunderbird Kim Wilson, the results are captivatingly cool.

With boogie blues classics “Eat Where You Slept Last Night” and the organ drenched “Swingin’ For Four Bills” instrumental closing down the party, one can sense that this was a one in a lifetime passion project for all involved.

Five Cool Ones: Five New Records Released This Week (March 11, 2022)

It’s March already, the weather is getting warm and the music even hotter. This week, we get a break from the old standbys and have some fresh cut, new blood to savor.

Rosalie Cunningham starts things off with her Glam, Rock, Folk masterpiece Two-Piece Puzzle with the stellar “Duet” as a clear-cut favorite that would have been a brilliant Queen song.

The Hoodoo Gurus are coming out from a self-imposed hibernation after ten years. And, the verdict is in. They’re still great.

And, Texas treasure Ray Wylie Hubbard is out with yet another single, “Stone Wild Horses,” from his upcoming record, this time featuring Willie Nelson.

Jeremy Ivey – Invisible Pictures

Quickly shedding his image as Mr. Margo Price, Jeremy Ivey is hitched to his own star on his latest long player, Invisible Pictures. With his low-key charm and Americana – Pop sensibilities, the record seems to bounce along like Snoopy and Woodstock running through a field on a sunny Day.

The opener “Orphan Child” has a bit of Daniel Romano’s eclectic DNA in its core. “Keep Me High” has a delicate Traveling Wilbury’s by way of Fountains of Wayne vibe, and “Trial By Fire” slows the pace and exposes some stellar songwriting.

With lush strings and pastoral production complementing in the pocket vocals and catchy melodies, this is a perfect placeholder while you are waiting for Spring to arrive.

The Mysterines – Reeling

As debut albums go, Reeling, the sparkling, bombastic record from Liverpool rockers The Mysterines at the end of the year, might well be considered for one of the best.

With a DIY feel to the songs along with aggressive production value, the garage punk-pop songs seem to burst from the speakers. Recorded live to capture the dynamics inherent in their incendiary live shows, from the opening salvo of “Life’s A Bitch (And I Like It So Much),” you are transformed in your hot tub time machine to a mid-‘80s mosh pit at CBGB’s.

And, things only get cooler from there. “On The Run” is a bit of a curve baller with an ever so slight Americana tint to it, and “Under Your Skin” slams on the breaks with an edge that would be quite comfortable on any of the mid-era Doors records.

This album is liking finding a rare rookie card in a packet of baseball cards. This won’t be the last we will be hearing from this cracking new rock and roll band.

WICKED – The Last American Rock Band

Rochester, NY rockers Wicked certainly give it a go to live up to the albums name with their latest long-player, The Last American Rock Band.

The audio template here is pure unfiltered, high energy Rock & Roll drawing influences from the classic Sunset Strip era, back to 80’s Def Leppard, Bon Jovi arena rock, and beyond. And, yes there’s cowbell, most spectacularly on “Hooligans,” a song that could have been ripped right from the cover of Cream magazine.

From the opener, “American Rock Rock n’ Roller” there is a visceral, euphoric mood changer that will envelope you once the gang vocals kick in and the aural vision of Night Ranger by way of The Romantics is sugar-bombed into your brain.

Once the closer, “Hot Stage Lights,” a perfect song for Luke Spiller and The Struts, to cover, finishes, the lighters are lit awaiting the power ballad that never arrives.

Bryan Adams – So Happy It Hurts

You likely would have to go back to 1984 to come up with the last time that Bryan Adams and John Mellencamp released quality records in the same year, but with the release of So Happy It Hurts following on the heels of Mellencamp’s Strictly a One-Eyed Jack released earlier in the year, your ship has come in.

Right from the opening title track, it might as well be the summer of ‘69 all over again. The Tom Waits-lite rasp is more whiskey soaked than ever, the radio- friendly cruise with the top down anthems are all in place, and if you are looking for a summer jam in the middle of March you have been to the right place.

With expectations low and subsequently shattered with this record, unlike reruns of All In The Family, Bryan Adams has aged remarkably well. Virtually every song here could have snuggled in quite nicely next to 83/84’s records Cuts Like A Knife or Reckless. And, that pretty much is all you need to know about this sparkling record from an artist that you had forgotten that you missed very much.

Matt North – Bullies In The Backyard

Matt North is one the consummate musician session player artists. While he might not be a household name just yet, he has been on stage drumming with the likes of Maria McKee, Peter Case, and a slew of others.

Here, on his own proper solo record, Bullies In The Backyard, he further stretches his singing and songwriting chops with a warm set of songs that range from Americana to roadhouse boogie at the drop of a whiskey glass. “Hollywood Forever” is a mariachi tinged wonder in the Springsteen “Glory Days” mold, “Trophy Case” is a girl on the prowl Jesse Dayton-worthy story song, and “Stay On The Outside” has a Tom Petty “Breakdown” essence about it.

With an Outlaw Country Americana vibe that would make The Highwaymen proud, this new find deserves some heavy play in your musical rotation.