Five Cool Ones: Five New Records Released This Week (February 14, 2019)

Now we’re cranking things up. A busy week on the newbie front with Huey Lewis coming out with what might be his last one, Justin Bieber is back and lame as ever, and Dave Alvin gives us a most interesting record with his new side-piece Supergroup The Third Mind causing a psychedelic stir.

Ballroom Thieves – Unlovely

Come for the lushly beautiful opening track, “Unlovely,” an early song of the year candidate that features Darlingside on back up harmony vocals, but stay for the equally excellent “Don’t Wanna Dance” and “Roll the Bones” later in the set.

Huey Lewis and the News – Weather

News flash, Weather, the first new record from The News in over 10 years sounds pretty much like the Huey Lewis we all grew up with. Sadly, this may be the swan song as Huey is rapidly losing his hearing due to Meniere’s Disease.

Polished within an inch of its Stax soul loving life, this record is more then a pleasant nostalgic listen. With the upbeat blues beat of “Hurry up Baby” and the bouncy 60’s boardwalk vibe of “Pretty Girls Everywhere” there is no doubt that these guys are going out on a very high note.

Puss N Boots – Sister

That other Country/Roots supergroup that is not Highwomen, here, we have Norah Jones, Sasha Dobson, and ex Grace Popper bass player Catherine Popper with their second full length record since forming in 2008. Here, there is a bit of a Western-Noir groove on pretty much every song with the expected next level harmonies complementing the typically understated vocals that Norah Jones brings to every party. If you liked the recent Case/Lang/Viers collaboration you will love this one.

Beach Bunny – Honeymoon

This Post-Pop debut record courtesy of Lili Trifilo and her four-piece Beach Bunny is a fun and bouncy romp through a garden inhabited with ABBA and Go Go’s soundtracks abounding.

Tami Nielson – Chickaboom

A full-tilt badass, Tami Nielson is some crazy rockabilly hybrid of Wanda Jackson, Shirley Bassey, and Amy Winehouse. From her foot tall bee-hive hairdo to the sass and brass bravado of her lyrics along with a voice that would make Beth Hart blush, it seems that there is a new sheriff in town.

Five Cool Ones: Five New Albums Released This Week (February 7, 2020)

 

You are going to be hearing this refrain for a bit, but this is the best week of the young year on the new record front. My boys Green Day from the Bay Area are front and center with a new one, and it is excellent. The Stone Temple Pilots are out with another surprisingly cool effort, and Leon Bridges and Houston Psyche Rockers Khruangbin hit you between the ears with their collaboration. Here, are five worthy candidates for more of your valuable ear-time.

The Cadillac Three – Country Fuzz

This one is already declaring itself as the party album of the year. Somewhat of a guilty pleasure listen, the debauchery inherent in just about every song will remind you of your late high school and early college years.

It has everything, from driving around in your El Camino with a long-legged girl in the passenger seat with her bare feet on the dash to an old flame coming back in town and showing up in your dive bar. If that’s not enough to wet your whistle, there are girls shaking what God gave ’em, and Happy Hour shenanigans thrown in for good measure. Color us in for the thrill ride. It’s got all the makings of a Saturday Night.

Brent Cobb – No Place Left To Leave

We jumped squarely on the Brent Cobb bandwagon with his highly excellent 2018 record, Providence Canyon. Letting you in on the secret that Brent Cobb is super-producer of-the-day Dave Cobb’s cousin, the talent apple does not fall far from the family tree. This latest record is quite simply, in a word, stunning.

Walking the Country Music tightrope between Outlaw Country, Americana Country, and Laurel Canyon Roots Rock, there is a head-spinning moment when you can’t figure out if this record was made in 1975, 1982 in the Garth and King George era, or if this was made 7 years ago with Brent and his band backing up the Black Crowes. This one has moved right up there as an album of the year candidate. And, oh yeah, there is more than a little Tom Petty going on here as well.

William Prince – Reliever

Laying our cards on the table William Prince is a new artist to our ears. Heck, even Jeremy Wren our resident Americana/Singer-Songwriter major-domo who also happens to have an office right next to mine in the halls of Rock is the New Roll had never heard of him until we received an advanced copy of this record. Hailing from Manitoba, Canada, this record, his sophomore effort, just might be a coming of age moment for this young artist.

His vibe and deep baritone are reminiscent of The White Buffalo without the annoying Sons of Anarchy tie-in. There is a delicate sparseness to this record that addresses father and son dynamics, the interplay that takes a relationship from stranger to lover, and places where real connections seem to happen. And if that is not enough, this is a Dave Cobb (See Above) produced gem.

Christopher Paul Stelling – Best of Luck

Placing this one delicately on the stereo, at first listen, the first song, “Have To Do For Now” has a dusting of Paul Simon about it, and that’s never a bad thing. Produced by Ben Harper this is a bit of a genre-defying record. The hints of Americana are sometimes washed away with the scent of folk and some good old fashioned Rock and Roll.

This finely crafted record as he comes to a crossroads with himself and music as a friend and as a person seems to meet at the intersection where folk and soul meet.

Nada Surf -Never Not Together

Having been sitting on the sidelines since 2016 Nada Surf is back, and it’s like they never left. The Jangle Pop, bouncy sound has not changed even a little bit and their writing has become more sophisticated.

The record has a 90’s Power Pop shimmer that sets a place in your ears and in your soul that is wholly pleasing. From folk confessionals to Psych Rock dream weaver goodness this is a sweet sprawling record that will soothe the soul in a time when this type of record is desperately needed.

 

 

 

Five Cool Ones: Five New Albums Released Today (January 31, 2020)

The year is really cranking up on the music front. Drive-By Truckers are weighing in with an important record, Kesha is back and bolder than ever, and there is even a new Def Leppard single out in the universe. Here are five choice morsels that we think deserve some of your ear time.

Drive-By Truckers- The Unraveling

One of those very rare bands that loses a key member, in this case, Jason Isbell, and continues to be a tour-de-force of a band while the departing member is equally great. With The Unravelling, sort of a sister record to 2016’s American Band, the truckers continue to put their beliefs up front and center and continue to be one of the more relevant bands on the planet. Patterson Hood and Jay Gonzalez don’t spare the ink on what might be one of the more important records in this early decade.

Thorbjorn Risage & The Black Tornado – Come On In

This outfit is 12 records in and, if you are like us, you have likely not heard of these guys until very recently. But, as Joe Cocker would say, “It’s high time we met.” With a unique brand of Blues that includes two guitars, bass, drums, a pair of saxophones, trumpets, and keyboards, the gravel voice of lead singer Thorbjorn is equal parts, J.J. Cale, Ray Charles, Billy Gibbons, and Leon Redbone.

This is an extremely eclectic listen. This Danish band mixes it up on the jaunty “Come On In,” our early candidate for song of the year along with the J.J. Cale by way of Nic Cave somewhat dark “Two Lovers.” This record kicks it with noir-ish jazz, swampy rock, sultry R&B, uptown funk, and house-rocking blues. We are three listens in with this thing and continue to be stunned.

Tre Burt – Caught It From The Rye

Only the second artist to be signed by John Prine’s Oh Boy record label if that tells you anything. Tre Burt’s distinct Lo-Fi aesthetic definitely has a Bob Dylan vibe to it that is a far stretch from this Sacramento natives days busking on the streets of San Francisco. Careful listens will yield glimpses of Van Morrison’s songcraft combined with a poets language all his own.

Smoke Fairies – Darkness Brings The Wonders Home

Deliciously dark in places with graceful harmonies in others, there is a Patti Smith by way of Annie Lennox atmosphere swirling around this entire record. By the time the closing Track “Super Tremelo” rolls around you are ready to get back to the guitar swirl by hitting the replay button.

Blackie & The Radio Kings – King of This Town

One of Canada’s leading Roots Rock Bands, sort of a north of the border version of the Bottle Rockets, this time around the band plays it pretty straight with a solid set of songs that will bring to mind, Tom Petty and John Mellencamp. “North Star” Could have been an early Tom Waits track. After several listens, we also can’t help shake the deep essence of The Bodeans.

 

 

Five Cool Ones – Five Cool New Grass Artists That We Like

Much like the bagpipe 0r an overenthusiastic tuba, while we like bluegrass music, a little of it can go a long way. There is no denying the musical mastery of a banjo and a stand-up bass when done right and consumed in the right setting, can bear ear-boggling and soul cleansing, and we are beginning to see the light. While we are not as yet fully converted,  our banjo repertoire has at least advanced past the theme from Deliverance and Roy Clark on Hee Haw. And you know, after checking out some of the New-Grass bands that have emerged over the last year or so, and coming to the realization that bluegrass music goes well beyond the banjo, color us converts.

Billy Strings – Dust In A Baggie

With a moniker like Billy Strings, you had better bring the banjo and guitar goods and this up and coming artist definitely lives up to his name. Already being hailed as the future of bluegrass transcending the genre with his high-velocity picking technique. His new 2019 record, Home, is one of the best of the year, genre be damned

Molly Tuttle – Don’t Let Go

Molly Tuttle is about as gifted an acoustic and banjo player as you will find in the game today. Growing up playing in her father’s bluegrass band her flat-picking and cross-picking skills have made her a much-in-demand session player. Her 2019 Record, When You’re Ready, shows off her string virtuosity as well as her songwriting skills.

Mandolin Orange – The Wolves

There is a real intimate feel in the music that North Carolina duo of singer-songwriter Andrew Marlin and multi-instrumentalist Emily Frantz makes collectively as Mandolin Orange. There is a real Appalachian vibe on many of their songs which adds to the purity of their instrumental interplay.

Lula Wiles – Nashville Man

A real up-and-coming new band, this Boston-based folk trio made up of Isa Burke, Eleanor Buckland, and Mali Obomsawin make traditional Folk-Roots music serving it up on a plate of contemporary subject matter, millennial angst, and semi-subversive undertones. Keep your ears poised for these guys to hit the mainstream in 2020.

Old Crow Medicine Show – Wagon Wheel

Ok, we get it, Old Crow Medicine Show has been around a very long time so one would ask why we are featuring them in a piece that is bringing to light newer Bluegrass bands. You know. like the sign says, New-Grass. Well, the answer is we liked everything about their 2019 release, Live at The Ryman, and yes sad to say, this band was new to us. Everything about the album sparkles. The Darius Rucker cover of “Wagon Wheel” sparkles, their version of “CC Rider” is best played loudly, and their own song “Methamphetamine” is stellar. For us, this year, this is one of those where have you been all our loves sort of band.

Five Cool Ones: Five Cool Record Labels Making Great Music

A good way to turn yourself on to new music is to find an artist you like and find how what record label they are with. Then, subscribe to the label’s sight on YouTube and you will be able to go down a rabbit hole of really great music. Here are the Rock is the New Roll and The Falcon’s Nest’s five favorite labels.
Just click on the links to check out videos for the artists mentioned.
1.  Easy Eye Sound
Almost everything you have heard that is good over the last 12 months has been coming from Easy Eye Sound out of Nashville. Dan Auerbach and his crew are releasing, collaborating, or producing some really great artists. Recently producing the highly great new Marcus King solo record, break-out artist of-the-year Yola, Dee White, and soon to be household name Early James are just a few of the artists you should know.
2. New West Records
This record company, based out of Nashville as well as Athens, is especially diverse given they self-describe themselves as promoting music with integrity since ’98. The finest in Americana, Rock, Folk, Alternative, Indie, Country, and Blues. Stablemates include The Secret Sisters, newcomer Sam Doores, Rock is the New Roll favorite Aaron Lee Tasjdan, the fabulous North Mississippi All-Stars, and Nikki Lane. Need we say more.

3. Bloodshot Records

Having a professional relationship with the folks at Bloodshot records, it should come as no surprise that they are on our list of top record labels. Having been around for decades, this Chicago based band is probably as responsible for the advancement of Americana music this side of Francis Scott Key. Going back to Jon Langford and the Mekons, Roots Rockers The Bottle Rockets, Americana femme fatale Lydia Loveless, and newcomer of the year Jason Hawk Harris, every project they are involved in can be traced back to their core value of promoting music with honesty and integrity.

4. Third Man Records

Sure, Third Man Records out of Nashville and Detroit, can get pretty far out on that eclectic ledge, however, it can’t be denied that mostly everything Jack White touches can be pretty darn interesting. A shameless promoter of vinyl, the roots of the current resurgence of the format can be directly traced back to Third Man Records. Whether he is releasing records by his own band, The Raconteurs, reintroducing us to the Rockabilly verve of Wanda Jackson, or hipping us to The Black Lips, the label always provides an interesting ride. And, don’t sleep on former Balck Belles front-woman Olivia Jean. Her girl group, surf-guitar sound is a great throw-back listen.

5. Matador Records

Formed way back in 1989 out of New York City this record label has continued to remain relevant with a consistent funneling of top-notch artists into our collective ear-waves. The current crop includes Lucy Dachus, Steve Gunn, Stephen Malkmus, Kurt Vile, and many more really cool artists.

 

 

 

Five Cool Ones: Five New Records Released This Week (January 24, 2019)

The year is starting to get cranked up in fine style, there a lot of folks in the studio right now laying down the music that will set our ears on fire in the later months, but in the meantime, here are five really good records released this week.

The Wood Brothers – Kingdom in My Mind

Having recently built a new rehearsal space and studio, as the band was testing out different microphone arrangement in different pockets of the room, the inspiration hit them to write a new record. Their brand of skin-tight harmonies along with their own unique blend of Soul, Folk, Blues, and Gospel, sounds even more intimate in the new studio with a live, not over-produced feel floating over all of the songs.

Bonny Light Horseman – Bonny Light Horseman

An Astral Folk supergroup that consists of Anais Mitchell, Eric Johnson of The Fruitbats, and Josh Kaufman from The National, this band paints transatlantic traditional Folk with a contemporary brush. And, it’s never a bad thing to have Justin Vernon lend a vocal hand. This record comes fresh off their appearance at The Newport Folk Festival.

Andy Shauf – The Neon Skyline

Andy Shauf is a storyteller of the highest order. Here, on his latest record since 2016’s The Party, he weaves a narrative across 11 songs detailing the ashes of a lost relationship. Hearing his ex-flame is in town he invites her to The Skyline, his favorite dive bar and chronicles the thoughts, feelings, and the depths of emotions he is feeling over this semi-random encounter. The resulting album appears to be seamless, which must have been a challenge since Andy pared the record down from a starting point of 50 songs.

Black Lips – Sing In A World That’s Falling Apart

Another Athens, Georgia Band, these guys have been around since 1999. Toning down their amped-up Garage Rock vibe just a bit, there is a bit of T Rex and Country Rock Vibe going on with this one.

A Girl Called Eddy – Been Around

Having been on semi-hiatus since 2004 and with her highly excellent eponymous debut record, Erin Moran, doing business as A Girl Called Eddy is back and better than ever. Been Around, her 2020 record could very well be a classic in the making.

With a chocolaty smooth voice that brings to mind a young Chrissie Hynde, the record ebbs and flows with little mini-orchestral marvels. With Daniel Tashian of The Silver Seas twirling the knobs as a producer, different layers and textures are employed on every track. There is a bit of a Sheryl Crowe by way of Mary Chapin Carpenter going on in places, and in others, this girl called Eddy goes low and slow Laura Nyro style. “NY Man,” and “Two Hearts,” are just two of the stand-out tracks on this one. Sure, it’s really early, but this one is the leader in the clubhouse for the album of the year.

Five Cool Ones: Five (More) Reasons Rock Is Not Dead

 

As the page turns from one year to another, and in this case one decade to the next, it is never to soon to ponder about the future of Rock and Roll. You know, real guitars, amplifiers, drums, and Rock and Roll. Here are five more Rock bands that should be prominent in the next decade.

The Hu

Who knew that one of the more exciting innovative bands of the new decade would come out of Mongolia. These guys blend the traditional music of their homeland with hooky Western sensibilities. If the members of Pink Floyd were from Mongolia they may have sounded like these guys. Their 2019 record, The Gereg, is a game-changer and the clear winner for the Mongolian album of the year for 2019.

Crown Lands

If Rush and Led Zeppelin had a bastard love-child the proud parents would have likely named the baby Crown Lands. This Rock and Roll duo from Ontario, Canada seems to be riding just beneath the surface of the more famous saviors of Rock and Roll the likes of Rival Sons and Wolfmother. But, on their own, they are definitely a band worth watching as they prepare a new record in 2020. If you like Black Sabbath and The White Stripes, this band should be your jam.

Quaker City Night Hawks

These Texans walk the road that flows from ZZ Top to Lynyrd Skynyrd all the way to contemporaries Blackberry Smoke. No strangers to the pages of Rock is the New Roll, their 2019 record QCNH was one of the best albums of the year way back in 2019, any genre.

Bishop Gunn

Another next-big-thing-in-Southern Rock candidate, Bishop Gunn delivers on all fronts even walking over to the Soul side like they do on their Otis Redding evoking tune “Shine” from their 2018 release Natchez. Look for another record from this diverse band in early 2020.

Amyl and the Snifters

This high octane Aussie Punk band is not for everyone, but damn do they pack a punch. Led by Debbie Harry by way of Courtney Love on her worst days whirling dervish of a front-woman Amy Taylor, this band will set your hair on fire.