Five Cool Ones – Five New Albums Released This Week (March 27, 2020)

Rock is still Rolling this week despite the current state of affairs, and that is a very good thing. Some real gems are hitting us this week including a 17 minute new Bob Dylan song, a return to form for Pearl Jam and Sufjan Stevens provides some food for the soul with his ambient record, Aporia.

Brian Fallon – Local Honey

Along with Asbury Park icons Bruce Springsteen and Southside Johnny Brian Fallon with his band, The Gaslight Anthem, is one of the golden boys of the New Jersey soundscape. This time out, on the frontman’s third solo effort he leans more to the Americana side of the musical spectrum delivering an excellent album that is more Ghost of Tom Joad than Born to Run.

Lilly Hiatt – Walking Proof

Three records in, Lilly Hiatt, daughter of John Hiatt, is establishing herself as the reigning Queen of the Nashville Americana Country scene. This time along with her expansive voice Hiatt delivers a solid set of roots-friendly guitar rock. Sometimes channeling Dolly Parton and going down and dirty Bonnie Raitt style other times, there is a maturity on this record that bodes well for the future of humanity.

In This Moment – Mother

Maria Brink is very much one of the great rock voices that criminally floats just under the radar. Sometimes described as the female Marilyn Manson, here, with her band In This Moment, she delivers straight ahead goth-edged rock and roll with an edge that will make you feel alive. Experiencing the over the top covers of Steve Miller’s “Fly Like An Eagle” and “We Will Rock You” is worth the price of admission alone.

Matthew’s Southern Comfort – The New Mine

This Americana-Folk group was formed by former Fairport Convention singer-guitarist Iain Matthews. Filled with folk-inspired harmonies and intricate string work on guitar, banjo, and mandolin, there is a lot to enjoy on this record. Highlights are Joni Mitchell’s “Ethiopia” and the Buffalo Springfield worthy “C’mon Amigo.”

Tesla – Five Man London Band

This record is notable because, well, here at Rock is the New Roll we love Tesla and are huge fans of their Iconic record Five Man Acoustical Jam, one of the first live acoustic records to make an impact and a clear inspiration for the MTV Unplugged series. Here, the band plays an acoustic set live from Abbey Road studios covering the band favorites “Signs” and “Love Songs” along with “California Summer Song” from their new record. They even throw “We Can Work It Out” into the setlist because, when in Rome, do what the Romans do.

 

 

 

Five Cool Ones: Five New Albums Released This Week (March 20,2020)

Picking’s are a bit slim this week as many artists are delaying their releases for a bit, at least until they can actually tour to play their new songs in front of their fans. That being said, current Queen frontman Adam Lambert has a new one out as does Morrissey. Even Gordon Lightfoot makes an appearance this week with his new record, Solo. Here are five nice ones we have culled for you.

Mapache – From Liberty Street

This one has so many Laurel Canyon vibes wafting all over it the record might as well have been recorded on Joni Mitchell’s couch. This, their sophomore record is a breezy harmony-ladened gem.

James Righton – The Performer

The debut solo record from The Klaxons frontman will take you back to the days of ’70s rockers Bryan Ferry and Todd Rundgren with a side order of Nick Lowe thrown in for good measure.

Mike Mattison – Afterglow

Recently, mostly known for his work in the Tedeschi Trucks band, he is the lead singer, Mike Mattison steps out on his own with a highly likable set of Americana, Rock, and Blues influenced songs.

Kelsea Ballerini – Kelsea

It seems that Kelsea Ballerini has been bubbling just under the surface of stardom for some time with this latest record, Kelsea, quite likely serving as the springboard to mainstream stardom. Having been nominated for a Grammy in 2017 for Best New Artist, be ready to hear this Pop Country star pretty much everywhere you go in 2020.

Carla Olson – Have Harmony Will Travel 2

Known for her recent collaboration with The Byrds Gene Clark, Carla Olson, this time, calls on a bevy of her famous friends to add texture and flavor to a great musical set of cover songs as well as original material. Terry Reid takes it gritty jumping in on “Scarlet Ribbons,” Timothy B. Schmit does what he does so well on “A Child’s Claim To Fame,” and don’t sleep on Carla classing this up with Percy Sledge on “Honest as Daylight.” There is something for everyone on this one with Peter Noone and Gene Clark also joining in on the fun. The spectacular “Del Gato” is worth the price of admission alone.

 

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

Internal side. It is isolated on a black background.

Rock music is back and better than ever. look no further than the Mongolian Rock band The Hu or the fact that Wishbone Ash released a new album in 2020. We are in crazy times folks, and there is no time like the present to treat our ears to Rock and Roll the way it is supposed to be played, loud and proud. Here are five new Rock and Roll bands that are making the scene.

Gorilla Riot – Peach

Besides sporting a name that is one of the more kick-ass monikers in Rock and Roll, these guys are the real deal. If you consider a five-piece Dirty Blue Rock band from Manchester with a three-prong guitar attack to be the real deal that is. And, we certainly do. Part Grunge, part MC-5, turn the volume up on these guys and feel the noise.

The Claws – No Connection

These boys represent the best of the L.A. Rock Throw-back scene. The Stonesy riffs are front and center as is the subtle yet in-your-face Nicky  Hopkins piano. Just sit back and savor “Little Glimmer,” the opening track from their 2020 release No Connection and you will feel the vibe of a top album of 2020 album in the making.

Slander Tongue – Slander Tounge

The New York Dolls by way of the Stooges. These boys from Berlin spew out a massive sprawl of early ’70s Flintstone Rock with the late ’70s skinny-tie Pogo-Rock. Whatever happened before or since it doesn’t really matter.

The Night Flight Orchestra – Aeromantic

If there is such a thing, The Night Flight Orchestra is an immensely approachable  Progressive Rock and Roll band. Their orchestral arrangements put those early ELO records to shame, and this band continues to push the boundaries of Classic Rock.

Buffalo Summer – Isolation Blue

Pound for pound, Isolation Blue, The new record from Buffalo Summer is one of the most anticipated records of the year. For us, anyway. Some sort of freak hybrid of Bad Company, Free and Thin Lizzy, this one has our hair on fire.

 

 

 

 

 

Five Cool Ones: Five New Records Released This Week (Mar 13, 2020)

This week we come to realize that everything is simply a placeholder while we wait for the new Jason Isbell record to be released in May. Here are five choice cuts that our ears are warming up to this week.

Rookie – Rookie

From the first couple of guitar chords that jump from the speakers on “Hold On Tight” the lead-off track from the band Rookie’s self-titled debut record, you can tell that you are in for a Rock and Roll swagger sort of listen. Part Slade infested Glam, Part Greg Kihn Band with a side order of The Replacements thrown into the milkshake, this Bloodshot Records release is spectacularly delicious.

Sam Doores – Sam Doores

With a moody atmospheric vibe that could very well be the soundtrack of some hipster New Orleans dirge after-hours party, Sam Doores uses strings, vintage organs, marimbas, vibraphones, and even an autoharp to create a moody, psychedelic vibe. This eclectic record also includes a stellar guest turn from Alynda Segarra from Hurray for the Riff Raff.

Early James – Singing For My Supper

It almost seems that we are contractually required to like any record that comes from Dan Auerbach’s Easy Eye Sound record company, but we have no problem with that. From Yola, Dee Smith, on to Kendell Marvel and beyond everything that they touch seems to turn into ear-pleasing gold. And the new one from Early James, Singing For My Supper, is certainly no exception. From the opener, “Blue Pill Blues” we are treated to a semi-lengthy instrumental solo before the song turns into some sort of 70’s inspired warp zone that floats somewhere between Jefferson Airplane and Jethro Tull. As it turns out, the opener simply opens the door to the time travel portal that is fully realized with “Gone as the Ghost” and beyond.

The Mahones – Unplugged

From the had us at hello moment when we discovered that a Canadian Celtic Punk band actually existed to our first listen of their latest record, Unplugged, we are pushing all of our chips to the center of the table and are going all-in on these guys. An overnight success 30 years in the making, they were formed on St. Patricks Day (of course) in 1990 and haven’t missed a beat yet. Comparisons to the Waterboys would be an obvious touchpoint here but on songs like “The Night Train To Paris,” “Cocktail Blue,” and “Will Ya Marry Me” the Americana paintbrush that makes them different is fully realized. “Stars,” a song that features Simon Townshend, sounds like a Drive-By Truckers song, and the band’s cover of the Johnny Cash cover “Hurt” is worth the price of admission alone.

Grouplove – Healer

If there ever was a band specifically made for an outdoor festival, that band would be Grouplove. Their 90’s influenced sound is as hook-laden as an episode of Dangerous Catch and every song seems to be more arena hand waving ready than the last. The Dance Anthem “Deleter” may be the first single out of the box, but it is on the more delicately subdued tunes like “Places” where the band really shines.

 

Five Cool Ones: Five New Records Released This Week (March 6, 2019)

The year is cranking right along quite nicely. Caroline Rose has moved from her Americana roots to come up with a highly excellent Pop record. Mandy Moore is taking a break from her turn on This Us Us to put out a record, and even the venerable Swamp Dogg is front and center this week. Here are five choice morsels that we like this week.

Rose Tatoo – Outlaws

We are cheating a bit here as this album is essentially a re-recording of an earlier Rose Tattoo album, but what the hell, this is Faces, Stones inspired Rose Tattoo in all its Rock and Roll glory.

Cornershop – England Is A Garden

Sure, these guy are generally thought of as a one hit wonder band with the hit single “Brimful of Asha”, but the reality is that they are a solid Rock and Roll band. With their first release in five years their British Pop sound is as bouncy and joyful as ever.

Jonathan Wilson – Dixie Blur

The hills of Laurel Canyon are well represented on Dixie Blur, the latest record from Pop artist Jonathan Wilson. From the wistful throwback vibe of “’69 Corvette” to the rollicking Bob Wills inspired “In Heaven Making Love” there is a new gem to be discovered around every turn.

Swamp Dogg – Sorry You Couldn’t Make It

The original D-O double G having held the moniker decades before Snoop Dogg, cult icon Swamp Dogg blends Country, Blues, and Soul for the most accessible record of his career. The two John Prine collaborations are really special and hearing “Don’t Take Her (She’s All I Got) sung by the guy that wrote it is truly next level.

Brandy Clark – Your Life Is A Record

Having written hits for the likes of Miranda Lambert, Reba McEntire, and Kacey Musgraves, Brandy Clark does her best work when she steps out on her own. The warm ’80s Ladies texture of this record goes down as smooth as Tennessee whiskey.

Five Cool Ones: Five New Records Released This Week (February 28, 2020)

After a couple of hit or miss weeks, the eclectic mix of music reaching our ears this week has a little bit for everyone. The Outlaws, yes the “Green Grass and High Tides Outlaws” have a new record out that is decidedly good despite the absence of many original band members actually playing on the record, Sergio Mendez without the 66 has one out that will be a great poolside jam one the weather gets warmer, and even the famed 70’s pr0g-lite Wishbone Ash are still alive and well.

Feel free to ignore the James Taylor languid set of standards, but definitely jump on “Marathon” and “Get Off The Stage” two fantastic tunes released into the wild from Chuck Prophet that will be included on his new record set for a mid-summer release.

Here are five really good ones for your ears to peruse.

Robert Cray – That’s What I Heard

Not overly prolific in recent years, this is only his 5th set of original material since 2005, he none-the-less is still as blues-crisp and brilliant as ever. As the artist that is often hailed as the savior of Blues from commercial extinction with his album Strong Persuader in 1986, with this one he may have just done it again.

The Orielles – Disco Volador

Having released in 2018 the best album of the ’90s twenty years too late with their debut album Silver Dollar Moment, now, with their latest record, the band has quite simply outdone themselves. Bright and bouncy in all the right places there are influences of ’60s as well as ’80s girl group, Bossa Nova Jazz, Funk, and Disco all rolled into a melting pot of what is sure to be one of our best albums of the year.

Cascade Lakes – Cascade Lakes

If Scott Walker fronted The Beach Boys the band just might sound like Cascade Lakes. Indie Rock with a definite Pop sensibility this record combines wide soundscapes with intricate storytelling. The ’80s Dream Syndicate vibe is an appealing touch to a record that offers rewards with multiple listens.

The Undercover Dream Lovers – It’s All In Your Head

The Undercover Dream Lovers is the psychedelic indie rock band whose name speaks for its smooth dreamy sound. The Los Angeles, Ca based project blends vibrant synth melodies grooving bass lines accompanied by the falsetto of Matt Koenig. This one is a full absorption sort of listen.

Sunny Ozell – Overnight Lows

It stands to reason that a musician that has such diverse musical influences as Bonnie Raitt, David Byrne, and Aretha Franklin would come up with an album that brings to mind Bobbi Gentry and Dr. John in the same musical breath. A native of Reno, Ozell currently works out of Brooklyn and Los Angeles.

This record has a funky soul groove that could have easily been a number one hit in the ’60s with a Dusty Springfield meets Nancy Sinatra coolness on just about every song. With her day job as Mrs. Sir Patrick Stewart, this is an artist to keep your ears on.

 

Five Cool Ones: Five New Albums Released Today (February 21, 2019)

A banner day on the new release front if only for the appearance of Bethany Cosentino and Best Coast, a member of the Rock is the New Roll Rick Chick Hall of Fame.

Best Coast – Always Tomorrow

Hard to believe it has been five years since the release of their highly excellent L.P., California Nights, but this one was definitely worth waiting for. Rocking it a bit more than we are used to from this band, every song is a shimmering gem. “For The First Time” is one of the more buoyant break-up songs you might hear this year and “Everything Has Changed” has a bit of a Joan Jett “I Love Rock and Roll” vibe to It.”

Yacht Rock Revue – Hot Dads in Tight Pants

Don’t be misled, these guys are not some sort of AOR Steel Panther. They are serious musicians and are in it to win it, taking that giant leap from being essentially a Yacht Rock cover band, think Rupert Holmes “Escape” and The Little River Band,” and Toto, to writing their own similarly veined songs. These Dads are also great businessmen. They actually own and have trademarked the term Yacht Rock, so in effect, they own their own genre of music.

Greg Dulii – Random Desire

Greg Dulii made a name for himself as the frontman for The Afghan Whigs. Now, he steps out with his first record under his own name and does it in fine style. Dark and intense, Nick Cave would not be a bad comparison and according to Pitchfork “The album deftly mediates between guitar-slashing catharsis and candelabra-lit elegance.” The entire record is an atmospheric gem and it will have you returning back to the Afghan Whigs catalog for further listening.

Sonny Landreth – Blacktop Run

Recorded in a studio just south of Lafayette, Louisiana this collection of songs has the “King of Slydeco” in superb form. Whether he is ripping it up with his intricate slide guitar playing like he does on the scorching instrumental ” Lover Dance With Me,” a tune that would make a perfect soundtrack for a highway drive, or,  he is showing his less laid back J.J, Cale inspired vocal prowess with “Mule” everything goes back to his roots playing with Clifton Chenier’s Red Hot Louisiana Band.

Sweet Lizzy Project – Technicolor

At first listen, you might find Sweet Lizzy Project and their debut record Technicolor somewhat difficult to wrap your ears around, but when you do it will be an enchanting moment for all involved. This five-piece hailing from Cuba was brought over to America with the sponsorship of Raul Malo and The Mavericks. After moving to Nashville the band recorded the album at Blackbird Studios.

Don’t try to pigeon hole these guys, you would find it a frustrating endeavor, and in this case, that is a very good thing.  Swaying from soaring Indie Rock inflections on the title track to the more rocking “Turn Up The Radio” it makes sense that this band would have found themselves opening for Heart.

“Ain’t Nobody to Call” throws a curveball on everything with an honest to goodness cowbell and a bit of a “My Sharona Vibe.” Things get lower and slower when lead singer Lisset joins forces with The Mavericks on the lilting 80’s Country painted “The Flower’s In The Seed.” The tempo and Genre hopping inherent everywhere on this record makes Technicolor one of the best records to be released in this young year.