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.

Video of the Day: Generation Radio – Why Are You Calling Me Now?

With a somewhat dubious relationship with Frontier Records, a label that brings old and new rockers together to put out formula-laden records releasing one and done albums that the bands rarely tour behind, may have hit on one this time. Featuring former members of Tom Petty, Rascall Flatts and Chicago the band Radio Generation is bringing back 80’s Rock in the Journey, Night Ranger, Whitesnake mold. Color our ears perked up.

Five Cool Ones: Five New Records Released This Week (May 27, 2022)

Another week under our listening belts and we are zooming towards the summer months where the weather will be hot and the music even hotter.

Starbenders, only days ago, released their new single and video, “If You Need It.”

Rock is the New Roll Glam faves Moneskin are fresh off a Jimmy Kimmel appearance performing their new single “Supermodel.”

And, on his latest incarnation with his new band The Sinners Ginger Wildheart delivers a Stones inspired dose of audible moonshine.

Slang – Cockroach in a Ghost Town

Sort of a Pacific Northwest Indie supergroup, Slang features Drew Grow along with Janet Weiss of Sleater-Kinney, Anita Lee Eliott, and Kathy Foster of The Thermals. But, make no mistake, the real star of the show here are the staggering over the top vocals courtesy of Drew Grow. With the human torch swagger of the opener “Wilder” to the Bowie-esque “Wrong Wrong Wrong” where grow demonstrates his ability to hit the high notes, the perfect balance of Indie-Punk bombast melded with festival-ready anthems is met on virtually every song.

The slinky “King Gunn” is Orville Peck on speed, And, the sprawling, cinematic, title track, “Cockroach In A Ghost Town” is an Iggy Pop cinematic delight.

As debut records go, this one is really good. Allowing his band mates to play a bit more in the sandbox giving them more room to roam should take their sophomore record to the next level should this not be a one and done affair.

Def Leppard – Diamond Star Halos

The title, Diamond Star Halos, comes from a line from the iconic T-Rex single, “Get It on” that perfectly captures the spirit of this latest, and certainly greatest, throwback treasure of an album in all its glam glory.

This, the 7th record with the current line up of Joe Elliot, Rick Savage, Rick Allen, Vivian Campbell, and Phil Collen, waving all of the Leppard flags in full glory. Swagger-filled vocals, gang backing harmonies, and hooky ear worms for days are all presented front and center early ‘80s style.

With varying textures from the on-point “Fire It Up,” the Pink Floyd inspired closer, “From Here To Eternity,” and the two Alison Krause assists rendered on “This Guitar” and “Lifeless” this diversity of sounds gives the album a bit of more character than we heard on the last couple of Leppard albums.

At just over one hour, there is a lot to savor in one sitting, but multiple listens will yield multiple rewards.

Steve Earle & The Dukes – Jerry Jeff

Having moved to Nashville and serving as his designated driver, Steve Earle’s love and respect for fellow troubadour Jerry Jeff Walker runs deep. His fourth tribute record following Townes, a tribute to Townes Van Zant, Guy, a nodding of the chapeau to Guy Clark, and JT, the the heartbreaking memorial to his own son, Justin Townes Earle, on Jerry Jeff the songs remain the same with a choice curation of widely known hits alongside lesser known gems.

Leading off, of course, with “Gettin’ By” the perfect introduction to the set, with Earle speak-singing, “Hi buckaroos, Steve Earle again,” pretty much the same as Jerry Jeff opened up his Viva Terlingua l.p., followed by “Gypsy Songman,” Walker’s biography in a song, gives the set a one-two punch that would make this one a stellar effort with those two songs alone.

Earle gives a sublime touch on “Little Bird” and on the ubiquitous “Mr. Bojangles,” the passion runs deep. With the should have been a bigger hit, “Hill Country Rain,” Steve slaps it on the grill, cooks it up rare, and delivers one of the best renditions of the song you will ever hear this side of Jerry Jeff himself.

Saddened by the fact they have to be made, Steve Earle’s, now four, tribute records are all stellar affairs, with Jerry Jeff possibly the best in the canon.

We are not going to tell Van Gogh how to paint here, but our vote for the next in line would be a Billy Joe Shaver tribute record.

The Lickerish Quartet – Threesome Vol. 3

With a vibe that time warps back to ‘70s, Threesome Vol. 3 is the third member of the triptych of E.P.’s from three ex Jellyfish members, Joseph Manning Jr., Tim Smith, and Eric Dover.

Recorded mostly remote with files zipping across the world from the confines of their respective home studios, the songs somehow seem to still reflect the sparking Psychedelic Pop splendor of the original Jellyfish band.

The string-laden “You All Alone” hits the speakers like a b-side from a mid-era E.L.O. record with a side order of the Alan Parsons Project, and “In The Meantime” is a bouncy tune with a for-the- times message asking the pertinent question, where do we go when the world is falling apart. And, “The Dream That Took Me Over” would have been a picture perfect placement tune for a John Hughes.

If we can’t have proper Jellyfish, The Lickerish Quartet is the first, second, and third best thing.

Simon McBride – The Fighter

The fact that Simon McBride is not better known outside a small cult of Blues-Rock enthusiasts is a wrong that needs to be righted post haste. And, with his stellar new record, The Fighter, our collective radars are soon to be updated.

Shifting the gears on a dizzying array of rock and roll touch points from the opener “Don’t Dare” that could have been a perfect in their prime Paul Rodgers Free era song, to “Show Me How To Love” a song that that hots your ears like Stevie Ray tune run through a Night Ranger filter, all the way to “Kingdom’s” that could have been a Purple Rain deep cut. Yes, this one is that eclectic.

The vibe continues to be versatile as McBride does his best Charlie Starr and Blackberry Smoke impersonation on “Just Takes Time.” And, speaking of the band Free, the version of “Stealer” presented here is a perfect complement to a record that will soon have squatters rights on your turntable.

Five Cool Ones: Five New Records Released This Week (May 27, 2022)

Another week under our listening belts and we are zooming towards the summer months where the weather will be hot and the music even hotter.

Starbenders, only days ago, released their new single and video, “If You Need It.”

Rock is the New Roll Glam faves Moneskin are fresh off a Jimmy Kimmel appearance performing their new single “Supermodel.”

And, on his latest incarnation with his new band The Sinners Ginger Wildheart delivers a Stones inspired dose of audible moonshine.

Slang – Cockroach in a Ghost Town

Sort of a Pacific Northwest Indie supergroup, Slang features Drew Grow along with Janet Weiss of Sleater-Kinney, Anita Lee Eliott, and Kathy Foster of The Thermals. But, make no mistake, the real star of the show here are the staggering over the top vocals courtesy of Drew Grow. With the human torch swagger of the opener “Wilder” to the Bowie-esque “Wrong Wrong Wrong” where grow demonstrates his ability to hit the high notes, the perfect balance of Indie-Punk bombast melded with festival-ready anthems is met on virtually every song.

The slinky “King Gunn” is Orville Peck on speed, And, the sprawling, cinematic, title track, “Cockroach In A Ghost Town” is an Iggy Pop cinematic delight.

As debut records go, this one is really good. Allowing his band mates to play a bit more in the sandbox giving them more room to roam should take their sophomore record to the next level should this not be a one and done affair.

Def Leppard – Diamond Star Halos

The title, Diamond Star Halos, comes from a line from the iconic T-Rex single, “Get It on” that perfectly captures the spirit of this latest, and certainly greatest, throwback treasure of an album in all its glam glory.

This, the 7th record with the current line up of Joe Elliot, Rick Savage, Rick Allen, Vivian Campbell, and Phil Collen, waving all of the Leppard flags in full glory. Swagger-filled vocals, gang backing harmonies, and hooky ear worms for days are all presented front and center early ‘80s style.

With varying textures from the on-point “Fire It Up,” the Pink Floyd inspired closer, “From Here To Eternity,” and the two Alison Krause assists rendered on “This Guitar” and “Lifeless” this diversity of sounds gives the album a bit of more character than we heard on the last couple of Leppard albums.

At just over one hour, there is a lot to savor in one sitting, but multiple listens will yield multiple rewards.

Steve Earle & The Dukes – Jerry Jeff

Having moved to Nashville and serving as his designated driver, Steve Earle’s love and respect for fellow troubadour Jerry Jeff Walker runs deep. His fourth tribute record following Townes, a tribute to Townes Van Zant, Guy, a nodding of the chapeau to Guy Clark, and JT, the the heartbreaking memorial to his own son, Justin Townes Earle, on Jerry Jeff the songs remain the same with a choice curation of widely known hits alongside lesser known gems.

Leading off, of course, with “Gettin’ By” the perfect introduction to the set, with Earle speak-singing, “Hi buckaroos, Steve Earle again,” pretty much the same as Jerry Jeff opened up his Viva Terlingua l.p., followed by “Gypsy Songman,” Walker’s biography in a song, gives the set a one-two punch that would make this one a stellar effort with those two songs alone.

Earle gives a sublime touch on “Little Bird” and on the ubiquitous “Mr. Bojangles,” the passion runs deep. With the should have been a bigger hit, “Hill Country Rain,” Steve slaps it on the grill, cooks it up rare, and delivers one of the best renditions of the song you will ever hear this side of Jerry Jeff himself.

Saddened by the fact they have to be made, Steve Earle’s, now four, tribute records are all stellar affairs, with Jerry Jeff possibly the best in the canon.

We are not going to tell Van Gogh how to paint here, but our vote for the next in line would be a Billy Joe Shaver tribute record.

The Lickerish Quartet – Threesome Vol. 3

With a vibe that time warps back to ‘70s, Threesome Vol. 3 is the third member of the triptych of E.P.’s from three ex Jellyfish members, Joseph Manning Jr., Tim Smith, and Eric Dover.

Recorded mostly remote with files zipping across the world from the confines of their respective home studios, the songs somehow seem to still reflect the sparking Psychedelic Pop splendor of the original Jellyfish band.

The string-laden “You All Alone” hits the speakers like a b-side from a mid-era E.L.O. record with a side order of the Alan Parsons Project, and “In The Meantime” is a bouncy tune with a for-the- times message asking the pertinent question, where do we go when the world is falling apart. And, “The Dream That Took Me Over” would have been a picture perfect placement tune for a John Hughes.

If we can’t have proper Jellyfish, The Lickerish Quartet is the first, second, and third best thing.

Simon McBride – The Fighter

The fact that Simon McBride is not better known outside a small cult of Blues-Rock enthusiasts is a wrong that needs to be righted post haste. And, with his stellar new record, The Fighter, our collective radars are soon to be updated.

Shifting the gears on a dizzying array of rock and roll touch points from the opener “Don’t Dare” that could have been a perfect in their prime Paul Rodgers Free era song, to “Show Me How To Love” a song that that hots your ears like Stevie Ray tune run through a Night Ranger filter, all the way to “Kingdom’s” that could have been a Purple Rain deep cut. Yes, this one is that eclectic.

The vibe continues to be versatile as McBride does his best Charlie Starr and Blackberry Smoke impersonation on “Just Takes Time.” And, speaking of the band Free, the version of “Stealer” presented here is a perfect complement to a record that will soon have squatters rights on your turntable.

Five Cool Ones: Five New Records Released This Week (May 20, 2022)

The halls of Rock is the New roll are simply.buzzing over the upcoming new Def Leppard record set to hit our shores next week. But, in the meantime.

The mighty Sheepdogs are out front and center with yet another single from their up and coming sure to be a stunner of an album. “Scarborough Street Fight” represents everything we love about The Sheepdogs.

If Maggie Rogers and her Alanis Morissette evoking “That’s Where I Am” has not hit your ear holes yet, that miss-step should be rectified immediately.

And, Train jumped the AOR shark some time ago, but they still put out pleasant sitting at the beach tunes with the best of them. Case in point, “AM Gold.”

But, enough of all of that, let’s move on to the main event. Here are five new albums we are getting jiggy with this week.

Nitty Gritty Dirt Band – Dirt Does Dylan

If , like many musos of our ilk, your first exposure to folk, bluegrass, and roots music was likely courtesy of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and their Will The Circle Be Unbroken series of releases. Here, they put their Americana-tinged coating on a set of carefully curated Bob Dylan covers.

Meaning no disrespect to Mr. Dylan, his songs presented by singers that you can actually understand often times take on a new meaning, and such is the case here.

The opener, “Tonight, I’ll Be Staying Here With You” is a fiddle-enhanced stunner from Nashville Skyline, “The Girl From North Country” is stretched out a bit yet doesn’t stray too far from the reservation, and the iconic “The Times They Are A-Changing” is a must- listen for any set of years with Steve Earl, Isbell, The War and Treaty, all joining the party on gang vocals. This one is worth the price of admission alone.

Take this record, absorb it, and use it as a jumping off point to rediscovering a band that has been doing there thing since 1966 and are still going strong.

This Nashville by way of Alabama band combines Blues- Rock boogie, Americana, and Roots- Rock into a blender that mixes drinks for the common man.

Banditos – Right On

With Right On, the bands third proper record, dynamic front-woman Mary Beth Richardson channels her Motels by way of Beth Hart back of the barroom vocals on a set of songs that range from Americana Brandi Carlisle style to Pretenders Indie Rock all the way to Indigo Girl inspired Jingles.

“On My Way” has a bit of Sheryl Crow in the DNA, “Deepend Weekend” is a ramshackle in all the best of ways tune, and on the closer, Ozone” Richardson does her best Maria Muldaur ‘50s chanteuse impersonation ex.

With the diversity and texture-hopping represented here it is no wonder that Banditos are one of the hottest live acts in Nashville.

Eliza and the DelusionalsNow And Then

Another of the great Aussie bands, Eliza and the Delusionals spin the time machine back to late ‘90s early ‘00’s Indie Rock on their latest long player, Now and Then.

With a wild range of touchstones from Alanis Morrissete all the way to The Breeders and The Motels, “Sad Song” would have fit in quite nicely on Jagged Little Pill, “Get A Hold Of You” is ABBA on steroids, and “Circles” would be a perfect complement to the Sheryl Crowe oeuvre.

Don’t sleep on this record or this band.

Mavis Staples and Levon Helm – Carry Me Home

Recorded during one of his famous upstate New York Midnight Rambles concert from his Woodstock, N.Y. Studios, Levon Helm partnered up with Mavis Staples.

Designed to emulate the traveling musical road shows traversing the country in the 1940’s “Handwriting On The Wall” is church revival music at its finest, and “This Is My Country” is as relevant today as it was when Curtis Mayfield wrote it when it was performed here in 2011.

Highlights are plentiful, but the supreme stars of the show are the laid back, low and slow version of “It May Be The Last Time,” and the closer of closers, The Bands own, “The Weight” with Levon in surprisingly strong voice doing his best Joe Cocker impersonation is epic,

When two musical icons are at the top of their respective games as they are here, the results can only be sublime.

Seth Walker – I Hope I Know

A Blues man dressed in a suit of Americana, Seth Walker has produced a guest drenched slice of topical tunes written for the Everyman. Produced by Jano Rox of the Wood Brothers. The lead off track, “The Future Ain’t What It Used To Be” features the great Alison Russell, and the sparse Dylan cover of “Buckets of Rain” is a sparse delight.

A highlight, for these ears anyway, is the Van Morrison cover of “Warm Love,” and while Walker doesn’t wring all of the emotion out of the standout track from Hard Nose The Highway, he does more than do the song justice with his delicate picking. And, yes there is flute.

As a new set of ears to Seth Walker and his oeuvre, I am prepared to say that if you like laid back Americana Blues in the J.J. Cale mode you will love Seth Walker.