A largely underrated gem from Easy Eye Sound, this cover of the John Anderson classic is easy as a Sunday morning.
Straight up Burrito Brothers on this single from eclectically groovy band. Think Burritos, My Morning Jacket, Band of Horses with these guys.
One of the best new bands of the last 10 years rivaling Jason Isbell and his band as torch bearers of the Americana scene.
Emily Nenni should be on your radar as an up an coming Nashville artist.
Halloween is over, the Christmas season is here and the last real week of album releases is still a fortnight away. But, in the meantime there are a lot of new releases to savor.
The Electric Mob are out with a rock-stomper and their single, “By The Name (nanana).
Indie rockers Sloan are back and bubbling up with their new single, “Dream It All Over Again.)
And, newcomer Felix Weaver is scorching the earth with his new record.
But, wait, don’t put down those head phones just yet. Here are five new albums to tickle the earbuds this week.
The Lone Bellow – Love Songs For Losers
Morphing themselves from a Roots-Americana sound to a more Indie Rock AOR vibe that brings to Mind Fleetwood Mac, the resulting output may sound like an entirely new band, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.
The opener, “Honey” could have been a “Big Love” B side from Tango In The Night, “Gold” is a smartly written song that blasts across the speakers with the flair of Joshua Tree era U2, and “Wherever Your Heart Is” hits the ears like Dawes guesting on a Paul Simon single.
You might be familiar with the single “Homesick” as the song is used in the renovation series The Williams Family Cabin. And, “Caught Me Thinking” adds some horns and R&B tones spicing up an already eclectically delicious brew.
Moon City Masters – The Famous Moon City Masters
A throw back in all the best of ways, the opener, “Takin’ It Back” from the latest Moon City Masters record will take you all the way back to the James Gang ‘70s, bell-bottoms, cowbell and all. “”Spinning Wheels” is pure Toulouse Street Doobie Brothers, and their cover of the Beatles “I’ve Got A Feeling” has a Bad Company vibe to it and is one of the best songs we have heard all year.
Firmly riding in the neo-classic rock genre, Moon City Masters are painting their own soundscapes making fresh an otherwise tired genre.
Classic Rock Magazine says that their music is full of heart, harmonies, and rays of California sunshine. And, who are we to disagree.
Glen Phillips – There Is So Much Here
As the lead singer and major-domo of Toad The Wet Sprocket, Glen Phillips knows his way around a pop song. On his own since 2001, Phillips may not have surpassed the dizzying heights of the “Walk On The Ocean” days, but ignore at your own peril, his solo work is pretty great.
The opener, “Stone Throat” lays down the palate quite nicely with a breezy tempo on a layer of sparkling guitars. “Other Birds of Prey” has a Tom Petty feel to it, and “Center of the Circle” reminds us all to seek our better angels.
As the title might suggest, there is so much to see here. This one is pure pop for pure people.
Tuk Smith & The Restless Hearts – Ballad of a Misspent Yourh
Back to the ‘70s in the Hot Tub Time Machine, Tuk Smith rises from the ashes of his tumultuous period with the Biters to lay down an energetic, set of pure rock and roll the way it was meant to be played.
Part glam in the Sweet mold, part Thin Lizzy, most notably with the “Boys are Back In Town” spirit that “Girls on the East Side Of Town” Inhabits, every song in this set seems to be a festival-worthy anthem.
“Everybody Loves You When You’re Dead” is an interesting take on “Nobody Loves You (When You’re Down and Out), and “Love Sick City” is a Motley Crue worthy anthem.
First Aid Kit – Palomino
With Palomino, their fifth proper long player, Swedish siblings Klara and Johanna Soderberg, collectively known as First Aid Kit, have certainly hit their stride.
With their signature Fleetwood Mac meets Kate Bush sound still intact with songs as brilliantly constructed as “Wild Horses II” with the stellar line, you prefer The Rolling Stones, and I like Gram, their songwriting prowess has jumped to to the next level.
The song “29 Palms Highway” is perfect late night drive fare, “Ready to Run” could have been yet another hit on Jagged Little Pill, and “Angel” could have been on any Fleetwood Mac album.
Considering the mix of Indie Folk, Fleetwood Mac Pop, and Everly Brothers harmonies along with Simon & Garfunkel worthy production techniques presented here, with Palomino, First Aid Kit may have just painted their masterpiece.
American Aquarium is on of the best Americana bands of the last decade. If you are not hip to scene, here is a good starter kit.
A freshly minted video from his latest long player, Strange Time To Be Alive.
The releases should get a bit more groovy over the next couple of weeks as the artists are in a frenzy to get their new releases ready to be wrapped under your Christmas tree.
The Ruen Brothers are out with their first new single in many a fortnight with “Don’t Know What’s Come Over You.“
Husband and wife duo Johnny Fox and Renee Couture doing business as The Standstills are scorching the earth with able assistance from Eagles of Death Metal on “Motherload”.
If you somehow missed the glory five minutes when Sebastian Bach was in the band and, like us, have been struggling to keep up with the revolving door of Skid Row frontmen since, with the mighty Erik Gronwall manning the microphone this time out may be worth a listen.
Librarians With Hickeys – Handclaps & Tambourines
From the opening blast of “I Better Get Home” from Handclaps and Tambourines, the latest album from Librarians with Hickeys, you will think you have been time-warped all the way back to the middle of the groove line at Austin Powers’ wedding reception. This record is that cool.
Fresh, propulsive, Power Pop in power drive, with a distinct undercurrent of Psychedelia, these bookworms lay down plenty of hookworms. “Lady Overdrive” is a perfect soundtrack for that early summer convertible drive down the Pacific Coast Highway, the ebullient “Over You” sounds like the best of Badfinger if they had been a little less depressed, and the ballad-ish “Stumbling Down Memory Lane” clearly demonstrates that this band is no one Cheap Trick Pony with the songwriting chops to match the Power Pop splendor.
Certainly subject to change as we are only 6 spins into the record so far, a favorite song in the set is “Last Days of Summer,” a song that likely would have been a hit song in the canon of the mid-era Beach Boys. Avoid the temptation to pigeonhole this one into any one particular sub-genre, put on the headphones, and immersive yourself in what is turning out to be one of the wholly satisfying listens of the year.
Lightning Seeds – See You In The Stars
For extra credit, take a trip back in the way back machine and check out “Pure,” the 1994 smash hit from The Lighting Seeds to get a flavor of the pure pop perfection that this band is capable of releasing.
And, with their latest, See You In The Stars, along with the lead off single “Losing You,” you don’t know if it’s 1979, 1989, or 2019, the music is that vibrant and relevant.
“Great To Be Alive” is a festival-worthy stunner, and the title track is a perfect song to calm the nerves in times of trouble.
Find a new friend, or reacquaint yourself with one of the best back in the day bands you likely have lost touch with.
Miko Marks and the Resurrectors – Feel Like Going Home
From the opening buzz of the lead-off as well as the title track, you get immediate sense that Miko Marks is on to something special. Aretha Franklin with a side of Bonnie Raitt is the vibe presented here with the overall band stepping in with an energy that would make the Tedeschi-Trucks band blush.
And, once “One More Night” kicks in paying tribute to Muddy Waters, Lightning Hopkins, Big Mama Thornton, and Muscle Shoals, her lend is fairly cemented.
A genre bender of the highest order, Marks can wrap her tonsils around a Mahalia Jackson spiritual or Patsy Cline’s “Crazy” with equal aplomb. Don’t waste your time looking, this record is all stunners no bummers. “Peace of Mind” is a slow and slow ballad, and “Trouble” is a real deal, for the times country stomper.
Chips to the middle of the table, this is a year end top 10 record for sure.
The Big Moon – Here Is Everything
Loosely themed around the experience of motherhood courtesy of vocalist and band leader Juliette Jackson, this is a fresh slice of Indie Pop Nirvana.
“Wide Eyes” is a cinematic wonder in a Florence and the Machine meets U2 sort of way, and “My Very Best” is a testament to simply giving things a go.
Listening to “Ladye Bay” there is a discerning freshness to the production value that seems a bit contrary to expectations since this was generally a covid-centric release with the band not in the same room in the era of file-swapping. The piano based “Satellites” lays bare the songwriting chops of the band, and “Trouble” is about as exuberant as you can get given the general topic is child birth.
We are officially putting The Big Moon on our Buzz Bands list.
Cory Branan – When I Go I Ghost
Cory Branan is one of those under the radar artists that gets little play in the mainstream but those who know definitely know.
His latest, When I Go I Ghost is definitely a must hear. From the opening salvo of “When In Rome, When in Memphis,” the sonic boom is palpable with his Steve Earle by way of James McMurty vibe hitting you between the ears.
“When I Leave Here” displays the songwriting chops that matches the musicianship. And, “Room 101” takes you on a back street love affair.
And, a listen or two to of “Come On If You Want to Come” will have you scrambling to check out his back catalog that goes back to 2002.
Albeit, if we are being honest, this week is a bit tepid on the new release front. But fear not gentle readers as we are doing the work so you don’t have to.
The excitement is building in Rock is the New Roll HQ with the new single and video “Turning Onto You” from First Aid Kit. Look for a new album in early 2023.
New Skynyrd loving Southern Rock favorites Black Stone Cherry are releasing songs from their Live From The Royal Albert Hall album, this time featuring “Peace Is Free.”
And, Tuk Smith & The Restless Hearts are out with one of the best songs they have ever put out. Part Cheap Trick, some Jellyfish with a bit of Queen thrown in, and all cool.
But wait, that’s not all. Here are five voice albums to tickle the earbuds this week.
The Mahones – Paint The Town Red
This Celtic-centric band from Kingston, Ontario Canada is the real deal. And, with this record, Paint The Town Red, the band having been around since 1993 is at the top of their game.
It is rare when an album comes out that is the perfect salve for a point in time that desperately calls out for a set of anthems the likes of which are presented here. All of the familiar Emerald Isle touch points are front and center from The Waterboys to This Lizzy, The Chieftains and beyond.
Devil in the bottle is the requisite drinking song that would make the Dropkick Murphys blush, “Rise Up (Be Strong) comes rolling down the rails like some devil hybrid of The Dexy’s and U2 with even a bit of a ramshackle Replacements vibe, and the propulsive base line on the lead track, “Paint the Town Red,” is the most purely Irish sounding song in the set and prepares the palate just perfectly for what is to come.
A nuanced listen for sure, this one is a lot of gold at the end of a listening rainbow for sure.
Ginger Wildheart & The Sinners – Ginger Wildheart & The Sinners
Mostly known for his rock and roll side with his band The Wildhearts, with this incarnation as Ginger Wildheart & The Sinners there is an Americana bent to the music much in the mold of his work Jason and the Scorchers.
The Country rock and ‘70’s rock interplay on this record is refreshingly eclectic on this record and the cover songs curated here in The Georgia Satellite’s “Six Years Gone,” as well as the Status Quo classic “Dirty Water” represents a band that is at the top of their game.
The opener “Wasted Times” is best consumed with the top down rolling down the Pacific Coast Highway, and “Code of the Road,” a song that provides a glimpse behind the scenes at what life on the road with a touring band is like would have made for a perfect Dr. Hook song back in the day.
The Cult – Under The Midnight Sun
It seems that a band that has been around for over 40 years should have more than 11 albums under their belt, but here, Ian Astbury, Billy Duffy and the rest of the band clearly know the formula that works for them as their latest record, Under The Midnight Sun, represents the band at the top of their game.
The vocals are soaring throughout particularly on “Vendetta X” where Astbury rings to the cheap seats of the stadium with a vocal that would make Bono proud, and “Outer Heaven” is as swirling a powerhouse of a rock song that the band as ever laid own. And, “Knife Through Butterfly Heart” could have been on any of the early Doors records.
The most fulfilling aspect of this record is that the band really seems to enjoy playing together with a spark an energy that is palpable on every song. Don’t look now, but the rock album of the year may have just mad it’s presence known.
The Bobby Lee’s – Bellevue
This high energy, furnace blast of a record puts the post in Post-Punk. As frenetic as the Ramones before Phil Spector got a hold of them, the Bobby Lee’s are all about blasting through the status quo in short, sometimes off-kilter blasts of sub 2:00 CBGB worthy glory.
“Ma Likes To Drink” has a B-52’s “Rock Lobster” in its DNA, and “Death Train” roars down the tracks as if Ty Segall was a member of Van Halen, and the band even stretches things out a bit on the lower and slower slow burn of “Strange Days” with the song weighing in at 2:43.
Nuanced where it needs to be and perfectly apoplectic in spots, this is a record that will bring out the secret punk rocker that resides in all of us.
Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott – N.K-Pop
Having been part of the Housemartins in the ‘80’s and The Beautiful South in the ‘90’s, Paul Heaton definitely knows his way around a pop song. And, here with N.K-Pop, his with Jacqui Abbott, we have exhibit A.
As close to a perfect pop record that your ears will savor this year, the chemistry and lyric sparring skills that booth artists have on display here are complementary sides of the same coin. “Good Times” is a bouncy and ebullient opener, “I drove her away with my tears” is a perfectly constructed Brit-Pop single, and “Baby It’s Cold Inside” is a poignant juxtaposition of the original classic.
And, as if you needed another reason to admire Paul Heaton, to celebrate his 60th birthday he left 1,000 pounds behind the bar in 60 random pubs throughout the U..K.
Neil Young, a National treasure, is out with a new single with his band Crazy Horse. Look for a new record in October.