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.

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 Records Released This Week (April 15, 2022)

Another week has gone by and another really cool music week to enjoy. A feast for the ears for sure.

Hank Williams Jr. has signed on with Easy Eye Sound releasing “.44 Special Blues” in advance of a new record to be released later in the year.

Rockers Sweet Crisis is out with a stellar version of Free’s classic “I’ll Be Creepin”.

And, proving again that Easy Eye sound can do no wrong, Velveteers make their presence known in advance of a proper full-length later in the year.

And, why wait until record store day, here are five more ear-tickling nuggets to tingle the ears and soothe the soul.

Blackberry Smoke – Stoned

A digital drop of the 2021 Record store day release, this Blackberry Smoke Rolling Stones tribute was recorded, mixed, and mastered live in one take on November 6, 2020.

Featuring songs from the ‘70s pulling heavily from Exile on Main Street and Sticky Fingers, the less is more approach that super-producer Dave Cobb gives to the project gives it the loose feel magic that many of those mid-era stones carried back in the day.

Charlie Starr and Blackberry Smoke were born to inhabit the soul of “Sway,” and “Street Fighting Man” stays a bit too close to the vest to be actually cool.

But, you have a right to be pissed if you bought the vinyl because you were a Blackberry Smoke fan and you never thought this record would see the light of ear on your favorite digital platform.

Kurt Vile – (watch my moves)

Always flirting with the fringes of pop, adding a fuzz guitar there, a psychedelic interlude there, Kurt Vile consistently delivers a unique brand of Rock and Roll that while it can be a bit fried and sizzled at times, is always eclectically cool. And his latest, (watch my moves), is certainly no exception.

From the opener, “Going on a Plane Today,” Vile has plans to chug a beer, listen to Neil Young Young, and reflect on his younger self, setting the stage for a set of songs that wander stealthily through the garden as a perfect accompaniment for chilling on a bench reading Raymond Carver short stories.

The Lou Reed speak-sing lilt of “Flyin (like a fast train)” has a way of washing over you at first listen and completely enveloping you with multiple spins. And, the single “Like Exploding Stones” will have you going woo woo for the rest of the day.

This is a winner of a record that will require multiple spins on the turntable for the hook to set. But when it does, you will be a better person for listening to it. Certainly, a more advanced one.

Edgar Winter – Brother Johnny

Ultimately dying from fierce heroin addiction in 2014, Johnny Winter was one of the first white Blues-Rock virtuosos, a trailblazing precursor to Jonny Lang, Joe Bonamassa, Kenny Wayne Sheppard, and many more. And here, on Brother Johnny, his brother Edgar has gathered a who’s who of guitar slingers to pay tribute covering many of the songs that are part of the Johnny Winter canon over the years.

The list of artists that contributed here is ridiculously cool including Billy Gibbons, Joe Bonamassa, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Keb’ Mo’, Derek Trucks, Joe Walsh, David Grissom, Steve Lukather, Doyle Bramhall II, Warren Haynes, Bobby Rush, and Robben Ford. Can I get an Amen?

With each song uniquely produced to match the style of the guest artist, each song, while having been heard thousands of times the tunes come out of the speakers as a wholly new entity. Highlights are many including the scorching “I’m Yours and I’m Hers” with Billy Gibbons and Derek Trucks going fret for fret, and “Highway 61 Revisited” featuring Kenny Wayne Shepherd.

As ringleader, Edgar Winter does a masterful job of playing and producing this record with the notable exception of adding Michael McDonald to the cast of cronies on “Stranger.”

And, on what was one of his last non-Foo Fighter appearances, Taylor Hawkins provides the drumming and backing vocals on the prescient “Guess I’ll Go Away.”

Kaitlin Butts – What Else Can She Do

Put a pin in this date of your musical listening history as you will likely want to remember the first time that up-and-coming Americana singer Kaitlin Butts hit your ear waves. With a voice that floats somewhere between Kacey Musgraves and Margo Price and a cowgirl rebel attitude that could rival Nikki Lane, there is a certain Lydia Loveless aura sounding her latest record, “What Else Can She Do.”

From the opening night-noir refrains from “It Won’t Always Be This Way,” the pure class of the songwriting demonstrated here is readily apparent.

“Speak of the devil, in he walks. It’s like his ears burn when I talk. Pushed in a gutter, stuck in a rut, waiting for the next turn of the knife in my gut.”

And it only gets better than there. “What Else Can She Do” has a definite Tanya Tucker by way of Shelby Lynne vibe, while “Jackson” is a dangerous spin on the original that namechecks Johnny and June. Spoiler alert, they never make it to Jackson.

At a tidy 7 songs in just under 32 minutes in length, this record should be digested in one bourbon-filled sitting not stopping until the closing Leadbelly staple “In The Pines” completes its mournful wail and floats away from your speakers.

A riveting turn from an artist that knows what it’s like to live on the knife’s edge without cutting herself and wants to tell us all about it.

Jewel – Freewheelin’ Woman

Seven years removed from her last attempt to reinvent herself, Picking Up The Pieces, Jewel has returned to the scene of the scene with the Pop-Soul centric Freewheelin’ Woman.

“Living With Your Memory” is pure Muscle Shoals bombast, “No More Tears” is a dramatic turn with an assist from Darius Rucker, and “Half-Life” could have been a hit song in the ‘70s by any number of the female country crooners.

You would be hard-pressed to find a more life-affirming song recorded this year than “Dance Sing Laugh Love,” the centerpiece of a record that might not put Jewel firmly back on the radar, but a visit from an old friend you haven’t heard from in a while is always welcome.

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 Cool Records Released This week (February 25, 2022)

We are just about ready to round the quarter pole, and there is a lot of new music for our ears to digest. New Easy Eye Sound stablemates, Ceramic Animals have a new record coming out soon and have released the new single, “Valerie.”

Twisted Sister frontman Dee Snider has released a video, “Stand,” as a tribute to those that lost their lives in the tragic fire at The Station in Rhode Island during a Great White concert.

And, hold on to your ears for this one, Taj Majall and Ry Cooder collaborate from a living room on “I Shall Not Be Moved.”

And, of course, on top of everything, we have five sweet records to savor this week.

Band of Heathens – Remote Transmissions, Vol. 1

Already in heavy rotation in the offices of Rock is the New Roll H.Q., The Band of Horses have turned the coolness up several notches with the release of Remote Transmissions, Vol. 1.

 With time on their hands and their professional lives on hold during the pandemic, every Tuesday night, the band would gather together a loose-knit collective of artists via Zoom to host a 90-minute fun time session called The Good Time Supper Club. Ultimately, as part of the shows, the band would sit down and interview the guest artists, and following the show, they recorded cover songs with each of them in a segment they called Radio Transmissions. 

All killer, no filler, the song selections for this record are perfectly complementary to our ears, the artists selected might as well have been culled from our vinyl library, and the pairing of the two is all hit and no miss.

The Ray Wylie Hubbard version of “Papa Was A Rolling Stone” shouldn’t work, but it does, and brilliantly so. The Rolling Stones cover of “You Got The Silver with blackberry smoker Charlie Starr is Keith Richards endorsement worthy, and “L.A. Freeway” is perfect.

Lock it in as the covers record of the year has already announced itself. And, if you still are not a believer, listen to “Tumbling Dice with Nicki Bluhm.

Tears For Fears – The Tipping Point

It should come as no surprise that after the passing of over forty years since the band originated and almost two decades away from their last record, Tears For Fears has released a new album. The headline here is that Roland Orzabel and Curt Smith have set aside artistic differences and petty personal squabbles in creating a song cycle that stands right up there next to the iconic “Songs From The Big Chair.”

With the possible exception of “My Demons,” the anthemic side of the duo does not rear its head which is a good thing as the boys generally stay in their vocal lane. Lyrically, this is a sign of the times record without being overtly political, with “River of Mercy” being about as topical as it could be right now.

With “End Of Night” blasting vintage Tears For Fears like it’s 1985 all over again, stick a pin in this one and resurface it once the end of the year best-of lists roll around.

Superchunk – Wild Loneliness

Longevity being the order of the day, it has been 32 years since Superchunk released their debut self-titled album. And, based on their sparkling new album, Wild Loneliness, it’s almost like no time has passed at all.

Sparkling Jangle Pop of the highest order, Big Star influences abound with touches of Jelly Fish here and Cheap Trick, there. “This Night” is a gang-chorus standout, “Endless Summer” has a scent of the melodic side of The Replacements in the DNA, and “Refraction” has Punk-Pop energy that is contagious.

There is no logical reason for this album to be as good as it is, but there is not a bad song on this surprisingly excellent record from one of the hip bands of the ’90s.

Diamond Dogs – Slap Bang Blue Rendezvous

From the name alone, you pretty much know what you are getting with Diamond Dogs and their new record, Slap Bang Blue Rendevous. 

Hailing from Sweden, their brand of incendiary Rock and Roll touches on David Bowie Glam, but their mojo goes much deeper than that. With touches of Aussie Rock in the Angels, Cold Chisel mode, and the essence of the Velvet Underground or Mott the Hoople respective oeuvres, this is a yellow brick road-worthy journey down the trail of Classic Rock coolness.

“Golden Wheel” Is Cheap Trick if they had come around ten years earlier than they did. We had to do a double-take to make sure that “Makeup Boogie” wasn’t on the T-Rex Electric Warrior album, and “You Shouldn’t Be Lonely On a Saturday Night” could have been a Status Quo special back in the day.

All in all, this is a true-spirited Rock and Roll record. Lighters Lit!

Sophie & The Broken Things – Delusions of Grandeur

A stunning debut record, Delusions of Grandeur, brought to you by Sophie & The Broken Things, is as good an Americana record as you are likely to find this year. With a vocal range that floats along like the love-child of Lucinda and Emmylou, Sophie Gault is the real deal. When you combine influences like Bonnie Raitt and Neko Case, along with a band that can switch from a mournful ballad to a country-tonk stomper at the blink of a stetson, all of the ingredients are in place for a classic listen.

“Churches & Bars” is Americana song of the year-worthy, “Dashboard” is an epic road trip song that finds Sophie getting in her car driving down the road putting some John on the cd player. And, on “Heavy-Metal,” the band gets to stretch a bit on this ode to traveling down the road cranking that heavy metal heading to bar to be with her black Slayer t-shirt wearing tribe.

This is a new find well worth checking out.