Five Cool Ones: Five New Records Released This Week (February 18, 2022)

A sneaky-cool week is brewing, with a couple of our favorites showing their musical wares. There is a groundswell of Rock and Roll in the air, and the Americana music brigade is out in force. And, if all of that is not enough.

We have our ears peeled for the upcoming release of their new record, and if “Devil’s Lullaby,” courtesy of the band Bad Day is any indication, it’s going to be a doozy.

The guns ‘N’ Roses riffing song driven by South of Eden, “Lone Rider’s,” will take you right back to the Sunset Strip.

And, straight out of Nashville, The Nobility, gallop, almost literally, their way into your airwaves with the highly infectious Western-Pop swagger of “No Doubts.”

And, of course, if all of that is not enough to satisfy your earbuds, here are five new records that are getting some serious play in the halls of Rock is the New Roll H.Q.

Goodbye June – See Where The Night Goes

The pride of Nashville, Goodbye June, has been flying under the rock and roll radar for almost a decade. But now, with their latest record, See Where The Night Goes, their current opening act gigs should be turning into headlining tours in short order. Goodbye group van, hello tour bus.

From the early guitar chords and instant Brian Johnson era AC/DC vocals on the opener “Step Aside,” it’s game on, lighters lit. Next in line is “See Where The Night Goes,” still a scorcher but a bit more melodic with killer hooks and even sweeter melodies that will whip the audiences into a frenzy during the upcoming festival season. And, things get more head-banging in all the best of ways from there.

Sure the band and the songs are a bit formulaic with an “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it” approach to their rock and roll. But, when a band goes about their business with such exuberance and delivers the quality riffs song to song as they do on this one, imitation turns into emulation in the blink of a power ballad.

Sarah Shook & The Disarmers – Nightroamer

Sarah Shook and her Disarmers step over and cross back again, that line between Americana and Rock and Roll with the ease of A Wallenda sibling tightrope walking across the Grand Canyon. With their latest record, Nightroamer, Sarah seems to be shedding her image as the younger sister who waters down her parent’s vodka, climbs out of her bedroom window, and sneaks out to sing a few tunes for a Hank III tribute band. Now, with her late-era Tanya Tucker vibe, her music is more contemporary posh than cow-punk with a classic country flair in just the right places. 

The stellar “Talking To Myself” is Sheryl Crow Meets Joan Jett, “If It’s Poison” has a ’50s country lilt to it complete with a lap-steel guitar, and “I Got This” is a biographical piece that carries some Melissa Etheridge DNA in its core. “No Mistakes” could have been a Billy Joe Shaver penned outlaw country tune.

Still worn weary with a well-earned lifetime expressed with every syllable she sings, Sarah Shook & The Disarmers have been there, done that, so you don’t have to.

Foxy Shazam – The Heart Behead You

If like us, you know exactly where you were the first time you heard the glam-glorious band Foxy Shazam, you are in luck, and your musical ship has arrived at the dock. Going back to their epic breakthrough record, The Church of Rock and Roll, a classic that is ten years old now, the band has never has failed to deliver on their psychedelic, glam, power pop template that brings to the minds-ear the classic S.F. based band Jellyfish. Until perhaps now, that is.

Certainly not their best, the production seems a bit fuzzy in the mix and does not sparkle as bright as a Foxy Shazam diamond should. And, the band is trying a bit too hard to be clever in their wordplay, case in point is the attempt to rhyme china (the tableware) and a part of a woman’s anatomy with a straight face. 

The opener, “I’m In Love,” is pure soaring, bombastic Foxy Shazam, “Fall Into The Night” is a dance-hall worthy call and response feet-mover, and “Love Rush Ecstacy” would be a wonderment if, as mentioned above, the production was crisper and cleaner.

Not their best effort, this one might be among the worst in their oeuvre, but much like when a skunk comes home for Thanksgiving with his family, gets drunk, and accidentally lets out a little spray, he will still be invited over for Christmas dinner.

Hurray For The Riff Raff – Life On Earth

Alynda Segarra, doing business as Hurray For The Riff Raff, is out with her typically a per-usual stellar record, Life On Earth. As part of a collective of New Orleans musicians, the new album, self-described as “nature-punk,” is centered around the theme of survival in a turned-around world.

“All stunners, no bummers” is the order of the day on this one. “Pierced Arrows” floats in the ether like Florence and the Machine’s younger sister performing on a side stage at Bonnaroo, “Jupiters Dance,” has a wafting of a Kate Bush Spirit Dance, and the exquisitely horned “Rosemary Tears” is the essence of New Orleans pathos in a song. The “deep in the soul” rendering of “My Sweet Lord” is life-affirming.

While this new record doesn’t quite live up to the majesty of its predecessor, The Navigator, it is a sterling example of an artist in progress that is one of the shining lights working today.

Dana Cooper – I Can Face The Truth

Dana Cooper is an Americana treasure that you likely have never heard. Roaming the country from Kansas City, Los Angeles, Nashville, to Texas and beyond, teaming up with Shake Russell on several records, Cooper is a dues-paying road-weary musician of the highest order. And, on his latest, I Can Face The Truth, the truth is out there.

With a version of “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” that is as honest as you will ever hear along with the Thelma and Louise road-tripping with your BFF vibe of “Old Friends,” the stage is set for the circle to be unbroken. “Laughing and Crying” might be a fitting metaphor for the present times, and “Summer in America” is a “lovers in wartime” protest anthem with a satisfying ending.

If you are not previously hip to the Dana Cooper scene, use this opportunity to right a grievous wrong.