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.