Five Cool Ones: Five New Records Released This Week (September 23, 2022)

Of, course, everything is just a placeholder until the release of a rumored new Springsteen record, albeit a Soul covers album, sometime in November.

Courtney Marie Andrews has a delicately sublime tune out in the ether with the single “These are the good old days.“

Kentucky’s favorite Southern rock mavens Black Stone Cherry are scorching the earth with their Lynyrd Skynyrd on steroids bombast with “White Trash Millionaire” from their live record Live From The Royal Albert Hall released in June.

And, Power Pop maestro Kai Danzberg name checks The Beatles and Jellyfish with his stunningly cool new surprise single Welcome to the Show.

But wait, there’s more. Here are 5 new full length albums released this week.

Billy Idol – The Cage E.P.

Billy Idol’s current release pattern seems to be in the form of a series of four song sprints with each tune a single in its own right, and an overall arching spirit that leaves you wanting more, it is refreshingly cool that an artist that has been around so long is still mostly at the top of his game.

The opener “Cage” opens up with a Jessie’s Girl vibe and mid chorus blasts into “Rebel Yell Territory, “Running from the Ghost” announce long time Idol collaborator and guitarist Steve Stevens in fine fashion, and “Rebel Like You” rings true with the whiskey with a side order of a pack of Camels voice that Billy sports these days going down smooth.

Finally, “Miss Nobody” blasts out of the speakers in vintage ‘8os Rock style. Lay this one down next to the equally cool 4 song set from 2021’s Roadhouse and you have a proper full-length album of rebel coolness.

Dr. John – Things Happen That Way

Things Happen That Way, the posthumous release from New Orleans icon Dr. John is a goodby letter to his home city and a special gift for the rest of us. Recorded in the months prior to his death from a heart condition in 2019, bringing this one across the finish line as the good doctor’s health was deteriorating was a challenge that producer Shane Theriot seems to have met with aplomb.

The opener, “Funny How Time Slips Away” is delivered with the hush tones of a dying man, and is likely one of the songs recorded at his home as he was too ill to go to the studio, and the classic “I Walk on Gilded Splinters” takes on a spooky and funk-filled groove with Lucas Nelson and the Promise of the Real sitting in.

The version of “End of the Line,” the Traveling Wilbury’s single, is presented here with Aaron Neville and Katie Pruitt ably providing vocal assistance.

Given that contractual issues with Dr. John’s estate prevented the release of Rickie Lee Jones’ contributions to this set on three songs, its hard to imagine there could have been anything that could have made this almost perfect eulogy any better.

Kendell Marvel – Come On Sunshine

Based just outside of Nashville, Kendell Marvel migrated to Texas to make his latest record, Come On Sunshine.

Outlaw Country, Swamp Blues, and Country Rock are all represented Waylon Jennings-style on a palate of hopeful post-pandemic songs where the freedom to be left alone seems to be an underrated gift.

“Don’t’ Tell Me How To Drink” with Chris Stapleton is deep Waylon Jennings, Jamey Johnson, while “Hell Bent on Hard Times” would have fit in quietly among the Merle Haggard canon, and the title track is an eerie bottom of the bottle stunner.

Upping his game with every release, Kendell Marvell is carrying the Outlaw Country torch quite nicely.

Nikki Lane – Denim and Diamonds

Road warrior Nikki Lane is back after a brief hiatus and period of self-reflection that brought her all the way back to the highways and hillbillies that she left on 2017’s “Highway Queen.”

Not reinventing the Nikki Lane wheel, the opener “First High” tells you all you need to know about Lane as she name-checks Springsteen and leaves the beauty queens behind to join the boys at the bar. “Born Tough” is a good place holder take on her autobiography until she releases her own proper memoir, and “Live/Love” pretty sums up her way of life in a song.

A country record with a rock and roll ethos courtesy of Queens of the Stone Age majordomo Josh Homme in the production booth, Nicki Kane is indeed back and better than ever.

The Smithereens – The Lost Album

Sometime in the fall of 1993 and between record contracts, The Smithereens ensconced themselves in a N.Y. studio and recorded two albums worth of material. The first set released under the title A Date With The Smithereens was released in 1994 and now the remainder of the session has seen the light of ear under the title The Lost Album.

And, spoiler alert, they sound just like the Smithereens. The Opener “Out of This World” is Cheap Trick by way of Badfinger, on “I’m Sexy” the reason that Kurt Cobain cited The Smithereens as a major influence is clearly evident, and the band channels their inner Elvis Costello on “Pretty Little Lies.”

When one of your favorite bands comes out with “new” music and drops a long lost album, it is a glorious day indeed.