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.