Another week under our listening belts and we are zooming towards the summer months where the weather will be hot and the music even hotter.
Starbenders, only days ago, released their new single and video, “If You Need It.”
Rock is the New Roll Glam faves Moneskin are fresh off a Jimmy Kimmel appearance performing their new single “Supermodel.”
And, on his latest incarnation with his new band The Sinners Ginger Wildheart delivers a Stones inspired dose of audible moonshine.
Slang – Cockroach in a Ghost Town
Sort of a Pacific Northwest Indie supergroup, Slang features Drew Grow along with Janet Weiss of Sleater-Kinney, Anita Lee Eliott, and Kathy Foster of The Thermals. But, make no mistake, the real star of the show here are the staggering over the top vocals courtesy of Drew Grow. With the human torch swagger of the opener “Wilder” to the Bowie-esque “Wrong Wrong Wrong” where grow demonstrates his ability to hit the high notes, the perfect balance of Indie-Punk bombast melded with festival-ready anthems is met on virtually every song.
The slinky “King Gunn” is Orville Peck on speed, And, the sprawling, cinematic, title track, “Cockroach In A Ghost Town” is an Iggy Pop cinematic delight.
As debut records go, this one is really good. Allowing his band mates to play a bit more in the sandbox giving them more room to roam should take their sophomore record to the next level should this not be a one and done affair.
Def Leppard – Diamond Star Halos
The title, Diamond Star Halos, comes from a line from the iconic T-Rex single, “Get It on” that perfectly captures the spirit of this latest, and certainly greatest, throwback treasure of an album in all its glam glory.
This, the 7th record with the current line up of Joe Elliot, Rick Savage, Rick Allen, Vivian Campbell, and Phil Collen, waving all of the Leppard flags in full glory. Swagger-filled vocals, gang backing harmonies, and hooky ear worms for days are all presented front and center early ‘80s style.
With varying textures from the on-point “Fire It Up,” the Pink Floyd inspired closer, “From Here To Eternity,” and the two Alison Krause assists rendered on “This Guitar” and “Lifeless” this diversity of sounds gives the album a bit of more character than we heard on the last couple of Leppard albums.
At just over one hour, there is a lot to savor in one sitting, but multiple listens will yield multiple rewards.
Steve Earle & The Dukes – Jerry Jeff
Having moved to Nashville and serving as his designated driver, Steve Earle’s love and respect for fellow troubadour Jerry Jeff Walker runs deep. His fourth tribute record following Townes, a tribute to Townes Van Zant, Guy, a nodding of the chapeau to Guy Clark, and JT, the the heartbreaking memorial to his own son, Justin Townes Earle, on Jerry Jeff the songs remain the same with a choice curation of widely known hits alongside lesser known gems.
Leading off, of course, with “Gettin’ By” the perfect introduction to the set, with Earle speak-singing, “Hi buckaroos, Steve Earle again,” pretty much the same as Jerry Jeff opened up his Viva Terlingua l.p., followed by “Gypsy Songman,” Walker’s biography in a song, gives the set a one-two punch that would make this one a stellar effort with those two songs alone.
Earle gives a sublime touch on “Little Bird” and on the ubiquitous “Mr. Bojangles,” the passion runs deep. With the should have been a bigger hit, “Hill Country Rain,” Steve slaps it on the grill, cooks it up rare, and delivers one of the best renditions of the song you will ever hear this side of Jerry Jeff himself.
Saddened by the fact they have to be made, Steve Earle’s, now four, tribute records are all stellar affairs, with Jerry Jeff possibly the best in the canon.
We are not going to tell Van Gogh how to paint here, but our vote for the next in line would be a Billy Joe Shaver tribute record.
The Lickerish Quartet – Threesome Vol. 3
With a vibe that time warps back to ‘70s, Threesome Vol. 3 is the third member of the triptych of E.P.’s from three ex Jellyfish members, Joseph Manning Jr., Tim Smith, and Eric Dover.
Recorded mostly remote with files zipping across the world from the confines of their respective home studios, the songs somehow seem to still reflect the sparking Psychedelic Pop splendor of the original Jellyfish band.
The string-laden “You All Alone” hits the speakers like a b-side from a mid-era E.L.O. record with a side order of the Alan Parsons Project, and “In The Meantime” is a bouncy tune with a for-the- times message asking the pertinent question, where do we go when the world is falling apart. And, “The Dream That Took Me Over” would have been a picture perfect placement tune for a John Hughes.
If we can’t have proper Jellyfish, The Lickerish Quartet is the first, second, and third best thing.
Simon McBride – The Fighter
The fact that Simon McBride is not better known outside a small cult of Blues-Rock enthusiasts is a wrong that needs to be righted post haste. And, with his stellar new record, The Fighter, our collective radars are soon to be updated.
Shifting the gears on a dizzying array of rock and roll touch points from the opener “Don’t Dare” that could have been a perfect in their prime Paul Rodgers Free era song, to “Show Me How To Love” a song that that hots your ears like Stevie Ray tune run through a Night Ranger filter, all the way to “Kingdom’s” that could have been a Purple Rain deep cut. Yes, this one is that eclectic.
The vibe continues to be versatile as McBride does his best Charlie Starr and Blackberry Smoke impersonation on “Just Takes Time.” And, speaking of the band Free, the version of “Stealer” presented here is a perfect complement to a record that will soon have squatters rights on your turntable.