Five Cool Ones: Five New Albums Released This Week (November 4, 2022)

Halloween is over, the Christmas season is here and the last real week of album releases is still a fortnight away. But, in the meantime there are a lot of new releases to savor.

The Electric Mob are out with a rock-stomper and their single, “By The Name (nanana).

Indie rockers Sloan are back and bubbling up with their new single, Dream It All Over Again.)

And, newcomer Felix Weaver is scorching the earth with his new record.

But, wait, don’t put down those head phones just yet. Here are five new albums to tickle the earbuds this week.

The Lone Bellow – Love Songs For Losers

Morphing themselves from a Roots-Americana sound to a more Indie Rock AOR vibe that brings to Mind Fleetwood Mac, the resulting output may sound like an entirely new band, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

The opener, “Honey” could have been a “Big Love” B side from Tango In The Night, “Gold” is a smartly written song that blasts across the speakers with the flair of Joshua Tree era U2, and “Wherever Your Heart Is” hits the ears like Dawes guesting on a Paul Simon single.

You might be familiar with the single “Homesick” as the song is used in the renovation series The Williams Family Cabin. And, “Caught Me Thinking” adds some horns and R&B tones spicing up an already eclectically delicious brew.

Moon City Masters – The Famous Moon City Masters

A throw back in all the best of ways, the opener, “Takin’ It Back” from the latest Moon City Masters record will take you all the way back to the James Gang ‘70s, bell-bottoms, cowbell and all. “”Spinning Wheels” is pure Toulouse Street Doobie Brothers, and their cover of the Beatles “I’ve Got A Feeling” has a Bad Company vibe to it and is one of the best songs we have heard all year.

Firmly riding in the neo-classic rock genre, Moon City Masters are painting their own soundscapes making fresh an otherwise tired genre.

Classic Rock Magazine says that their music is full of heart, harmonies, and rays of California sunshine. And, who are we to disagree.

Glen Phillips – There Is So Much Here

As the lead singer and major-domo of Toad The Wet Sprocket, Glen Phillips knows his way around a pop song. On his own since 2001, Phillips may not have surpassed the dizzying heights of the “Walk On The Ocean” days, but ignore at your own peril, his solo work is pretty great.

The opener, “Stone Throat” lays down the palate quite nicely with a breezy tempo on a layer of sparkling guitars. “Other Birds of Prey” has a Tom Petty feel to it, and “Center of the Circle” reminds us all to seek our better angels.

As the title might suggest, there is so much to see here. This one is pure pop for pure people.

Tuk Smith & The Restless Hearts – Ballad of a Misspent Yourh

Back to the ‘70s in the Hot Tub Time Machine, Tuk Smith rises from the ashes of his tumultuous period with the Biters to lay down an energetic, set of pure rock and roll the way it was meant to be played.

Part glam in the Sweet mold, part Thin Lizzy, most notably with the “Boys are Back In Town” spirit that “Girls on the East Side Of Town” Inhabits, every song in this set seems to be a festival-worthy anthem.

“Everybody Loves You When You’re Dead” is an interesting take on “Nobody Loves You (When You’re Down and Out), and “Love Sick City” is a Motley Crue worthy anthem.

First Aid Kit – Palomino

With Palomino, their fifth proper long player, Swedish siblings Klara and Johanna Soderberg, collectively known as First Aid Kit, have certainly hit their stride.

With their signature Fleetwood Mac meets Kate Bush sound still intact with songs as brilliantly constructed as “Wild Horses II” with the stellar line, you prefer The Rolling Stones, and I like Gram, their songwriting prowess has jumped to to the next level.

The song “29 Palms Highway” is perfect late night drive fare, “Ready to Run” could have been yet another hit on Jagged Little Pill, and “Angel” could have been on any Fleetwood Mac album.

Considering the mix of Indie Folk, Fleetwood Mac Pop, and Everly Brothers harmonies along with Simon & Garfunkel worthy production techniques presented here, with Palomino, First Aid Kit may have just painted their masterpiece.

Five Cool Ones: Five New Records Released This Week (July 15, 2022)

There is a distinct anticipating in the air as the artists and the record companies are gearing up for the summer season.

Auckland, NZ’s four-piece, The Beths, has released a new video for “Expert In A Dying Field” from the album of the same name to be released in September.

Singer-songwriter Beth Orton has released “Forever Young,” no not that one, in advance of an August release date.

And, The Black Angels are zooming up our radar with the intoxicating “Firefly.”

But, don’t change the channel just yet. Here are 5 choice nuggets for your listening pleasure.

Beabadoobee – Beatopia

Beabadoobee is Indie DIY singer songwriter Bea Kristi. Famous for theTic Toc hit single, “Coffee,” her sophomore full-length is very much a fully formed affair.

Part Pop, part Psychedelic, there is even a distinct ‘90s Indie Rock feel on “10:36.” With “Talk” a summer anthem for those of a certain age.

This record is as perfect a pairing of singer-songwriter fare and Pop sheen as you will find all year.

Arlo McKinley – This Mess We’re In

Emerging out of the other side of a tough year of personal losses in the last couple of years, Arlo McKinley’s second effort is, more than anything else, about change.

“Dancing Days” mourns the death of his mother, and “Back Home” laments the death of his Beth friend to addiction.

The songwriting is crisp, the vocals front and center in the mix, and the messaging circling around addiction and mental health is perfect for the times.

Nick Dittmeier and the Sawdusters – Heavy Denim

One of those bands that built their chops on touring with a Grateful Dead-worthy road dog mentality, and if you would be so lucky as to stumble into a bar where they happened to be playing.

The songs presented here, gritty and character-driven, have been stripped down from their usual barroom fare to a more laid-back approach with a flavor of Dire Straits carrying the day.

“Doing Wrong For All The Right Reasons” has a real Sturgill Simpson aura about it, while “… Turned and Walked Away” is a strong vocal turn in the Charley Crockett mold.

Elf Power – Artificial Countrysides

Elf Power, out of Athens Ga., is another of the bands along with Apples (In Stereo) and Neutral Milk Hotel associated with the Elephant 6 collective. With hints of early R.E.M. as well as Vic Chestnutt, a former band collaborator, there is a pastoral cohesiveness to the record that makes for a pleasant listen.

The title track “Artificial Countrysides” would have fit in quite nicely on R.E.M.’s Murmer, and “Dark Rays” could have been on any of the self-titled Peter Gabriel albums.

A nice pastoral listen with hints of progressive rock and British folk to make things a bit more relaxing.

Tami Neilson – Kingmaker

Don’t let the Bond-theme swagger of “Kingmaker” the title track on Tami Neilson’s eclectically pleasing latest release sway your opinion. Shirley Bassey Bombast aside, there is a dangerous curve around every corner on this one. “Careless Woman” has a bit of R&B girl-group gravitas while “Baby, You’re A Gun” would be perfect fare for Kill Bill 3 should Tarrantino ever design to make another one.

The great Willie Nelson is even on board and featured on “Beyond the Stars,” while ’60s mojo in the dojo vibes is essenced on “Mama’s Talkin’.” Things even go lower and slower into Laura Nyro’s territory on “I Can’t Forget.”

If you are scoring at home, this record ticks off many of the cool genre boxes including Classic Country, ’60s Chanteuse, R&B, Rockabilly, Western-Noir, ’70s Rock, and more. Highly eclectic, indeed.

Five Cool Ones: Five New Records Released This Week (May 27, 2022)

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.

Five Cool Ones: Five New Records Released This Week (May 27, 2022)

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.

Five Cool Ones: Five New Records Released This Week (May 6, 2022)

Time keeps rolling along, and as the year progresses, the hits are starting to pile up.

’90s vintage Country dwellers Midland are once again summoning the ghosts of Garth Brooks and George Strait with their latest, “Longneck Way To Go.

The Afghan Whigs have released “The Getaway” in advance of a new album to be released on September 9.

And, the Waterboys are out with another album that sounds like The Waterboys. That is great.

But wait, that’s not all. There was a bevy of prime musical cuts to select from this week, so many that we had a tough time paring the list down to five albums this week. But, we did the work so you don’t have to. Here are five groovy platters spinning at Rock is the New Roll HQ this week.

AWOLNATION – My Echo, My Shadow, My Covers & Me

Sometimes, when there is really no legitimate reason for a band to cover a certain song or the song is such an earworm that our ears can’t comprehend anyone but the artist performing it, there can be magic in the air when it is done well. And, that is certainly the case with My Echo, My Shadow, My Covers & Me, the latest missive from AWOLNATION.

With a playlist that is as tight as the skin on an apple, every song presented here is a nostalgic trip down top 40 memory lane from the days that radio play actually meant something. The rendition presented here of “Maniac,” from the movie Flashdance, has enough curves to make this a different listening experience from the original, and the Scorpion’s iconic “Wind of Change”, with a guest turn from Incubus and Portugal. The Man, shouldn’t work, but it does quite well.

Were not sure that there ever has been an attempt at covering Alan Parson’s “Eye In The Sky,” and although this version paints pretty much between the lines, the guest turn from Beck is pretty cool. “Flagpole Sitta” is worthy of some ear time simply because you likely have not heard the song in a while and Elohim very much does it justice, “Alone Again (Naturally),” yes that one, shouldn’t really work either, but in this context with Retro-Country dudes, Midland sitting in it works quite well. If you have never heard the tune with a pedal steel guitar give this one a try.

And, once you add the anthemic “Beds Are Burning,” ABBA’s “Take A Chance On Me,” and the Cars’ “Drive” what you are left with is a highly polished, exquisitely curated set of songs that just might come together as the best covers album of the year when all is said and done.

Chateau Chateau – Grow Up

With the punk attitude of Blondie along with the buoyant energy of The Bangles, Chateau Chateau is a loose-knit collective of Tucson-based musicians that self describe themselves as making cathartic indie pop for weirdos, outcasts, queer folks, and anyone else who needs it.

Grow Up, the band’s sophomore record is a concept record of sorts detailing the various relationships that frontperson Bleu has maintained, both good and bad, throughout her life. “I Don’t Love You Anymore” is a CBGB-worthy rocker with Phil Spector girl group interludes that rails against her abusive father, and “Converted” walks the ground once traveled with a narcissistic ex.

“Push Your Luck” would have been a superb Pretenders single back in the day, and the ‘Til Tuesday Indie Rock classic “Voices Carry” is a perfect cover version to bring out the versatility of the band.

After a couple of spins of this record, especially on the song “Pray,” the specialness of individuality surfaces and is celebrated in its truest form.

Luke Winslow King – If These Walls Could Talk

Recorded in Memphis, New Orleans-based Luke Winslow King with the release of If These Walls Could Talk represents his most pleasingly diverse set of songs to date. From the peppy “Slow Sunday, June,” a song that has them sitting in the shade under a banyan tree on a sultry New Orleans Sunday afternoon to “Love At First Sight” that will transport you to a stroll down Bourbon Street.

Proving he can rock with the best of them, the Jonny Lang evoking “Have A Ball” is pure Blues-Rock Big Easy Style. The title track is a somber look at a relationship that is ebbing away, and “Leaves Turn Brown” is a perfect winsome closer.

Proving that he is no vintage Country and Jazz one-trick pony, this mostly settled down affair will reward the soul wit multiple spins on the turntable.

The Coffis Brothers – Turn My Radio Up

With the very appropriate album title, Turn My Radio Up is perfect Laurel Canyon, Pacific Coast Highway, peaceful easy feeling fare. Produced by Tim Bluhm, frontman for The Mother Hips, the record gives a definite nod to the radio dial harkening back to the late ‘70s, when radio still mattered.

The opener, “One That Got Away” could have been a Timothy B. Schmidt vocal-led single from an early Eagles record, and the single “Turn My Radio” up would have been perfect on a Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers record.

“Ramona” travels into Flying Burrito’s Cosmic Cowboy territory, and “Two of a Kind” brings to mind Jackson Browne in his Running On Empty days.

Growing up in the Santa Cruz mountains in California seems to have been the perfect backdrop for brothers Jamie and Kellen Coffis to hone their craft using Buddy Holly and The Everly Brothers as influences to craft one of the best album releases of the year so far.

Pink Mountaintops – Peacock Pools

With their first record in 8 years, Stephen McBean and his collective Pink Mountaintops weave a magical mystery tour of a record, Peacock Pools.

Full of neo-psychedelic turns around every corner, this record combines early Kinks with Pink Floyd and Alan Parsons if your ears can grasp all of that coolness in one sitting.

Playing it mostly straight on the tender “Nikki Go Sudden,” a tribute to the late Post-Punk icon Nikki Sudden, the rest of the album seems to be in constant motion with “Shake The Dust” propelling down the road with a bit of Kraftwerk in its DNA, and “Miss Sundown” summoning the ghost of early “Jean Genie” David Bowie.

As is the case with most really good records, this takes you down a different Alice in Wonderland rabbit hole with every turn of the groove.