On August 6 the mighty Night Ranger will release their 12th record, ATBPO, also known as And The Band Played On. As we are typically skeptical about legacy bands putting out quality material, this one should be a notable exception as Jack Blades, Brad Gillis, and Kelly Keagy are. still with the band. If “Bring It All Home To Me” is an indicator we will be starting to rock like it is 1985 all over again.
Hailing from Rome, Ga. The Georgia Thunderbolts specialize in raw Blues-Rock. Think of the Black Crowes with a bit of a harder edge, or a slightly more blues oriented Blackberry Smoke. Either way this band deserves to be on your radar.
There is the scent of Rock and Roll wafting through the halls of Rock is the New Roll this week as all ears start to turn towards the summer when Rock is king and good times are sure to be the order of the day.
Ayron Jones not only has a strong set of pipes but doesn’t sleep on the dude’s guitar skills. Here, with his latest single “Take Your Time” he delivers the ballad in full “Wind Cries Mary” mold.
And Speaking of Stevie Ray, here, with his band Cardinal Black, Chris Buck has returned with his version of Texas Blues, Welsh style.
Never one to shy away from a good power ballad, here the Picturebooks team up with the bombastic Lizzy Hale of Halestorm fame on a slow burn of a song that will shake rattle and roll you.
Billy Gibbons is priming his retro fueled car and getting ready to launch a new record. Here, on the video from “My Lucky Card” Billy heads to the Joshua Tree Desert Honky-Tonk Pappy & Harriets barbeque restaurant and music venue most probably visiting the ghost of Gram Parsons while he is there.
And, since we are huge fans of the over-the-top Survivor Roller disco sound of Night Flight Orchestra their new single “White Jeans” had to make our list.
Ears-down the best week of the year so far on the music front, things are heating up. The fantastic B-52 imaging band Hayley and the Crushers are scorching the earth.
RISTN favorite ’70s vintage rock band The Sheepdogs are starting to come out of hibernation having released a fine Bay City Rollers worthy single with “Keep On Loving You.”
And Yola is primed and ready to go wearing her diamond-studded shoes in advance of her new album.
Here are five particular ear-gems we are grooving to this week.
Teenage Fanclub – Endless Arcade
With their 11th album and first without founding member Gerard Love, Teenage Fanclub may have dialed down the jangle from their Jangle-Pop formula just a tad, but fear not, the melodic maestros are still very much at the top of their game.
From the Folk-Rock Psychedelic splendor of “Come To Me” to the Zombies evoking gang harmonies on “Back In The Day” Endless Arcade is a relaxed and inspiring listen. “The Sun won’t Shine on Me” bridges the gap between Vintage-Pop and contemporary issues-based songwriting quite nicely and “Living With You” plays the Byrds formula and signature Fanclub sound to perfection.
Spend some time with this one then drift your ears back to the early classic albums Songs From Northern Britain, Bandwagonesque, or even Thirteen. Sure, they may have been gone for a while, but with this new record, it’s like they never left.
The Coral – Coral Island
Should you not be familiar with The Coral and their oeuvre, get with the plan, man. The band pretty much mines all of the genres that your ears hold sacred including but not limited to Garage Rock, AOR, Psychedelia, Post-Punk, and Power Pop. A semi-concept album based on the band’s collective experiences at various seaside resorts on the West coast of England, the songs on Coral Island weave together beautifully with brief spoken-word interludes that serve to give Coral Island a real first-person point in time feel.
Lengthy but never burdensome, at 54 minutes the sheer brilliance and texture changes presented on the record will keep your rapt attention. Highlights are many including the carnival game atmosphere of “Golden Age,” the Melanchology sadness of “Old Photographs,” and the welcome to the pleasuredome optimism of “Change Your Mind.”
Three listens in with this record I can’t help thinking it would be cool to visit the seaside resorts brought to life in these brilliant character studies. But somehow, much like Playland at the Beach in San Francisco, The Boardwalk in Santa Cruz, or N.Y.’s Coney Island, the myth is more than likely vastly more satisfying than the reality.
Or, as Scotland’s own Stevie Dal says more eloquently than I ever could:
This one has taken me by surprise. The Corals new album is an utter gem, I never knew they had it in them but there you go, it’s a funny old world.
It’s a double album, a concept album, set in an old rundown seaside town, washed up and all but abandoned by the tourists, populated only by the characters left behind as the young ‘uns bailed out. Memories and nostalgia, lost and broken dreams, first and unrequited loves etc etc.
This is the band’s spin on classic albums like Ogdens Nut Gone Flake ( Small Faces) and Village Green Preservation Society ( The Kinks) and, while obviously not at that level, it’s a brave and wonderful attempt. If you love effortless guitar pop and glorious tunes you will be onboard. A serious contender for Album of 2021.
All of the above having been said this might be the leader in the clubhouse for best album of the year.
Grave Flowers Bongo Band – Strength of Spring
The riff-laden epicness of this Psychedelic Rock album from Grave Flowers Bongo Band was in heavy rotation at Rock is the New Roll H.Q. this week. “Animal Lord” almost blew the roof off the building with its Black Sabbath if fronted by Marc Bolan brilliance, and the lumbering groove of “Smile” will bust your chest open and make you feel alive.
Gabe Flores weaves his guitar around this set of songs walking that melodic in a hurricane line quite nicely never amping it up to overkill territory while at the same time laying the cosmic pedal down fully to the ground. “Down Man” is like riding an out-of-control rickety wooden roller coaster and “Outer Bongolia” is a freaked-out instrumental that would have fit right in at Austin Powers’ bachelor party.
Dropkick Murphy’s – Turn Up That Dial
Proving that these guys aren’t just a band to be enjoyed on St. Patrick’s day, The Murphy’s perform as advertised and turn up the dial with their latest set of rabble-rousing anthems with their latest, Turn Up The Dial.
The “Queen of Suffolk County” pays tribute to wild women everywhere and is worth the price of admission alone, and you will automatically become Irish after a listen or two of the title track. And, just to prove they can do it, the band slows things down somewhat less than ear-splitting on the poignant and beautiful “I Wish You Were Here.”
If you don’t feel alive after listening to this record at close to full volume then you are more than likely already dead.
No-No Boy – 1975
No-No Boy is the latest nome de plume for multimedia artist and Asian studies scholar Julian Saporiti. On this record, Saporiti explores WW-2 Asian American internment sites, present-day immigrant detention facilities, and refugee camps.
While the entire set is thought-provoking, the centerpiece here is the song “The Best God Damn Band in Wyoming.” Inspired by a visit to a museum in his home state of Wyoming where he noticed a picture of a large swing band with Asian faces much like his staring at him from behind a fenced-in prison yard. After getting over the stunning visual of this unicorn-worthy picture of an Asian swing band that here-to-fore he never knew existed, No-No Boy proceeded to learn more about the inspirational photograph. As it turns out, the photo is of a group of Asian Americans that were interred in a detention camp in Wyoming during the Second World War. Forming a collective of like-minded musicians behind prison walls the swing band would play for local proms and VFW halls in the area and then were returned to prison once the performance was over.
No-No Boy approaches his subject matter using a template of Traditional Folk, Rock, and Americana to take us on a journey that is not always comfortable, but always revelatory.
With a lot of feathers ruffling and playlist debates at Rock is the new Roll HQ, despite our recent Rock jag we have been into we have been able to come up with a consensus this week. As such, here are our jams for “what we’re listening to Wednesday.”
John Hiatt and The Jerry Douglas Band – Long Black Electric Cadillac
The song, not to be confused with the 1958 song “Long Black Cadillac”, is updated for the modern age with a Cadillac that can go 1,000 miles on a single charge. John Hiatt’s latest version with The Jerry Douglas Band will set you up quite nicely as a centerpiece in your next road trip playlist. Hiatt’s new record Leftover Feelings comes out on May 21st.
GospelbeacH – Gimme Gimme Good Lovin’
This one popped up while we were going down a rabbit hole of Good Lovin’ versions from the Rascals. While we did come up with an extraordinarily excellent version by The Grateful Dead from the album Shakedown Street,
the real jewel of a find here was this pseudo-cover, “Gimme Gimme Good Lovin” the ’60’s song from Bubble Gum rockers Crazy Elephant performed by RITNR hall of Famers GospelbeacH.
Lee Aaron – Whatcha Do To My Body
The latest book circulating among the members of the Rock is the New Roll book club is Nothin’ But A Good Time, which chronicles the rise and the post-Grunge fall of Sunset Strip Rock and Roll. The discussions about the book led us to current bands that bring the energy and vibe of the Hair Metal days and are playing the Raunch and Roll of the Sunset Strip forward. Rocker Lee Aaron, a bit more amped-up version of Suzi Quatro, fits the bill quite nicely and is a staple on Rock and Roll Saturday nights in The Falcon’s Nest.
The Legal Matters – Light Up The Sky
The first single to be released in advance of their soon-to-be-released third album, Chapter 3, set to be released on May 30. The record is pretty much pre-ordained to be a stunner if this Pet Sounds worthy cut is any indication.
Rainmakers – Ashes
Growing up in the same waters that spawned Samantha Fish and The Temperance Movement, British rockers Rainmakers have a mid-era Zeppelin vibe to them along with a Bad Company essence wafting in the air as well. We have our ears tuned to these guys and are convinced that glory days are ahead for this band. “Ashes is a straight-ahead Blues-Rocker.
And, “Forgotten Child” is a Paul Rodgers fronting Led Zeppelin epic of a tune.
Of course, as we all know, everything is just a placeholder until the new Teenage Fanclub record comes out in very short order. In the meantime, there is an ear-load of tasty one-off nuggets to savor.
The Black Keys have one in the hopper ready to see the light of day in a couple of months announcing itself with the single and video “Crawling Kingsnake” filmed at Jimmy “Duck” Holmes’ Blue Front Cafe, the oldest juke joint in America.
Briston Maroney, with his cross of T Rex and Pavement vibes, has released a single called “Bottle Rocket” and continues to show that he is a worthy candidate on our “ones to watch for” list.
And, Sasami an artist that has an actual French Horn degree, is out with her video of “Not The Time.”
And, if all of the above is not all, here are five really good records released this week.
The Brother Brothers – Calla Lilly
New York-based identical twins Adam and David Moss are one of the closest things your ears will be able to find to Simon and Garfunkel and their particular brand of apple skin-tight harmonies. Their sophomore record, Calla, Lily, mixes smooth Indie-Folk on the opener “On The Road Again,” no, not that one, showing their versatility with the Appalachian-style folk-inspired “The Road Runner Song” and deal from the deck straight-ahead Everly Brothers on “Seein’ Double.”
With a bit of Donovan DNA sprinkled here, and Don Mclean’s spirit there the mood and texture differences from song to song on the record make this one an engaging listen that should have legs on your listening rotation that will please your ears for months to come.
West of Texas – Heartaches, Hangovers & Honky Tonks
Pull on your boots, tighten up your stetson, leave your spurs at home, and head to the Honky Tonk courtesy of the best Western swing record of the year. The Willie by way of Asleep at the Wheel opener “My Whiskey Life” is a perfect introduction to a band that makes no bones about it. They like both kinds of music, Country and Western.
The entire spectrum of country song fare is represented here, Lovin’ with “Fixin’ to Love You,” Leavin’ on “The Cost of Lovin’ You,” and Livin’ representing on “Dead End Jobs Blues.” And, of course, there is plenty of Cheatin’, Drinkin’, and Hurtin’ going on just ask the closer “Cheatin’, Drinkin’ Hurtin’ Song.”
London Grammar – Californian Soil
If you miss The Eurythmic and Florence and the Machine, Californian Soil courtesy of London Trio London Grammar just might be your latest jam. Sparse, Electo-Pop of the highest order, it is the otherworldly vocals of Hanna Reid that carries the day with this band.
“Lose Your Head” in an epic of a song that will lose you in the groove, “How Does It Feel” is Adele meets Annie and is one of the more straightforward pop songs on the record, and the title track, “Californian Soil” is simply a haunting masterpiece.
Simply put, this is a stunning record.
Jesse Aycock – Steps
A card-carrying member of Todd Snider’s side-piece band The Hard Working Americans, Jesse Aycock combines blissful Laurel Canyon Rock with Tulsa-inspired J.J. Cale Roots rock into a blend that will have you reaching for your old Whiskeytown records.
“Wreck Like You” has a bit of George Harrison sound to it, the opener “Shed The Light” could have been a Chris Robinson Brotherhood single, and the laid-back groove of “Roll South” does J.J. Cale proud.
“High Hopes” Rocks it up into Tom Petty territory, and the closing “Woodland Park” will most definitely leave you in a feel-good mood. Todd Snider is great, but Jesse Aycock with this new record is right on his heels.
Imelda May – 11 Past The Hour
Full disclosure, while we like this latest incarnation of Scotland’s own Imelda May that she brings out on her latest 11 Past The Hour, we prefer the Eddie Cochran Wanda Jackson version of Imelda versus the Sheryl Crow AOR sound that we get here. Even the presence of Ronnie Wood and Noel Gallagher is good but doesn’t throttle up the coolness meter like her version of “Tainted Love” or the song “Johnny Boom Boom” Does.
That is not to say this is not a good record, in fact, quite the opposite, it is really good. “Made To Love” is a highly polished Pretenders style track, the title song is a fine bit of late-night noir, and “What We Did in the Dark” is a propulsive highly addictive duet with sometimes Arctic Monkey Miles Kane that will be perfect for the festival circuit should festivals ever be a thing again.
There is a lot to love on the musical landscape this week with highly excellent new music from the T-Rex Mojo of the band GospelbeacH and their song “Albatross Baby”
The mellow Steely Dan inspired smoothness from Moon City Masters and their song “Where You Wanna Run To.”
And, Rock is the New Roll favorite rockers Starcrawlers treat the ears with a live song direct from The Roxy in L.A. with “You Dig Yours”
Along with all of the above goodness here are five albums we are digging this week.
The Streetwalkin’ Cheetahs – One More Drink
Non-apologetic no holds barred Rock and Roll for the masses. Their first album in over 20 years after reuniting in 2014, this record is a cocktail of Power Pop, New Wave, Punk, and Heavy Metal served on the rocks with a dose of Cheap Trick thrown in for good measure, most notably on the title song that is a tribute to Dramarama’s “Last Cigarette.”
“We Are The Ones (We’ve Been Waiting For)” is as good as a Rock and Roll anthem can get. And, “Rumblin’ Down” is an off the rails don’t drive 55 scorcher.
Dr. Lonnie Smith – Breathe
With sublime vocal assistance from Iggy Pop on the Santana inspired opener “Why Can’t We Live Together” as well as an over the top-notch cover of “Sunshine Superman,” the king of the Hammond B-3 grooves his way through a set of tunes that would fit in quite nicely at Austin Powers’ bachelor party. Released on the Blue Note record label, Here, Smith has recaptured the energy of his early recordings in the capable hands of producer and Blue Note major-domo Don Was. The breezy “Bright Eyes” was recorded live at The Jazz Standard in New York City and with the snappy “Epistrophy” the organ maestro pays tribute to Thelonius Monk.
The Dust Coda – Mojo Skyline
This one might just be the Classic Rock-influenced album of the year, and it’s only March. Channeling Bad Company, Led Zeppelin, and Humble Pie in almost equal measures, “Dream Alright” has a down-home Lynyrd Skynyrd vibe, “Bourbon Pouring” could have easily been a Faces song, and the closer, “It’s A Jam” would have fit perfectly on any of the early Nazareth albums.
From the opening lick to the last riff if you are a fan of Rock in general and ’70s Rock in particular, Mojo Skyline is most definitely your jam and will be for the rest of the year.
Badfinger – No Matter What (Revisiting The Hits)
Having released the excellent album Be True To Yourself in 2020, Joey Molland, the last living member of Badfinger, is back with an immensely entertaining set of Badfinger songs. Calling in favors from his famous friends, every song sparkles, and even the deeper cuts such as “Love Is Gonna Come at Last” are brought to brilliant life courtesy of the side-men involved, Rick Springfield case in point on this one. Highlights are many, most notably Todd Rundgren’s turn on “Without You” a song that could have been written by the angels for Todd to sing, along with Matthew Sweet, of course, on the Power Pop masterpiece “Baby Blue.” Rick Wakeman lends some piano chords to “Come & Get It” and legendary slide-man Sonny Landreth completely owns “Suitcase.”
Do your ears a solid and check this record out. Then, go back and go back and listen to the original library from a band that may just be one of the most underrated of all time.
Brigitte DeMeyer – Seeker
Not new to the scene having relocated from Nashville to California after a series of personal travails, Brigitte DeMeer seems to have reinvented herself with her latest record, Seeker. With a vibe that brings to the ear, Rikki Lee Jones and Sheryl Crow, the songs are mostly low-key in all the best of ways with standouts “Wishbone” and the slow burn of “Louisiana” as must-hears. the over-arching thing of keeping the soul moving forward and overcoming obstacles is prevalent throughout most notably on the title track along “Roots and Wings and Bones,” a song that celebrates having the courage to make healthy changes in your life.
The debut record, Lost Friends, from Aussie trio Middle Kids was about as solid as a first outing can get. But hold on to your ears. The new record coming out in March should be even better if this latest single is any indication.
A beautiful rendition of the Bruce Springsteen message of hope.
As musicians are dusting themselves off and getting ready to make their plans for the new year, the new record releases for this week have been a bit tepid, to say the least. But, fear not musical buckaroos, we will be back in full glory in the next couple of weeks as there are some really cool tunes primed and ready to hit our ear-waves very soon. In the meantime, here five cool ones that have hit our radar recently.
Grace Potter – Release
Somewhere along the line, Grace Potter has started to morph into a slightly more hip Beth Hart. But, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Here, on her fresh as a daisy new video for some inexplicable reason, we see her pulling a boat down the beach in a bikini, slow walking seductively in a field of flowers, and sitting down at the piano singing like a bird. But ours is not to question why ours is only to enjoy the ride provided by this song from her highly excellent 2019 record, Daylight.
Lukas Nelson – Set Me Down On A Cloud
Son of Willie proves once again that the apple falls right next to the tree. His series of quarantine songs, Special Soundcheck Songs, has been a beautiful respite of calmness during these trying days. Here, he performs an acoustically lovely version of “Set Me Down On A Cloud” from his debut self-titled record.
Peanuts Gang – Roundabout
This is a tough song to cover, but here the entire Peanuts gang joins in on one of the best versions of the song you will ever hear. Spoiler alert, Snoopy plays a mean upright bass.
Brothers in Exile – Last Orders
The former member of the Welsh band Sonny Jim, Lloyd Jenkins partners with Stu Calder for a new project, Brothers in Exile. With this, their latest single, the boys deliver a bouncy hook-laden gem in the Wildhearts mold. Classic Rock magazine describes the tune as more fun than a clown car driven at speed into a bouncy castle. And, heck they may have something there.
The Quins – Wild Ones
Put a pin in this one and save it in your musical memory banks because you are going to bearing a lot more great music emanating from this band in the coming months, you can bet on it. Solid riffs, Power Pop textures with a dynamically voiced singer that can carry the day. For practice dive into their back catalog that includes their 2019 epic of an album, The Woods Look Good.
And, for extra credit check the band out live performing “The Devil’s Abode.”