Another week in the books and things seem to be cranking. We were a bit skeptical when we heard that The Boss was putting out a Soul covers record, but holy Motown, by the sounds of this single that has leaked out it is going to be great.
Librarians with Hickeys have a new one out that is a Power Pop pleasure.
And, the Big Star, Badfinger devotees The Bablers tickle the ears with their new single “You Are The One For Me.”
Dead Daisies – Radiance
For those about to rock, we salute you. Here at Rock is the New Roll H.Q. we are big fans of Glen Hughes, next to David Coverdale our favorite Rock singe. And, by extension, we are cards to the middle of the table, all in, on the latest Dead Daisies record, Radiance.
Full of high-tone ‘70s rock swagger in the Deep Purple mold, this super group that consists of former Whitesnake guitarist David Aldrich, Glen Hughes, major-domo and bandleader David Lowy, and drummer for hire Brian Tichy, pull out all of the stops on a record that is full of heavy riffs, soaring vocals, and monster drumming.
Sure, the music is not very subtle and there is not much room for nuance, but if you like Alice Cooper, Deep Purple, Rainbow, or Ronnie James Dio, then this record is right up your horns up street.
2nd Grade – Easy Listening
The Philadelphia five-piece that is 2nd Grade is poised for next-level greatness with their third proper full-length, Easy Listening.
The texture transitions from song to song that the band pulls off makes for not only an interesting listen, but also rewards the listener with new signature Nuggets to be unfurled with each successive spin.
The opener “Cover of Rolling Stone,” no not that one, is a short fuzz-laden, straight ahead rocker, and “Strung Out On You” is a Power Pop gem in the Weezer and Fountains of Wayne mold. And, believe it or not, there is a bit of James Gang essence on “Controlled Burn.”
“Wouldn’t It Be Nice To Let It Be” shows the band’s softer side as well as highlights their songwriting acumen, and “Keith and the Telecaster” has a bit of a Ramones feel to it.
Pound for pound one of the most eclectically cool records of the year, look for this one to show up on several best-of lists later in the year.
The Airport 77s – We Realize You Have A Choice
From the opening Journey by way of Night Ranger riffage on “One Good Thing About Summer” to the Cheap Trick if The Struts Luke Spiller fronted the band splendor of “Birthday Girl” the ears are tuned to coolness with this sophomore release of Airport 77s.
With the lyric, “He has a photo with Sammy Hagar and tattoo that says Aloha,” on “Losers Win,” you get a sense of the whimsical side of the band, and the soaring gang vocals imbedded in “Somebodies” is pure ‘80s rock that would make The Romantics proud.
Putting the power in Power Pop and the radio in Radio Friendly, this banger of a record might force you to change the needle on your turntable you will be playing it so much. And, yes, there is cowbell.
Buddy Guy – The Blues Don’t Lie
Blues man Buddy guy doesn’t stray too far from home here, but when you apply your craft so well, that is never a bad thing.
From the opener, “I Let My Guitar Do The Talking” it is abundantly clear that there is a lot left in the blues tank and Guy has lost nothing on his fastball, either vocally or instrumentally.
The title track is a poignant reflection on Sonny Boy Williamson that told Buddy that the blues never die when he left Chicago for Little Rock to die, and “The World Needs Love” is a slow burner with a message for the times.
The proceedings heat up in the back half of the record with guest turns from the likes of James Taylor, Elvis Costello and Bobby Rush. And the emotionally devastating “Gunsmoke Blues” with Jason Isbell lays bare the issue of gun control. And, for the record, the cover of The Beatles “I’ve Got a Feeling” presented here is epic.
The pristine production, careful curation of the contributors, and strength and tenor of his playing and his vocals combine to make this record one of the best albums the blues legend has put out on the last 10 years.
Alice Cooper – Live From The Astroturf
This 12th proper Alice Cooper live Alice Cooper record this one was recorded live in 2015 at Good Records Dallas, Tx.
Featuring mostly the original Cooper line up, Alice, Dennis Dunaway, Michael Bruce and Neil Smith with Ryan Roxie filling in for the late Glen Buxton, this intimate performance is notable in that stripped of the often over the top stage theatrics Cooper engages the audience with story telling stage banter that adds to the enjoyment level of the concert.
With songs focusing on the glory days of the band, “Be My Lover,” “I’m 18,” and “School’s Out” blast from your speakers as if these men of a certain age were playing them for the first time.
This one is a must-have for fans of Alice Cooper and a definite peek into the glory days of rock and roll. For extra credit there is a documentary of this event that includes Q&A’s with the band members.