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.

Five Cool Ones: Five New Records Released This Week: April 22, 2022

Plenty of choice music that is ear worthy this week as we are closing in on the summer months. Marcus King has us excited for the release of his proper full-length scheduled later in the year with “Hard Working Man,” and yes, there is cowbell.

The Rock band Stinger doesn’t shy away from their love for Bon Scott era AC/DC with the new release, “Rollercoaster.”

And even Willie Nelson joined the party on 4/20, of course, with another single, “Dusty Bottles.”

But don’t stop at those choice nuggets. Here are five new records that are getting plenty of airplay in the offices of Rock is the New Roll H.Q.

Dale Watson – Jukebox Fury

Pound for pound, pompadour for pompadour, Dale Watson remains one of the premier torchbearers for the Honky Tonk. Whether he is on stage during his frequent Memphis residencies, performing at tiny clubs like the Acoustic Cafe in Galveston, Tx, or traveling around the state fair circuit, from his boots to his meticulously coifed mane, he is a classic country artist all the way.

And here, on his latest, Watson pulls in friends Steve Cropper, Linda Gail Lewis, Lorrie Morgan, and the Hillbilly Moon Explosion to help him completely inhabitant a set of eclectically diverse cover songs.

Fans of Rock is the New Roll will likely find the songs presented here in their own personal top ten list. Watson’s take on Seger’s “Turn The Page” is performed close to the vest for sure, but is nonetheless cool, and the world didn’t really need to hear “A Horse With No Name” ever again, but this version falls somewhere to the right of lame.

“The Gambler” is another back in the day over-played earworm that could have been left off. but, his sparkling takes on “For What It’s Worth,” “Treat Her Right,” a song that features Steve Cropper, and the revved-up swamp-boogie of “Polk Salad Annie” makes this one a ride well worth taking.

Railroad Earth – All For The Song

Named after a Jack Kerouac poem, the band Railroad Earth is that rare combination of listenable bluegrass and subtle Americana with a rock and roll spirit. Their first record since 2019’s Railroad Earth: The John Denver Letters, All For The Song was produced by Anders Osbourne and recorded in New Orleans.

With hints of The Band as well as Old Crow Medicine Show overtones, the songs on this set pick up on the Big Easy spirit with blues harmonica, horns, and rock tempos giving the proceedings a feel-good vibe that is a slight departure from the Jam Band syle long-time Railroad fans might be used to.

“Runnin’ Wild” could have been a Tom Petty mid-tempo rocker from the Wildflowers era, “It’s So Good” is a positive song that celebrates the joy and importance of getting together with good friends, and “My Favorite Spot” expounds on the joys of finding your favorite spot, climbing the mountain, and letting the wind blow in your hair while you still have time. And, the title track, “All For the Song,” a tune that strays heavily into Gram Parsons territory, is worth the price of admission alone.

This is a contemplative record that is best digested alone with only your thoughts to keep you company.

Bonnie Raitt – Just Like That…

When you sit down and listen to “Down The Hall,” the last track on Bonnie Raitt’s exquisite new record, you can immediately tell that even going on 50 years since her debut record was released, she hasn’t missed a songwriting beat. A somber ending it may be, but the song, narrated by a murderer that is in jail working in the cancer ward of the prison trying to find meaning to a life well wasted checks every John Prine box and is as good of a song from a writing standpoint that has been released so far this year.

And, the album only gets better from there. A fitting follow-up to Dig in Deep in 2016 and Slipstream going back to 2016, “Livin’ For the Ones” is a Rolling Stones rocker that laments friends gone too soon, “Here Comes Love” has an appealing Rikki Lee Jones vibe about it, and “Love So Strong,” the Toots Hibbert song, follows in the tradition of “Need You Tonight” and “Right Down The Line” as make the song her own, carefully curated covers included on her albums.

Production polished as tight as the skin on an apple, every song flows to the next with the ease of a breezy drive on the autobahn. It is great to hear that Bonnie Raitt has more whiskey in the barrel delivering a bottle that is aged to perfection.

Joshua Headley – Neon Blue

The ghost of the late ’80s and early 90’s Country music is back and his name is Joshua Headley. Evoking the spirit of Alan Jackson, Joe Diffie, Garth Brooks, and King George Strait on his new record Neon Blue, Joshua Headly has made the perfect record for your next pontoon party.

From the Alan Jackson and “Chattahoochie” vibing “Broke Again” and the Garth-supreme nod to the Honky Tonk on the title track “Neon Blue,” all the way to the Randy Travis wink on “Found In A Bar,” the sincerity that comes across on this record is palpable, paying homage to the era instead of simply imitating a genre and a musical time-in-place that has been somewhat maligned in certain circles.

Sure, loyalty for this record will be in direct proportion to how much you listened to Brooks and Dunn, Clint Black, and the rest of the pack back in the day, but don’t overthink things. This is a fun record that will entice you to drag that old turntable out of the garage and start spinning some vinyl.

The Lazy Eyes – SongBook

Proving once again that there is a lot of cool listening to be had down under in Australia, The Lazy Eyes, with their debut album are making their presence known alongside fellow Aussies, Tame Impala, Pond, and King Grizzard & The Lizard Wizzard. Swirling psychedelia is the order of the day with this four-piece that could quite easily get the gig as the house band for Austin Powers’ bachelor party, or as artists in residence at Erik Von Zipper’s beach bar.

Not quite a sit and listen to sort of record, this one will take you places you never thought you wanted to go, but might not want to ever leave. “Hippo” is a whirling dervish slow build psych-jam, “Fuzz Jam” is a woozy Ty Seagall worthy gypsy-dance trance with a Michael Jackson “Beat It” mid-song interlude that sounds strange but actually works, and “Imaginary Girl” could have been a ’60s Small Faces track.

The best of the song-lot here just might be “Starting Over.” The song ear-melds Revolver era Beatles with French Pop in the mold of Air’s Moon Safari L.P. Savor this record in a dark room with plenty of lava lamps and groovy blacklight posters for maximum effect.

The Top Songs of 2019 (40-36)

There have been a lot of really great songs released in 2019. This year, we will be revealing our top 100 songs five tunes at a time all the way to number one. Here are our picks for 40-36

40. Dirty Honey – Rolling 7s

If like most of us, you are sick and tired having just about every music critic this side of Cameron Crowe trying to jam Greta Van Fleet down your throat as the next great Rock and Roll band, we present to you, Dirty Honey. This L.A. band plays what they call “new-fashioned Rock and Roll.” With a sound that is some sort of devil hybrid between Led Zeppelin and Aerosmith, their 2019 six-song mini-album will rock your plimsoul.

39. The Stereophonics – Bust This Town

A bit maligned in their own U.K. The Stereophonics have been doing their thing for over 20 years now. The second single to be released from their 2019 Kind L.P., celebrates escapism in all its forms.

38. Garret T. Capps – All Right, All Night

Garret T. Capps is one of those stylistic and artistically hip Americana influenced artists along the lines of Tennessee Jet, Sturgill Simpson and Robert Ellis. “All Right, All Night” is only one of several terrific songs on his 2019 release of the same name.

37. Sir Woman – Highroad

Sir Woman is the newest project for Kelsey Wilson, co-founder of Wild Child. On “Sir Woman” she uses her singing and arranging skills on this string and horns laden stunner. With a snappy beat and a ’60s vibe, this one has a “feel good” feeling that demands to be on your year-end playlist.

36. Lucille Furs – Paint Euphrosyne Blue

Lucille Furs and their 2019 record, Another Land, have, and it’s not even close, released the Psychedelic album of the year. Full of Beatles, Monkees, and even 13th Floor elevators Austin Powers groovability, “Paint Euphrosyne Blue,” just one of stellar songs, could have been on a Monkees record back in the day.






Video of the Day: Israel Nash – Lucky Ones

Relocating from New York to Dripping Springs, just outside of Austin, seems to have done wonders for the wandering spirit of Israel Nash. His latest record, Lifted, is a marvel. Part Beach Boys part Laurel Canyon Psychedelic Rock, this record is a throwback to the future in all the best possible ways.