If you have not heard the news rock is not dead, and the demise of good old barn burning Rock and Roll has been extremely exaggerated. Here are our top five singles worthy of checking out to increase your musical street cred.
Thundermother – Driving In Style
These hard-driving all-female Swedish rockers delivered their stellar record, Heat Wave, carrying a ’70s rock groove that can stand fret for fret with any of their male counterparts. The lead-off single “Driving In Style” will take you pedal to the metal down to the parts of your subconscious that you have not visited in a very long time.
The Struts – Cool
It’s no secret that we love Luke Spiller and the Struts. In fact, their new record, Strange Days, would have been our record of the year were it not for the fact that Robbie Williams appears on the single, and we will have none of that. Here, on the appropriately named “Cool” the most dynamic frontman in the game today struts his stuff in a fine fashion.
The Dirty Denims – Last Call For Alchohol
Another fine band with a female rocker leading the way, this time courtesy of Mirjam Sieben, the vibe is pure AC/DC by way of Joan Jett and the Blackhearts. With this ode to blasting past the last call at your local bar, or these days in your living room, and letting things rip you can start your own countdown to ecstasy.
The Wild – High Speed
Another Born to Be Wild jump on your Harley and ride hard groover of a tune. You will grow a mullet just listening to this one.
King King – Dance Together
As groove-laden a rocker as you are likely to come across in recent months, these Scottish rockers will make you miss putting a couple more tokens in your local’s jukebox just to make the night last a little bit longer.
Who knew that one of the newest and most exciting New Metal bands to come around in a heck of a long time would be from Cancun, Mexico. On this, the band’s much-anticipated debut album, the band is more than meeting the lofty expectations set for them after becoming the first-ever Hispanic-American group to win the Wacken Open Air Metal Battle in Germany.
Drawing influences from the ’80s themed Metal bands with a pinch of Glam and Melodic Rock threw in to satisfy the faint of heart, the DNA of MTV bands the likes of Dokken, Kiss, Winger, Motley Crue, early Skid Row along with Judas Priest in their heavier moments, is the order of the day. The singer Max Mendoza with the looks of a Hispanic Michael Hutchence throws his voice out there in the Axl or Myles Kennedy range and takes total command of the stage in their live performances. “Blinding Lights,” the first single out of the gate is a scorcher, and even the two songs on the record sung in Spanish are ear-catching and cool with “Tormenta” as one of the highlights of the record that will be a clear favorite when the band hits the road for their South American tour in 2021.
It seems that California based guitar player Stephen Dale Petit has waited for his entire career to produce this record that is a mini-masterpiece and a master class in what modern Blues Rock should be, and where it is headed. And this, complete with album artwork from Klaus Voorman, the artist who created The Beatles’ Revolver cover, is, by all accounts, his own personal best and has the potential for Grammy consideration in the Blues category. Joe Bonamassa may get all the press these days, But this guitar slinger that has already made a name for himself on the other side of the pond can easily stand fret for fret with his idol.
With about as diverse a palet of songs as you will find, every Blues nugget presented here stands alone. One second the sonic wonder of Stevie Ray hits you between the ears on “Tinderbox,” and in the next breath all hell breaks loose with the snarling Clash influenced title track on “2020 Visions.” The nuanced slow burn of “The Ending of the End” brings to mind both Kings, Freddie and B.B., and “Steppin’ Out” would hold up quite spectacularly at the crossroads battling it out with the devil for the soul of the song.
Anthems are not left out of the mix, and “Soul of a Man,” a song that features Shemekia Copeland, shares a lot of DNA with “Beds are Burning” and will be a call and response staple on the festival circuit this year. If there is a festival circuit this year, that is. There are no throwaway tunes on this one. “Zombie Train” may be the weakest of the lot, not surprising given the song title, but beyond that, this album is a real page-turner. Stay with all nine minutes of “The Fall of America” churning, burning apocalypse-blues plays as legit at it can get.
Richard Davies & The Dissidents – Human Traffic (3 out of 5)
There is no rocket science being studied here with Richard Davies and his band of dissidents on this his debut solo record, but none the less, there are plenty of sweet sounds to sink your ears into. The template that is thrown down here on Human Traffic is no-nonsense, straight forward, Brinsley Schwartz Pub Rock and Roll. Cutting his guitar teeth as a guitar slinger sideman for the likes of Peter Perrett and Glen Matlock as well as with his own band The Snakes, Davies more than holds his own with a solid set of self-penned tunes and to add to the coolness factor “Heartbeat Smile,” an Alejandro Escovedo cover song is thrown in for good measure admirably performed with a Post-Punk flair.
With “21st Century Man” sounding like a new wave Tom Petty, and (“Long Road) To Your Heart” carrying a Billy Idol meets Greg Kihn mojo-sound, there is enough sonic diversity to keep things interesting and to warrant several more trips to the musical well.
With Luke Spiller and his band, the Struts, relaxing in that between album no man’s land, Adam Lambert performing brilliantly filling in for Freddie Mercury, not so much so with his solo efforts, Scissor Sisters Jake Shears MIA for the last couple of years, and The Biters Tuk Smith trying to get his Mojo back after having to dissolve his band, it is quite understandable that in theses pandemic funky feeling days that one could be left to wonder where the next Marc Bolan Ziggy Stardust is coming from.
Well, the question asked, question answered. The man to put the Glam in Wham Glam, Thank You, Ma’am, is Michael Parrett courtesy of his latest highly excellent slice of wax, Influence This. The swaggering heir apparent of the London Glam and Psychedelic Rock scene, this debut release takes no prisoners with its genre-bending Austin Powers Mojo display of ’60’s Donovan spirit love, Marc Bolan with a better driver metal guru guitar prowess, Suzi Quatro swagger, and Garage Rock rambunctious innocence.
The highlights here are, really, too many to mention, but we will give it a go. “Checkbook Charlie” is a guitar-laden propulsive Mojo-Rockin’ epic gem of a song in the Flamin’ Groovies mold, “Last Years Model is The Struts meets Love, and “Tattoos and Whiskey” carries a Tremolos by way of Ty Segall energy, and “Bad For You” is classic England’s Latest Hitmakers Rolling Stones in all its retro glory. And, let’s not forget “Sugar Lover” a song that is on a planet all its own.
Album of the year? Let’s give it time to marinate a bit, but damn this is a fantastic debut effort from a force to be reckoned with.
White Reaper is one of our new favorite bands and their 2019 record You deserve Love was one of the best albums of 2019. With their we’re coming to your town, we’ll help you party down attitude this gang of Louisville rock and rollers should be on your musical radar. Here, they perform an at-home version of their hit single “Real Long Time.”