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 Albums Released This Week: April 29, 2022

Holy mother of pearl, this is a great week for new music. If you don’t believe us, just check out the new single from The Lickerish Quartet, a band that features most of the iconic SF Bay area band, Jellyfish.

Or, expand your mind with the latest from Rock is the New Roll’s favorite’s, Cats in Space. “Poke The Witch” is an epic tune.

And, Delicate Steve is out with a sweet instrumental single, “Playing In A Band” that will be on his upcoming album. For Delicate Steve, it is all about his 1966 Stratocaster.

And, don’t change that channel. There are five really cool records worthy of your earphones this week.

Willie Nelson – A Beautiful Time

Hitting the streets on April 29, 2022, on Willie Nelson’s 89th birthday, the red-headed stranger once again teams up with producer Buddy Cannon on a set of songs that takes old age head-on and addresses his mortality. Taking on themes of life, death, and love from the opening song, co-written with Chris Stapleton and Rodney Crowell, “I’ll Love You Till The Day I Die” to the whimsical Willie at his humorous best, “I Don’t Go To Funerals,” where he professes to be not even going to his own funeral. The voice may be a bit frail and dusty, but the guitar work courtesy of Trigger is as strong as it has been on any record. 

If you have ever wondered what it would be like to play in one of the legendary poker games at Willie’s home in Maui with Owen Wilson and Woody Harrelson, you will get a seat at the table courtesy of “We’re Not Happy (Till You’re Not Happy).” They are there to shoot the bull and shoot tequila, play some cards and hide out from their wives. And on “Dusty Bottles” you will be able to sit down and have a beer with father time.

For someone who has put out as many records as Willie Nelson has, likely over 200, this one should go down in history as one of his best, maintaining a decade-long winning streak of quality performances.

Eli “Paperboy” Reed – Down Every Road

Mostly known for his R&B in the late ’60s to early ’70s Revivalism mold, Eli “Paperboy” Reed puts his blue-eyed soul stamp on a set of nicely curated Merle Haggard songs. The Haggard songbook runs the gamut from Country to Americana music to Jazz, always delivered with a whole lot of soul and, as such, is a perfect background for Reed to explore and interpret in his own style.

Playing it straight Like he does on “Mama Tried” and “Lonesome Fugitive” Reed brings out the soul of the song with the emotion of a Jerry Butler Ballad from back in the day. But, it is on the deeper Hag cuts where this record really shines. “It’s Not Love, But It’s Not Bad” reaches the depths of Sam Cooke’s soul, and “I’m Gonna Break Any Heart I Can” is Wilson Pickett-worthy.

A master class in how to curate a cover’s record, the juxtaposition of selections that walk the line of the original and those that share enough DNA that the essence of the song carries the day makes this one an eclectic listen that will garner multiple spins on your turntable.

Dianne Coffee – With People

Applying his trade with his side-piece band Diane Coffee between Foxygen gigs, Shaun Fleming has released his fourth record with the band, the first since 2019. Produced by Foxygen major-domo Jonathan Rado, on this one, Fleming strays away from the Glam-Pop of his main gig in favor of a more subtle ’70s and ’80s soft rock aesthetic.

From the opener, “Corrina From Colina,” there is a Southern California beach vibe laid down, sort of like a cross between Holland Era Beach boys and Hall and Oates. This is a song that will catch your attention and entice you to head to the beach and paddleboard out in the ocean to catch those bigger waves ahead.

“Our Love/The Run” would have been a perfect vehicle for Freddie Mercury and Queen most notably at the piano break with the repeated angry whisper “You don’t get to treat me this way.”

With Foxygen level pop bombast reached on “Sharks,” and “The Great Escape” that give the record a breezy pop feel, this record is a perfect album for the now, but put a pin in this one and bring it back around when the sounds of summer are ready to dominate the airwaves.

Thunder – Dopamine

Applying their trade going on 35 years now, U.K. rock provocateurs Thunder have released a double album of riff-ready rock and roll that reflects back to ‘70s era guitar rock in the Tesla, U.F.O, and Nazareth mold.

“The Dead City” has leader Danny Bowes channeling his inner Paul Rodgers Bad Company persona and on “Black,” the band takes glam-rock to new heights.

There is beauty in diversity to be found everywhere on this record. “Is Anybody Out there” starts off as a Billy Joel-worthy ballad before it morphs itself into a mid-era Journey via way of Elton John stunner, and “Last Orders” meanders from Pink Floyd to Led Zeppelin with the aplomb of a best in class driving song.

For a record that has Rock album of the year written all over it, this one should settle the rock is dead controversy once and for all.

Trombone Shorty – Lifted

Practically born to be a musician, Trombone Shorty was playing the trombone going back to the days when the instrument was bigger than he was. Mentored by the Marsalis family and close family friends with Dr. John, Lifted Troy Andrews’s latest record has injected all of these New Orleans bloodlines into his veins on his latest record.

A gumbo of R&B, Soul, Funk, and New Orleans Brass, is served on every cut of this impressive piece of work. “I’m Standing here” could have easily been a Lenny Kravitz smash hit in the “Are You Gonna Go My Way” mold, “Everybody in the World” has that Harry Connick Jr. jazz vibe about it, and the opener “Come Back” lays it down like the best of Earth Wind and Fire.

With the single “Lie To Me,” a song that takes second-line gospel chants and melds them with Santana Band vibes and Preservation Hall local color with trumpet and trombones taking center stage, the message is clear. Trombone Shorty is in it to love it.

Song of the Day: Datura4 – Blessed is the Boogie

Along with Blackberry Smoke and The Sheepdogs, Datura4 is one of our favorite new school by way of the old school new finds. Blues-Boogie, Psych-Rock done ‘70s style. Think Black Keys by way of Black Sabbath and a whole lot of boogie.

All of their records are great, with this, from their third album, “Blessed Is The Boogie,” a particular gem of a groover.

Five Cool Ones: Five New Albums Released This Week (April 8, 2022)

Boom goes the dynamite this week with a ton of really cool music to delight the ears and tickle your sonar system.

Rock is the New Role super faves, retro ‘70s rockers The Sheepdogs, are out with a really hip new single and video with “Find The Truth.

The latest Beach Bunny single, “Fire Escape” straddles the Pop Punk, Indie Rock line.

And, Dawes delivers a mighty fine live video from their upcoming release, Live from the Rooftop, With a sparkling long-form rendition of “Somewhere Along the Way.”

But, wait. Don’t give the party the Irish exit just yet. Here are five ear-worthy records carefully curated this week for your listening pleasure.

Albert Cummings – Ten

One of those underrated consummate musicians you will find, Albert Cummings very much needs to be on your radar if he is not already. With a vibe that walks the back alleys of B.B. King and Delbert McClinton, every song on his latest record, Ten, is a Blues Rock banger.

While the single “Need Somebody” strays into rock territory on the Blues-Rock spectrum, Albert’s ability to pen a honky tonk rabble-rouser of a tune is on full display thanks to the songs “Too Old To Grow Up,” along with the “you don’t have to go home but you can’t stay here anthem” “Last Call,” featuring a Vince Gill vocal turn.

“Beautiful Bride” should become the next great wedding song, and “Sounds Like The Road” is a paean to the pull of life on the road for a working musician. If you haven’t been in a proper roadhouse since Patrick Swayze was the bouncer, spend some time with this record and it will be as if you never left.

Jack Broadbent – Ride

Growing up in Lincolnshire, England tagging along with his father on open mic nights, Jack Broadbent absorbed the scene ultimately playing drums in his father’s band while learning to be a Nashville-class slide guitar player.

With his latest record, Ride, Broadbent channels his Tony Joe White by way of Lou Reed vocal style into a set of songs that will take you way down the alleyways of New Orleans and off into the horizons.

The opener, “Ride” eulogizes the path of ghosts left behind, and the delicate balance in knowing when to leave before it is past time to go, while “New Orleans” may be the destination and a love letter to his favorite city as well.

Spend some time with the jaunty “I Love Your Rock ‘n’ Roll” as it earworms itself way into your brain, while “Midnight Radio” will have you drinking French 75’s with Tony Joe White on Bourbon Street.

Romero – Turn It On

It is no secret that some of the best vibrant, electrified, pure Rock and Roll currently is generated down under, in this case, Melbourne Australia. Turn It On, the debut record from the Band Romero is, simply put, a party on a platter.

With Blondie fronting The Undertones in the DNA of this band, the punk-laced Power Pop presented here is confident, brazen, and timeless. “Honey” is the Go Go’s on steroids, the opener “Talk About” an air blast of energy, is a tightly constructed stunner, and yes, there is cowbell. “Crossing Lines could have been a Siouxsie Sue hit song, if she ever had one that is, and “Turn It On” is another cowbell-infused classic.

For a debut record, this one represents a band that is fully formed and ready to scorch the earth on the festival circuits this summer.

Paul Cauthen – Country Coming Down

A member in good standing of the younger gun Outlaw Country movement along with the likes of Chris Stapleton, Cody Jinks, and Sturgill Simpson, Paul Cauthen has released a record that to many ears might be his best effort to date.

With a vocal timber that goes deep into the Waylon Jennings well, the songs presented here range from honky tonk worthy staples to glint in the eye semi bro-country tunes.

“High Heels” is a perfect song for that hour of preparation time while you wait for your lady to get ready for a night on the town. “Champagne & A Limo” ironically states the case for becoming rich, and “Country as F**k” is a subversive middle finger raised to the establishment.

One gets the sense that Pail Cauthen had a lot of fun making this record. The fact that he doesn’t take himself too seriously makes this one a good listen for a poolside margarita party.

Calexico – El Mirador

From the opening horn-centric Babalu worthy refrains of “El Mirador,” the lead-off track from the eclectically groovy latest record of the same name from Calexico, the stage is set for a fantastical listening journey.

From the Tarantino-noir vibes of “Harness The Wind,” a tune that would like fit in quite nicely in the middle of any of the once upon a time in … [insert location here] movies, to the corner of Hollywood & Vine Tom Waits vibing “El Paso,” there is a surprise around every musical corner. Mixing Spanish language mariachi-lite with English, as the band is known to do, seamlessly accents the listening experience with varied song textures cut after cut.

Fully realizing we are just barely past the quarter pole in this race, it is not simply hyperbole to declare this one a candidate for album of the year.

Wet Leg – Wet Leg

It has been quite a while since a record hit the halls of Rock is the New Roll H.Q. that carried the hype that the band Wet Leg brings to their self-titled release.

Once the most non-sensical first single “Chaise Lounge” ear-wormed itself into our skulls, you either hated the song, or you reveled in the post-punk Ty Seagall evoking, French disco-inspired, Joie de vie of the whole experience. For some, they landed squarely in the camp of the former, and after several carefully curated, semi-sober listening sessions, color us, chips to the center of the table, all in with this record as well as this band.

Picture Joan Jett, Pat Benatar, and Suzi Quattro as members of the Go Go’s, and you get a real minds-ear view of what this band sounds like. Tight, harmonic, aggressive CBGB mini anthems from the perspective of a 20-something duo, Rhian Teasdale and Hester Chambers.

Mixing the buoyant risqué-ness of “Wet Dream,” a song that name-checks the Christina Ricci cult classic film Buffalo 66, with the swooning Florence and the Machine inspired “Convincing,” with a side order of “Loving You,” a song that could be a long lost Abba single, what you are left with is a roller coaster ride that is well worth taking.