The wait is over, the new year is upon us, and we lie in wait for a bevy of new releases over the next few months. It should be a big first part of the year as John Mellencamp has a guest-laden record in the hopper called Strictly a one-eyed Jack, the mighty Jethro Tull is coming out of hibernation, and speaking of Classic Rock titans, Bryan Adams, The Scorpions, Tears For Fears, and Ozzy Ozbourne all will be tickling your ears soon in 2022.
In the meantime, the always intriguing Mitski has already released an e.p. in advance of a formal long-player later in the year. Her single, “Love Me More” is already getting buzz for inclusion on many year-end lists.
Never sleep on Bryan Adams as the Canadian Rocker has, coming to eardrums near you, a new album with the release of So Happy It Hurts. And, well it sounds like Bryan Adams.
And, Eddie Vedder has teamed up with a couple of Chili Peppers forming a new band called The Earthlings with a platter due in February.
And now, without further ado, we have five tasty nuggets all set to tickle your eardrums and rattle your senses this week.
Elvis Costello – The Boy Named If
With this follow-up to 2020s Hey Clockface, Elvis Costello shows no signs of slowing down. From the scorcher of an opener, “Farewell, OK,” Costello and his band, The Imposters, kick things into gear and party like it’s 1977 and they are living in the My Aim Is True glory days. The voice hasn’t changed too much, Elvis never was one for stretching out the high notes, and, here he stays very much within his range with his delivery that is pure E.C. vocal splendor.
The title track, with If actually meaning imaginary friend, is Classic Costello with its off-beat eccentric songwriting, and returning to ballad form, “Paint The Red Rose Blue” should stand the test of time as one of his best songs. And, “Magnificent Hurt,” to our ears, is best in class. This one is a lost-in-time record that is could have been released anytime from 1980 to the present.
Put a pin in this one for top album of the year consideration.
Cat Power – Covers
It only took 12 years for Cat Power, aka Chan Marshall to come up with the follow-up to her 2010 release, The Covers Record, the album that featured her seminal version of “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.” This time out, she covers songs by Bob Seger, The Replacements, and Billie Holiday among others in her own style making the songs almost recognizable but no less glorious.
Seger’s “Against The Wind” is transformed into a night-noir ethereal wonder, the piano-based Replacements seldom covered “Here Comes A Regular” has a definite Tom Waits touch to the proceedings, and the one-two punch of Jackson Browns’s “These Days” and “It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels” strays into Nina Simone territory when it comes to an artist making the song their own.
Ari Roar – Made To Never Use
Ari Roar is the name that singer/songwriter Caleb Campbell uses for his self-released projects. With a Ben Folds by way of Wilco vibe, the songs are all Indie-Pop bangers that you will be able to digest in short 2-3 minute jangly bursts. “Take Me Over” is Jack Johnson by way of John Lennon, and “Far From The Rest” could have been a Replacements with a slight Police vibe.
The hooks, rhythms, and melodies, all coalesce into a catchy set of songs that you should bring back out when the weather gets warmer and the drinks get colder.
Poco – One Night in Nashville
For many, the seminal band Poco is considered to be one of the original OG’s of Americana and the Country-Rock sound. Originally formed by Buffalo Springfield members Richie Furay and Jim Messina, the band released 18 albums with multiple hit singles including “Crazy Love,” “You’d Better Think Twice,” and “Rose of Cimarron.”
Now, the 2004 live concert from Nashville has been polished up into a spectacular blue vinyl edition that should serve to satisfy longtime fans of the band as well as those who are just starting to explore the roots of American Music. Reuniting original members Furay, Rusty Young, and drummer George Grantham, the band runs through all of the hits with particularly stellar versions of “Call It Love” and the harmony-laden “Good Feeling To Know” as stone-cold standouts. “Bad Weather” is a deep-cut must-hear.
Jacob Bryant – Barstool Preacher
Once you get past Garth Brooks, the ’80s flavor of Country music is not deserving of the scorn and ridicule that it seems to get in some circles. Travis Tritt, Alan Jackson, Clint Black, John Anderson it’s all good music, certainly better than the “all hat, no cattle” purveyors of the scene that seem to be prevalent today.
Here, with his latest record, Bar Stool Preacher, Jacob Bryant’s ear-melds ’80’s Alan Jackson country along with contemporary outlaw country in the Jamey Johnson and Chris Stapelton mold that would fit in perfectly at your next fourth of July party or your next bourbon binge.
“Well Whiskey (Discount Cigarettes)” could have been a hit song for Keith Whitley, and on the semi rocked-up “Good Ol’ Boy,” Bryant laments his local turning into a hipster bar with boys in skinny jeans and no Skynyrd songs in the jukebox.