Five Cool Ones: Five Bands we missed in 2018

As per usual, once we close the books for one year, a bunch of new records grab our attention and demand some ear time. It was an outstanding year for Rock and Roll with The Record Company, DeWolff, All Them Witches, and many more delivering the goods and then some. Here are 5 more bands that you need to know about that you may have missed.


Not only is Roxanne a perfect band name, their new record, Radio Silence, is pretty much a perfect album. Released 30 years after their self-titled debut look for shades of Warrant, Queen, Foreigner and Night Ranger.


Classy L.A. Rockers fronted by a powerhouse singer Dorothy Martin. 28 Days in the Valley is a scorcher of an album.


Vintage 80’s hair metal vibing at the finest level. If you like Def Leppard, Skid Row, or Swedish darlings H.E.A.T. you will love this band.

Joyous Wolf

Having appropriately teased us with a single in 2018, Mississippi Queen/Slow hand, we can only wait and wonder what is in store for us. If their hair on fire version of the Mountain classic is any indication, we are in for a Rock and Roll treat.

The Cold Stares

One of the best Blues Rock duos in the game today. Fusing smoky Southern Blues with Alternative Rock, all systems go for this band if the new record Mountain is any indication. Just hope you make it out alive.

Five Cool Ones: Five Cool Albums That Should Have Been On Our Year End List

As happens after year, after a bit of reflection, there end up to be a lot of worthy, highly listenable records that somehow miss our top album list. This year Paul Simon, Soccer Mommy, The Tuneyards, Belle and Sebastian all could have made our list. Here are five notal records that probably should have made the cut.

Gruff Rhys – Babelsberg

The Super Furry Animals front man jumps out front and center with his first record in four years. A timeless beauty that features a 72 piece orchestra, these are all great tunes that would have fit quite nicely on your 80’s playlist right alongside Yes and The Alan Parsons Project.

Arctic Monkeys – Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino

Somewhat a deliberate omission, that decison is beginning to feel very regreatable after a couple of post New Year spins of this one. The vibe is very different from your standard Monkey’s fare, Bowie goes to the moon. Pure dancing on the ceiling bliss.

Shame – Songs of Praise

One heck of a live band, London Post Punk rockers Shame deliver an arena-ready set of tracks that will set your hair on fire. Enter at your own risk.

Spiritualized – And Nothing Hurt

We should have known this one was going to be a cracker, all of his records are great. “Let’s Dance” and “The Morning After” are melodic stunners with a definite Brian Wilson influence.

Tracyanne & Danny – Tracyanne & Danny

Camera Obscura’s Tracyanne Cambell returns with a set of sweet sounding pop nuggets with partner Danny Coughlan. Full of lush strings and 60’s Nancy and Lee vibes, this one is a gently euphoric listen.



Five Cool Ones: Five Cool Americana Roots Rock Records You May Have Missed

5Kirby Brown – Uncommon Prayer

“Gimme a week and a ride to the downtown station with a dollar to my name, I don’t much care where it’s going, just anywhere that’s gone.” With your introduction to a new musician that you have never heard before jumping right out at you between your ears like it does on “Gimme a Week” from Kirby Brown’s highly excellent 2018 release Uncommon Prayer there is cause for celebration. Don’t sleep on his cover of “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”. It is worth the price of admission alone.

Ruby Boots – Don’t Talk About It

If you are looking for a place to find really cool new music you could not go wrong wandering over the Bloodshot Music site and searching through any of the number of artists in their stable. Ruby Boots and her latest, Don’t Talk About It, look forward to meeting you there.

Kevin Gordon – Tilt and Shine

The musicscapes created here all first rate and read like a Cormac McCarthy novel. Whether it’s “Drunken Man In Town,” “One Road Out (Angola Rodeo Blues),” or “Gatling Gun” Kevin Gordon has captured the short story in a three-minute song.

Larkin Poe – Venom & Faith

These young girls take Country Blues to the next level. The songs are all gritty, down in the gutter with Tom Waits. If you don’t believe it, just check out “Hard Time Killing Floor Blues”.

Sam Morrow – Concrete and Mud

Outlaw Country is alive and well and his name might be Sam Morrow.


Five Cool Ones: 5 Of The Best Songs of 2018


Courtney Marie Andrews – Took You Up

We could have chosen any number of the songs from May Your Kindness Remains, but this song kept rising to the top. A slow builder that speaks to the virtues of making things work.

The Nude Party – Chevrolet Van

Strange band name, great song. This ode to musicians traveling from city to the next city will remind you of Arlo Guthrie.

Neko Case – Curse of the I-5 Corridor

This epic seven minute plus tune talks to the past and the unsure footing of the future. Duet partner Mark Lanegan takes this one from very good to great.

Ruston Kelly – Mockingbird

One of the Nashville shining stars, “Mockingbird” ebbs and flows and seems to come from a tortured soul. He wrote it in a Dominican hotel detoxing from a bad relationship.

Sonny Smith – Burnin’ Up

One of the best pure pop songs of the year this is another one from Dan Auerbach’s Easy Eye studio. Angel Olson adds background vocals.





Five Cool Ones: Five Cool Artists From Easy Eye Sound

5One of the best ways to discover an artist that will become one of your new favorites is to find out the record label that released an album by someone that has captured your groove. The odds are very good that there will be several other artists in the stable that will capture your fancy. Dan Auerbach’s Easy Eye Sound  is a fine example of this like attracts like phenomenon. And besides, any label that has Duane Eddy as part of the house band has got to be pretty cool.

Robert Finley – Holy Wine

Dan Auerbach – Waiting On A Song

Shannon Shaw – Broke My Own

Dee White – Wherever You Go

Sonny Smith – Burnin’ Up




Five Cool Ones: Five (More) Reasons Rock Is Not Dead

The Lemon Twigs – The Fire

Remember when Rock and Roll was fun. People didn’t take themselves or the music too seriously and it was ok to be a bit different. Ladies and Gentlemen, presenting The Lemon Twigs.

The Dirty Nil – Bathed In Light

When you open for The Who your band must be pretty good. Part early who and part ramshackle MC-5 these Canadian dudes can light up a stage.

The Regrettes – California Friends

Part Pretenders, part 60’s Girl Group, all cool.

Glorious Sons – Josie

These Canadian brothers mix Springsteen worthy lyrics with With Kings of Leon Indie Rock credibility.

Massive Wagons – Under No Illusion

One nation under a hook and a groove, these guys are pretty much arena level ready right out of the box.









Five Cool Ones: Five Cool Albums Released This Week

Another week for the Icons. Paul Weller, Tony Bennett, Willie Nelson, and Richard Thompson all have records coming out this week.

Willie Nelson – My Way

Willie can roll out of bed and handle anybody’s songbook. This time it is Frank Sinatra’s.

Richard Thompson – 13 Rivers

This one really highlights a masterful guitar player at the peak of his powers.

Tony Bennett and Diana Krall – Love Is Here To Stay

First k.d. Lang, then Lady Gaga, now Diana Krall. Tony Bennett certainly has a way with the ladies.

Paul Weller – The Meanings

Sir Paul Weller is aging quite well. This one takes on a bit of a Jazzy tone, but is still a must listen for all Weller Fans.

Alejandro Escovedo – The Crossing

On this, his first album since relocating from Austin to Dallas, Escovedo delivers a song cycle that tries to answer the question what would have happened if he had tried to migrate to the U.S. in these times instead of 60 years ago as his father did.