Five Cool Ones: Five Cool Albums Released Today (July 12, 2019)

Sure, we are just biding our time for the new Rodney Crowell and Delbert McLinton records to come out, but after a week off there are still some gems to cull from the herd.

The Steel Wheels – Over The Trees

This Virginia based Americana band has just enough bluegrass to keep things cool. The song writing is first rate, the harmonies are really spot on and their life on the road song “Road Never Ends” is a highlight almost making you feel like you are in the back of a van at 3:00 in the morning heading to your next venue.

The Dollyrots – Daydream Explosion

Little Steven’s favorite all girl band is back at it with another more than solid set of girl group Surf Noir. There are not about saving the world. Living La Vida Loca is just fine with them.

Kyle Craft – Showboat Honey

This dude is a bit genre defying, this dude is. A bit Kinks, slightly Brit Pop, some Power Pop Badfinger, but it’s all pretty cool. This one is a nifty follow up to the equally excellent Full Circle Nightmare from all the way back in 2018.

Khruangbin – Hasta El Cielo

This Houston, Tx based group is the chilliest band on the scene today. Their blend of Mediterranean Psychedelic Surf-Noir will put you in a haze you may never want to shake off.

Imperial Teen – Now We are Timeless

There is a definite 80’s Brit-Pop feel to this band. Based primarily out of San Francisco led by Faith No More’s Roddy Bottum these former punk bad boys deliver a surprisingly coherent set of ear inspiring mini marvels.

Five Cool Ones: Five Cool Albums Released Today (June 28, 2019)

The Black Keys – Let’s Rock

After spending time apart going back to 2014 Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney are reunited and it feels so good. Blues, Garage, and old Soul are still at the core of their sound, but this time around there is a joie-de-vie amplification that seems to have the band reenergized.

Chris Stamey and The ModRec Orchestra

This release is notable for a couple of reasons. First, it is Chris Stamey of the db’s, and that’s worth the price of admission alone. Second, and most importantly, the guest list of artists that appear on the album is stellar. Branford Marsalis, Bill Frisell, Nels Cline, Marshall Crenshaw, and Caitlin Carey of Whiskeytown and many others. Inspired by Cole Porter, Henry Mancini, George and Ira Gershwin, and the rest of the great songsmiths from days gone by, Stamey puts a new shine a classic sound.

The Alarm – Sigma

Decades in The Alarm doesn’t seem to have missed a beat. The template doesn’t seem to have changed much on this, their sequel to 2018’s Equals, and as always, front-man and co-founder Mike Peters is in fine form.

Foy Vance – From Muscle Shoals

The sequel to this one, To Memphis, will be one part of a book end of releases, the first recorded at Fame studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, the second recorded at Sun Studios in Memphis will be released early next year.

Mindi Abair and The Boneshakers – No Good Deed

Winners of many 2018 independent Blues awards including artist of the year, No Good Deed might be the roadhouse record of the year.

Five Cool Ones: Five Cool Albums Released Today (June 21, 2019)

Another scorcher of a week. From the purple beyond Prince dropped a sweet set of songs he wrote and gave to other artists, who knew he wrote “Manic Monday”, and Nick Lowe released a woefully puny 4 song E.P.. Every one of the songs that feature his newest backing band Los Straitjackets is great, but c’mon man, give us more. Hear are five more records that we really like.

Black Pumas – Black Pumas

Hard to classify this group of Austin musicians. Rock, Soul, R&B with a hint of Tex Mex? Yep, Yes, and sure. The best we can come up with is that if Marvin Gaye fronted The Black Keys, and were based out of Tijuana, they would sound like these guys. Check them out for yourself.

The Hollywood Vampires – Rise

This one won’t be on heavy rotation on anyone’s turntable, not even mine, but what the heck, you’ve got Alice Cooper Joe Perry and Johnny Depp. And that’s pretty darn cool.

Willie Nelson – Ride Me Back Home

So far, Willie Nelson, releasing albums at a startling rate, hasn’t given us a chance to miss him. The title track is great, and “My Favorite Picture of You” is a stunner. His version of “Just the Way You Are”, however, is better left unheard.

Jim Lauderdale – From Another World

If Jim Lauderdale could sing, Kris Kristofferson is Pavarotti by comparison, he would be much more famous. The guy writes a hell of a song in the Guy Clark Tom T. Hall mold.

The Raconteurs – Help Us Stranger

And speaking of Jack White, The Raconteurs are back. This is notable mostly in that we get a Halleys Comet type appearance from the Power Pop genius Brendan Benson who inexplicably only shows up in Jack Whites side-piece band. The Ying to White’s Dirty Blues Yang. If you haven’t heard Benson’s 1996 album One Mississippi search it out.

Five Cool Ones: Five Cool Albums Released This Week (June 14, 2019)

No need to adjust your sets. Just because you woke up to a new release from Bruce Springsteen, an album from Madonna, a retrospective set from Cheryl “Got To Be Real” Lynn, and a live recording from Stan Getz, doesn’t mean you have entered into some sort of Frank Zappa zodiac 80’s mind-warp. No, It just another week in what is shaping up to be a great year in music.

Bruce Springsteen – Western Stars

Addressing the elephant in the room first, the new Bruce Springsteen record is out today. And it is good, very good, maybe his best in a decade. The Laurel Canyon vibe is all over this one and some say that the album is sort of an homage to the old Glen Campbell Jimmy Webb pairings from the days of yore. After a couple of listens I can see it. Oh yeah, and did I say this album was good, actually I meant great.

‘Keb ‘Mo – Oklahoma

Kevin Morris, ‘Keb ‘Mo, goes down smooth like a glass of fine scotch or a cigarette after sex. Any record of his should be savored, and Oklahoma, his latest offering, is just that sort of listen.

Jamestown Revival – San Isabel

Every 18 months or so Jamestown Revival will release an album and remind me that I really love this band. Their latest, San Isabel, takes them back to their roots and their Simon and Garfunkel by way of CSN vibe. Their loving tribute to California Dreamin’ is worth the price of admission alone.

Los Coast – Samsura

This Austin based combo is a bit genre defying, and in ‘this case that is a very good thing. Part Soul, part Surf-Rock, a lot Psychedelic, and all Cool. If Jellyfish merged with The Dap Kings the resulting hybrid might sound like these guys.

Lukas Nelson and the Promise of the Real – Turn Off The News (Build a Garden)

As the son of Willie Nelson and the bandleader for Bradley Cooper in A Star is Born, Lukas Nelson is as hot as a firecracker right now. Lukas and his boys have even found the time to release a new record in between concerts as the backing band for Neil Young. With a Traveling Wilburys vibe in places and a widescreen pop dusting in others along with a scent of herbal hippie sensation wafting across the entire proceedings, the experience of listening to this album will be mind altering.

Five Cool Ones: Five Cool Albums Released This Week (June 7, 2019)

This one is a week for the Rock and Roll OG’s. Gloria Gaynor, Tommy James, Savoy Brown, and Ricki Lee Jones all have records out this week. Here are five that have caught our ear-tention.

Eagles of Death Metal – EODM Presents Boots Electric

This one is shaping up to be one of the more fun records of the year. “God of Thunder,” “Abracadabra,” “High Voltage”,” C’mon man!

The Mattson 2 – Paradise

A groovy, psychedelic 60’s inspired listen. Lots of trippy California road trip vibes on this one.

Peter Frampton – All Blues

Another record of cover songs, this time Peter Frampton displays his prodigious guitar chops going old school with delicate versions of “The Thrill is Gone,” “I’m a King Bee,” and “She Caught The Katy” just to name three. “Georgia On My Mind” is a stellar hi lite.

Dylan LeBlanc – Renegade

Townes Van Zandt and Fleet Foxes inspired, as the son of Muscle Shoals session player James LeBlanc, Dylan Le Blanc delivers a solid set of songs blending solid songwriting with dreamy soundscapes.

Hollis Brown – Ozone Park

Named after the character in a Bob Dylan Song, this Queens, N.Y. these guys are more U2 mixed with Tom Petty and a dash of Black Crowes than Dylan. An album that is a bit more Rock than Roll, this is an extremely accessible record that will be on your regular listening rotation very soon. There is not a bad song in this basket.

Five Cool Ones: Five Cool Albums Released This Week (May 31, 2019)

Sacred Paws – Run Around The Sun

Born from the ashes of the Indie Pop band Golden Grrrls, Rachel Aggs and Eilidh Rodgers splintered off to form Sacred Paws. Full of sunny polyrhythmic pop hooks this one owes a heavy debt of gratitude to 80’s Brit Rock.

Pip Blom – Boat

Fervent fans of the Indie Rock scene of the 90’s , the Dutch band Pip Blom has released their most fully realized effort to date. Sonically excellent lead singer Pip Blom sounds a bit liked an escaped Runaway. The guitar pop on this one is next level. If you are looking for a rambunctious romp through a 90’s Post Punk garden this is your jam.

Kenny Wayne Sheppard Band – The Traveller

Kenny Wayne Sheppard with each release seems to be more and more comfortable with his place in the pantheon of guitar slingers. His latest, a Classic Rock concoction of Blues, Boogie, and Rock is a powerhouse. Singer Noah Hunt is in fine grizzled form still sounding like Warren Zevon’s less drug addled brother, and Stevie Ray’s old stick man Chris Layton pushes the band down the rails like a runaway train. Including eight originals and two covers, the best of the lot being a scorched earth version of Neil’s Mr. Soul, this one might be the bands best record to date.

Doug Tuttle – Dream Road

With the upcoming release of the Laurel Canyon documentary everything about that little artist enclave of the Los Angeles 70’s is hip again. On his new record Dream Road Doug Tuttle carries the Southern California laid back musical torch so brightly he should be dating Linda Ronstadt.

Peter Bruntnell – The King of Madrid

Flying just underneath the Americana radar Peter Bruntell really should be better known. His latest The King of Madrid is more of a 60’s psychedelic pop record with a bit of a Byrds essence wafting in the air. The song “Dinosaur” is even a not so distant cousin of “Last Train to Clarksville.” Don’t hold it against him that on “Lucas” he sounds like Steve Miller. Cult status be damned. This guy is seriously good.

Five Cool Ones: Five Cool Albums Released Today (May 24, 2019)

After a bit of a lull over the last couple of weeks there is an abundance of new record riches to be savored this week. The Stray Cats are back after more than 25 years with an album that yes, sounds pretty much like the Stray Cats. The Waterboys continue to strongly represent, and the great Mavis Staples gives us probably the most socially aware set of the week. Here are five tasty morsels that are demanding our ear time.

Sean Nelson – Nelson Sings Nilsson

Sean Nelson, you know him as the voice behind Harvey Danger and “Flagpole Sitta” gives us a tremendously eclectic set of Harry Nilsson covers on Nelson Sings Nelson. There is no “Coconut”and indeed not a “Without You” to be found. The classic “Everybody’s Talking” doesn’t even make an appearance here. With “Gotta Get Up” from Nilsson Shmilsson probably the most popular tune being covered along with with obscure deep cut gems the likes of “Turn On Radio” from Son of Shmilsson and “I’ll Never Leave You” make this a collection worth savoring.

Justin Townes Earle – The Saint if Lost Causes

Steve Earles’s Son Justin Townes Earle is back with another solid set of introspective songs. This time, turning to more expansive road themes instead of the deeply person familial portraits he shared on his last two records, the results are equally impressive.

Frankie Lee – Stillwater

While his previous album American Dreamer seemed to focus on escapism and self-destruction, Frankie Lee’s latest, Stillwater, is all about redemption and returning to your roots.

The Amazons – Future Dust

This Reading, England four piece continues to produce ready made arena savvy anthems.

Echo in the Canyon (feat. Jakob Dylan)- Various artists

Echo in the Canyon is the soon to be released movie detailing the Laurel Canyon music scene of the 60’s. The soundtrack features an all-star selection of musicians with Jakob Dylan serving as the house band. Highlights are everywhere but the real winners are “In My Room” with Fiona Apple, “I Just Wasn’t Made For These Times” featuring Neil Young, and “You Showed Me” with Cat Power. Tremendous stuff, indeed.