Five Cool Albums: Five New Records Released Today (November 8, 2019)

Clearly, we are entering into the dog days of music releases. The dreaded  Christmas releases are upon us, George Michael even has holiday record out from the grave, and the overall pickings are somewhat slim as we anxiously await the release of the new Who album. Here are five nice ones culled from a limited  herd.

Simply Red – Blue  Eyed Soul

M0ney must be too too tight to mention for Mick  Hucknall  and the boys for them to feel that this release needed to see the light of day. Rolling that ball right down the blue-eyed soul alley, if nothing else this one delivers on what it promises. With a Darryl Hall Philly touch and a whole lot of Stax soul flourishes and immaculate grooves, the opener, “Thinking of You,” could be be the theme song for the next ghost busters movie. Sneak this one on in the middle of a Christmas party and no one will notice.

Blood Shot Records – Too Late To Pray: Defiant Chicago Roots

Launched way back in 1994, Bloodshot Records is celebrating their 25th anniversary in style with an album release that gathers many of the labels stars to celebrate their Chicago roots. Robbie Fulks, Freakwater, Kelly Hogan, and of course, Jon Langford all show up, and in style. Stay to the end of the party and you will be rewarded with the best version of Leonard Cohen’s “Tower of Song” your ears will ever have the pleasure of hearing courtesy of the Handsome Family. If you could only listen to one record label for the rest of your life Bloodshot records should be your jam.

Lucy Dachus – Historian

Much like the opener, “Night Shift,” Lucy Dachus’ second effort for Matador Records, Historian, is a slow burn that will reward the listener with multiple spins. The ebb and flow texturing of the songs with accompanying horns and strings are perfectly complementary to Lucy’s Velvet voice. Listen to this one at least twice and you will be hooked.

Tahiti 80 – Fear of An Acoustic Planet

Very much in the California Noir mold along with the likes of The Thrills, Best Coast, Conor Oberst among others, this band from the south of France consistently delivers Laurel Canyon beach vibes. The opener, “1000 Times” could be a “Shadow Captain” era CSN song, and “Seven Seas” would have fit quite nicely on Al Stewart’s “Year of the Cat” record. This one is a great escape to the island record.

Taylor Hawkins and the Coattail Riders – Get The Money

Taylor Hawkins, Drummer for the Foo Fighters, can be forgiven if he hasn’t put a record out in over three years. He has been a little busy. With his latest, Get The Money, all of his influences and musical loves come to the forefront. The Police, Hawkins is heavily influenced by Stuart Copeland, the majestic choruses of Queen, most notably present on “Don’t Look At Me That Way,” as well as a bit of Prog dusting in the Genesis mold, all come into play here with astounding results. Joe Walsh, Nancy Wilson, Chrissie Hynde, and Roger Taylor are just a few of his famous friends that join in on the fun. This one is a fun journey to the past without a nostalgic bone in its body.


Five Cool Ones: Five Cool Ones: Five New Albums Released Today (November 1, 2019)

We are now officially in the dog days of record releases. But fear not, we aren’t just going to sit on our ears waiting for the new Who album to come out. Here are five really cool records released this week.

Micky and the Motorcars – Long Time Comin’

One of the best Texas Honky Tonk bands in the game today, on this, their 6th record to date, the band is is in dark night of the soul Tearjerker ballad mode with “Alone Again Tonight,” and “Run Into You,” wallowing in my baby left me tears on “All Looks the Same,” and generally down in the dumps lamenting a lost love on “Break My Heart.” This is, sit in the corner, next to the jukebox, wallowing in your own misery my baby left me Honky Tonk splendor.

The Mavericks – Play The Hits

News flash! Raul Malo can sing. And he does it here in exquisite fashion. In places when he keeps the arrangements close to the bone like he does on “Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain,” he shines, and things get even better when The Mavericks get jiggy with the arrangements like they do on “Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way” to spectacular results.

Michael Kiwanuka – Kiwanuka

This guy keeps keeps getting better and better with each subsequent release. Here, on his latest album following up the highly excellent 2016 release Love & Hate, Michael Kiwanuka lays down a palate of Afro-Rhythms, Soul, and Funk along with an Indie Pop sensibility. This Danger Mouse co-produced gem should land towards the front of many year end best-of lists, including ours.

Miranda Lambert – Wildcard

With her latest album, Wildcard, Miranda Lambert seems to be walking on the wild side after a much publicized public divorce. Ditching her old producer in favor of Jay Joyce who twirled the knobs for Brothers Osbourne, Brandy Clark, and Ashley McBryde, there seems to be a bounce in her step that wasn’t there before. There is a bit of Swamp Funk on “Holy Water,” and 80’s Rock on “Mess With My Head.” This is a diverse and textured record that will reward with multiple listens.

Grace Cummings – Refuge Cove

The big whiskey soaked voice emanating from Australian Grace Cummings comes across like some sort of devil spawn from the loins of Patti Smith and Melissa Etheridge. Part pastoral folk, part beat poet, this one is an eclectically pleasing Scott Walker sort of listen. Let it grow on you.

Five Cool Ones: Five New Albums Released This Week (October 25, 2019)

One of the best weeks of the year on the new record front. Ringo Starr, Allison Moorer, Harry Connick Jr. and a lot more. Here are five new records that demand some of your ear time.

Airbourne – Boneshaker

If you thought that Bon Scott era AC/DC wasn’t going to walk through that door anytime soon, you would be wrong. Save your money, don’t buy that time machine, just light your ears on fire with this one.

Grace Potter – Daylight

We haven’t heard much from Grace Potter for a while as she has been taking a break, getting married, and having a baby. Now she is remaking her image a bit from Chick Rocker to chanteuse. Listen closely and you will hear a woman coming of age before your very ears.

Ringo Starr – What’s My Name

There is no wheel reinventing going on here. Ringo is happy as clam just being Ringo, and he does it in style on this one. Chock full of old friends and band mates that have been part of Ringo’s All Stars touring show over the years including Colin Hay, Dave Stewart and Joe Walsh, the vibe is loose, fun, and professional. Sure, some of the songs can be a bit corny, but hey, who can argue with peace and love.

Allison Moorer – Blood

You will be hard pressed to listen to a more poignant record this year as Mrs. Hayes Carll presents a biographical record in conjunction with a book release later in the year. Having been raised by her sister Shelby Lynne after her father killed her mother and turned the gun on himself, the album, as well as the book, will take you on an emotional journey that will make you feel alive.

Goodbye June – Community Inn

Nashville’s favorite sons Goodbye June finally deliver what should be their breakout album. Full of anthemic Southern Blues Rock with more hooks than a season of Dangerous Catch, this just might be the Rock and Roll record of the year.

Five Cool Ones: Five (More) Reasons That Rock is not Dead

Diesel Park West – Golden Mile

This Leicester band blazed on our radar way back in 1989 with their glorious debut album Shakespeare Alabama, and have never really left. On their latest record, Let It Melt, they continue to impress with their melodic riff-tastic anthems.

Quaker City Night Hawks – Suit In The Back

Formed in Forth Worth in 2012, the Quaker City Night Hawks are constantly and consistently refining their sound. On their latest self-title record they mix funky rockers with piano-led ballads. On “Suit In The Back” they look back to when they were pulled over and arrested for the possession of marijuana concentrate.

Goodbye June – Switchblade Heart

Owing a heavy debt ZZ Top and Creedence Clearwater, Breakout Nashville rockers Goodbye June, drawing on their religious upbringing, take the performance aspects of a Pentecostal revival to the Rock and Roll stage with their fiery live shows.

Flying Colors – Love Letter

A Progressive Rock supergroup channeling their inner Beatles and ELO, Mike Portnoy, Steve Morse and Neal Morse join singer Carey McPherson in a harmony drizzled dose of Sunshine Pop.

Black Stone Cherry – Me & The Devil Blues

Kentucky rockers Black Stone Cherry really drill down deep into the blues with this Robert Johnson cover from their second Blues tribute album Back to the Blues 2.

Five Cool Ones – Five New Albums Released This Week (October 18, 2019)

You know we are getting into the dog days of the year when you start getting ear bombed with new Christmas releases. With rare exceptions, most notably the Kate Bush classic 50 Words for Snow from a few years back, there is really no reason for records like Rob Halford’s Christmas album “Celestial” (released today) to exist. And, don’t darken our ears with The Jimmy Buffet entry in this years Christmas lottery with the horribly named ‘Tis the Sea Son. Since we have a soft spot for Neil Diamond we are down with his release, but no, the world doesn’t need a new Holiday record from The Oak Ridge Boys. Where is Nick Lowe when we need him. Here are five (Non Christmas) records we are grooving to this week.

White Reaper – You Deserve Love

heading towards the head of the pack on our list of 2019’s favorite records, White Reaper with their latest release hits that sweet spot between Cheap Trick and Thin Lizzy. From the opening track, “Headwind” that sounds a bit like The Killers in Glam mode, to the twin guitar attack on “Might Be Right” this is an old school Rock and Roll record for the new generation.

The Magpie Salute – High Water II

High Water II, the appropriately titled sequel to High Water I, comes so close to sounding like vintage Black Crowes it might as well be a reunion record. And no, that is not necessarily a bad thing. Heavy on rockers and blues-boogie with an occasional acoustic interlude thrown in for good measure with Rich Robinson providing the guitar riffage.  In the battle of the brothers Robinson for world domination Chris definitely has some catching up to do.

Milk Carton Kids – The Only Ones

Be ready to lay down some chill vibes with the new Milk Carton Kids Record, The Only Ones. If you could create a Frankenstein duo with one member of Simon and Garfunkel and one of the brothers Everly, the resulting spawn would give you The Milk Carton Kids. At a tidy 7 songs this one is a perfect listen for that spare half hour in an otherwise hectic day.

The Drunken Hearts – Wheels of the City

With their hardscrabble approach to Americana, The Drunken Hearts lay down an earthy blend of Bluegrass, Outlaw, and Americana that would make Jamey Johnson and Cody Jinks proud. Lead singer Andrew McConathy has a bit of Michael Stipe by way of Hootie and the Blowfish front man Darius Rucker in his voice, particularly on the title track. The band mixes rowdy anthems with broad soundscapes on a record that will capture your ears with subsequent listens.

Jimmy “Duck” Holmes – Cypress

Another stellar and eclectic release from the Nashville based Dan Auerbach studio, Easy Eye Sound, the outfit that brought you Yola, Dee White, and Shannon Shaw just to name a few. Now, with Jimmy “Duck” Holmes, we are introduced to one of the last living bluesmen. Mixing a fuller sound than you would expect, drawing in a full band that includes Marcus King on a couple of songs with just Jimmy and his guitar on others, the essence of a real Mississippi juke joint is on full display with every gutteral vocal and every greasy guitar lick.




Five Cool Ones: Five New Songs We Are Listening To This Week (October 11, 2019)

I am really starting to like the release patterns of bands these days. Every time you turn around one of your favorite bands is putting out a great new single for you to enjoy. Here are five new(ish) songs we are jamming to this week.

Caamp – Peach Fuzz

There is a definite folk appeal to this trio from Athens Ohio. “Peach Fuzz” is from their latest album By and By. There is a bit of a Ray Lamontagne by way of Bryan Adams on this. The summery surf guitar sheen is an addictive high.

Joseph – Fighter

From Good Luck, Kid with their debut single “fighter” all of the familial harmonies are on full display. Think ABBA meets First Aid Kit.

White Reaper – Might Be Right

In 2017 White Reaper announced that they were in it to win it with their modestly titled L.P. The Worlds Best American Band. Now, with their latest single “Might Be Right,” these boys from Louisville, Ky show some real glam and grit in advance of a new record coming out later in the year.

Brittany Howard – Stay High

With the lead-off single from her first post Alabama Shakes record, Brittany Howard lays down a record that might end up on many song lists for song of the year.

Illiterate Light – Better Than I Used To

The first single from their new self titled LP, these organic farmers turned rock stars blend soaring Indie Rock with Psychedelia and atmospheric Folk to create a sound all their own.

Five Cool Ones: Five New Albums Released This Week (October 11, 2019)

Cody Jinks – After The Fire

With each successive record he releases Cody Jinks seems to channel Chris Stapleton more and more, and that is a very good thing. Now that he is back to being independent after a brief dance with Rounder Records, Cody delivers a solid set of Outlaw Country complete with Honky Tonk blazers and mellow ballads. Jinks blends the darkness with the light with a nimble touch and his Randy Travis Meets Garth Brooks croon is wearing very well on him.

Trigger Hippy – Full Circle & Then Some

On their second incarnation of the band Amber Woodhouse replaces Joan Osborne when a female lead singer is needed as the band lays down the best Country Soul this side of Delaney and Bonnie. This one is decidedly Laurel Canyon retro in all the best of ways.

The Lilac Time – Return To Us

A lovely sort of pastoral listen, there is a meandering pedal steel that sets much of the tone on this nine song set. Slightly political in some places, the title track, written three days after the current inauguration, plays off an Obama speech, and elsewhere there is melancholy whimsey in the Country inflected “Simple Things” remembering a time with less technology.

Starcrawler – Devour You

Strawcrawler comes at you and lands right in your face like some sort of Glam Punk David Lee Roth zombie mutant released to the world. Despite this, their second long-player, being a bit less aggressive than their debut, they still manage to turn out some real fine Rocky Horror Picture Show inspired Rock and Roll.

Joseph Arthur – Come Back World

Joseph Arthur is nothing if not prolific. Despite this being his first solo project in three years, Arthur has definitely been part of the scene organically implanting himself into many musically diverse projects including Arthur Buck with Peter Buck, Fistfull of Mercy with Dhani Harrison, Ben Harper, and Jeff Ament. Here, his pals Jesse Malin, Ben Harper, and Patrick Carney join in on the fun with a spirit calming set of his most personal and powerful songs to date.