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.

Five Cool Ones: Five Cool Records Released This Week (May 17, 2019)

It definitely is a slow week when a new Dionne Warwick album and an instrumental covers record from Jimmy Webb are worthy of note, but fear not. We did manage to come up with five pretty cool albums that were released this week.

Crazy Lixx – Forever Wild

This one comes right from the belly of the Sunset Strip circa 1982. There is not a lot of nuance on this album, but is that such a bad thing.

Alex Lahey – The Best of Luck Club

The second album from this Australian songstress. Here, she matches her catchy hooks with solid songwriting.

The South Austin Moonlighters – Feels Like Home

These guys cover all of the Roots Rock bases. Americana, Blues, Country, you name it this band has it covered. Whether it is the Leon Helm inspired vibe of the title track or the Eagles-Like harmonies on “Carry Me On” this is a grower of a listen.

Jimmy Vaughan – Please Come Home

Jimmie Vaughan plays Texas Blues better than pretty much anyone in the game. Here, he handles less than obvious Jump-Blues covers with the aplomb of the savvy veteran that he is. “Midnight Hour” is worth the price of admission alone.

Lizzo – Cuz I Love You

If you are not familiar with the phenomenon that is Lizzo it is time to right that wrong. Unashamed of her body image or her sexuality her debut record is earthy, vibrant, and brilliant.

Five Cool Ones: Five Cool Albums Released This Week (May 10, 2019)

Things are picking up this week, albeit only slightly. Sammy Hagar and the Circle has released a new record to the sound of one hand clapping, Canadian songstress Lydia Ainsworth is front and center, and the Japanese Post Punk band Guitar Wolf is front and center with their record, Love & Jett. Here are five of our favorites.

Daddy Long Legs – Lowdown Ways

If Little Walter was in the Stray Cats you might get Daddy Long Legs. Just listen to “Mornin’ Noon & Night” and tell me I’m wrong. This record is a smasher from “Pink Lemonade” all the way to “Ding Dong Dang.” Old-School meets New-School in all the best of ways on this one.

The Shootouts – Quick Draw

This one is real old school Country. Blending Marty Stuart, Bob Wills, Roy Orbison, Dwight Yoakam, and Marty Robbins, the legends of the old West come to life on this epic slice of Western Pie.

Bambi Lee Savage – Berlin-Nashville Express

Jumping front and center into the Americana Scene, Bambi Lee Savage is here to stay. Her mix of Honky Tong and down low storytelling in intoxicating.

Elles Bailey – Road I Call Home

Finally, Elles Baily has a proper release under her belt. Part Blues, some Country, all very cool, Elles Bailey is on the verge of stardom. After touring with Eric Gales and garnering high billing on several festival circuits this one just might be the breakthrough she so richly deserves.

The Wildhearts – Renaissance Men

Rock and Roll is alive and well, thank you, just ask the Wild hearts. Ginger Wildheart is rocking heavier than heavier on this release that will remind you of what Guns ‘N’ Roses could have been if they were just a bit heavier.


Five Cool Ones: Five Cool Albums Released This Week (May 3, 2019)

img_1144During a week of comebacks of sort, Post Punk divas L7 have unleashed their terror on unsuspecting ears with a record release, Vampire Weekend is back after a 6 year absence, and even Leo Sayer feels like dancing again with a new record called Selfie. Here are 5 albums that have caught our ear this week.

Filthy Friends – Emerald Valley

Pretty Much an Indie Rock super group featuring Peter Buck, formerly of R.E.M., Scott McCaughey, and Corin Tucker taking a break from Sleater-Kinney. Emerald Valley is the second release from this collective. The songs touch lightly on the political climate of the day but don’t quite go overboard. Picture Chrissie Hynde fronting R.E.M. with the jangle tuned down a notch or two with more of a blues rock touch and you will get the general vibe of this band and this album.

The Wildhearts – Renaissance Men

Showing that you just can’t keep a good kick-ass rock and roll band down The Widhearts are back with most of the original line-up intact. Ginger Wildheart is singing as wild as ever and the entire band cranks the levels up to 11.

Vampire Weekend – Father of the Bride

The shift from the right to the left coast and Los Angeles  seems to have mellowed the band without slowing them down. The Jangle Power Pop feel is still there but the songwriting seems to be more focused. There is a bit of a 70’s era Rolling Stones haze wafting through the air on a couple of these songs and the West coast Rock of the Doobie Brothers from the “Long Train Running” era shows up on “Sympathy.” We are not saying we want another 6 years to pass before we get another album, but this one was definitely worth the wait.

Bobby Oroza – This Love

Sounding much like a Motown deep cut, this soulful singer from Finland brings an old school analog sound to an album of funky low-fi arrangements thgat will mellow your soul.

Caroline Spence – Mint Condition

No giant American steps are taken here, just another solid set of mid-tempo story songs that mix rockers with some fine guitar work on the opener “What You Don’t Know” and travel songs detailing here journey to Nashville. There is more of a bit of Emmy Lou in the air on this one.


Five Cool Ones: Five Cool Albums Released This Week (April 26, 2019)

In what might be the best release Friday of the year Bruce puts out a new single, George Benson pays tribute to Bo Diddley, Walker Lukens releases a very Adult album, and The Cranberries pay tribute to their late singer. Here are Five Cool Ones that have caught some of our ear time.

Josh Ritter – Fever Breaks

Superbly backed by Jason Isbell’s 400 Unit, this record just might be Ritter’s best yet, easily his best in several releases. Every song is a cracker with Josh easing into each song like a hand in a glove.

Nils Lofgren – Blue With Lou

The E-Street sideman has released a set of songs 5 of which were part of a collaboration dating back to the late 70’s with Lou Reed. The album has a laid back Lou Reed meets JJ Cale Vibe. “Attitude City” is pure Lou Reed. And, the title track is a love song to a hero along the lines of “Keith Don’t Go.”

Foxygen – Seeing Other People

Inching forward a bit from a 60’s and 70’s vibe to a 70’s and 80’s sound Foxygen’s Sam France and Jonathan Rado seem to be getting a lot more serious in their lives and in their music. In what might be their Rock and Roll record, “The Thing Is” shares DNA with Springsteen’s “Hungry Heart,” and “Flag At Half Mast” rolls along like Tattoo You era Rolling Stones.

BAILEN – Thrilled To Be Here

If you are a fan of the Laurel Canyon multiple harmony sound and groups like The Milk Carton Kids or the new Cactus Blossoms record then Thrilled To Be Here will be your new jam. Featuring fraternal twins Daniel and David Bailen along with their younger sister Julia , there is a First Aid Kit meets Dawes aura going on here with this impeccably produced record. There is even a dusting of Fleetwood Mac on “I Was Wrong.”

Randy Rogers Band – Hellbent

The Randy Rogers Band is Country in all the best senses of the word, still rolling with the original line-up 20 some odd years down the road. No new red dirt is broken here, just good old Texas Roadhouse Country Rock and Soul.

Five Cool Ones: Five Cool Albums Released This Week (April 19, 2019)

Don’t adjust your ears just because The O’Jays and Bananarama both release two albums in the same day doesn’t mean it’s 1994 all over again. Cage The Elephant also stages a welcome return, and The Cranberries release “In The End” in anticipation of their latest record. So, let’s get to it.

Dianne Coffee – Internet Arms

If Prince and David Bowie had a love child he probably would sound like Foxygen drummer Shaun Fleming and his swaggering odd ball alter ego Dianne Coffee. Mining the the same Glam Psychedelic territory that he favors with his main gig, Internet Arms feature mostly mid-tempo synth numbers with “Stuck In Your Saturday Night” a real banger, and “Like A Child Does” turning of the beats a bit on a thoughtful dance tune. This record is one to put on when you are ready to go out on a Saturday Night.

Joyous Wolf – Place In Time

All you really need to know to understand the vibe coming through from these L.A. rockers is that their first single available for public consumption was Mountains guitar epic “Mississippi Queen.” Full of riffage and swagger this one will be up for Rock Album of the year on a lot of year end lists.

Jade Bird – Jade Bird

One of the British shining stars on the Americana Folk scene, on her debut record there are soaring pop epics the likes of “Side Effects,” introspective slow burners with “My Beauty” where she sounds like Melissa Etheridge in her prime, and on the low and slow “Does Anybody Know” her songwriting talents really shine. This one will be on heavy rotation for quite a long time.

The Yawpers – Human Question

If you could only listen to artists from one single record label then Bloodshot Records should be your jam, and The Yawpers are right up there as show horses in their stable. A little more on the Rock and Roll Side than their last album, “Earn Your Heaven” will Rock your ears off and on “Dancing on My Knees” the rhythm section shows the musicianship and energy worthy of Stevie Ray’s Double Trouble.

Will Kimbrough – I Like It Down Here

When you are working with the likes of Shemekia Copeland, Mary Gauthier, and Hayes Carll just to name a few collaborators Will Kimbrough has had over the last couple of years, it is no surprise that his own career has been put on the back burner. Now, he is front and center with this great bluesy, swampy, purely honest record. This somewhat short set of 10 songs portrays an artist at the peak of his writing career.

Five Cool Ones: Five Cool Albums Released This Week (April 12, 2019)

The year seems to be pretty much hitting its stride with some major developments on the digital scene. The mighty Slade is now available on all of the digital and streaming platforms. More Glam all of the time is a very good thing. As far as the rock and mortar releases, it has been a crackin’ week as well. Bruce Hornsby is back, this time without his noisemakers, Norah Jones announces her welcome return and retro blue-eyed Blues belter Eli “Paper  Boy Reed” makes his triumphant return. And Yes folks, there’s more.

Big Search – Slow Fascination

If you are a fan of the Laurel Canyon Beach Boys West Coast vibe then the new record, Slow Fascination, is definitely your jam. Big search is the solo moniker for Matthew Popieluch who when he is not sitting in as a sideman for bands like Papercuts and Fools Gold is creating lush Indie Pop orchestrations. Pianos and acoustic guitars blend delightfully with blended harmonies and intricate arrangements.

Shovels and Rope – By Blood

The opening salvo on this set, “I’m Coming Out,” sets the sonic stage for this one. With a sound palette that is much more out front than their past more introspective affairs. By Blood rocks a bit more than 2017’s Busted Jukebox, Vol. 1, but no worries, the skin-tight harmonies are still front and center and the energy is satisfying.

Aaron Lewis – State I’m

Somewhat stepping through the Waylon Jennings-Noir door opened by Chris Stapelton, Cody Jinks, Jamey Johnson, and Whitey Morgan  Aaron Jennings borrows heavily from Waylon and the “Possum” George Jones on this set of Honky Tonk style tunes.

John Paul White – The Hurting Kind

Three years removed from his first post Civil Wars album, Beulah, a somewhat dark affair, John Paul White is back with an eclectic blend of Americana and Country that should go far in moving his star forward. With a voice that travels between Roy Orbison and Ray Price, this record has a classic sound with a modern feel.

Band of Skulls – Love Is All You Love

This British three-piece Rock band mixes electronic and live instruments on their fifth album. Propulsive and full of energy, “That’s My Trouble” is sexy, Cool Your Battles would be a great selection for your 2019 driving tune playlist, and “We’re Alive” has a bit of an 80’s Brit Rock tinge to it. Emma Richardson is the real star here, but the entire band shows a diversity that can be rare in the Rock and Roll world.