Five Cool Ones: Five New Albums Released This Week (March 19,2021)

It’s official, we have just entered the beginning of the summer music releases. More (almost) music is coming out than we can keep up with and the creativity that is hitting our ears is very much next-level.

All is right with the musical world when Charlie Starr and the boys blend their Lynyrd Skynyrd meets Dr. Hook mantra on a new song like they do on “Hey Delilah.”

And, up and coming Blues Man Zach Person is pretty much scorching the earth with his new single, “Can’t Stop Running.”

To top things off,  The Screaming Cheetah’s spend some time in the record store on the Punk, Rock, and Soul “We Are The Ones (We’ve Been Waiting For).”

And, if all of that is not enough, here are five groovy albums we are all going mobile with this week.

Midland – The Sonic Ranch

When a band like Midland transcends its influences and embraces the sound and the fury of a specific musical moment in time as holistically as they do on their new record, The Sonic Ranch, it is a supreme pleasure to spend some time in the way-back machine that they provide. ’80s George Strait Country is the Joie-de-vie here most notably on “Champagne For The Pain” along with “Worn Out Boots.” The vibe drifts back to Lefty Frizell honky-tonk on “Texas is the Last Stop” and the opener “Fourteen Gears” harkens back to the ’70s trucking tunes.

This is a lose yourself in nostalgia record in all the best of ways.

Black 47 – After Hours

Although no longer together as a proper band Larry Kirwan and Black 47 have produced a Celtic-crisp tribute set of reworked songs from the back catalog. Celebrating the 30th anniversary of their eponymous first album, here a shamrock full of iconic Irish artists including Celtic Cross, The Gobshites, Pat McGuire, and Martin Furey join in on the fun.

If you can mention CBGB’s and still pull off a proper folk ballad, the feat is certainly accomplished on the opener “40 Shades of Blue,” a song that features Katerine Fee and her legendary N.Y. 7 piece band Celtic Cross.  And, the New York-centric songs “Sleep Tight In New York City” and “Rockin The Bronx” weaves that bridge between The Emerald Isle and The Big Apple quite nicely.

Austin Meade – Black Sheep

Refreshingly cool Rock and Roll having been raised on Judas Priest, Whitesnake, and other like-minded rockers of the Day, Austin Meade’s new record, Black Sheep, delivers a sonic palate rock-centric songs including “Deja Vue,” a song that has a 90’s rock vibe, and the Blues-Boogie of an opener “Dopamine Drop” that is as varied as it is cool.

Part Pearl Jam, some Black Sabbath with a bit of Outlaw Country thrown in for good measure, this record should be on your bucket list when it comes to finding that next great rock and roll artist to add to your collection.

Andrew Farris – Andrew Farris

Best known as the keyboardist and the main songwriter for INXS, Andrew Farris is finding his own voice on his eponymous debut release of all-original material. Having written songs we all know including “Original Sin,” “What You Need,” and “New Sensation” and largely idle since 2012, now he takes on the mantle of frontman on a solid set of pop-centric mostly Americana based gems. The atmospheric opener “Bounty Hunter-Hummingbird” sets the mood and “Come Midnight” could have easily been an INXS song back in the day.

“Run Baby Run” sounds like a Dave Alvin run for the border epic, and “Drifting” is as good of a song as has been released in 2021. A nicely varied listen recorded between Nashville and Australia there is a certain sense that there is a lot more to come from an artist that is ready to make himself known in his own right.

Middle Kids – Today We’re The Greatest

A sterling combination of Folk and Synth-Pop, with their new record Today We’re The Greatest, Middle Kids and Hannah Joy deliver a thoughtfully optimistic set of songs that pull from the singer’s experiences before, during, and just after her recent pregnancy. A bed of warm synths is the order of the day here that brings forth a certain air of optimism to the proceedings. The lush “Golden Star” is a highlight along with the Breeders influenced “Some People Stay In Our Hearts.” I Don’t Care” could have been on a Pixie’s album.