Album of the Day: Born Ruffians – Squeeze

Born Ruffians – Squeeze (4 out of 5)

It’s not often, and actually, it’s pretty cool when a band will deliver two extremely listenable Power Pop gems a scant 6 months from each other and deliver this strongly on both fronts. And, Power Pop mavens Born Ruffians have done just that. After having put together enough material for multiple records, at the bare minimum a double album, the band chose to follow up their April release Juice with this October digital-only follow-up effort, Squeeze. 

From the opening track, “Sentimental Saddle,” a song that takes you on a semi-psychedelic journey swirling left-turns aplenty with Crazy Horse worthy harmonica escapades, swirling keyboards, and layered harmonies topped off with Beach Boys Holland influences on the back-end, the trip that lies ahead can be nothing but groovy. And It Is.

“30th Century War” has sort of a Kinks by way of The Talking Heads feel to it, the song “Waylaid” features Hannah Georgas on vocals is a solid bass line driven Indie Rock song, and “Sinking Ships” is anthemic in all the right places and is a centerpiece of the record.

There is a pure Pop super-sheen on the earworm-worthy “Rainbow Superfriends” that will stick with you long after your first listen, and the festival-ready “Noodle Soup” goes a bit deeper in understanding the need to take care of each other.

This record is everything you would want in an album that provides a solid listen. Songs with a message, pop-hooks abounding, and enough varied textures and turns to make you want to go to the listening well more deeply with each subsequent listen.

 

Five Cool Ones – Five New Albums Released This Week (April 3, 2020)

After a somewhat tepid week on the new release front, we are rolling towards the summer musical peak in a righteous form with some really cool under the radar releases to savor. Parrotheads rejoice with a new Jimmy Buffet song, Down at the Lah Deh Dah”, a song that sounds like every other Jimmy Buffet song you have ever heard, Rock is the New Roll favorites Chicano Batman has a new single out, and Even The Monkees are represented with a live set. Here are five new releases that we particularly dig.

Mystery Jets – A Billion Heartaches

This eclectic blend of a band combines Kaleidoscopic Folk, Post Punk, and Indie Rock into an infectious ’60s influenced brand of Rock and Roll. From the earworm worthy song “Hospital Radio” to the delicately soaring “History Has Its Eyes On You” there is something for everyone on this fine record.

Ashley McBryde – Never Will

As official members of the Ashley McBryde fan club from the days when she was hanging out in “A Little Dive Bar in Dahlonega,” we are calling our shot now. Never Will, her latest record will be on many of the year-end best-of lists, genre be damned. Rocking it up a bit more than her prior efforts yet maintaining her 80’s ladies charm, this one will put her right up there with Lilly Hiatt and Margo Price in the reigning queen of Country music sweepstakes.

Logan Ledger – Logan Ledger

After just a cursory listen of Logan Ledger’s fine debut self-titled it will come as no surprise that he grew up on a steady diet of Roy Orbison. Picking up where Orville Peck, 2019’s breakout Country-Noir star left off, Ledger combines Hank Sr. Lyrics with Scott Walker by way of Chris Isaak vocal stylings on this mood-setting record that will surely be in consideration for one of the best debut records of the year. Produced by T-Bone Burnett with songs like “Nobody Knows” that is one of the best last call songs we have heard in a while along with “The Lights of San Francisco,” a song from the perspective of a prisoner on Alcatraz island, Logan Ledger is announcing himself as a songwriter to be reckoned with.

Born Ruffians – Juice

Full of hyperkinetic energy, the latest record from Born Ruffians is full of festival chorus-worthy hooks and punchy Jangle-Pop that will bring to mind Weezer and The Pixies. The epic opener, “I Fall in Love Every Night” sets the tone with a frenzied string-laden piano-driven anthem that pretty much drives everything that is yet to come. Brilliant stuff and sorely needed when we are all in need of a mood-changer.

James Elkington – Ever Roving Eye

Three listens in, this one is definitely a grower with new and exciting nuances discovered with each subsequent spin. Recorded at Wilco’s loft studio in Chicago with Spencer Tweedy on drums the Psychedelic shapes and Pastoral-Folk tenor of the record will bring to mind guitar hero Richard Thompson.