The vibe is an optimistic one for 2021 and here at Rock is the New Roll we are ready to go, ears-up, in search of music we all should be listening to.
The Midnight Callers – Red Letter Glow
Putting the power in Power Pop, the elegantly monikered Midnight Callers blend Power Pop and late 70’s Pub Rock bringing to the ear Rockpile or early Cheap Trick on their maiden voyage of a record, Red Letter Glow. The vocals in front of the mix are great particularly on the bands’ made it their own tribute to Bill Withers with “Use Me,” and “41 Miles to Roscoe” is on the shortlist for the driving song of the year that would have been played on repeat during that road trip you didn’t get to take last year. “I’m tired of the smokin’ and the drinkin’ and the women, I just want to be your man.”
If you are a fan of Mid-era Kinks, Cheap Trick, The Romantics, The Sweet, or even going back to early Slade these guys should be your jam and are definitely worthy of early placement on your “ones to watch” list.
Mike Viola – Creeper
In a year where the artistic community was particularly hit with the passing of musicians that still had a lot of their heart left to share with us, Mike Viola pays tribute to Fountains of Wayne frontman Adam Schlesinger. His record, Godmuffin, takes a poignant look at the past and sets a wait and see tone for the future.
Drake Bell – The Lost Album
Definitely living up to the interesting back story, Drake Bell’s latest, The Lost Album, despite the slight Yacht-Rock glossy sheen is definitely an ear-worthy throw-back sort of listen. After releasing a highly excellent debut record with It’s Only Time way back in 2007 Bell began work on his follow-up effort only to lose all of the material when he lost the hard drive that contained all of his demos. Recently, he found the drive, polished up the songs, and put a contemporary sheen on songs that at the end of the day seem to be aging very well indeed.
Whether he is rhyming Leonardo with “making out with Jared Leto” like he does on his ode to the late-night party hook-up on “The Party”
or, channeling the spirit of Harry Nilsson most effectively on “Sail On” along with the spirit of Boz Scaggs on “Nowhere Else To Go” the vintage throw-back wave of musical nostalgia we are treated to with this record provides a much-needed balm for the soul.
Hot Breath – Bad Feeling
Ripping it up and burning your house party to the ground, these young Gothenburg whippersnappers play it fast, rock it loud, and deliver the goods so impeccably they could have headlined the Goose Lake Rock rock festival back in 1976 blowing away those other Detroit bands The Stooges and MC-5 in the process. There is already an E.P. out but keep your ears peeled for a proper record, Rubbery Lips set to be released in April 2021.
Blackfield – For The Music
When Contemporary-Prog artist Steven Wilson is involved in a project the results are typically intriguing if not spectacular, and here his collaboration with the band Blackfield and Israeli star Aviv Geffen is next-level cool. “For The Music” is the star on the record but don’t sleep on the rest of the Summers Gone album. It’s the go-to Progressive Rock listen for those that think they don’t like Progressive Rock.