Five Cool Ones: Five New Albums Released This Week (November 6, 2020)

The dog days are here my friends. As artists hunker down in advance of the holiday madness of Christmas releases soon to drop from the heavens and we all wait in anticipation of the new AC/DC record to drop next week, there are still a couple of gems that deserve a bit of your ear-time this week.

Seattle underground popsters The Young Fresh Fellows are back and indeed better than ever. Think of these guys as The Replacements lite.

Sir Elton John continues to release some great previously unheard cuts from his new career retrospective box set.

And, our boys in Cats in Space are out with another fine set of AOR Dad Rock gems.

Here are five ear-worthy cuts for this week. We do the work so you don’t have to.

Orianthi – O

Having spent years as the main ax-woman for Alice Cooper and more recently serving as the musical muse for Richie Sambora, Rock is the New Roll favorite Orianthi is back on her own again with a scorching new record that brings her back to the roots of her heavier rock and roll days. The Blues Heavy riffs presented here clearly show that the Aussie guitar queen is ready to shed her pop princess baggage and get back to her old-school grit. The opener “Contagious” has a bit of a Metal edge about it and sounds like it was dropped in right from an Alice Cooper show, “Sorry” has somewhat of a Prince by way of Alanis Morissette vibe and is the best song in the lot, and “Impulsive” throws down some golden era Sunset Strip angel dust. This is the impassioned, chops displaying rock and roll record we always knew Orianthi had in her.

The Silence – Electric Meditations

This one will take a few listens to rid your ears of the somewhat Tom-Waitsian ramshackle explorations the songs on this record seems to take, but the effort put into this Psychedelic Space Rock epic of a record will lend rewards. “Butterfly Blues” is an MC-5 meets Frank Zappa freak-fest with the best flute solo this side of Jethro Tull, “Electric Meditations” and the instrumental closer “EA” will bring you down from the Acid-Folk clouds. This is the record you would have been listening to in Grace Slick’s living room playing twister with Jerry Garcia, Janis Joplin, and Hunter S. Thompson.

Pylon – Pylon Box

With the brevity on the new release front, it is a very good time to revisit old friends in the form of several reissues and choice box sets released for your listening pleasure, one of the best being The Pylon Box, the career retrospective from the cult Athens, Ga band that grew up in the shadow R.E.M.. Blending New Wave with a dash of Jangle Pop and Reggae along with a bit of Dub thrown in for good measure, this band landed squarely between that other Athens band The B-52s and R.E.M. on the hip music scale. If you have not experienced this great band before, dive on in, the water is fine. If you are one of the hip-to-the-scene few that are long-time regulars of the band, welcome back to the pleasuredome.

Kylie Minogue – Disco

There is no rocket scientry going on here, just good old-fashioned groovy fun of the highest order. This blend of snappy dance-pop is a bit of a coming home for Minogue leaving her more Country vibe behind while she puts on her disco-diva hat. With the bouncy groove of “Miss A Thing” on to the studio 54 mirror ball of “I Love It” all the way to the Madonna by way of Donna Summer vamp of “Fine Wine” this is an ebullient affair that you might not realize it right now, but is a dose of sunshine that you sorely need.
Donovan Woods – Without People
Recorded with several collaborators working remotely, this post-breakup album is a slow paced sublime and supremely calming listen. With a lot of influence from his idol Paul Simon showing here, most notably on “She Waits For Me To Come Back Down,” there is an honesty to this record that reaches to the core of the human condition. His hushed, never forced vocals seem to float slightly above the music in the best of ways. With songs like “Clean Slate” and “Last Time I Saw You” it appears that it will take a bit of time for Woods to lick his wounds, but we are certainly looking forward to his found a new love masterpiece certain to be a major theme on his next record.