Spring is the perfect time of year to add some new rock’n’roll music to your collection; here are 10 recommendations worthy of a shouted “turn it up!”
- Skid Row “United World Rebellion – Chapter One” (MRI) – Sebastian Bach is no longer with the band but “new” singer Johnny Solinger has more than a decade behind the mic under his belt now and here he sounds best roaring along with a lead foot on the hot rod rock of “Let’s Go” where he’s pushed down the highway behind screeching guitars courtesy of Snake Sabo and Scotti Hill. Skid Row plan on putting out their new music in E.P. form for awhile and this one has only five songs; also included are seething social commentaries like “Get Up” and “Kings of Demolition,” a visit to the rockin’ emergency room with “Stitches” and the obligatory slow ballad “This is Killing Me.”
- Blaak Heat Shujaa “The Edge of an Era” (Tee Pee) – Psychedelic rock is the specialty of this L.A.-via-Paris trio and this six-song effort is a lysergic sugar cube dripping with frying guitar riffs and probing drums on lengthy tunes with titles like “The Obscurantist Fiend (The Beast Part I).”
- Falling Still (Self titled) (Self released) – There’s a little Nirvana love to “If U Stay,” a tune that includes the lyric “If you stay, we could fornicate and fight…” and much of the album has a similar sound and attitude. “Thin Lizzy” though is a garage rocker that shows the band knows how to layer on the harmonies too.
- Grabass Charlestons “Dale & the Careeners” (No Idea) – This is melodic, punk-tinged, sing-along rock; vocalist Will Thomas sometimes sounds like a lighter version of Lemmy but mostly his singing recalls Tom Petty and song “Ambulance Driver” alone is worth the price of admission.
- Hands “Synesthesia” (Kill Rock Stars) – This L.A.-based foursome plays synth-based dance-oriented dream pop on “Videolove,” “Elegant Road” and throughout the album but they also occasionally channel the New Wave synth sound as on the Human League-recalling “Trouble.”
- Heaven & Earth “Dig” (Quarto Valley) – Third time’s the charm for this classic rock-era loving band; singer Joe Retta sounds a lot like Bad Company’s Paul Rodgers, songs like “No Money, No Love” rock like Deep Purple at their best and “Man & Machine” is custom made for blasting on the car stereo. Richie Sambora guests.
- Marbin “Last Chapter of Dreaming” (Moon June) – “Blue Fingers” is an instrumental that recalls the Dixie Dregs but also Frank Zappa thanks to an ingenious mix of speedy guitar notes and funky fluttering sax; much of the rest of the (also instrumental) set is fast and jazzy but “And the Night Gave Nothing” is slow and bluesy.
- Red “Release the Panic” (Provident/Sony) – These Christian rockers have a hit on their hands in “Perfect Life” and other radio-ready songs like “Same Disease” and the bouyant “Glass House” but they also aren’t afraid to tone things down as on the quiet “Hold Me Now.”
- Red Line Chemistry “Tug of War” (Bulldog) – Kansas City produces more than jazz acts and BBQ; Red Line Chemistry plays music aimed at fans of Active Rock Radio and on songs like “The Fighter” and the not-so-quiet “Quiet Hurricane” they hit their target with full force. Also includes an uncharacteristic but impressive cover of Pink Floyd’s “What Do You Want From Me.”
- The Statesboro Revue “Ramble on Privilege Creek” (Thirty Tigers) – “Huck Finn” reminds of a Levon Helm-sung Band song, “Cold November” with it’s weepy pedal steel, lurking organ and soulful vocals recalls the quiet side of the Black Crowes and “Til I Leave” sounds like early Foghat as reimagined by Jack White. Good stuff throughout.
The new album from Grabass Charlestons, “Dale & the Careeners,” is available now from No Idea Records. Features the song “Ambulance Driver.”
The new album of (almost) all-instrumental music from Marbin, “Last Chapter of Dreaming,” features interplay between saxophone and electric guitar throughout. Available now from Moon June Records.
The Statesboro Revue
The new album from the Statesboro Revue is called “Ramble on Privilege Creek” and is recommended for fans of roots rock. Available April 16, 2013 from Thirty Tigers Records.