"You Are In Love" - Shannon Whitworth: High Tide (EF Records)
Damn, playing a Gibson SG never looked or sounded so sexy! Before the press folks dropped her new album on me, I didn't know of this compelling singer-songwriter formerly with the North Carolina outfit The Biscuit Burners. This is my pick hit from her new effort. Collaborating with bassist Bill Reynolds of Band of Horses has given her a chiming folk-rock vibe on her third solo effort. And tours with the Tedeschi Trucks Band and Chris Isaak certainly helped inform her "new" sound.
"The Corner Man" - Barrence Whitfield & The Savages: Dig the Savage Soul (Bloodshot)
He's back!!!! Punk-rockin' horn-honkin' R&B fury comin' at you like Iggy channeling Lil' Richard and Wicked Wilson Pickett. Everybody on the floor and do the worm! Now the Gator!!! Download it now!
"It Was My Season" - Okkervil River: The Silver Gymnasium (ATO)
Will Shelf's rollicking, piano-fueled pop-rock ballad boasts love-gone-wrong melancholia that can barely be shaken until the background vocals and chorus kick it up a notch. And is that Mellotron I hear in the middle eight? Well played, lads.
"Ditty" - Ten Ton Man: Ten Ton Man (Ten Ton Man)
A little junkyard dog roots-rock with some New York City grime rubbed in for extra tonal texture. Songwriter/vocalist/guitarist Paul Livornese has a smoky, rich baritone and simple but powerful guitar parts. Veteran upright bassist Paul Dugan was instrumental in shaping the trio's sound along with drummer/percussionist Paul Triff. Eric Della Penna's plunking banjo is a welcome bonus touch.
"The Ceiling" - The Wild Feathers: The Wild Feathers (Warner)
Caught an inspired set of live music by this Nashville-based quintet at Rockwood Music Hall a few weeks back. For me the four-part harmonies and three-guitar (two electric, one acoustic) attack give it a Nashville alt-country Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers vibe. This 6:32 long tune is the best track off of their new album. They really hit an Eagles/CSN&Y vocal lift off at the 3:43 mark. Swelling organ, strumming guitars, arpeggiated guitars -- ridiculously infectious, you can't help but add your own vocal harmony. Video was directed by Gus Black. Debut album coming in August 2013.
"Like You Do" - Jay Stolar: More Than We Think (Kingston Records)
Love this single, and I completely get why it was featured on the CW Network's teen drama 90210. This one-man band from NYC, and former lead singer in Julius C, can play and sing just as good as he wants. Sophisticated, soulful, pop a la Daryl Hall and Bruno Mars. My guess is that it shouldn't be long before he guests on Live from Daryl's House either. Grab the free download now! And catch him at the Mercury Lounge this Saturday night.
"Red & White & Blue & Gold" - Aoife O'Donovan: Fossils (Yep Roc)
Taken from singer-songwriter Aoife O'Donovan's solo debut released in June, this is my favorite track from this member of the defunct progressive bluegrass/string band Crooked Still. A little acoustic guitar and some lonesome pedal steel flourishes complement the electric guitar, bass, drums, and Miss O'Donovan's clear, sweet voice. This is perfect for kickin' back and lounging in the hammock.
"Love and Hunger" - Graveyard Lovers: Dreamers (GL Records)
Big, loud primal guitar, bass, and drums from this Brooklyn-based trio. And rather catchy, too, in that big loud primal rock and roll kind of way. Throwback, non-pretentious music. Naval gazing wankers need not apply! Head and long hair whipping mandatory. I'm dizzy and giddy. For fans of The Black Keys and White Stripes.
"We Are Two" - Holy Folk: Motioning (Silver Side)
A love story video about a lamp as an "Object Sexuals" and starring this L.A.-based quartet's pedal steel player Jeremy Sage as the smitten lover shouldn't work. But The Beatles-like pop-rock vibe makes this one of the most infectious singles of the summer. According to Holy Folk member and video director Josh Caldwell, no lamps were harmed during the filming of this video!
"The Gift" - Tony Joe White: Hoodoo (Yep Roc)
Two notes, a pinch of natural distortion from an old tweed tube git-tar amplifier, a short harmonica solo, and plenty of boogie chillen groove and attitude. It sounds too simple a formula, but it's not. Need a master of the form to pull it off. Enter veteran roots-rocker Tony Joe White -- 70 years young -- of "Polk Salad Annie" fame, who rocks it for 4 minutes and 23 seconds on this amazingly engaging track from his new CD due in September.
"Turtle Neck" - Bosnian Rainbows: Bosnian Rainbows (Sargent House)
Some critics have dubbed Mars Volta's Omar Rodriguez-Lopez's new quartet prog-pop. Certainly this track gets weird -- nearly flying off into space -- during the middle eight with its time shift and Omar's guitar freak-out solo. Vocalist Terri Gender Bender has a bit of Siouxsie going on, but that's a minor complaint. Well worth the effort and certainly worth the listen.
"Talk Me Down" - Willy Mason: Carry On (Communion)
US singer-songwriter Willy adds some Tom Waits boho clanking -- courtesy of Hot Chip producer Dan Carey no doubt -- to this simple, evocative tune and it keeps things percolating along quite nicely. Sharing a label and sometimes touring stage with fellow new folk artists Mumford & Sons seems like a logical bookend. Good thing, too, as we need more music like this, all the time. Three albums in and it's safe to say that this young man is a musical marvel.