This Month's Picks

Christmas (Take A Ride) (CD)

Mitch Ryder
Good Golly Miss Claus! Mitch Ryder may be without his Detroit Wheels, but at 73 years old the blue-eyed soul legend is still going strong. It’s not that we haven’t heard enough Christmas albums in our life, but being a living legend without one to his name, the man has earned it, dammit! These days his voice is a bit more subdued; more soulful rasp than wild shriek, but he knows how to play to his strengths: Christmas (Take A Ride)  features covers of Christmas standards new and old all done in an energetic ‘60s R&B fashion, which means plenty of bright horns, brittle guitars, and a stomping backbeat. Hell, the lead single is a cover of raucous garage rock legends The Sonics’ very own “Santa Claus,” cavernous reverb and fuzz guitars intact. He even manages to make “Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer” somehow sound a little less stupid. In fact, his take on the most annoying of novelty songs is downright listenable, which is a feat unto itself. The only knock on Christmas (Take A Ride) is the lack of a song titled “Devil With A Red Dress,” which seems like an egregious missed opportunity, though Ryder has left the door open to the possibility of a Christmas sequel. Don’t leave us hanging, Mitch. More
Genre: Rock, Holiday, Oldies

9 (CD)

Saves The Day
Throughout their 20+ year history, Saves The Day’s lone constant has been Chris Conley. As leader of one of the few turn-of-the-millennium bands to help transition the niche alt rock subgenre of emo into a mainstream phenomenon, Conley has written an album-long paean to those halcyon days. 9 is filled with catchy self-mythologizing, whether it’s the '90s tour diary of “Kerouac & Cassady,” the rags to rock ‘n roll riches tale of “Rendezvous” or the self-explanatory title of “Saves The Day.” It might not be the most humble concept album of all time, but 9 is captivating as an earnest thank you to everything and everyone that led to this current moment. The audial equivalent of flipping through an old photobook, nostalgic and invigorating. Suggested title: “To Saves The Day, cheers!” More
Genre: Rock

Merrie Land (CD)

The Good, the Bad & the Queen
Using Britain's referendum on exiting from the European Union as the reformative spark, supergroup The Good, The Bad & The Queen have returned over a decade later with their second release, Merrie Land . Damon Albarn, Clash bassist Paul Simonon, Verve guitarist Simon Tong, and Afrobeat drummer Tony Allen are back to muse on the state of being British in 2018, this time with legendary Tony Visconti in the producer's chair. Fans of Albarn's particular brand of electro-melancholia will find more to enjoy here. More
Genre: Rock

Chris Cornell (CD)

Chris Cornell
With the music world still processing the untimely loss of former Soundgarden/Audioslave leader Chris Cornell, the beloved rocker is given his first official career retrospective. Put together by Cornell's widow Vicky "for his fans," the set covers all periods of his career and includes previously unreleased tracks taken from the archives. Available as a single CD, two LP, four CD deluxe and CD/LP/DVD super deluxe box sets, Chris Cornell serves as a fitting tribute to a performer whose "voice was his vision, and his words were his peace." More
Genre: Rock

Double Negative (CD)

Low
Low takes bleak melancholy into a whole 'nother direction with their innovative latest, Double Negative . Fractured, startling, and experimental, the band known for creating the "slowcore" movement still imbues their work here with the desperate beauty synonymous with their name -- but this isn't the Low you've heard before. What's remarkable about these songs is how spacey the atmospherics get while Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker's lyrics are so firmly here and now. Imagine seeing that one ex (you know the one) out doing everyday stuff...and the way it makes you spin out into cosmic, existential thought patterns. Somehow that's exactly what Low are conveying through the experience of listening to "Dancing and Fire," to name just one excellent example from this thoroughly moving LP. It's impressive to see a steadfastly killer band like this evolve into a new mode of being; this album's already getting "best new" nods from a number of publications and seems likely to be pretty high up on the year-end "best of lists." More
Genre: Rock

God's Favorite Customer (CD)

Father John Misty
God's Favorite Customer finds Father John Misty digging deep into his bag of ‘70s-inspired country-rock tricks. “Mr. Tillman” is a self-deprecating picaresque, a catalog of hotel room misadventures with a melody as enjoyable as the lyrics are entertaining. “Please Don’t Die” is raw and vulnerable, with Father John laying bare the experience of living with depression. As tough as it seems to be Mr. Tillman, his witty, enchantingly dark world is one fans will want to enter. More
Genre: Rock

My New Moon (CD)

Amos Lee
For his follow-up to 2016's Spirit , rootsy singer-songwriter Amos Lee teamed up with studio veterans to create this new set of rhythmic, uplifting meditations on life and death, including the Valentine's Day school shooting in Parkland, FL. My New Moon is his seventh studio album and it marks his debut for Dualtone Records. With his earthy voice and masterful blend of folk, acoustic rock, and soul – and even a bit of African Highlife on the single “No More Darkness, No More Light” -- Lee cuts right to the heart of these stories. More
Genre: Rock

Christmas In Valhalla (CD)

Thor
Muscle-metal hero THOR dropped a Christmas album this year, featuring all original songs with titles like (the hilarious) “Slay Rider” and “Not So Little Drummer Boy.” Recorded with the same band from Beyond the Pain Barrier , these upbeat, straightforward rockers will lighten up many a home this holiday season, whether or not they're familiar with Mr. Jon Mikl Thor. Highlights include the catchy “Gonna Have a Rockin' Christmas” and the pseudo ballad “It's Christmas Time Again.” More
Genre: Rock, Holiday

10 Years / 1000 Shows: Live At The Regent Theater (CD)

Touché Amoré
L.A. band Touche Amore celebrated their 10th anniversary by playing their 1000th show at The Regent Theater in their hometown and this is the aptly titled recording. The follow-up to 2016's acclaimed Stage Four , the album delivers 29 tracks of the group's earnest blend of punk and emo, with the crowd frequently joining in on vocals. The video for “Flowers and You” attests to the audience's enthusiasm and frontman Jeremy Bolm's stage presence. More
Genre: Rock

The Beatles (White Album) [Deluxe Edition] (CD)

The Beatles
Where would popular music be without the White Album ? The Beatles’ monumental work is getting the posh treatment it so richly deserves in the form of this latest iteration, The Anniversary Editions . Available in several formats, the new 3CD deluxe edition of this classic work features a 2018 stereo mix, plus the Esher Demos, the lost basement tapes recorded at George Harrison’s home that would go on to become the White Album . Lots to discover here — The Anniversary Editions are an exquisite little treasure trove of historical gems. More
Genre: Rock