Best of What’s New

A selection of newly released music that caught my attention

Once again it’s Saturday and time for another new music revue. For folks living in the U.S. and celebrating, I hope you had a nice Thanksgiving with delicious food and meeting family and/or friends. This latest installment of my weekly Best of What’s New feature turned out to be an all-rock affair. Each tune is from releases that came out yesterday (November 26).

Smith/Kotzen/Better Days

My first pick for this week is from a collaboration between Adrian Smith, guitarist of British heavy metal group Iron Maiden, and Richie Kotzen, guitarist and frontman of The Winery Dogs, an American rock band from Los Angeles. While Iron Maiden isn’t much my cup of tea and I’ve never heard of The Winery Dogs, I know one thing: I like Better Days, the title track of the new EP by the two guitarists who call their collaboration Smith/Kotzen. It’s their second release after their eponymous full-length debut album that appeared in March this year. In addition to guitar, Smith and Kotzen play most other instruments on their studio recordings and share writing and production duties. According to this preview in Loudwire, Better Days, which first appeared three weeks ago as an upfront track, was written in April. Here’s the official video. This nicely rocks while staying pretty melodic.

Julie Doiron/You Gave Me the Key

Let’s next turn to Canadian indie rock singer-songwriter Julie Doiron. According to her Apple Music profile, Doiron began her musical career in 1990, singing and playing bass for the Canadian indie rock band Eric’s Trip. As the group released numerous EPs and three albums for Sub Pop, Doiron also began writing her own largely acoustic material. When Eric’s Trip broke up in 1996, she released an album under the name Broken Girl on Sappy Records, her own label. Later that year, Doiron worked on her second album, Loneliest in the Morning, which came out on Sub Pop and was recorded with prominent indie rock producers and musicians like Doug Easley, Davis McCain, Giant Sand’s Howie Gelb, and the Grifters’ Dave Shouse. Fast-forward to I Thought of You, Doiron’s new and first full-length album in nine years. Here’s the catchy opener You Gave Me the Key. Check out that neat harmony guitar action!

Lars Frederiksen/Tomorrows Girls

Let’s keep rockin’ with Lars Frederiksen, who is best known as guitarist and vocalist of American punk rock band Rancid. Wikipedia notes he’s also currently playing guitar in Oxley’s Midnight Runners, Stomper 98 and The Last Resort – don’t know any of these groups. Frederiksen seems to be a busy man. According to this piece in Blabbermouth.net, the EP To Victory is Frederiksen’s first release under his name only. Here’s the crunchy rocker Tomorrows Girls. It reminds me a bit of solo music I’ve heard from Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong.

Deep Purple/White Room

My last pick for this week is from the latest release by Deep Purple. Since it’s “only a cover album,” I wasn’t going to feature it. Don’t get me wrong: I love Deep Purple; in fact, they are my favorite hard rock band. But I’m talking 1968 through 1972. While every now and then they had some decent songs thereafter, overall their music wasn’t as great as in their early years, in my humble opinion. As for Turning to Crime, I actually find it surprisingly fun to listen to, including this rendition of Cream classic White Room. Yes, Deep Purple didn’t exactly reinvent the wheel. But when it comes to an iconic tune like White Room, that’s just fine with me! I think they did a great job here!

Sources: Wikipedia; Loudwire; Blabbermouth.net; YouTube

11 thoughts on “Best of What’s New”

    1. I almost would have ignored that Deep Purple covers album, even though I love these guys (during their early period). I find it a surprisingly fun album to listen to – in fact, so much that I decided to follow up with a dedicated post next week.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. His voice is so unique. He doesn’t have the voice he once did but he still has most of it and you know who it is when you hear it.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Completely agree, and I’m saying this as somebody who really digs Ian Gillan’s voice on “Machine Head.” As great as Zeppelin and Sabbath were, that album to me remains the ultimate hard rock record.

        I think for most of the covers on that new Purple album, Gillan’s voice work pretty well. So far the only track that doesn’t convince me is “Gimme Some Lovin'”, which they do as part of a closing medley.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Yea…without hearing it…that song isn’t really made for him.
        I do like them much better than Black Sabbath. They are more melodic.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Yep, Winwood essentially is irreplacable, at least on that tune!

        What I really dig about Deep Purple is the “equal treatment” of guitar and keyboards. Most of hard rock is dominated by distorted guitars. Jon Lord just was an amazing keyboarder who made the Hammond cool in hard rock.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. I heard “Better Days” on 2loud2old’s blog the other day, and though I’m not a fan of Iron Maiden either, I do like the song. Richie Kotzen’s vocals remind me a bit of the late Chris Cornell. And Deep Purple’s cover of ‘White Room’ is pretty decent, especially musically.

    Liked by 1 person

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