Best of What’s New

A selection of newly released music that caught my attention

It’s Saturday, which means the time has come again to take a fresh look at newly released music. All highlighted tunes appear on albums that came out yesterday (Sep 9).

Flogging Molly/Lead The Way

Irish-American Celtic punk band Flogging Molly, founded in 1997, are kicking off this week’s new music revue. I had only heard of their name but hadn’t been aware of their music. From their AllMusic bio: Los Angeles-based seven-piece Flogging Molly are an interesting mix of traditional Irish music and spunky punk rock. Former Fastway acoustic guitarist/frontman and Dublin native Dave King formed the band with fiddle player Bridget Regan, guitarist Dennis Casey, accordion player (and former pro skateboarder) Matt Hensley, bassist Nathen Maxwell, drummer George Schwindt, and mandolinist Bob Schmidt…Their rowdy folk-rock punk revival sound has been compared to the likes of other Irish bands such as the Pogues and Black 47, but the raucous septet opted for its own unique brashness that defied genre lines. Flogging Molly’s debut studio album Swagger was released in March 2000. The band’s international breakthrough came in March 2008 with their fourth album Float. In the U.S. it peaked at no. 4 on the Billboard 200 and charted within the top 50 in various European countries, including Austria, Germany, The Netherlands, Finland and Sweden. Lead The Way, credited to Maxwell, Regan, King, Casey and Hensley, is from the group’s seventh and latest album Anthem. I love the combination of Irish folk music and rock, which in addition to The Pogues reminds me of Dropkick Murphys.

The Afghan Whigs/A Line Of Shots

The Afghan Whigs are a rock band from Cincinnati, Ohio. Initially formed in late 1986 by Greg Dulli (vocals, rhythm guitar), Rick McCollum (lead guitar), John Curley (bass) and Steve Earle (drums) (no relation to the “other” Steve Earle), the group released six albums until their breakup in 2001. A first reunion in 2006 was short-lived and led to the release of two new tracks that were included on a compilation titled Unbreakable: A Retrospective 1990–2006. The Afghan Wigs came together again in December 2011 and have since released three additional albums including their new one How Do You Burn? Dulli and Curley remain in the band’s current lineup, which also includes Rick Nelson (keyboards, strings, guitar, backing vocals), Christopher Thorn (guitar) and Patrick Keeler (drums). Here’s A Line Of Shots, a track off the group’s new album, penned by Dulli. Nice tune!

The Amazons/Bloodrush

The Amazons are a British rock band formed in 2014. From their Apple Music profile: Playing an arena-sized brand of indie that combines the grandeur of Arcade Fire with the muscle of Nirvana, the Amazons crafted catchy, melodic anthems built for singalongs. At the time of their formation, vocalist Matt Thomson, guitarist Chris Alderton, and bassist Elliot Briggs were already in a group together, but when they recruited Josef “Joe” Emmet — who is also a bassist — on drums, the Reading band was born. Building a grassroots following in their local scene, Thomson, then working at a supermarket, would slip demo CDs into shoppers’ baskets. Their debut EP, 2015’s Don’t You Wanna, was produced by Catherine Marks, who’d previously worked with Wolf Alice and White Lies. In May 2017, The Amazons released their eponymous debut album, which was an instant success in the UK on the Official Albums Chart where it reached no. 8. Two years later, sophomore release Future Dust followed. Once again, it made the top 10 in the UK charts, peaking at no. 9. Bloodrush is a tune from the band’s third and latest album How Will I Know If Heaven Will Find Me? This is great melodic indie rock!

Julian Lennon/Save Me

My last pick for this week is another tune from Julian Lennon’s new album Jude, which is now out. Back in July, I featured Breathe, one of the tracks that had been released upfront. Jude is Lennon’s seventh studio album and his first in 11 years. The title is a nod to the legendary song ‘Hey Jude,’ by The Beatles, written by Paul McCartney to comfort 5-year-old Julian following his parents’ separation, according to an announcement on Lennon’s website. “Many of these songs have been in the works for several years, so it almost feels like a coming-of-age album,” said Lennon. With great respect for the overwhelming significance of the song written for me, the title JUDE conveys the very real journey of my life that these tracks represent.” Until I learned about Jude a few months ago, I hadn’t thought we would see new music from Lennon, given his other activities over the past 20-plus years, including photography, publishing children’s books and producing film documentaries. Here’s the opener Save Me, co-written by Gregory Darling and Lennon. I really like what I’m hearing here and look forward to checking out the rest of the album!

Here’s a Spotify playlist of the above and a few additional tracks.

Sources: Wikipedia; AllMusic; Apple Music; Julian Lennon website; YouTube; Spotify

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18 thoughts on “Best of What’s New”

  1. Cool! I know Afghan whigs and Flogging Molly by name but wouldn’t recognize any of their music it I heard it. I’m just giving a listen to the Julian L now- I didn’t know he had done new stuff. I really liked his ‘Valotte’ album and felt he was given a raw deal by the industry. Mind you, i will say maybe Jakob Dylan was smarter in finding a banner to record behind so people didn’t instantly compare him to his father.

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    1. Thanks, Dave. Except for Julian Lennon, all are new to me. While this week it took me a while to find four bands/artists I sufficiently like, I’m quite happy with my picks.

      I also dug Julian Lennon’s first album (still do!) – selfishly in part because the title track really sounds like a John Lennon ballad. While I have no doubt it helped Julian break through, obviously, it was a double-edged sword.

      I agree that Jacob Dylan’s decision to perform as The Wallflowers, at least initially, was smart. I can only imagine how tricky (not to mention tiresome!) it must be when you’re the child of a legendary music artist.

      I recall reading that Julian Lennon when he started out very hard tried to distinguish himself from his famous dad. Therefore, I agree with fellow blogger Jim/Music Enthusiast who noted calling your album “Jude” doesn’t seem to help that cause.

      Perhaps Julian who in April turned 59 is at a stage in his life where he is no longer as concerned about any comparisons people may draw. After all, over the past 20-plus years, he proved himself in other fields of art, including photography, Book publishing and film-making. Regardless, I like his new album, and I’m glad he released these songs, which apparently evolved from older demos.

      BTW, apologies for being MIA on the commenting front. I’m aiming to catch up tomorrow! 🙂

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      1. If you meet the son or daughter of a famous person, do yourself a favor – don’t ask them what it’s like. I’ve done this on two occasions and (somewhat) regretted it. Not only are they sick to death of the question, I think they start to feel like “You have no interest in me as a person, only my parent.” Avoid, avoid. Just say something like, “Stella, I really enjoy your father Paul’s music” and let it go. You can discuss her clothing line. No need to say “Can I meet your father?” or “Would you slip him this CD of some original tunes,” or “I am the Fifth Beatle.”

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      2. Fully get it, it must be nerve-wrecking for them.

        A couple of years ago, I met one of the sons of Clarence Clemons (Jarod Clemons) – nice young guy (guitarist and singer) who is trying to make it as a professional musician. He told me a lot of people want to be “friends” with him only ask whether he can get them free tickets for Bruce or even introduce them to the Boss! Obviously, they don’t care at all about him. It’s really unbelievable how shameful folks can behave!

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      3. Yeah, that sucks. When I met Cathy Rich I suggested she bring the big band to Boston what with Berklee being here and all. She looked thoughtful about that. But I never said, “Hey and if you, set me up with tickets.” If they showed up I would have just gone.

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  2. Like Dave, I also know Afghan Whigs and Flogging Molly by name but am not very familiar with their music. Both songs you featured are pretty good. I really like what I’ve heard by the Amazons, and “Bloodrush” spent 15 weeks on my Weekly Top 30 earlier this year. I like Julian Lennon’s song a lot too.

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  3. How could I not like a band named Flogging Molly? Is that an accordion? I like it if it is or isn’t….The Afghan Whigs I’ve heard of and like this also.
    Jullian Lennon… it’s a shame he really only had one album that the masses heard a lot. He has had some great songs in his career. I agree with Dave also…I wish he would have been part of a band or something…it might have helped deflect some of the Lennon comparisons…or it could have been the same.

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    1. Apparently, Flogging Molly’s name was inspired by LA music club “Molly Malone’s” where in their early days the band would have a recurring gig. According to Wikipedia, vocalist Dave King explained, “We used to play there every Monday night and we felt like we were flogging it to death, so we called the band Flogging Molly.”

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  4. Good selections here. It’s funny that the names Flogging Molly and Afghan Whigs are quite familiar to me yet I know zero percent about them. (Flogging Molly and Dropkick Murphys could have a competition for the stupidest band name.)

    I found this quote about the Whigs on Wikipedia which I figured you would appreciate. “Dulli later described the intent behind The Afghan Whigs was to exist as ‘a cross between the Band, the Temptations, and Neil Young playing with Crazy Horse.’

    The song by the non-weirdo Lennon son is pretty good. What took him so long?

    Also, in case you haven’t seen it, I thought you might enjoy Macca’s tribute to the Queen

    https://www.paulmccartney.com/?fbclid=IwAR29UdMWWVuwfppm0xGHwlkamhElK0lzGB-MEEihE9kz4uwa6kIwGvh-Xs0

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    1. I will say one thing: While “Flogging Molly” also strikes me as a strange name, it’s memorable – at least I recognized it right away, even though I had not heard one of their tunes! By comparison, I also remembered Boston has a Celtic punk band, in part because they re-recorded one of their songs with Springsteen as a charity single in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombing, but I had to look up their name!

      As for Julian Lennon, based on what I’ve read, it looks like his new album was somewhat accidental. Apparently, he came across some old demos. I think Lennon had been quite content not to make any new music, having established himself as a photographer, book publisher and filmmaker.

      Last but not least, Sir Paul. I had not seen that post. It certainly is a remarkable shared history with the Queen, especially if you consider he once called her a pretty nice girl who doesn’t have a lot to say. Of course, it was meant to be humorous and Macca even got to perform it in front of Her Majesty in June 2002 – which I suppose also shows she had a good sense of humor!

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      1. Dropkick Muphys are, as you might imagine, a pretty big deal around here. Their song “Shipping up to Boston” gets played at Sox games and was the theme for “Rizzoli and Isles.” What really endeared us to them is they took an old Sox sports club tune, “Tessie,” and modernized it. You don’t have to love the Sox to dig the tune.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Wasn’t quite finished. I can understand Julian’s reluctance to pursue music. John is a tough act to follow.

        As to Macca, I believe he mentioned that on their final get together he said to the Queen, “We’ve got to stop meeting like this” and trusted she was amused.

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