It’s Saturday and once again another week flew by. Welcome to my latest new music review. All picks came out yesterday (June 9).
Kicking off this post is American singer-songwriter and actress Jenny Lewis. She first became prominent as a child actress in the ’80s, appearing in a series of movies and TV sitcoms. By the mid-’90s, Lewis started focusing on music and in 1998 co-founded indie rock band Rilo Kiley. In 2004, Conor Oberst invited Lewis to record a collaboration album with Americana band The Watson Twins. Two years later, Lewis released the first album under her name only. From her latest, Joy’All, here Psychos. Like all of the remaining songs, it was solely written by Lewis.
Beau Jennings & The Tigers/People in This Town
People in This Town is a new single by indie rock band Beau Jennings & The Tigers. According to his website, Jennings is a Norman, OK-based singer and songwriter with a world of stories to tell as his recording career nears the two decade mark…From the Americana/indie rock band Cheyenne – which took him to Brooklyn, NY for the late 2000’s – to his ever-evolving solo career and penchant for home recording, Jennings explores the lives of others – both real and imagined – to craft touching, gallant pop songs with hints of Tom Petty, Wilco, Bob Dylan, and The National. The end of Cheyenne and a renewed self-reliance in his solo career led to the creation of The Tigers. People in This Town is a great rocker credited to Jennings and Tigers members Chase Kerby (guitar), Chris Wiser (organ), Michael Trepagnier (bass) and Dustin Ragland (drums).
Ultra Q are an American rock band who were formed in Oakland, Calif in 2019. They started out as a trio led by singer-songwriter Jakob Armstrong (guitar, vocals), who Apple Music notes is the youngest son of Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong. Enzo Malaspina (guitar) and his brother Chris Malaspina (drums) completed the initial line-up. Kevin Judd (bass) joined shortly thereafter. Saturday, credited to all four members of the group, is from their sophomore album My Guardian Angel. This tune nicely rocks!
Jess Williamson/Chasing Spirits
Jess Williamson is a Los Angeles-based singer-writer who I first covered three years ago. According to her website, she makes deeply felt songs that orbit around her powerful voice, a voice that’s strong and vulnerable, big room flawless, quietly ecstatic, and next-to-you intimate. In her most recent work, Sorceress [now her second-to-most-recent album – CMM], that voice is surrounded by a deep-hued kaleidoscope of dusty ‘70s cinema, ‘90s country music, and breezy West Coast psychedelia. Williamson’s fourth and latest Americana-flavored album Time Ain’t Accidental is now out. She wrote all of the 11 tracks by herself. Here’s the beautiful Chasing Spirits.
The Defiants/Hey Life
The Defiants are a hard rock band formed in 2015 by former members of glam metal band Danger Danger. AllMusic characterizes their music as filled with big guitar riffs, soaring solos, epic-scale drum sounds, and a super-sized portion of swagger, [which] recalls the glory days of the hair metal era. Their current line-up features co-founders Paul Laine (vocals), Bruno Ravel (bass, guitar, keyboards) and Rob Marcello (guitar), along with Van Romaine (drums). Hey Life, co-written by Laine and Ravel, is a song off the group’s third studio album Drive. I find this melodic hard rock very accessible.
Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit/King of Oklahoma
Singer-songwriter and guitarist Jason Isbell initially entered my radar screen in March 2020 when I covered his then-new album Reunions, which he recorded with his backing band The 400 Unit. Isbell first came to prominence in the early 2000s after joining alternative country rock band Drive-By Truckers as a 22-year-old. After his departure in April 2007, Isbell launched a solo career, which has yielded nine studio albums to date. The 400 Unit was first featured on his second solo album and has since appeared five additional times, including on the latest album Weathervanes. Here’s King of Oklahoma, which like the other 12 songs was penned by Isbell. I’ll be sure to spend more time with this album!
Of course, this post wouldn’t be complete without a Spotify playlist of the above and a few additional tunes.
Sources: Wikipedia; Beau Jennings website; Apple Music; Jess Williamson website; AllMusic; YouTube; Spotify