Happy Saturday and welcome to another Best of What’s New installment! Finding songs I sufficiently like by looking at new music through a ’60s and ’70s lens, can be tricky, but lately, it’s been a different story. This is the second straight week I’m highlighting six new tunes, and I probably could have found more, had I not decided to stop searching since there’s only so much time I can spend on this effort. All picks are on releases that appeared yesterday (April 21).
Billy Tibbals/Hollywood Baby
Kicking off this week’s new music revue is Los Angeles-based alternative rock artist Billy Tibbals, who was recently featured on Little Steven’s Underground Garage. From his Bandcamp bio: Moving from London to Hollywood back in 2014, Billy Tibbals quickly found a love for the city and its esoteric, debauched history. Combining this with his childhood obsession with British rock and roll, surrealist literature, and musicals from the 1940’s, Billy’s music presents a unique and fantastical view of the world around us. As a part of the exciting new wave of rock and roll music emerging from Los Angeles, Billy hopes to inspire the youth to get off their phones and come join in with the fun. Tibbals’ latest inspiration is his debut EP Stay Teenage. Here’s the excellent opener Hollywood Baby, which like all other tracks on the EP was solely written by him.
Superviolet are an indie rock band founded by Steve Ciolek (vocals & guitar) after his previous longtime group The Sidekicks had folded in 2020. Here’s more from a profile posted on the website of Philadelphia-based Lame-O-Records, his current label: In 2020, Steve Ciolek’s long-running and much loved group The Sidekicks called it a day, and he found himself without a band for the first time in much of his adult life. Ciolek had never stopped writing, but now with endless possibilities ahead he found himself creating at a different pace. As his well of potential songs began to grow, Ciolek brought in some familiar faces to help hone them into an album, recruiting The Sidekicks’ Matty Sanders to play drums and Saintseneca mastermind Zac Little to help with writing, recording, and production. That album, Infinite Spring, is now out. Let’s listen to Blue Bower, a great melodic tune!
Holiday Ghosts/B. Truck
Holiday Ghosts are an indie rock band from southern England. From their AllMusic bio: Taking inspiration from vintage garage rock, surf, and bands like Violent Femmes, Holiday Ghosts’ clattering, playful indie tunes emerged in 2017 with the band’s self-titled debut, which also drew on early punk influences…Originally a solo project by multi-instrumentalist Sam Stacpoole, then a duo with singer/ drummer Kat Rackin (the Black Tambourines), Holiday Ghosts expanded into a full band over the course of five years, recording an eponymous debut with additional members Ben Woods (bass/vocals) and Charlie Murphy (guitar/vocals). From their fourth and latest album Absolute Reality is B. Truck credited to Sam Stacpoole and Holiday Ghosts.
The National Honor Society/As She Slips Away
The National Honor Society, not to be confused with the U.S. organization for high school students, are a band from Seattle, Wash. Other than the group’s Facebook and Bandcamp pages, which unfortunately do not provide meaningful background, I could only find this review by Spill Magazine. It notes their new album To All The Distance Between Us is their second. It came together during the pandemic. Here’s As She Slips Away, a beautiful tune with a great jangly guitar sound. It was penned by lead vocalist and songwriter John Coulter Leslie.
I trust Jethro Tull don’t need much of an introduction. Nowadays, the British rock band, which started in Lutin, England in 1967, only includes one original member, its leader, co-founder and primary composer Ian Anderson. Their latest album RökFlöte comes only 14 months after The Zealot Gene, which in turn was the first Tull album with new music in more than 2o years. I reviewed it here at the time. The band’s line-up remains unchanged from the previous album and in addition to Anderson (vocals, flutes) features Joe Parrish-James (guitars, mandolin), John O’Hara (piano, keyboards, Hammond organ), David Goodier (bass) and Scott Hammond (drums). Evidently, Anderson & co. are supporting RökFlöte with an extensive tour this year, including Europe and the U.S. Here’s Ginnugagap written by Anderson.
Ian Hunter/No Hard Feelings
Ian Hunter may no longer be a young dude, but this doesn’t prevent him from showing defiance. My final pick for this week is a tune from the ex-Mott The Hoople lead vocalist and guitarist’s new solo album Defiance Part 1. In early February, I featured the album’s great lead single Bed of Roses. As I noted at the time, Defiance Part 1 is packed with prominent guests, such as Ringo Starr, Mike Campbell and the late Jeff Beck. And, yes, according to Hunter’s website, there will be a Defiance Part 2: The second chapter will feature an equally stunning range of special guests while projecting an entirely different thematic approach and songwriting aesthetic. Coming back to Defiance Part 1, here’s No Hard Feelings featuring Johnny Depp and Jeff Beck in what I imagine is one of his final recordings. The tune was written by Hunter. And that’s all I have to say about this – for now!
Of course, this post wouldn’t be complete without a Spotify list of the above and a few additional tracks by the featured artists.
Sources: Wikipedia; Bandcamp; Lame-O-Records website; AllMusic; Ian Hunter website; YouTube; Spotify