Walker Lukens "ADULT (Modern Outsider)"
Walker Lukens’ unique funky, soulful rock sound is back in full effect on his latest release, ADULT (Modern Outsider). There is a reason he has been referred to in the press as a “non-sexually intimidating version of Prince,” and that’s because it’s a rather apt comparison to make. His songs are–like I said before–soulful and funky, but still reside in the rock area of the record store if you are hoping to find one of his releases on your next crate digging expedition (don’t forget the dollar bins, there are always treasures in there!). Full of crooning vocals, synths, danceable beats, quirky touches, it really is a sound like no other. Check out the singular “Tear It Out My Heart.”
Hembree "House On Fire (Thirty Tigers)"
Mixing some hip-hop production with ‘70s and ‘80s beat rock bands like Blondie and Talking Heads and modern danceable bands like St. Vincent and LCD Soundsystem, Hembree have landed on a sound all their own–though it did take me like 20 minutes to figure out who Issac Flynn’s vocal stylings remind me of. Spoiler alert: its Kenny Loggins. Not a striking resemblance or anything… just where my ear’s brain went for some reason. You can make your mind up for yourself by checking out the danceable and slightly sinister “Culture.”
Helms Alee "Noctiluca (Sargent House)"
Everybody: Rock and roll is dead. Nobody likes guitars anymore.
Sargent House: Wanna bet?
Hot off the heels of the release of one of the best rock albums in years is last month’s Brutus release, Sargent House has done it again with the release of Helms Alee’s Noctiluca. The melodic metal-esque band (post-something I’m sure?) are back with more riffs and melodies than this month’s issue of Guitar Player Magazine. The trio’s angular riffage and drum beats combine to sound a bit like if Sleep forgot their weed at home mixed with Sleater Kinney. Yeah. This is a fun one. Check out the dramatic shifts of “Spider Jar.”
Kelly Finnigan "The Tales People Tell (Colemine)"
Man oh man, if you like revival soul then do we have a record for you. The Tales People Tell (Colemine) is the solo debut from Kelly Finnigan and it’s everything you want it to be. Rooted in the timeless soul sounds of the ‘60s and ‘70s, its obvious Kelly is influenced by the sounds of artists like The Delfonics, The Chi-Lites, The Stylistics, Otis Redding, Al Green, and a ton more that would make up a record collection that I would be happy to call my own. Groovy keyboards (sometimes provided by his father Mike who played with Hendrix, Joe Cocker, and Etta James to name a few) as well as drums from James Gadson (who played with everyone from Marvin Gaye to Beck) and Kelly on 10 other instruments. Gonna steal a line from Colemine’s PR here, because it’s perfect: “a record that’s at once raw and gritty, tender and emotive, lush and symphonic.” Check out ”Catch Me I’m Falling” (a focus track on an album made up entirely of focus tracks).