Co-written by Maxwell ‘Silver’ Hammer
The Memorial Day weekend traditionally symbolizes the kick-off of summer for tens of millions in the U.S., even though summer doesn’t technically begin until June. Unless you live in place where summer is especially hot and crude, the arrival of summer is a celebratory time of year. And part of the spirit of summer has always been music, from golden oldies to new indie rock, and everything in between.
Over the past few weeks, we noticed activity on the site that indicates people are building their summer playlists, and Gods only know that there are hundreds of songs, even thousands, to choose from in many playlists dating back to 2008 – including Top Ten Songs of 2010 and 2011, the popular Summer Songs Mixtapes series, Best New Releases series of 2010 and 2011.
There’s enough great music to keep any music lover busy for days streaming and saving their favorite songs, plus, a whole variety of thematic playlists containing all kinds of music gems – links to those are in columns and the category links on the homepage. This week’s Best New Releases will be published in three different volumes. Let’s do this.
We have got to kick off with the “new” single from the legendary Joey Ramone’s “second solo record” – more than a decade after his premature passing. Even though it is not technically a new album, it’s official release still qualifies as an original, legitimate release. It would just be wrong not to start off this week’s album drops with the posthumous LP release of an American iconic rocker (so much so he was featured in The Simpsons), and one of our rock heros.
Joey’s ‘new’ track, “Rock N Roll Is The Answer” – and of course the album itself – is like a piece of rock history that fans are getting to hear for the first time. While it’s not on par with other work of The Ramones, and actually does not feature the entire band itself, it’s still the original work of Joey Ramone, and probably the last previously unreleased material of his we’ll ever get to hear.
Ya Know? has been plugged as “a cache of demos and unreleased recordings.” Even though Joey died in April of 2001 a month from his 50th birthday, his brother, Mickey Leigh, set out to complete Joey’s unreleased songs with help from a star-studded lineup, including Joan Jett, Little Steven Van Zandt of the E Street Band, and members of Cheap Trick and The Dictators to help complete.
However, some unappreciative critics have mixed feelings. Timothy Bracy of The Washington Post wrote: “…it may have seemed possible that Joey was lovably weird enough to have a great record stashed away. Sadly, such hopes for Ya Know? are rapidly dispelled during the album’s first track, “Rock N Roll Is The Answer,” which chugs along indifferently like 1980’s KISS at its most jaded.” Dude, you don’t know what you’re talking about if you think you’re talking to Ramones’ fans.
“Rock ‘N Roll Is The Answer” – Joey Ramone from …Ya Know? on BMG
Dope Body Influence of The Ramones Clear in New Single; Album Release
The next track fits nicely following Joey Ramone. Dope Body kick up the dust with a wicked rocker that has a relentless driving beat and blistering guitar licks with a Ramones’-style blitzkrieg that is not a rip-off, but instead an obvious influence of the greatest punk rock band ever. Dope Body’s new album is titled Natural History.
Young Man’s Release; The Danks Finally Give ’09 Debut a Proper U.S. Release
Young Man, who has been one of the rising artists to watch over the past couple of years, according to many bloggers and critics, is back again with the sophomore LP release, Vol. 1. And it’s our Album of the Week.
The Danks Release Debut in U.S. Three Years Later
Next is the latest single from The Danks, a band that we’ve been interested in since 2009 when they originally released their awesome debut Are You Afraid of The Danks? The indie rock band from Prince Edward Island in Canada have an identifiable rock sound with power pop hooks, similar somewhat to the sound of The Strokes.
For some reason that we haven’t been able to find a good reason for yet, The Danks are re-releasing their debut officially for the first time in the U.S. Since it’s original Canadian release in 2009, the band toured the world twice and opened for bands like Tokyo Police Club and Ted Leo. If you missed this LP the first time around, you’ll want to get it if you love raw rock and roll. Still, we’d like to hear some new material from the band, hopefully soon, but that does not negate the importance of their debut.
Are You Afraid of the Danks on Hidden Pony Records– The Danks from
Blue Foundation Shoegaze Single with Sara Savery
The Brooklyn duo Blue Foundation really caught our attention with their haunting, brooding shoegazer, “Lost,” which interestingly sounds like a track off a David Lynch soundtrack. The fuzzy bass and drums, climaxes of instrumental explosions with woozy guitars and drum bursts that fizzle down to highlight the almost ghostly but gorgeous vocals of Danish-born singer Sara Savery.
New To Us: Dreamers, Riverboat Gamblers, Cold Specks
This week’s playlist also features a sizable group of artists that we call new-to-us bands. It’s always surprising how many stellar songs come over the cafe speakers from bands that we’ve never heard of before.
The next track, “City of Hope,” by the band Dreamers, reminds us a lot of Jane’s Addiction. Interestingly, the Dreamers sound doesn’t match the band name very well (it’s more fitting of a dream pop band). Another new-to-us band, Riverboat Gamblers, deliver a blazing, fast-driving post-rock track, “Comedians,” that sounds ready-made for radio – whether that’s good, bad or indifferent.
“Comedians” – Riverboat Gamblers from The Wolf You Feed on Volcom
“Blank Maps” – Cold Specks from I Predict a Graceful Expulsion on Mute
Don’t forget to check out Vol. II of the Best New Releases for the week of May 22nd, 2012. Plus, if you’ve missed any of the Best New Releases playlists for any week of 2012 so far, you can listen to, and download, 18 of them from the Best New Releases features page.