Dreamcar & Claw Machine Wizard

Happy Memorial Day everyone! We're coming up on that time of year where the album releases get heavier. Are you having trouble keeping up? Well you've come to the right place...two more recommendations coming right up!

First up on our list is an album that has really taken me by surprise. I remember hearing a few months ago about this new supergroup being formed - the members of No Doubt (minus Gwen Stefani) and Davey Havok, the lead singer from AFI. I didn't really think that much of it at first - I've always thought the musicians in No Doubt were really good, but nothing has really grabbed me from them in a long time. AFI was just another punk band I thought were average (I can hear you goth punks groaning now) and I really just didn't like Davey Havok's screechy singing. Later on I heard a stream of the first single "Kill For Candy" and my ears perked up. The sound was not anything like I was expecting. It's a very eighties sound but modern at the same time. The eighties were my "coming of age" time, so that helps to appeal to me, but I believe you youngsters will like this as well.

And what a record this is! This one has grabbed me like nothing else so far this year. I can listen to this one over and over. Given the pedigree of performers involved, I was expecting something with an aggressive edge to it, but this is very smooth, very polished without being over produced. And Davey's voice! What happened to the screeching? Under all of that punk rock attitude lays a voice with really good range. Seriously, I haven't listened to AFI in a long time, but I would not have thought he had this good of a voice. And the music - if you dig bands like The Cure, New Order, Depeche Mode, and Duran Duran, you will like this. For me at least, I can see this being in my top ten of the year. There's lots of albums to go, but it's definitely going to be up there. Key songs: "Kill For Candy", "All Of The Dead Girls", "On The Charts", "The Preferred"

We're now going to move to the other side of this musical equation. The sounds heard on the newest album by Left Lane Cruiser are anything but smooth and 80's. This is down and dirty, gutbucket blues in the vein of Junior Kimbrough and RL Burnside. The band is a two-piece out of Fort Wayne, Indiana and this is their tenth album. It has a raw and garage feel to it that hits you right in the gut (hence the term gutbucket blues). The players are Frederick "Joe" Evans IV on slide guitar and Pete Dio on drums & percussion. And believe me, that is all you need with this group. Slightly reminiscent of the Black Keys (early years) and the Immortal Lee County Killers, they hold their own with this type of music. If you are fans of this, you know what you are getting into, and if you're new to the genre, you are in for a treat.

If there is one complaint to be had, it's that it feels as if the album drags towards the end. I might have cut the last two songs off if I were in charge, but that's just me. Given a few more listens, that could change. All in all it's a good warm-up to a party or barbecue that you have planned for the weekend. Key songs: "High Maintenance". "The Point Is Overflowing", "Booga Chaka"

Current Listening: Waco Brothers Wacoworld, Handsome Handsome, Daddy Issues Deep Dream, Chris Cornell Songbook

RIP Gregg Allman