While I am a fan of the Spotify music streaming service, the relationship I have with it is strained. I fully admit I am a musical snob, so when they would offer custom playlists for me, I had the mindset of, “Go ahead, it’s your funeral.” None of their “For You” playlists seemed to capture the essence of Jim. The broad strokes may have been there, but after the third song the playlist seemed to veer off into obscurity.
While I do identify as a rock guy—which is a huge umbrella—my musical tastes run the gamut. I have strong roots in rock, country, R&B, and hip hop. My customized playlists think I only like ‘80s hair metal. That was the impetus for me creating this column. I knew there was more out there, I just had to go in search of quality new music.
Let me tell you—the music is out there. I am finding a slew of new(ish) albums just out there for the listening. I am finding them faster than I can write this column. So get ready for an onslaught of Found Five columns because I have loads to share. While my musical cup overrunneth, I offer up these five excellent albums for your holiday perusal.
Artist: Jennifer Nettles
Album: Always Like New
Favorite Song: “Oh What a Beautiful Mornin’”
I have been in love with Jennifer Nettles’ voice for a very long time. Her tone is unique and her delivery is, well, heavenly. I am not a religious person but her take on “Oh What a Beautiful Mornin’”—from the musical Oklahoma!—took me to church. Her album, Always Like New is a fresh take on iconic Broadway songs. This track stood out so much I had to share it with my favorite drag queen. And that, honey, is the greatest honor I can bestow on a song.
Other notable tracks: “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly” “Wait For It” “Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ The Boat” and “It All Fades Away”
Album: Distant Populations
My Favorite Track: Inversion
What I like most about Quicksand is how crunchy yet refined they sound at the same time. Their sound is reminiscent of Jane’s Addiction with a bit of Henry Rollins thrown in for good measure. The heavy-duty rhythm section is a major asset, but what really sealed the deal for me is how they navigate so many odd time signatures on several of their tracks. Quicksand is a band full of surprises.
Other notable tracks: “Lightning Field” “Colossus” “Katakana” and “The Philosopher”
Band: Moon Shot
Favorite Song: Marlboro Man
As much as I love bands that are crunchy, I equally love bands like Moon Shot that are highly polished. Energetic vocals, crisp rhythms, and invigorating synthesizers combine for a completely fresh take on rock ‘n roll. Did I mention the band is from Finland? That fact alone raises their mystique level by 20 points. Moon Shot would be a perfect opening band for 30 Seconds To Mars.
Other notable tracks: “Agony Walk” “Bang Bang” “Second Chance” “Blood Looks Cool” “Street Guy” and “Uno, Dos”
Favorite Song: Champion
My love for all-female bands goes deep. Bands like The Runaways, The Go-Go’s, Vixen, and L7 touch something deep in my soul. Plush deserves a seat at that table. Lead singer Moriah Formica may have garnered attention by appearing on a national singing competition, but I won’t hold that against the band. Drummer Brooke Colucci, guitarist Bella Perron, and bassist Ashley Suppa match the intensity of Formica’s vocals with a ferocity that is equally impressive. Plush would be an excellent opening act for Halestorm.
Other notable songs: “Found A Way” “Sober” “Sorry” “Bring Me Down” “Will Not Win” and “Walk Away”
Band: The Last Gang
Album: Noise Noise Noise
Favorite Song: Noise Noise Noise
I am no stranger to ska punk. I have been skanking to the beat long before many of you were even born. The Last Gang is doing its best to breathe new life into the declining genre with their album, Noise Noise Noise. Brenna Red’s full-throated vocals are really what caught my ear—they are quite unique. What really made “Noise Noise Noise” stand out for me is how much respect they gave to the ska aspect of the song. I would love to see The Last Gang open for Jessica Hernandez and The Deltas.
Other notable songs: “Prosthetic Lost Cause” “Shameless” “Paris Green” and “To The King”
Well children, while you explore these five excellent albums, I am heading back out on my musical journey. As always, you can check out all of these songs and many more by clicking on the link to my custom playlist entitled, “K-JIM2021”
Feel free to hit me up on Twitter @TheFoundFive and let me know which songs you liked. Or feel free to let me know what songs are in your heavy rotation. Just remember, Good Vibes Only. ｜Jim Ryan