Some new music I've been listening to:
Gov't Mule "By A Thread" - very good new disc. Template is the same, heavy blues influenced power rock. The single "Broke Down On The Brazos" has Billy Gibbons playing some guitar with Warren Haynes, although it's not exactly earth-shattering. Most of Mule's studio output has sounded the same to my ears, and to date no record has really been an "over the top" effort. They're a workmanlike band that plays riff based blues-rock better than just about any band around. And live they're killer. But there are no killer tracks on this disc, although if you're a fan you won't be disappointed.
One Eskimo - very mellow disc from Kristian Leontiou, a London based musician who released a solo disc in 2004 that disappeared in the US, but was fairly big in England. It was a very slick power-pop album that has zero resemblance to this effort. This disc has Kristian singing in an almost falsetto to guitar based tracks with minimal backing (bass, drums, some horns). Key tracks - Kandi (a cool remake of an old Candi Staton song), Hometime.
Van Ghost - found this band perusing the internet for new music. From Chicago, I would describe their sound as Americana Folk/Pop, a la Train or The Counting Crows. Female backing vocals are from Jennifer Hartswick, who's played with Trey Anastasio. Their debut album "Melodies for Lovers' is excellent, especially if you like acoustic based rock. Almost every song on the disc is good. Can't wait to see these guys live. Right now I think they only play in the Chicago area (aka Chicagoland). Fast forward 50 seconds on the video I've embedded to avoid the unnecessary new-age intro.
Saw Ratdog live last week at the Beacon. Some excellent music, especially They Love Each Other, Loose Lucy, Jus' Like Mama Said > Estimated Prophet > Might as Well and a good Scarlet Begonias, BUT, after Scarlet in the 2nd set Bob left the stage and some rapper named Chris Burger (?!) came out and RAPPED for about 10 minutes, bringing the show to a screeching halt. It was like a train wreck on stage, but not nearly as interesting. And he followed that brilliant move up with coming back on to sing "Days Between"....check, please. Good show up to that point but fell off a cliff at the 3/4 mark.