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Check out these new four-star releases of poppy, folksy Americana

The Contenders
The Contenders

This week, I’m writing as many short reviews of as many new releases as possible to catch up on some of the backlog, and it turns there are bunch of four-star recordings here.

‘But There’s Nowhere To Go,’ Jason Heath and the Greedy Souls (Industrial Amusement)

This Oct. 13 release is the second album from the LA-based roots rockers. There are too many folks to list, but Heath adds guitars, piano and harmonica to his lead vocals; and the rhythm section is tight. Favorite songs include the power-poppy “Nowhere to Go,” the chiming opener “South of Babylon” and the sarcastic “Postcards From The Hanging.”

Fans of varying tempo perfect-world hits will dig this one.

‘Some Part Of Something,’ Whiskey Shivers (CBM/RARR,)

This is certainly not regular bluegrass, but Whiskey Shivers (Bobby Fitzgerald: vocals/fiddle, Andrew VanVoorhees: bass/vocals, Meridianite James Gwyn: washboard, Jeff Hortillosa: vocals/guitar and James Bookert: banjo) makes it mostly fun. The packaging features cartoon drawings of skeletons dancing around a campfire while drinking, and on the back a cartoon dog holds a forearm in its mouth.

Favorite tunes include “Cluck Ol’ Hen” the story of a slacker chicken, the ultra-catchy “Gave Away,” the high-octane “No Pity in the Rose City,” and a bluegrass cover of The Cure’s “Friday I’m In Love.”

Bluegrass purists won’t like this release, but broad-minded listeners will.

‘The Lower Side of Uptown,’ Toadies (Kirtland Records,)

This Sept. 8 release is Toadies’ seventh album, and it kicks off with a bang, with the depressingly titled “When I Die.”

Other faves from Vaden Todd Lewis and band include the hard-hitting “Polly Jean,” the riff-roaring “Mama Take Me Home,” the snaky “Echo” and the mostly heavy “Sentimental.”

The super-tight band sounds like one that tours a lot, and they do. Imaginative rock ’n’ rollers will dig this one.

‘Laughing with the Reckless,’ The Contenders (Rock Ridge Music,)

This Nov. 3 release is the debut full-length from The Contenders (singer-songwriter Jay Nash and singer-drummer Josh Day). Other musicians include bassist Daniel Rhine, keyboardist Phil Krohnengold and others on various songs.

Current favorite tunes include “Call Me The Lucky One,” a disaster-related “The Flood,” the historical-seeming “The Night That Jackson Fell” and the memory-laden “Save a Place at The Table.”

Broad-minded Americana fans will dig this album.

‘She Got Me Good,’ Susie Wilkins (Independent Release/Soundcloud,)

This early September release from the UK’s Susie Wilkins (vocals, guitars and keyboards) only contains four songs. Guitarist/singer Jimmy Green, bassist/singer Kevin Jefferies, drummer Geoff Holroyde and backing singer Kate Kerr-Clemenson support her.

The punk-flavored title song, the power-poppy “To Be Afraid” and the Sheryl Crow-ish “Far Away” are all favorites, which means that I enjoyed three-fourths of this release’s tunes.

Fans of female singer/songwriters who rock will enjoy this collection.

Ricky Flake, a former punk rocker and current music fan, lives in Biloxi. Reach him at flakericky@gmail.com

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