Paradise Kings - Controlled Burn - (Self-released)
This Santa Barbara foursome wastes no time in getting the dance floor packed as the record begins with a rockabilly blues called "'69 Chevy," a real barn burner that's literally impossible to sit still for. The Fabulous Thunderbirds-recalling "Butter Me Up" finds the band in a funky mood, the strutting and amusing "I'd Sing the Blues if I Had 'Em" features singer Henry Garrett reeling off a litany of common complaints that belies the song title, and "Poor Me, Poor Me, Pour Me Another Drink" is a boogie that once again heads for the dance floor. A solid and fun set all the way through.
Delta Wires - Born in Oakland - (Mudslide)
This big seven-piece band has been honing their chops for some 30-odd years, so everything here is note perfect, and on opening cut "Sunny Day" singer (and harp player) Ernie Pinata's vocals and the band's backing groove perfectly channel the buzz of a bright and carefree day. "Vacation" has a different vibe; it's not about being on vacation but rather needing one, with Pinata's harmonica, Richard Healy's guitar picking and the band's three-man horn section stressing the point. Other highlights include the yearning "Your Eyes" and "Devil's in My Headset" but the bouncy "Fun Time" probably sums up this album the best, both musically and in title.