Two relatively new albums offer a great soundtrack for your backyard barbecue or your rocking summer bike rides.
Diamond Rugs, an indie-rock "supergroup" pictured above, and country-rocker Todd Snider's new tribute to his underloved hero Jerry Jeff Walker work hand-in-hand as rootsy, upbeat rock albums that are perfect complements.
If Snider's too country or Diamond Rugs, which features Deer Tick's John McCauley, Dead Confederate's Hardy Morris and Los Lobos' Steve Berlin is too indie for you, mixed together the two albums create a seamless blend of balanced Americana.
The highlights of Diamond Rugs' eponymous release are varied and include the deceptively titled "Hungover and Horny," and "Call Girl Blues." While the band might want you to think the songs are simplistic and sophomoric, they're not. The band proves it has some depth on "Blue Mountains" and "Out On My Own." I suspect this album will be on many music critics' year-end best-of lists, and deservedly so.
With rock-solid support from Colorado's Great American Taxi, Snider romps and shouts his way through various songs representative of Walker's long, great career. While Snider is no one's idea of a sterling vocalist, his ability to display sympathy or a wry smile about a character carries the load. Highlights include "Derby Day," "Sangria Wine," and the famed "Mr. Bojangles."
It's the perfect party record and a perfect bookend to the moodier, but still fun, "Diamond Rugs."