5It is never too late to start compiling your best of lists even though the year is just at the half-way point.  There has been a lot to sink your ears into including a couple of old souls in Iggy Pop and David Bowie, a sprinkle of fresh new and dynamic faces in Car Seat Headrest, and some real he done me wrong Country soon to be classics from the likes of Margo Price and Brandy Clark.

Here are five nice albums that come to our ear-tention.

Royal Jelly Jive – Stand Up

Dynamically Rock Chick fronted by the dazzling Lauren Michele Bjelde, San Francisco based Royal Jelly Jive is a band in the purest and best sense of the word. Combining Rock, Soul, Big Band, New Orleans Noir, and Swing into one intoxicating clam chowder, Stand Up puts it all together in one unique 13 song coming out party. It doesn’t hurt either that the band members are big Tom Waits fans with “Dear Mr. Waits” as a highlight of the album.

Tiger Army – V

V, the latest from the Los Angeles, Ca based Post Punk/Psychobilly band Tiger Army rocks it hard, and then it doesn’t. And that is exactly what makes this record so special. The turn on a dime vibe change from “Firefall” a scorcher of a tune to the low and slow “Prisoner of the night” makes this a something for everyone listen.

John Doe – The Westerner

Don’t worry, John Doe, the former lead singer of the Iconic uber-influential L.A. punk band X, has not gone soft.  He is simply aging very carefully and has gone California Cool. This one should be your Road Trip set list of the summer. Songs about trains, blue skies and wide open spaces, and simply going somewhere. Going somewhere,someplace,somehow.

Karl Blau – Introducing Karl Blau

If like many of us you are a bit depressed and have not quite gotten over the recent passing of Country music legends Guy Clark and Merle Haggard, Introducing Karl Blau just might be your antidote to sadness. With songs ranging in style from Buck Owens, to Merle Haggard and Glen Campbell Blau does New-School meets Old School exactly the way it should be done.

Whitney – Light Upon the Lake

Chicago based Whitney was formed by Max Kakacek following the demise of The Smith Westerns. The album is laid back, think laid back So-Cal surfer rock with a Bon Iver Midwestern edge. On the strength of two really terrific songs, “No Woman” and “Golden Days” along with the jazzy near perfect instrumental “Red Moon,” this one will be on your listening reel for a long time.