Artist: Dr. Dog
Title: The Psychedelic Swamp (Anti- Records)
You might like if you enjoy: David Bowie, the Felice Brothers, Elliott Smith
Tell me more: On the newly-issued The Psychedelic Swamp, Dr. Dog has found a way to experiment at every turn while creating songs that are never less than intoxicating. With a mix of folk rock, art damage, Americana, baroque pop and retro-styled sound effects, the Pennsylvania-spawned outfit keeps things interesting via the spaghetti western-draped "Golden Hind," oldies rock-mining "Dead Record Player" and grooving Bowiesque "Bring My Baby Back." A concept album that chronicles the tale of a "man who attempts to escape his boring existence by entering The Psychedelic Swamp," the important thing here is that bandmates Scott McMicken and Toby Leaman have penned an involving opus that makes you think. Information: drdogmusic.com.
Buy 'The Psychedelic Swamp' here
Artist: James Hunter Six
Title: Hold On! (Daptone Recording Co.)
You might like if you enjoy: James Hunter, Vintage Trouble, Sam Cooke
Tell me more: Like modern-day soul revivalists Vintage Trouble, British singer-songwriter-guitarist James Hunter has found a wealth of musical riches in the old school rhythm and blues sonic territory of genre pioneers Sam Cooke and Otis Redding. On the new James Hunter Six album Hold On! uptempo rock 'n' soul ("If That Don't Tell You," "Stranded") and soulful ballads ("This Is Where We Came In," "Something's Calling," "In the Dark") are delivered with authenticity and fervor. Hunter is a fantastic guitarist, as evidenced by the captivating instrumental "Satchel Foot." The good news for American audiences is that the James Hunter Six is on tour through May, including upcoming dates that bring the troupe to the Doheny Blues Festival in Dana Point, CA on May 21 and the Strawberry Music Festival in Grass Valley, CA on May 26. Information: JamesHunterMusic.com.
Purchase 'Hold On!' here
Artist: Tommy Castro & the Painkillers
Title: Method to My Madness (Alligator Records)
You might like if you enjoy: Buddy Guy, Walter Trout, Freddie King
Tell me more: Listening to the latest disc from Tommy Castro & the Painkillers is to rediscover the fusion of musical firepower and honest emotion that marks the genre's best proponents. Method to My Madness finds the San Jose native unleashing originals mixing up the full range of blues via the R&B track "Common Ground," slide guitar-anchored blues-rocker "Shine A Light," soul-styled "Died and Gone to Heaven" among the winning cuts on the 12-track collection. A terrific lead guitarist and wonderful vocalist, Castro uses his musical gifts in the service of his songs; the performances are nuanced and share much in common with his own influential heroes (B.B. King, Buddy Guy, Wilson Pickett). Information: TommyCastro.com.
Artist: Hans Zimmer
Title: Kung Fu Panda 3 (Sony Classics)
You might like if you enjoy: Hans Zimmer, Harry Gregson-WilliamsTell me more: Academy Award-winning composer Hans Zimmer has scored countless films since 1988's "Rain Man," with his impressive resume including "The Lion King," "Gladiator," "The Thin Red Line" and "The Dark Knight." Zimmer's most recent score is for "Kung Fu Panda 3," and the soundtrack showcases that even apart from the popular DreamWorks Animation film, Zimmer's music is a delight. A wide range of emotions are explored via symphonic and choral sounds that blend western and Chinese stylings. Whether creating tension that fully involves the listener ("Jaded," "Two Fathers"), joyous celebrations ("The Hall of Heroes") or simply painting the loveliest of soundscapes ("Oogway's Legacy" featuring pianist Lang Lang, "Portrait of Mom"), Zimmer continues to be one of the film industry's modern-day masters. The "Kung Fu Panda 3" soundtrack also includes a remake of the 1974 hit "Kung Fu Fighting" performed by the Vamps too, as well as the accompanying film's infectious theme song "Try." Information: sonyclassical.com.