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Phil LeeSo Long, It’s Been Good To Know You: Nashville singer, songwriter releases his first solo album departing from the Mighty King of Love. In this album he uses lyrical imagery and has an ability to produce a record that showcases his wry wit, country soul and rock center. With thirty years of road work and songwriting under his belt, this guy is the real deal; adding a little rock to a little bit of a country beat. The new album is named after a Wood Guthrie classic updated on the record with Lee’s touches. 5.0 McRiprocks’

Ricky Stein & the .44Crazy Days: You wouldn’t believe it, but Stein is only 24. With a voice that rings way beyond his years and is reminiscent of a Townes Van Zandt, Doug Sahm, Bruce Springsteen style he puts forth an album that’s well worth picking up. He plays Americana as if he’s been doing it for years, with the .44 backing him– however, he’s just as powerful on-stage and on album solo as he is with a full band behind him. Influences by bands like Wilco, My Morning Jacket and the White Stripes are evident in his music so he can’t be nicely pegged into just the Americana category. An Austin native, Stein has played at some notable venues including Hole in the Wall, Continental Club, Momos and Saxon Pub. He’s an up-and-coming artist with a strong voice, passionate stage performance and a lyrical and musical capability way beyond his young years. Crazy Days was recently released on May 14th and this one gets a pretty high McRiprock rating for a debut album.  5.5 McRiprock’s.

The Orphans— Alone: Raw, unfiltered emotions straight from the gut come from London, the female lead front woman and vocalist. Sliding somewhere between Janice Joplin and Matthew Bellamy of Muse, London’s voice is amplified by the band’s hard-hitting rhythm section and squealing guitars. This album was recorded in the same studio where White Zombie recorded Make Them Die Slowly and the Ramones recorded Brain Dead –sharing the intensity of its recording predecessors. Heart-pouring lyrics like “What’s the point to be alive if I just hate it all?” and “Come closer so I can feel your breath. Are you afraid of death? I’m not afraid,” are reminiscent of Brody Dale and Spinnerette or a modern resurrection of Bikini Kill. Based in New York and playing legendary venues like the China Club, Hammerstein Ballroom, Irving Plaza and CBGB they’ve certainly made a name for themselves on the East Coast circuit. 4.5 McRiprock’s

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