Rob Lyons, When It Haunts You (Self-released)
Playing in Seattle bands before landing the Carl Perkins role in Million Dollar Quartet at Harrah’s, in his spare time, the blue-suedehead wrote and recorded an exceptionally strong batch of guitar-basted yet eclectic alt-rock songs. From midtempo grunge ballad “Not Like Another” to Foo Fighters-esque, barn-scorching riff monster “What Does That Say,” Lyons proves his versatility as a singer, songwriter and guitarist. Harmonica-blowing, blues-stomping instrumental “Lung Machine” is a welcome surprise, as is slick, Bakersfield-style, country-rockin’ “As I Fall Below.” ★★★✩✩
The Royal Hounds, I’m in Love With a Zombie (Self-released)
Singer and stand-up bassist Scott Hinds is another Strip musician (understudying as Perkins in Million Dollar Quartet) who moonlights as an underground Vegas rocker. Hinds fronts greaser-punk trio Royal Hounds, which recently played a spate of well-received shows at Gold Spike. Hinds is a consummate instrument-humping, crowd-pleasing performer, and his songs are tight, too. Sax-enhanced, garage-blasting rave-up “Stick’A Dynamite” pops. “D-Bag DJ,” dedicated to girlfriend-robbing EDM assholes, rips and swings. Hinds’ band won’t be a hidden gem for long. ★★★✩✩
Mead Ave., The Silver Chord EP (Self-released)
Comprised of a trio of hotel-casino chefs with superb taste in alt-rock (band members share love for Catherine Wheel and Hum), Meade Ave. crafts big, open-chorded songs in the old Manchester-era way. “Wide Eyed” wields a walloping hook in the chorus, while “Nothing to Save” rescues the kind of inventive guitar-scraping that nearly died with long-ago Brit-pop groups such as Ride. But it’s “The Silver Chord,” with its jangly and jittery riffs, that gleams like the most precious metal. ★★★✩✩
Upcoming albums on Jarret’s radar …
JULY 22: Austin, Texas, psyche-rockers the Black Angels touch down with an EP called Clear Lake Forest, full of bluesy, trippy guitars and organ. Hopefully the CD comes with a tab of mescaline.
JULY 29: It’s been four years since Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers’ last disc, so their new one, Hypnotic Eye, sounds tantalizingly refreshing. The tracks revealed thus far—“U Get Me High” and “American Dream Plan B”—are top-notch fare from this iconic Southern rocker.
AUG. 5: Texas-bred country singer Sunny Sweeney releases her third studio effort, Provoked, which includes the devilish cut “Bad Girl Phase.” Whipsmart lyrics and big guitars? This is great frickin’ music, cowboy.