Taddy Porter: Taddy Porter

RIYL: Bad Company, Kings of Leon, The Black Crowes

Let’s hope the members of Taddy Porter have a sense of humor, because when a band comes out of Stillwater, Oklahoma waving the ’70s classic rock flag like a lighter at a Zeppelin show, the “Almost Famous” jokes frankly write themselves. One listen to the band’s eponymous debut, though, suggests that the band is well aware of the coincidence, and probably finds it amusing. Singer Andy Brewer has a raspy growl that’s equal parts Paul Rodgers and Anthony Caleb Followill, and Joe Selby is – and it kills us to say this, but such is the state of music – a pure throwback guitar player, punctuating the songs with melodic riffs, power chords and, wonder of wonders, honest to goodness guitar solos. Nothing here is going to rewrite the rules of rock, but that’s hardly the point – they’re a good time band playing good time rock (notably “Big Enough” and the cowbell-happy lead single “Shake Me”), and God knows the world could use a few more bands like that. (Primary Wave 2010)

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Peter Frampton: Thank You Mr. Churchill

RIYL: Rainbow, Jeff Beck, Bad Company

It’s easy to judge anything Peter Frampton releases based on his body of work, which includes Frampton Comes Alive, arguably one of the greatest live albums in rock history. So we almost have to cut him a bit of slack if he’s lost a bit of that powerful rock voice and some of his ability to write good hooks. But as he shows on his latest, Thank You Mr. Churchill, Frampton can still play the guitar like a madman; and as he was reunited with producer/engineer Chris Kimsey (who produced Frampton’s 1972 solo debut), he can still deliver epic classic rock songs with guitar solos that linger like they did in the ‘70s. It’s also what Frampton calls an autobiographical record, as the title stems from him thanking Winston Churchill for bringing his dad back safely from World War II and therefore giving Frampton a life. Rockers like “Solution” and the slow burning “Asleep at the Wheel” are the best retro sounding numbers, but Frampton also shines on the powerful instrumental, “Suite Liberte,” and the funky “Restraint.” Oh, and don’t miss the old style fuzz box tone Frampton uses on “Invisible Man,” which evokes memories of Black Sabbath’s Paranoid album. On “Restraint” and a few other tracks, Frampton touches on world politics a bit (“Restraint” is about the Wall Street bailout), but admittedly his strength is in making his guitar scream, and the ability to make the classic rock meter needle jump like crazy. For the most part, Peter Frampton does just that, yet again. (New Door 2010)

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