Out Today: New West Strikes Gold On Robert Ellis, Old 97's Discs

It's a light batch this week as far as new releases go, with the Independence Day holiday cutting into the label's schedules. As it stands now, Rocks Off is holding a jug of coffee in our hands to try to wake up from the food and chill-time coma we embarked on last Friday. We are surely not in the minority.

This past weekend we finally spent some more time with a physical copy of last week's Buddy Holly tribute disc, Rave On Buddy Holly, and we found Kid Rock's version of "Well All Right" the biggest revelation. Built on horns, handclaps and assorted percussion, the song shows a new old-school Detroit-soul side to the Kid that would make most people who are steadfastly against the Bullgod brand new fans.

We always knew he had a healthy amount of Seger in him.

But obviously the biggest news on the album front this week is the debut of Robert Ellis' Photographs, which is now in stores after a year or so of gestation. We spoke with Ellis a few weeks back for the print issue ahead of tomorrow night's homecoming gig at Fitzgerald's.

He's playing up against labelmate Steve Earle at the House of Blues, but we can imagine everyone can probably make both if they keep in between the ditches.

Robert Ellis, Photographs: Rocks Off already called this a permanent resident of our 2011 Top 10 back in May, and we stand by that.

We like Photographs a lot, and not just because we went to almost every Whiskey Wednesday, or because those few hours a week were like church with cigarettes for us, but because it's a stunning piece of work. Ellis and his boys did a great job, and this one deserves to go global.

Gardens & Villa, Gardens & Villa: These kids opened for Foster the People this past Friday, and we heard great things. There seems to be a factory somewhere in the Midwest churning out bands that sound like this, but at least G&A isn't totally generic, nor are they riding a wave of dumb alarmist hype from kids who take to every new sound-alike band like they are the second coming of whatever the fuck was cool last year. Will anyone remember any of these bands in six months? Who knows. For now, download this one and let it bubble up in it's own time.

Old 97's, The Grand Theatre Volume Two: The Old 97's launch out the second volume of the Sons of Hermann Hall project they began last year, recording songs they worked out live at the venerable Dallas music hall. How are these dudes somehow aging backwards, getting better as the years pile up?

Teddybears, Devil's Music: Like, Black Eyed Peas for people who should know better? OK, yes. Special guest spots from the Flaming Lips, Eve and Robyn help make this stand out more than most. "Cho Cha" featuring Cee-Lo Green and the B-52's is out of place, but "Get Mama A House" gets a starring role from B.o.B, meaning that it's destined for sports highlight reels and car commercials from here on out in 2011.

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