The old year is getting ready to finish once again and make way for a new year that is already starting to see a handful of new releases scheduled. New material from the likes of Anti-Flag and The Winery Dogs are already scheduled for release in January and February respectively. Mercury Studios (formerly Eagle Rock Entertainment) also has new archived live recordings on the way from Marvin Gaye and Ella Fitzgerald. Even the independent music community has lots of stuff planned for next year, including a new release from indie rock band Starcrazy in for them of its new album, Another Day, Another Squalor. Of course lots more music is sure to be announced in the coming days and weeks, meaning it won’t be long before things already start picking up.
While critics’ new music calendars will start filling up very soon, their 2022 calendars are finally done now that the last days of the year are here. One category of new music that doesn’t get enough attention from one year to the next is the smallest release, the EP. That is why this critic has made it a point each year to focus on the recording, which for some acts is a way to test the waters before releasing their debut albums and for others a space filler, for its own year-ender list.
This year’s list of top new EPs touches on a variety of acts. From independent acts to more established acts, lots of EPs have been released this year. From Saint Asonia to The Rumjacks to Black Veil Brides and more, acts across the musical universe have released interesting new EPs. Black Veil Brides’ new EP, The Mourning tops Phil’s Picks list of top new EPs this year. As with every year past, this list features the top 10 new titles in the given category along with five additional honorable mention titles for a total of 15 records.
Without any further ado, here for your consideration is Phil’s Picks’ 2022 Top 10 New EPs.
PHIL’S PICKS 2022 TOP 10 NEW EPs
Black Veil Brides – The Mourning
The Rumjacks – Brass For Gold
Hyro The Hero – Kids Against The Monsters
Saint Asonia – Extrovert
Genghis Nash – The Odyssey
Classless Act – Welcome to the Show
Liar Thief Bandit – Diamonds
Saint Asonia – Introvert
Twisted Mind – From Slave to Prophet
The Guitar & Whiskey Club – The Guitar & Whiskey Club
Them Damn Kings – Rise Up
A Vulture Wake – Kingdom
The Corps – From Oblivion
Los Saints – Welcome to Confusion
Darko – Sparkle
That’s it for this category, but there are plenty more to go before the year ends, including tomorrow’s list of the year’s Top 10 New Rock Albums. Stay tuned!
Early last month, independent rock band The Guitar & Whiskey Club released its debut studio recording in the form of its self-titled EP. Released Nov. 7, the five-song record will appeal easily to any fan of the rock and hard rock sounds of the 80s. The record’s musical arrangements and lyrical themes are sure to keep fans of that era and musical genre engaged and entertained from the start of the 23-minute record to its end. ‘Sleazy,’ the EP’s second entry, clearly supports the noted statements, as does ‘I know,’ which immediately follows. Both songs will be examined here. ‘Lone Cowboy,’ the EP’s closer, is yet another notable addition to the record. It will also be examined later. When it is considered alongside the other two songs noted here and with the record’s two other songs, the whole makes The Guitar & Whiskey Club an intriguing addition to this year’s field of new EPs.
The Guitar & Whiskey Club, the debut self-titled EP from its namesake band, is a presentation that will find appeal among most fans of the rock and hard rock sounds and acts from the 80s. This is proven through the record’s musical and lyrical content alike. ‘Sleazy,’ which comes early in the EP, is just one of the songs that serves to support that statement. The song’s musical arrangement is full on sleaze rock in the vein of L.A. Guns and Motley Crue. That is evident from the bombast of the guitar work and drumming to the vocals of front man Jeffrey Donovan. The whole is a mid-tempo composition that is an easy single to represent this first outing from The Guitar & Whiskey Club.
The lyrical theme content that accompanies the song’s musical arrangement will find just as much appeal among the noted audiences as the song’s musical content. That is because, as with so many 80s hair rock songs, this work centers on a woman. In this woman’s case, she is nothing but trouble, though. She keeps leading the song’s subject down the wrong path. This is made clear as Donovan sings in the song’s lead verse and chorus, “Woke up on the wrong side of town this morning/Got out of the wrong side of bed/Don’t know what I did to deserve this feelin’/Of a thunderbolt inside my head/But I’m suspectin’ that I neglected/To draw the line when it comes to you/Now I’m feelin so sleazy/Every time you tease me/You make that feelin’ come easy/Starin’ at the lumps in the sheets next to me/Wonderin’, ‘Oh My God is that you?’/All I see is tangled bed hair/Naked dirty feet/And now I’m thinkin’/What did I do/So I’m stressin’/Scratchin’ my head, guessin’/And lookin’ for some kind of clue.” The song’s subject continues on in similar fashion from here, noting that this woman just keeps leading him down the noted path he’s on. He even says he doesn’t hate the woman for it. In fact, he seems to say that he welcomes having that side of himself brought out by the woman. That almost misogynistic tone here is, again, something that is so commonplace in so much 80s hair rock and metal. So to that end, this and the song’s musical content collectively make for plenty of appeal for the band’s audiences and those of its more well-known counterparts.
‘I Know’ is the polar opposite of ‘Sleazy’ in terms of its musical arrangement and lyrical theme, but at the same time is still classic 80s rock in its own right. In the case of ‘I Know,’ the song’s arrangement is right in line with the power ballads that rose to fame in the 80s hair rock and metal scene. That melancholy, flowing solo guitar line in the song’s opening bars that is eventually paired with an equally mournful electric guitar line and vocal delivery from Donovan immediately takes listeners back in time, thinking of ballads from so many 80s hair rock bands. The schmaltz is on full display here and is sure to appeal just as much to the noted audiences.
The lyrical content featured alongside the song’s musical arrangement adds even more to the appeal for the noted audiences. In the case of this song, it comes across pretty clearly as a song about a breakup. This is evidenced as Donovan sings, “I know/What you said/Can’t escape the words/Trapped in my head/You know/How I am/From the time we shared/Inside your bed/One on one and high on the feeling/Two lovers share each other’s reaction/Me on you and you on top/Let it rain/You knew when he came/Your spirit left me/In the cold again/I know/You felt pain/For what you did to me/There’s no escape/One looks back and says to the other/Can we go back and savor each other/It’s just too hard to go any further.” Again, this is obviously that mournful, melancholy about a relationship that went south because of one partner’s infidelity. It is another familiar theme among the 80s rock scene, and just as familiar here as in the songs of that era. The emotional impact of the lyrics is heightened through the noted musical arrangement that pulls at listeners’ heart strings just as much as the lyrics. To that end, it is another example of what makes this record appealing to a very specific audience base.
‘Lone Cowboy,’ which closes out the record, is yet another example of what makes The Guitar & Whiskey Club appealing to 80s hair rock and metal fans. The country rock approach taken in the song’s arrangement is just as familiar as so many other similar style songs from days gone by. At the same time, audiences could just as easily make comparison to certain works from Black Label Society, considering the overall arrangement. At the same time, listeners could also make a slight comparison to work from Pink Floyd (of all bands) here, too. It really is an intriguing combination of sounds and influences, and works surprisingly, all things considered.
The lyrical theme that accompanies the song’s mournful musical arrangement comes across as another all too familiar topic. In the case of this work, it comes across as being that theme of being out on the road. This is inferred as Donovan sings here, “Man walks softly/When his horse has died/In bad country no man can hide/Man gets lonely, Heaven knows/On the prairie all alone/Days are blazing/Nights are cold/Trail tells of another wrangler alone/Memories haunt him of his life at home/The journey back shouldn’t take so long.” This is, again, an all too familiar theme that has been tackled by so many bands that have come before, but is still a great guilty pleasure work. The use of the melancholy musical arrangement here adds to the song’s impact. All things considered the song becomes yet another example of what makes The Guitar & Whiskey Club appealing to this band’s fans and to those of the hair metal and rock sounds of the 80s. When it and the other songs examined here are considered along with the EP’s other two remaining works, the whole makes the record one more intriguing addition to 2022’s field of new EPs.
The Guitar & Whiskey Club, the eponymous debut EP from the independent Guitar & Whiskey Club, is a work that is sure to appeal to anyone that is a fan of 80s hair rock and metal. Its musical and lyrical content alike makes that clear, as is evidenced here. From the familiar musical sounds to the equally familiar lyrical themes, the whole of this record is very targeted in its presentation. That presentation makes the record a work that while targeted, is still worth hearing at least once.
The Guitar & Whiskey Club is available now. More information on the EP is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:
Independent rock band The Guitar & Whiskey Club will release its debut EP this fall.
The band is scheduled to release the record Nov. 7 through The Orchard/Sony Music. The band has been working on the EP since 2019. From beginning to end, the EP features elements of southern rock, “sleaze rock” and even a touch of 80s rock, according to information provided about the EP.
The record’s lyrical themes vary just as much, focusing on life on the road (touring), the impact of the decisions we make in life, and the all too familiar topic of a broken relationship.
Founding member/guitarist Jeffrey Donovan talked about the record’s creation amid the pandemic during a recent interview.
“The pandemic was hell,” Donovan said. “Gigs were cancelled, studios closed, everyone was locked in their houses. Some of the members suffered from what I call ‘pandecitis’, a lack of inspiration and the will to continue.”
The Guitar & Whiskey Club is available to pre-order through Amazon.
More information on the record is available along with all of the band’s latest news at: