One can sympathize with Freddie Cole's plight. The younger brother of Nat King Cole, Freddie has spent most of his life in his brother's shadow, even though Nat died in 1965. The problem is that Freddie is also a pianist/vocalist and sometimes performs similar material. In fact, the title of this CD is a bit absurd, since Cole is heard playing in the same type of group that Nat made famous (a trio with guitarist Ed Zad and bassist Eddie Edwards) and his repertoire includes such songs as "Home Fried Potatoes," "To Whom It May Concern," "The Best Man," and a ten-minute, six-song "Nat Cole Medley." Add to that such originals as "He Was the King" and "I'm Not My Brother, I'm Me," and one is not allowed to forget for a moment that Freddie was Nat's brother. Actually, Freddie has an older and raspier voice (which is natural, since he has outlived Nat) and his piano style is more tied to 1950s jazz (such as Red Garland) than to swing. This fairly definitive CD from Freddie Cole does give one a strong sampling of his talents.
Transgender Dysphoria Blues, the new album from the great Florida punk band Against Me!, is their first in four years, and they’re a very different Against Me! from the one who released White Crosses in 2010. The new album is the first since the band left behind the major-label universe, the first since half the band left and was replaced, and, most importantly, the first since frontman Tom Gabel became frontwoman Laura Jane Grace. It’s also an absolute monster of an album, a furious punk-rock clarion call that brings crunchy, gritty, anthemic vigor in ways that nobody really pulls off anymore. It’s easily the best 2014 album I’ve yet heard, a tremendously bracing and pleasurable musical experience. We’ve already posted early tracks “FUCKMYLIFE666” and “Black Me Out,” and those are great. But it’s Monday morning, and you really need to hear the whole album. You can now do that. Stream it at NPR.