Top 20 Rock Releases, March 2013

Better slip into that well-worn denim and buckskin fringe, because this month's Rock Roundup is packed with a whole mess of blues rock and Southern-fried goodness. For all you Jimi Hendrix fanatics, rarities collection People, Hell & Angels unloads a slew of jams from the 1968 and '69 zone, back when the guitarist was testing out material with the newly formed Band of Gypsys. Pay extra special attention to "Let Me Move You"; featuring Georgia-born Lonnie Youngblood on vocals and saxophone, it's one of the funkier finds to be pulled from Hendrix's vault of unreleased material. And speaking of the South, the fidelity on The Allman Brothers Band's Macon City Auditorium: Macon, GA 2/11/72 might be bootleg-raw, yet the concert (recorded less than four months after Brother Duane's tragic death and the day before Eat a Peach's release) catches the Allmans at that crucial turning point when they shifted from earthy fire music to the meditative and pastoral.

But if you're craving boogie grooves that aren't 40-something years old, we have those, too, namely in the form of Endless Boogie's Long Island, a ferocious deluge of interwoven riff propulsion powered by a rhythm section that yearns to be both Creedence and Can simultaneously (and they pull it off, mind you). Significantly less ecstatic -- far more moody, actually -- is Get Up!, Ben Harper's critically lauded collaboration with mouth-harp icon Charlie Musselwhite. Though the singer-songwriter is more beloved for his romantic folk balladry, dude is damn convincing as a bluesman. And if your appetite for the rootsy stuff isn't satiated even after all that, be sure to check out the latest releases from Duane Allman (the legacy continues), Son Volt (the alt country icons are back), Blackberry Smoke (I totally slept on The Whippoorwill last year) and The Stone Foxes (San Francisco's answer to The Black Keys).

Lastly, I implore you not to skip over King of Conflict, the debut full-length from The Virginmarys, who aren't your typical U.K. rockers. They don't sound like yet another cross between Coldplay and U2, but rather Nirvana and The Vines. The fact that these Brits are shaggy, grungy garage primitives is utterly, totally refreshing. Plus, the main dude's name is Ally Dickaty -- that's right up there with Noddy Holder in the English-rockers-with-bizarre-names sweepstakes!

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