In Elsie, the debut from Gaslight Anthem lead singer Brian Fallon’s side project The Horrible Crowes, Fallon shows off much more soulful and introspective songs than those found on his day job CDs. Showing off a clear Tom Waits, PJ Harvey and Afghan Whigs influence, Elsie relies more on Fallon’s voice, and some quiet guitar and organ tracks to set the tone of the record.

Flogging Molly is a band that knows exactly what their fans expect from them, and their latest release, Speed of Darkness, doesn’t fail to deliver their brand of fast, catchy, semi-traditional folk/punk music. Though there isn’t a lot of new ground covered on this album, songs about drinking, love, death, politics, and history are what this band does best, and the writing has yet to get stale.

Three years after the release of their debut album Make Your Mark, Vancouver’s Living With Lions are back, with a new bass player and singer, and new album Holy Shit. I’ve been looking forward to a new Living With Lions record since the first recording video diaries went up on YouTube over a year ago, and Holy Shit more than lives up to my expectations.

Franz Nicolay, probably best known as the former keyboard player of The Hold Steady, has just released his second solo album Luck and Courage. I’ve had a really hard time trying to write this review and describe this album, because I really haven’t listened to anything else like it, so I don’t really have anything to relate it to.