Drive-By Trucker Patterson Hood started writing the songs for his second solo record Murdering Oscar (And Other Love Songs) back in the early ’90s—which means the album was in the gestation stage for about as long as Chinese Democracy. But unlike Axl Rose’s belabored boondoggle, Murdering Oscar doesn’t feel 10 years too late. (Not even the stormy “Heavy And Hanging,” which recalls Kurt Cobain’s suicide from the perspective of the man who discovered his body.) If anything, Murdering Oscar—which was recorded in 2005 and sat in a vault until Hood put out it on his own label—was a record slightly ahead of its time when it was made, foreshadowing the concise poppiness of DBT’s underrated 2006 effort A Blessing And A Curse and the domestic concerns of last year’s terrific Brighter Than Creation’s Dark. Of course, since Murdering Oscar is coming out now, it’s merely an excellent companion to Hood’s recent work with his regular band, with several songs—including the Springsteen-like “Pollyanna” and the smoldering guitar workout “Walking Around Sense”—ranking with his very best.