Interview: Jamie & Steve (Jamie Hoover & Steve Stoeckel)

Formed in Charlotte NC in the early 1980s, the Spongetones have long charted a rather unique path in pop music. Beginning with their debut LP (1982’s Beat Music), the quartet wrote and recorded two- and three-minute pop classics that bore the unmistakable influence of the Beatles. In fact, songs like “Here I Go Again” and

Album Review: Pop Co-op — Factory Settings

It was more than a decade ago when the Spongetones released what would turn out to be their final album, Scrambled Eggs. The group went out (recording-wise) on a high note, with a collection of songs that stood nicely against a backdrop of great albums going all the way back to 1982’s Beat Music. But

(My) Best of the Decade

Like many critics and serious followers of music, from time to time I compile my own “personal bests” lists. Almost exactly a decade ago today – this blog’s been around a long time – I wrote an entry called “Musoscribe’s Best of the Naughties.” Looking back at that list, I see albums that today I’d

Concert Recap: Matthew Sweet at the Visulite Theatre, Charlotte N.C. May 25, 2018

After a couple albums’ worth of searching for his signature style, Nebraska-born Matthew Sweet struck creative and commercial gold with his 1991 album Girlfriend. Sweet’s winning voice and thoughtful lyrics were joined not only by his enduring melodic sense – the man has a knowing way with a sharp melodic hook – but by some

New Music Review Roundup, Part 2

Here’s the second of three collections of reviews. The Hangabouts – Kits & Cats and Saxon Wives Good-timing, cleverly-written melodic pop is what’s on offer on the latest album from the Hangabouts. It rocks a bit harder than their last outing, and there are hints of some of the more adventurous end of early 70s

Quick Takes, Part Two

More quick-take reviews … Pop Co-op – Four State Solution Making an album via file sharing – instead of the old-fashioned method of gathering in a studio – is now a well-established practice. The title of this set refers to the approach used to make it. Steve Stoeckel’s name will be familiar to pop connoisseurs;

Hundred-word Reviews for September 2016, Part 3

Cutting a swath through the pile of CDs in my inbox, here I present five more quick reviews. Maynard Ferguson – Complete High Voltage The 1980s aren’t generally thought of as a fertile period in the jazz idiom. Fusion had had its moment, and what most people though of jazz in the 80s was a

Album Review: The Weeklings

Beginning in the early 1980s out of their home base in Charlotte NC, The Spongetones offered up what was then a new and unique concept: new and original songs, written in the style of The Beatles. Though they’d later expand upon their sound and develop a style they could call their own, on early records

Hoo-Ever Land: A Chat with Jamie Hoover, Part 2

Continued from Part One… What I didn’t realize at the time is that the setback of rotator cuff surgery and recovery wouldn’t keep Jamie Hoover from creating new music and new recordings. “I thought, ‘Well, I’m not gonna be able able to play guitar for while,’” Hoover recalls. “So I got interested in the idea

Hoo-Ever Land: A Chat with Jamie Hoover, Part 1

For the last thirty-plus years or so, Jamie Hoover has been known as a highly regarded producer, musical collaborator, and member of the Spongetones. I first noticed his production credit on 1983’s Emotional Geography, an excellent (if obscure) album from Charleston SC’s Killer Whales, a Police-like trio who frequented the Atlanta clubs I haunted in