pop Archive

The Verve Pipe Learns From its Mistakes

The Verve Pipe got its start in Lansing, Michigan in the early 1990s. Led by singer-guitarist Brian Vander Ark, the group got its first big break when RCA signed the band to a multi-album deal. The Verve Pipe’s first RCA album, Villains, went platinum (one million units sold) and spawned four Top 40 hits on

Album Mini-review: The Legal Matters — Conrad

File next to: Wings, Lannie Flowers Power pop is the Rodney Dangerfield of the rock world: it gets no respect. Detractors call it shamelessly derivative and lightweight. Those who have a soft spot for the subgenre, on the other hand, appreciate the chiming, sticky-sweet melodies and sharp hooks. Michigan’s the Legal Matters – a trio

Album Mini-review: Various Artists — Friends and Frenemies

File next to: Sloan, Matthew Sweet Based in the redwoods of Northern California, Allen Clapp‘s Mystery Lawn Music has in recent years become a trademark of pop music quality. Originally formed as a vehicle to self-release 20/20 – perhaps the best album by his group the Orange Peels – Clapp’s label has become a collective

Best Music of 2016: Concerts

There’s a bit of overlap where my best albums and best concerts of 2016 are concerned. And there are some old favorites, too. John Mayall Neighborhood Theatre, Charlotte NC March 11, 2016 It was only around this time that I pivoted to writing as a full-time job (in other words, how I make my living).

Best Music of 2016: Reissue/archival Releases

I love new music, but I’m also attuned to keeping up with the latest in reissues and archival releases. Sometimes those feature some of my favorite artists; other times they turn me on to music of the past that I’ve never even heard. In 2016 I’ve been able to select my Top Ten reissue and/or

Album Mini-review: The Mavericks — All Night Live: Volume 1

File next to: Los Lobos, Neil Young Fans who heard “All Night Long,” the standout track from the Mavericks’ latest studio album (2015’s Mono) could be forgiven for wondering if the group could pull the song off live onstage. Full of bracing horn section fills and Latin-flavored percussion, the tune is a production extravaganza. The

A Holiday Treat for Musoscribe Readers

‘Tis the season for … a bonus weekend post. I almost never post features or reviews on a Saturday, but these two titles warrant the exception. Plus, if I wait until I have an open weekday, you won’t read about this until late February 2017. Some people simply detest holiday music. I grew up in

Album Mini-review: Bell X1 — Arms

File next to: Talking Heads, Crowded House Because of the wide array of styles explored on Arms, the record sometimes feels more like a mixtape than an album. “Fail Again, Fail Better” sounds like a half-finished collaboration between Paul Simon and David Byrne. The electronically-textured “Bring Me a Fireking” is vaguely reminiscent of Neil Finn’s

Hundred-word Reviews for Nov./Dec. 2016, Part 10 of 10

Two weeks of capsule reviews wrap up today with the final five. The Well Wishers – Comes and Goes Style: powerpop Jeff Shelton is the Well Wishers. And he’s quite prolific: I think I’ve seen at least four of his albums come across my desk. He’s part of that breed that writes and plays everything

Hundred-word Reviews for Nov./Dec. 2016, Part 9 of 10

Gary Ritchie – Poptimistic Style: powerpop Melodic, good-natured powerpop is the order of the day on Ritchie’s new album. Musical touchstones include the obvious ones (Beatles, Raspberries, Romantics) and some perhaps less obvious ones (he reminds me a good bit of Donnie Iris). There’s always room on my shelf for some quirk-free rock ‘n’ roll,