pop Archive

Album Mini-review: Information Society — Orders of Magnitude

File next to ABC, Human League, Simple Minds Listeners can be forgiven for thinking that Information Society are an early 1980s synth outfit from the UK; there’s an unmistakable air of early MTV-era electronic dance pop to all of their tunes. So it might come as some surprise to learn that the group (essentially a

Ra Ra Riot Move Away from Their Chamber-pop Origins

“What it really comes down to,” says Ra Ra Riot vocalist Wes Miles, “is that, as an artist, you don’t ever want to make the same record twice.” That thinking helps explain the abrupt stylistic change between the group’s second album, 2010’s baroque-flavored The Orchard, and 2013’s Beta Love. For that third album, and on

Single Review: Dirty Sidewalks — “It’s Getting Better” b/w “Hey Girl”

Seattle-based Dirty Sidewalks recently released a 7” single worthy of a listen. The a-side, “It’s Getting Better,” has already gotten some commercial traction in one of the few forms that actually generates income for the artist: TV and/or film placement. Twenty-odd seconds of “Getting Better” played during Episode 11 of Season 6 on Showtime’s Shameless.

Album Review: Bobby Long — Ode

At only 30, Bobby Long has a deep catalog of work. After three self-released albums beginning with 2009’s Dirty Pond Songs, he signed with ATO Records and began a string of releases for that label: two EPs to date, and two full-lengths. The latest of his albums is Ode to Thinking, released in 2015 on

Album Review: The Deadly Ones — It’s Monster Surfing Time

Two of pop culture’s kitschiest phenomenons collide on this new reissue of an ultra-rare LP from 1964. Not counting revivals and renewed interest, surf rock was popular from about 1962 to ’64 (a year that – not at all coincidentally – The Beatles took off in America). Originally centered around southern California, the style quickly

Album Mini-review: Bill Pritchard — Mother Town Hall

File next to: Ray Davies, Lloyd Cole, Martin Newell Despite having released nine albums since 1987, England-based Bill Pritchard isn’t well-known at home , much less here in the USA: he’s developed a sizable following in France, of all places. His music has the wry storytelling vibe of Nick Lowe, and his expressive baritone has

DVD Review: International Beat Music Vol. 1

It’s long been established that The Beatles and The Rolling Stones had an incalculable influence upon pop culture of the 1960s and beyond. What’s perhaps less well-known – at least among Anglophone listeners – -is the extent to which those groups made an impression on the music scenes in (nominally) non-English-speaking countries. The DVD International

Album Review: The Miamis — We Deliver

I hold Omnivore Recordings in the highest esteem: the collective taste of their prime movers is beyond reproach, and they’ve been responsible for some of the most thoughtful reissues of recent years. In an industry built on hype, Omnivore is rightly known as staying well above overselling the virtues of their releases. So when I

Album Mini-review: Seth Bogart

File next to: The B-52s, Apples in Stereo, The Television Personalities There’s always a place for some quality trash culture dance pop. Bogart got his start under the Hunx and His Punx moniker, crafting a clever amalgam of bubblegum and punk that was somehow both more innocent and naughtier than The Ramones. With his first

Album Mini-review: Brett Harris — Up in the Air

File next to: Chris Stamey, Emitt Rhodes, Pete Yorn You can learn a lot about a musician by studying the company he keeps. Durham NC-based Brett Harris has been a key component of Chris Stamey’s “Big Star 3rd” concerts, and The dB’s have enlisted him as utility musician/vocalist. His set was a highlight of the