pop Archive

Album Review: Cupid’s Carnival — Color-blind

When it comes to certain substrains of powerpop (itself a subgenre), being derivative is a feature, not a bug. Do you sound like the Beatles, Badfinger, Raspberries? Success! And quote honestly, although the powerpop market is comparatively small, there’s a cottage industry for this kind of thing. So while the whole idea might put off

Album Review: Coke Belda — 4

If Peter Noone was American, his singing voice might be all but indistinguishable from that of Coke Belda. And the music that Herman’s Hermits made isn’t miles away from the chiming, la-la-la of Belda’s original tunes. On his fourth album — cleverly titled 4 – Belda steps away from the tribute approach of his last

Album Review: Diamond Hands — III

Fans of hooks and high-energy, melodic rock should stop whatever they’re doing and make immediate purchase of this LP. Diamond Hands’ III is influenced by mid-period Beatles, but it also sounds a bit like Orgone Box crossed with Grip Weeds. Yes, there are derivative elements here and there: you’ve heard that “Tomorrow Can Wait” bass

Album Review: Holy Hive — Float Back to You

Combine crystalline, upper register vocals with a musical aesthetic that’s part Philly Soul, parts indie rock and relentlessly melodic, and the result – if it’s lucky – might sound a bit like Holy Hive. This Brooklyn-based trio has its roots in the music of folk singer Paul Spring, but the indelible, shimmering pop values of

One Good Reason: Alan Parsons on the ‘Ammonia Avenue’ Boxed Set … and More (Part Two)

Continued from Part One … Bill Kopp: Back in the ’70s and the early ’80s, did Arista Records ever put pressure on you to assemble a live band? Alan Parsons: No, I don’t think so. They knew my identity was in the studio, and that’s what I was. I was a producer and engineer, and

One Good Reason: Alan Parsons on the ‘Ammonia Avenue’ Boxed Set … and More (Part One)

Alan Parsons is a unique figure in popular music; very few people go from working as a recording engineer and producer to becoming an artist in their own right. After working behind the scenes with the Beatles and Pink Floyd, Parsons formed his own Project (not, he explains, a group). Between 1976 and 1987, the

Album Review: Juniper Shelley — Juniper

I should admit right up front that I look with skepticism upon an album featuring a 15-year-old girl. It’s simply that I don’t expect the music to be aimed at (nor of any great appeal to) the particular demographic to which I belong. “Yeah, well, buddy, that’d be your loss,” the universe seems to tell

Guitarist Laurence Juber Connects the Dots Between Classical, Folk and the Beatles

Laurence Juber was already an accomplished and in-demand session musician before he got the call to join Paul McCartney’s band, Wings. And although he was a member of the group for a comparatively short period – from 1978 until the band’s dissolution in 1981 – the influence of the former Beatle would loom large in

Album Review: Lane Thaw — Falling off the Planet

Existing outside the world of rock ‘n’ roll, Lane Thaw’s Falling off the Planet is the kind of record that suggests an alternate timeline, one in which cult artists like Leon Redbone and Randy Newman hit the big time. With a large ensemble that includes violin, viola, marimba, lap steel, banjo, ukulele and flugelhorn alongside

Album Review: The Explorers Club — s/t

In my previous review I, um, explored To Sing and Be Born Again, the new all-covers album from Jason Brewer’s The Explorers Club. The group isn’t exactly what one would call prolific, having maintained a consistent pace of a new album every four years since 2008’s Freedom Wind. But as 2020 has come around, the