pop Archive

Album Review: Johnathan Pushkar – Compositions

File Under: Too twee for me, but perhaps not for thee. This by-the-numbers powerpop album would seem to have all the requisite elements: catchy choruses, creamy vocal harmonies, and a sunny, upbeat disposition. But there’s something just too saccharine about the whole thing. When The SpongeTones made Beatle-y music, it was inspired. When the That

Echodrone: All About Texture and Density

While Echodrone’s music fits into the mold commonly called shoegaze, there’s more going on in the arrangements. There’s a sense of the dramatic amid the shimmering, reverb-soaked guitars and icy yet expressive vocals. There’s a soaring, majestic, wide-screen feel to the eight songs on Resurgence, the group’s eighth full-length release. “Eugene [Suh, guitar] and I

Album Review: The Armoires — Incognito

There’s a proud and creatively fertile tradition in rock’n’roll: playing dress-up, assuming an alter ego. The Beatles may have done it first with Sgt. Pepper, and six months later The Who’s The Who Sell Out found them (sort of) taking on the identity of a pirate radio station. Unmasked by no less a figure than

Album Review: The Milk and Honey Band – Songs From Truleigh Hill

The Milk & Honey Band first came to my attention well more than a decade ago when Andy Partridge (formerly of XTC) released their album Dog Eared Moonlight on his Ape label. I was immediately won over by the group’s sound, which as I mentioned at the time – Partridge described as “a bit like

Album Reviews: Two featuring Fernando Perdomo

In this post-major-label era when many of the so-called barriers to entry have been swept away, the fact that a recording artist is prolific doesn’t provide a reliable indicator as to the quality of that output. When you get right down to it, anybody can “release” anything they want, whenever they like. So it’s important

Concert Review: Peter Noone, Hendersonville NC, May 9 2021

Not counting Todd Rundgren’s “virtual concert” in Pittsburgh, the last time I wrote a review of a live performance was in December 2019, when I saw Rodrigo y Gabriela tear things up (semi-acoustically) in Asheville, North Carolina. The last time I witnessed a live music performance was a festival my wife and I happened upon

Album Review: The Boys With the Perpetual Nervousness — Songs From Another Life

Something about this outfits name immediately brings to mind the gentle approach of bands like Belle and Sebastian. And as it turns out, that snap judgment isn’t too wide of the mark. Imagine if Teenage Fanclub dialed back the shaggy roar of their guitars, opting instead for Rickenbacker jangle. A tasty proposition, that, and one

Book Review: Rock and Roll Explorer Guide to San Francisco and the Bay Area

San Francisco has a rich and varied cultural history. The city by the Bay has been home to a long succession of cultural scenes, from the Beat poets to the psychedelic explosion to the punk and new wave phenomenon of the late ‘70s and early 1980s. Relevant to my own interests, I’m writing a book

Album Review: Peggy Lee — Something Wonderful

A casual listener might only be able to name “Fever” – and possibly “Is That All There Is” – but Peggy Lee scored a lengthy run of hit singles. The primary arc of her career ran from the early ‘40s (when she was the singer in Benny Goodman’s big band) through 1974, when she hit

Album Review: The Mommyheads — Coming Into Beauty

If you’re not familiar with the Mommyheads, try this: imagine a cross between the quirky intelligence of They Might Be Giants, the sophisticated use of studio-as-instrument of Talking Heads, and the enduring pop sensibility of Todd Rundgren (more on that last bit presently). The Brooklyn band was active from the tail-end of the 1980s through