powerpop Archive

200-word Reviews: Five Vinyl Records

Few people are mas pleased as myself to witness (up close and personal) the vinyl revival. I’m not getting into the warmth-versus-digital argument; all I know is that as an old-school type who began purchasing LPs at age eight, I will always prefer the vinyl LP format. Plus, the artwork and liner notes are better

Even More Hundred-worders for May 2019

I’m determined to keep my backlog of music-for-review to a manageable size. Making that happen means that once again it’s time for ten of my quickie reviews. So off we go. These are all new or very recent titles of new music. Girls on Grass – Dirty Power I really like this record. Right off

Not Long for This World: The Grays’ ‘Ro Sham Bo’ at 25

By the 1990s, radio programming had completed its shift into a narrowcasted, focus-grouped, thinly-sliced target marketing based approach. There seemed little room for rock that wasn’t of the classic variety (Beatles, Stones, Pink Floyd etc.) or overblown, stadium-oriented mass-consumption fodder (Bon Jovi, Guns N’ Roses, Def Leppard). Intrepid programmers, however, sensed an opening and pursued

Hundred-worders for May 2019

Here we go again, kids. If you’ve visited Musoscribe before, you likely know the drill: new albums worth your (and my) time, covered in the tidy space of precisely 100 words each. Proper Ornaments – 6 Lenins Here’s a nice one. With shades of Echo & the Bunnymen and the church, this London group makes

We Get What We Deserve: Big Star — Live on WLIR

As the shopworn saying goes – it has been applied to other acts as well – Big Star was a group that sold very few records during its original existence, but nearly everyone who bought it went on to a career in music themselves. The Memphis group was originally led by Alex Chilton (who had

Book Review: John Borack — Shake Some Action 2.0

In 2007, John M. Borack (later the author of Life is What Happens) put together a compendium of album reviews in book form. Shake Some Action explored the narrow slice of the pop-rock world that is powerpop, that oft-maligned subgenre where Raspberries, the Knack, Greenberry Woods and others live. As so many critics seem unable

Hundred-word Reviews, March 2019 Part One

I can’t point to specific reasons as to why this is the case, but in recent months there has been more than the typical amount of really good music finding its way onto my desk here at Musoscribe World Headquarters. What that means, of course, is that it’s time once again for a clutch of

Van Duren: If You’re Happy That’s Where You Belong

Note: an edited version of this feature appeared previously on Rock and Roll Globe. From a certain perspective, Van Duren is a shadowy, little-known part of the 1970s Memphis power pop scene that gave the world Big Star. His story and music is caught up in the same overlooked narrative that encompasses the Scruffs, Prix,

Badfinger’s WB Years Revisited, Part Two

Continued from Part One… As brilliant as the original mixes of Badfinger’s two Warners albums are, the 2018 bonus mixes shed additional light on the process of making those records. Matovina says that Badfinger’s guitar work – primarily by Ham and Molland, though all four members played guitar – is underrated. The new mixes highlight

Badfinger’s WB Years Revisited, Part One

The story of Badfinger is a cautionary tale, one filled with betrayal, despair, missed opportunity, unfulfilled promise, neglect and two suicides. But all of those discomforting elements should not overshadow the music made by the half-British, half-Welsh group. The compilers of a new Badfinger reissue aim to help in that regard. Still known as the