powerpop Archive

Album Mini-review: Derrick Anderson — A World of My Own

File next to: Redd Kross, Chris von Sneidern From a largely heretofore unknown quarter comes a winner of an album in a genre that doesn’t get enough appreciation. Up to now, Derrick Anderson has been best known as “the (black) guy in the Bangles.” As if that weren’t enough; playing bass in one of the

Teaming Up: Tommy Keene and Ivan Julian

Tommy Keene and Ivan Julian recently completed a dual solo tour; just ahead of that run, I spoke with Keene. It was the third time I had interviewed him since 2006. — bk Though he got his musical start in the Washington DC area, guitarist Tommy Keene has a real connection to the music scene

Capsule Reviews for May 2017, Part One

Thank You, Friends (Concord Bicycle Music) I remember a time when seemingly nobody knew about Big Star; happily for me, that was about the time I found “new old stock” vinyl copies of #1 Record and Radio City in a local record store. I was immediately hooked. As is its character, Big Star’s Third album

Quick Takes, Part Three

Today I take a quick look at ten archival releases of note. Tim Buckley — Wings: The Complete Singles 1966-1974 The music of Tim Buckley (yeah, late father of the late Jeff Buckley) has earned a reputation as difficult. And while I’m not here to flatly counter that impression, I must say that this collection

Quick Takes, Part Two

More quick-take reviews … Pop Co-op – Four State Solution Making an album via file sharing – instead of the old-fashioned method of gathering in a studio – is now a well-established practice. The title of this set refers to the approach used to make it. Steve Stoeckel’s name will be familiar to pop connoisseurs;

Album Review: The Jigsaw Seen — For the Discriminating Completist

File next to: Baby Lemonade, The Who, Fountains of Wayne Laboring just below the radar for more than a quarter century, Los Angeles-based The Jigsaw Seen have been releasing consistently satisfying records since its 1990 debut, Shortcut Through Clown Alley. The group’s body of work shows its musical inventiveness and effective synthesis of a wide

Sneakers: A Walk Through Powerpop History, Part 2

Continued from Part One … Speaking of wanting (or not wanting) to know, around the time that the original Sneakers EP was released, the band couldn’t get many gigs. In fact, according to Unofficial Sneakers Historian and bassist Robert Keely, Sneakers’ 2016 reunion performance at the Hopscotch Festival in Raleigh was exactly the band’s ninth

Sneakers: A Walk Through Powerpop History, Part 1

In the histories of power pop, indie rock and college rock (and whatever you want to call the musical scene that bubbled under in North Carolina several decades back), there’s one band that elicits approving nods whenever it’s mentioned. Sneakers never released a full album and played only a tiny handful of live shows, but

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