powerpop Archive

Hundred-word Reviews, December 2018

This will almost certainly be my last roundup of new releases – capsule review style – for 2018. Lots of great music came out this year; don’t let anyone tell you differently. As always, each of these albums deserves more coverage than I’m able to give here, and each warrants a spin (at least) by

Hundred-word Reviews, November 2018 Part 2

Here we go: even more hundred-word reviews. All new or recent releases, all worth a listen. RC & the Moonpie Band – All This I love me some rock ‘n’ roll. And I like (and occasionally love) the blues. What I enjoy far less often is the point on the Venn Diagram in which the

Hundred-word Reviews, November 2018 Part 1

More hundred-word reviews. If you’ve wandered in here before, you know the drill: they’re all worthwhile and deserve deeper coverage. These ten are all archival, reissue or compilation releases. Oakland Elementary School Arkestra – The Saga of Padani Let’s begin by acknowledging that this disc isn’t for all tastes. Imagine the Residents meeting Sun Ra,

Listen to This: The Zuider Zee Story (Part 2)

Continued from Part One… After the Shine’s Gone Looking back some forty-plus years, Orange isn’t sure what plans –if any – CBS/Columbia had for his group. “I remember thinking, ‘Well, we’re with the largest record company in the business, so that’s got to mean something,’” he says. He does recall playing a gig at Alex

Listen to This: The Zuider Zee Story (Part 1)

(An edited version of this story appeared previously in Goldmine.) In 1975, a Memphis-based band called Zuider Zee recorded an album for Columbia Records. The melodic, power pop-leaning collection of songs was released, and it didn’t sell. Zuider Zee never made another album. But that wasn’t the end of the story. In fact it was

Sloan: Past, Present and Future

Indie rockers Sloan have built an impressive body of work since forming in Halifax, Nova Scotia back in 1991. Whether the foursome should be classified as indie rock or power pop is open for debate; what’s certain is that the group makes memorable, hooky rock in a style that recalls both the Beatles and Fountains

Hundred-word Reviews for September 2018

Time once again for some 100-word reviews. Please note that I receive many albums each day for review consideration; even when allowing for the fact that 80-90% of them don’t make the cut for coverage/review, there are still far too many to cover. What that means in practical terms is twofold: (1) the only way

Album Review: Redd Kross — Third Eye

Redd Kross’ Third Eye was released mid-September 1990. Notwithstanding the pop singles charts (then topped by a Latin dance pop ditty called “If Wishes Came True”), the rock scene was dominated then by acts like Jane’s Addiction, Gene Loves Jezebel and the ubiquitous and gruesome “Joey” from Concrete Blonde. Into that relatively dour and joyless

Utopia’s Adventures Continue (Part Four)

Continued from Part Three… Redux ’92: Live in Japan (1993) Six years after disbanding, Utopia surprised most onlookers by regrouping for a run of concerts in Japan. The shows were well-received, and a live recording was released on compact disc and video the following year. “I look at that video,” Sulton says, “and I think,

Utopia’s Adventures Continue (Part Three)

Continued from Part Two… Utopia (1982) Meanwhile, Rundgren, Wilcox and Powell had continued without Sulton, adding bassist Doug Howard as they began work on a new album for Network Records. The new-wave flavored Utopia featured some of the band’s strongest songwriting to date. “It was a very collaborative period,” says Wilcox. Once Sulton came back