powerpop Archive

Album Review: Sorrows – Love Too Late…the real album

Here’s a record with a helluva story. After making an excellent melodic rock album in 1980’s Teeenage Heartbreak, Sorrows (no “the”) went to England to record their second LP with expat producer Shel Talmy producing. Apparently no one involved was happy with the results, and the resulting release, Love Too Late, sank without a trace.

Album Review: Jim Basnight and The Moberlys – Seattle – New York – Los Angeles

Describing something as underrated is sometimes little more than a lazy way of approaching an artist’s work. But it can have useful meaning. In the case of The Moberlys, the group could well be described that way. But the label doesn’t quite get to the heart of the matter: how can you be underrated if

Album Review: Various Artists — Big Stir Singles: The Ninth Wave

Maybe it’s because I’m a writer, but when I encounter an album that includes liner notes, I tend to read before I listen. Or, at least I’ll start to read as I pop the disc into the player (or if I’m lucky, I’ll drop the needle into the groove.) And that’s the approach I took

Album Review: Your Academy

At the risk of over-indulging in generalities and attempting to make things neater than they really are, when one thinks of American powerpop, the style can – to some extent – be further divided into regional styles. There’s the L.A. skinny-tie new wave variety, exemplified by The (Paul Collins) Beat. There’s the Midwestern style, including

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

Book Review: Paul Collins — I Don’t Fit In

One of the finest among the so-called new wave bands of the late-late-late ‘70s and very early 80s (the subgenre’s peak period) was The Beat. Renamed Paul Collins Beat to differentiate itself from the similarly-named UK ska-rock band (renamed to the English Beat, the group led by guitarist Paul Collins made some compelling music that

Album Review: Jim Basnight — Jokers, Idols & Misfits

What an interesting idea for an album. Yes, a collection of covers presented by an artist who writes his own music isn’t at all without precedent. But on Jokers, Idols & Misfits, Jim Basnight pays tribute to the wide range of artists whose work has inspired and informed his own. Twenty-one tunes – one each

Hundred-word Reviews, March 2021

Hey, kids: collect ’em all! Five new albums, all highly recommended. Here’s the lowdown on each, in exactly 100 words per. Maxwell Farrington & Le SuperHomard – Once If you’re at all like me, you often find yourself sitting around pondering this age-old question: “What would it sound like if Lee Hazlewood recorded an album

Hundred-word Reviews: February 2021, Part 1

The majority among these five lean in a powerpop direction. Rob Fetters – Ship Shake If Fetters’ name strikes you as familiar, that may be because you fondly remember The Bears, the arty powerpop group featuring him and Adrian Belew. And maybe you incorrectly assumed that Belew’s prodigious creativity was the Bears’ sole center of

Album Reviews: Big Stir Singles — The Seventh and Eighth Waves

Time was, Jordan Oakes reigned as the tastemaker supreme in the powerpop world. His Yellow Pills compilation series shone a light on the very best that the genre had to offer. And the four volumes in the series – all quite expensive today if you can even find them (you can’t have mine) – hammered