powerpop Archive

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

Hundred-word Reviews for February 2019

I’ve been doing these hundred-word reviews for many years now; they’re a handy way to communicate my enthusiasm for new and newly-reissued albums without taking the time for a deep-dive critical assessment. Here’s my second installment for 2019, featuring five new titles along with five reissue, compilation and/or archival releases. Divine Weeks – We’re All

Hundred-word Reviews for January 2019

The backlog is threatening to get unmanageable once again. As a kind of editorial pressure release valve, here’s a quick look at ten worthy albums that have recently crossed my desk. All new music. Paul Kelly – Nature Some artists accumulate a body of work that all ties together in a neat fashion. Paul Kelly

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