powerpop Archive

Album Review: The Krayolas — Happy Go Lucky

If the Smithereens were from Texas instead of New Jersey – and if they built on their Beatles influences not by exploring an affinity for Black Sabbath but instead for the Sir Douglas Quintet – then they might sound a bit like The Krayolas. With a chirpy demeanor, jangling guitars and peppy hand claps, The

Album Review: Jem Records Celebrates Pete Townshend

Too often, various-artists tribute albums are like celebrity roasts: it’s far less about the ostensible honoree, and for more about the roasters (or, in this case, “tributers”). And I’m on record stating my assertion that few tribute projects add much of value to the music. But there are exceptions, and they make the whole concept

DVD Review: Waiting – The Van Duren Story

In recent years, a remarkably personal style of documentary has come into vogue. Whereas in a traditional documentary, the narrator is both invisible and omniscient, and this new (or newly popular) style, the narrator is very much part of the story, and said narrative tends toward subjectivity. In and of itself, the approach is not

Album Review: SVT — Always Comes Back

As I’ve mentioned before, SVT is the band most often named among those interviewed for my latest book as the Bay Area band most deserving of greater success than they found. With a sound that touched on new wave, punk and power pop and featured the extraordinarily talented Jack Casady (Jefferson Airplane, Hot Tuna) on

Hundred-word Reviews for May 2022, Part 1

It’s time for some more hundred-word reviews. These quick capsule reviews get to the point quickly, and readers should note that all come recommended. Don’t be misled by the lack of a longer treatment of these releases; all are worth your time. Amoeba Teen – Amoeba Teen This band’s 2018 compilation Selection Box Vol. 1

DVD Review: SVT – The Price of Sex

SVT is one of the coolest bands you’ve likely never heard of. Led by singer, songwriter and guitarist Brian Marnell, this San Francisco-based band had talent to burn, combining musical muscle with sharp songwriting. But the group didn’t last long, and their recorded output was limited to a couple of singles, and EP and one

Album Review: Scott McCarl — Play On

I am sure we can agree as to the wonderfulness that is The Raspberries’ catalog. “Go All the Way” is pop perfection, taking the “don’t bore us; get to the chorus” aesthetic to the extreme in its quest for rock’n’roll transcendence. And though they released only four albums in their ‘70s run, what a great

Hundred-word Reviews for April 2022, Part 1

It’s been awhile since I’ve done a set of hundred-word reviews. Content slowed to a trickle during the worst of the pandemic. But now things seem to be headed toward a “new normal.” So here are looks at a pile of new releases, all of which warrant further investigation. Rick Holmstrom – Get It! Inexplicably,

Album Review: The Split Squad – Another Cinderella

The “supergroup” label is tossed around far too wantonly; in proper usage, it should only be applied to groups that feature members who have all achieved notability (or at least notoriety) individually and/or as members of other groups. By that strict measure, The Split Squad is indeed a supergroup, and a super one at that.

Album Review: Lannie Flowers — Flavor of the Month

Texas singer, songwriter and guitarist Lannie Flowers is a giant in the power pop subgenre. His body of work showcases chiming, hooky and melodic songs with an immediate, relatable character. His 2019 release, Home took things in a slightly different direction, leaning in more of an acoustic/Americana style. Though widely acclaimed, Home remained something of