powerpop Archive

Hundred Word Reviews for January 2018, Part 1

As we begin another calendar year, now seems like a good time to clear out some of my backlog. All of these albums are new (or at least newish) releases. Paul Moran – Smokin’ B3 Vol. 2: Still Smokin’ As a lover of soulful organ jazz a la Jimmy Smith, I was taken in by

Hundred-word Reviews for December 2017: New Music

As the end of 2017 approaches, it’s time to clear out some of the backlog on my review shelf. Here are ten titles, all new music, that I think might be worth your time. For the sake of brevity (not to mention expediency), each review is kept here to 100 words. Ella Atlas – The

Ten 100-word Reviews: Archival/Reissue Releases

With a great deal of my time these days spent working on my new book and various artist interviews, I tend to amass a backlog of albums for review. To lessen that backlog, I present ten reviews, each distilled down to its essence. Or at least to 100 words. All of these titles are reissues,

Hundred-word Reviews for October 2017: New Music

Here’s ten more hundred-word reviews. All new releases. All worth a spin, and in most cases, several spins. The Fresh & Onlys – Wolf Lie Down (Sinderlyn) I’m not sure what wave of psychedelia revival we’re on these days: fourth? Fifth? No matter. And anyway, the Fresh & Onlys have long since moved beyond the

Hundred-word Reviews: September 2017

Time for some more hundred-word reviews; new music from many different genres. Linsey Alexander – Two Cats (Delmark) A lot of modern-day blues has a sterility that makes it the sonic equivalent of a museum display: too perfect, too slick, soulless. Linsey Alexander is having none of that on Two Cats. The 75-year old blues

Album Review: Various Artists — Songs, Bond Songs

Andrew Curry‘s label has released an impressive clutch of tribute-type albums, including ones focusing on 80s pop, “lite rock” and so on. For the most part, the artists involved tend to fall at least loosely into the power pop subgenre. Curry Cuts’ latest project is Songs, Bond Songs. And as the title (and wonderfully clever

Album Review: The Bye Bye Blackbirds — Take Out the Poison

The Bye Bye Blackbirds’ fourth album, 2015’s We Need the Rain was characterized by a seeming desire to exemplify the best of what makes powerpop appealing while moving beyond its relatively confining parameters on some of the album’s material. While We Need the Rain was an excellent record, the presence of those twin goals made

Matthew Sweet on Tomorrow and Thereafter

Nearly six years passed between the release of Modern Art, Matthew Sweet’s 11th album, and 2017’s Tomorrow Forever. In the interim, the songwriter-guitarist released a third album of covers with Susanna Hoffs, moved back to his native Nebraska, and embarked upon a Kickstarter crowd funding campaign to finance his latest album. And while the 17-track

Matthew Sweet: Tomorrow is Here (Part 2)

Continued from Part One… Crowd funding an album is a new experience for Matthew Sweet, and so far it’s been a very positive experience. The campaign for Tomorrow Forever took in nearly twice its target amount of $32,000. But Sweet says that the raw numbers are a bit misleading. “I did really well in what

Matthew Sweet: Tomorrow is Here (Part 1)

Matthew Sweet started out making music in his hometown of Lincoln, Nebraska. Moving to Athens for college, he fell in with the vibrant music scene there, playing with Oh-OK and The Buzz of Delight. After scoring a record deal with Columbia (and then with A&M), Sweet released a pair of albums (1986’s Inside and 1989’s