powerpop Archive

November 100-word Reviews, Part 5

My current crop of hundred-word reviews wraps up with some odds and ends, all worth a listen. I generally don’t review from MP3 files, but in a few cases I make exceptions. Three of those are here. Fischer’s Flicker – Fornever and Never Scott Fischer operates under this nom de pop to make his uptempo,

Anton Barbeau’s Traveling Magic Act, Part 3

Continued from Part Two… Anton Barbeau feels similarly about progressive rock. “At one point, I decided, ‘Oh, I don’t like that stuff at all.’ But not long ago on one of the XTC [online] forums, people were debating how much of a prog band XTC was.” He continued, “And I see it now, even though

Anton Barbeau’s Traveling Magic Act, Part 2

Continued from Part One… Once Anton Barbeau realized that the new album wouldn’t be a Three Minute Tease project, he “started looking around for other ways of doing it. I was back in Sacramento, and I had always had musician friends there. So I called some of them up. And,” he added, “that’s normal for

Anton Barbeau’s Traveling Magic Act, Part 1

From my point of view, it’s a strange world in which a recording artist can craft highly melodic, accessible tunes, release a long string of consistently well-regarded albums, and still go largely unnoticed in the commercial marketplace. But of course, such circumstances happen all the time. Even if one allows for the lack of commercial

Album Mini-review: Tommy Keene — Laugh in the Dark

File Next to: Marshall Crenshaw, Smithereens, Matthew Sweet A dedicated soldier in power pop’s ongoing struggle for critical and commercial success, Keene is at the top of the genre in terms of both quality and consistency. His preternatural abilities – crafting a sharp hook; wrapping it in a memorable, powerful melody; and applying heartfelt, often

Album Mini-review: Pugwash — Play This Intimately (As If Among Friends)

File Next to: Fountains of Wayne, XTC, Electric Light Orchestra This may just be the effort that pays off for guitarist-singer-songwriter Thomas Walsh and his bandmates. The Dublin-based band has released six albums, including three – count ’em: three – best-ofs on three different labels. Though critically acclaimed, Pugwash haven’t gained traction in the American

Pugwash: “Don’t Expect One Direction. Expect no direction.”

Pugwash haven’t become a household word in the United States, but it’s not for lack of effort. With their winning melodies, sharp hooks and winsome lyrics, the Dublin, Ireland-based group is a critics’ darling. The group made its southeastern USA debut at The Altamont Theatre on Friday, September 4. No less than three separate record

Hundred-word Reviews for September, Part 5 of 8

Lightening the mood a bit today with some power-pop leaning releases, leavened with some heavier, more adventurous sounds. The Prime Ministers – Youngstown Milk Run Don’t allow yourself to be put off by the song titles that make use of tired Prince-isms (“Can U B My Dreams,” “I Wait 4 Your Guitar”). The songs are

Hundred-word Reviews for September, Part 4 of 8

More quickie reviews today. Some familiar names, some not-so-well-known ones. All worth a spin. John Wetton – New York Minute This disc – recorded live at New York City’s Iridium in fall 2013 – has an odd, busman’s holiday quality about it. Though Wetton is pictured with a guitar, on the record he’s just singing.

Six Years of Musoscribe: Power Pop

One of my abiding musical loves – and not a guilty pleasure, not at all – is the style known as power pop. At present I even play in a band that covers the classics of the genre. Over the years I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing a number of artists associated with the genre