powerpop Archive

Quick Takes, Part Three

Today I take a quick look at ten archival releases of note. Tim Buckley — Wings: The Complete Singles 1966-1974 The music of Tim Buckley (yeah, late father of the late Jeff Buckley) has earned a reputation as difficult. And while I’m not here to flatly counter that impression, I must say that this collection

Quick Takes, Part Two

More quick-take reviews … Pop Co-op – Four State Solution Making an album via file sharing – instead of the old-fashioned method of gathering in a studio – is now a well-established practice. The title of this set refers to the approach used to make it. Steve Stoeckel’s name will be familiar to pop connoisseurs;

Album Review: The Jigsaw Seen — For the Discriminating Completist

File next to: Baby Lemonade, The Who, Fountains of Wayne Laboring just below the radar for more than a quarter century, Los Angeles-based The Jigsaw Seen have been releasing consistently satisfying records since its 1990 debut, Shortcut Through Clown Alley. The group’s body of work shows its musical inventiveness and effective synthesis of a wide

Sneakers: A Walk Through Powerpop History, Part 2

Continued from Part One … Speaking of wanting (or not wanting) to know, around the time that the original Sneakers EP was released, the band couldn’t get many gigs. In fact, according to Unofficial Sneakers Historian and bassist Robert Keely, Sneakers’ 2016 reunion performance at the Hopscotch Festival in Raleigh was exactly the band’s ninth

Sneakers: A Walk Through Powerpop History, Part 1

In the histories of power pop, indie rock and college rock (and whatever you want to call the musical scene that bubbled under in North Carolina several decades back), there’s one band that elicits approving nods whenever it’s mentioned. Sneakers never released a full album and played only a tiny handful of live shows, but

Album Mini-review: The Legal Matters — Conrad

File next to: Wings, Lannie Flowers Power pop is the Rodney Dangerfield of the rock world: it gets no respect. Detractors call it shamelessly derivative and lightweight. Those who have a soft spot for the subgenre, on the other hand, appreciate the chiming, sticky-sweet melodies and sharp hooks. Michigan’s the Legal Matters – a trio

Album Mini-review: Various Artists — Friends and Frenemies

File next to: Sloan, Matthew Sweet Based in the redwoods of Northern California, Allen Clapp‘s Mystery Lawn Music has in recent years become a trademark of pop music quality. Originally formed as a vehicle to self-release 20/20 – perhaps the best album by his group the Orange Peels – Clapp’s label has become a collective

Teenage Fanclub is Here and to Stay

Glasgow, Scotland-based Teenage Fanclub is quite popular in Great Britain; 9 of the band’s 11 studio albums have charted there. Here in the US, their albums haven’t sold as well; they have had to be content with uniformly positive critical raves along with a small but fiercely loyal fan base. Those fans have their own

Hundred-word Reviews for Nov./Dec. 2016, Part 10 of 10

Two weeks of capsule reviews wrap up today with the final five. The Well Wishers – Comes and Goes Style: powerpop Jeff Shelton is the Well Wishers. And he’s quite prolific: I think I’ve seen at least four of his albums come across my desk. He’s part of that breed that writes and plays everything

Hundred-word Reviews for Nov./Dec. 2016, Part 9 of 10

Gary Ritchie – Poptimistic Style: powerpop Melodic, good-natured powerpop is the order of the day on Ritchie’s new album. Musical touchstones include the obvious ones (Beatles, Raspberries, Romantics) and some perhaps less obvious ones (he reminds me a good bit of Donnie Iris). There’s always room on my shelf for some quirk-free rock ‘n’ roll,