powerpop Archive

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,

Hundred-word Reviews for Nov./Dec. 2016, Part 7 of 10

Farewell Milwaukee – FM Style: heartland jangle-rock Jangling guitars, good-timin’ harmonica, well-worn chord changes … those are the key ingredients in the musical recipe for this album. Familar echoes of John Mellencamp, R.E.M., Gin Blossoms are found throughout the thirteen tracks. But there’s more at work, too: “Figure You out” has a nice southern soul

Making the Case for Peter Case

Listeners who had been following the work of Peter Case may have been confused – frustrated, even – upon first hearing his self-titled 1986 debut album. The work he had done up to that point was highly appealing, sure-footed power pop and/or indie rock (though the latter term wasn’t in use back then). As one-third

Nada Surf Still Believes in the Rock Album

Brooklyn-based Nada Surf has been called an indie rock band and a power pop group. Drummer Ira Elliot is less concerned with how the group is labeled than he is getting in front of new audiences. And in an era when streaming playlists and downloads dominate, he and his band mates still put value in

Nada Surf: Surf’s Up in Europe

New York City-based Nada Surf has been making albums and touring since 1992. And while their albums fare well among critics, they haven’t managed to break into the top tier of well-known rock bands. At least not in their home country. But in Europe, it’s a different matter. “We’ve worked really hard to cultivate various

Hundred-word Reviews for September 2016, Part 3

Cutting a swath through the pile of CDs in my inbox, here I present five more quick reviews. Maynard Ferguson – Complete High Voltage The 1980s aren’t generally thought of as a fertile period in the jazz idiom. Fusion had had its moment, and what most people though of jazz in the 80s was a