powerpop Archive

Album Review: Game Theory — Lolita Nation

I know people who are way-into the rock subgenre known as power pop. I’m one of those people myself, and I make no apologies for it. And while most aficionados of the style acknowledge the debt owed to earlier pioneers such as Badfinger, The Raspberries and a select few others from that era, the mention

Album Mini-review: The Junior League — “Also Rans”

File Next to: Sloan, The dB’s, Minus 5 Indie label Kool Kat Musik has carved out a solid (if exceedingly tiny) niche as a purveyor of power pop, that oft-maligned subgenre of music which features sharp hooks, strong melodies, and – say its detractors – a slavish lack of originality. But even listeners who aren’t

Album Mini-review: The Turnback — Are We There Yet?

File Next to: Greenberry Woods, Foo Fighters, Green Day Big, roaring guitars that recalls Foo Fighters as much as Cheap Trick are the calling card of the supremely melodic sophomore release from this New York City-based trio. Highly charged close harmonies are supported by muscular, no-frills backing that is catchy without making any obvious concessions

Album Mini-review: DM3 — West of Anywhere

File Next to: Shoes, Cheap Trick, Raspberries If you were American and into power pop, the 1990s was a decade filled with riches. You could blissfully ignore all that dreadful hair metal and the wooly, flannel-shirted grunge scene, and instead enjoy the high-octane, hook-filled pleasures of music from Jellyfish, Redd Kross, Matthew Sweet, Michael Penn,

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