powerpop Archive

Hundred(plus)-word Reviews for November 2020, Part Four

Here’s a quick look at five new releases. Four are reissues; the other is a compilation of previously-unreleased material. All are simply superb; essential, even. For the first time in a decade-plus, I’ve allowed myself to exceed my 100-word limit. Flamin’ Groovies – Now Originally released in 1978, this album was – intentionally or not

Hundred-word Reviews for November 2020, Part Three

And here’s the last of this current run of hundred-word reviews covering new releases. Soul, powerpop and blues; something for most tastes. All worth your time. Sonny Green – Found! One Soul Singer Don’t let the cheesy, lurid, chartreuse album art dissuade you from the contents: this is the real deal. Sonny Green is one

Hundred-word Reviews for November 2020, Part Two

Here’s five more quick reviews. Powerpop, ambient, jazz and more. Nick Frater – Fast & Loose The title might lead the uninitiated to suspect that Nick Frater’s album is something along the lines of the Stooges. Well, it’s not. Instead, it’s melodic, tuneful and highly appealing rock that has the best elements of subgenres (classic-,

Hundred-word Reviews for November 2020, Part One

Today marks the triumphant return of my hundred-word reviews. My last roundup of new releases in the form of brief critical summaries came way back in February, before the world changed. For awhile there, the steady stream of new releases seemed to slow to a trickle; many planned releases were – quite understandably – put

Modern Strangers: Self-made Men

Infectious tunes like the speedy pop of Modern Strangers’ “Where’s Your Man” – the speedy pop gem that’s the leadoff single from Modern Strangers’ debut album, Dangerous Fiction – combine rock grittiness and the sleek, streamlined vibe of classic pop. Listeners yearning for weepy, introspective balladry are advised to look elsewhere; this band is all

Album Review: Jem Records Celebrates John Lennon

Today would have been John Lennon’s 80th birthday. Cover versions that stick very close to the original version have their place: witness the appeal of tribute bands. But beyond the hey-I-can-do-it angle, they’re more an exercise for the artist than a rewarding experience for the listener. Much better are reinventions, musical excursions whereby an artist

Album Review: Librarians With Hickeys – Long Overdue

I’m a pushover for the big, chiming guitar sound that characterized Big Star and many of the “paisley underground” (or Children of Nuggets, if you prefer) bands that eventually followed in their wake. And a mere five seconds into “Until There Was You,” the opening track on Librarians With Hickeys’ Long Overdue, I knew I

Album Review: Professor and the Madman – Séance

Don’t let the goofy name dissuade you from checking this one out: they may call themselves Professor and the Madman, but this group features some heavyweights. Led by Alfie Agnew and Sean Elliott, and – okay – you may or may not have heard of them. But the band also features a rhythm section of

Album Review: The Brothers Steve – #1

Following a proud rock ‘n’ roll tradition of misleading band names, The Brothers Steve aren’t brothers, and none is named Steve. The L.A.-based band plays its own brand of powerpop, with a healthy dose of bubblegum added into the mix. The band has previous released three singles (including a Christmas-themed one) but their debut album

Album Review: Råttanson — I’d Much Rather Be With the Noise

Nervy, high-octane powerpop is the chosen style for Råttanson, a one-man project from just outside Stockholm. If you’ve discovered the remarkably consistent output from Swedish bands working in the powerpop idiom, you’re likely pre-sold on something like this. Good on you; you won’t come away disappointed. But even those who may not yet have turned