powerpop Archive

Some Long-lost Artist Biographies

Way back in the depths of the Great Recession (2007-2009), one of my former writers (from my time as Editor in Chief of a now-defunct magazine I won’t dignify by naming) put me in touch with the good people at Amoeba Music. The California-based record chain had an ambitious plan: creating artist bios to serve

Album Review: The Fad — The Now Sound

If you lived through the early 1980s in the United States – and were old enough to be at least somewhat plugged in to popular culture – you were aware of the proliferation of “new wave” groups. Many of these acts traded in a style of music that drew inspiration from the pre-“rock star” era,

Album Review: The Weeklings

Beginning in the early 1980s out of their home base in Charlotte NC, The Spongetones offered up what was then a new and unique concept: new and original songs, written in the style of The Beatles. Though they’d later expand upon their sound and develop a style they could call their own, on early records

Hundred Word Reviews for May 2015, Part 9

Today’s roundup of capsule reviews focuses on reissues or previously-unreleased material by acts who came to prominence (or something approaching it) in the 1980s or later. Old 97’s – Hitchhike to Rhome In the 1950s, country and rock’n’roll were sometimes hard to discern form one another. Then they split into to two very different styles,

Hundred Word Reviews for May 2015, Part 8

Today, it’s five more capsule reviews. It’s great stuff all, dating from the 1970s. Stories – Stories Untold: The Very Best of Stories The, um, story of Stories in inextricably tied up with that of the Left Banke (“Walk Away Renee”). The music on this set from Real Gone Music draws not only for the

Hundred Word Reviews for May 2015, Part 5

This week of capsule reviews spotlighting new music wraps up today with five releases that all came to me on vinyl. I love vinyl. Did I mention that I really enjoy listening to music on vinyl? Well, I do. Anthony W. Rogers – Wrong… When this record arrived in my mailbox, I thought to myself,

Hundred Word Reviews for May 2015, Part 2

My march through the CD backlog in my office continues today with quick (100-word) looks at five new albums. Though the artists themselves might not always welcome the classification, these are all what I consider powerpop (or guitar pop, if you prefer). Fans of the genre will recognize some of the names as exemplars of

Album Review: Todd Rundgren — At the BBC 1972-1982

Several years back, Todd Rundgren took a proactive approach to the myriad live recordings that exist documenting his long and varied career. A true renaissance man who engenders fierce loyalty in his fan base, Rundgren may still be a “cult artist,” but he’s one of the most well-documented ones. For many years (during the tape-

Album Review: Various Artists — Beyond Belief

Not long ago, a Facebook friend of mine initiated what turned into a lively discussion. Paraphrasing, the open question that he posed was this: What is the artistic/aesthetic value – if any – of so-called “tribute albums?” And because his list of Facebook friends includes a wide variety of music-focused people, the answers could be

Hundred Word Reviews for March 2015, Part 2

Powerpop and jazz rarely go together. But in this edition of hundred-word reviews, they do. $15.00 Available only from Kool Kat Musik The Jeanies – The Jeanies I look back fondly upon the early-to-mid 1980s, an era in which the cost of studio time began to fall within the range of local, unsigned acts. And