powerpop Archive

Album Review: Jellyfish — Radio Jellyfish

It’s pointless (not to mention plain wrong) to argue against the assertion that the “unplugged” concept had played itself out by the middle of the 1990s. But the format – originally devised (with others) by Jules Shear – was itself a good one: stripped-down, intimate live performances of rock songs. That concept was oft-abused and

Album Review: The Paley Brothers — The Complete Recordings

File these guys under Music You Probably Missed. Chalk it up to record execs not knowing exactly what to do with The Paley Brothers, or perhaps assign some of the blame to the artists themselves for not fitting neatly into a “box” as the record business demanded (and demands) of recording artists. Whatever the reason,

Album Review: The Bye Bye Blackbirds — We Need the Rain

Since getting into this whole Musoscribe racket, I’ve noticed an interesting phenomenon when it comes to that rock genre known as powerpop. Specifically, when some of its most celebrated practitioners – I’m not naming names, but suffice to say these are people I’ve interviewed – are confronted with the idea that they play powerpop, they

X Marks the Spot: The 2013 Richard X Heyman Interview, Part Two

Continued from Part One Bill Kopp: You’ve long been one of those artists who can handle everything in the studio; other than Nancy engineering, most of your albums have featured you on nearly everything. But sometimes you’ve brought in other musicians. On X you’re back to playing and singing everything. What to you is the

X Marks the Spot: The 2013 Richard X Heyman Interview, Part One

Richard X Heyman is nominally a powerpop artist, but ever since his first solo album in 1988, there has been a lot more going on in his music than a slavish devotion to a certain subset of rock history. He’s long synthesized a wide swath of influences into his music, crating his own identifiable sound

Book Review: Boys Don’t Lie: A History of Shoes

Sidestepping tired allusions to Boston‘s Tom Scholz, Guns’n’Roses and Chinese democracy, Boys Don’t Lie: A History of Shoes was a long time coming. Author Mary Donnelly began work on the book several years ago. Lots and lots (and lots) of interviews would form the basis of this exhaustive and supremely well-researched tome, and then various

Album Review: Tommy Keene – Excitement At Your Feet

There’s a fascinating thread that has run through my interviews with recording artists over the last several years. Not surprisingly, many of my favorite musicians are also world-class fans. And in the more in-depth conversations, talk has often turned to our shared admiration of the work of some other artist. Many of these people –

Album Review: The Swimming Pool Q’s – The A&M Years

The music scene likes its labels, it it has always been thus. It’s the rare band that defies easy categorization and still enjoys some measure of commercial success; one has to play the game to win, so to speak. But one band that critics and others never really could pin down stylewise was Atlanta’s Swimming

Album Review: Big Star – Nothing Can Hurt Me

On paper, it reads like textbook case in how not to succeed, how not to make a mark in musical history: release your debut on a label rife with distribution problems; have one of your two main songwriters leave before the second album is done; record a gauzy, downbeat and decidedly noncommercial third album with

Album Review: Various Artists — Drink a Toast to Innocence

As far back as the 1980s, the great philosopher Huey Lewis proclaimed that it’s “hip to be square.” Good thing, that, because like many of my rock’n’roll fan contemporaries, I got my musical start buying albums (cassettes, really) by some of the soft-sounds purveyors of the early 70s: The Carpenters, Sonny and Cher, Jim Croce