powerpop Archive

Album Review: Sloan — Commonwealth

Rock fans who fall into a certain age bracket may recall the buzz around the release of Liz Phair‘s major-label debut, 1993’s Exile in Guyville. As the popular story went, the album was a track-by-track feminist response to The Rolling Stones‘ 1972 double LP Exile on Main Street. Or something like that; on close examination,

Album Review: The Legal Matters

My friend Bruce Brodeen occasionally endures some good-natured ribbing for those mini-reviews he penned in his NotLame mail order catalogs of the 90s. If you viewed his writing a certain way, it seemed like he thought everything was great. But I’m reminded of the (possibly apocryphal) conversation between a fan and Raymond Burr of TV’s

Book Review: Power Pop Prime, Vol. 3

Powerpop fans are in some ways like metal fans. They – or shall I say we – are hardcore fanatics of a narrow slice of the pop music spectrum, and the rest of the world looks on wondering what the fuss is all about: “What’s the appeal?” I come here today not to try to

Album Review: The Grip Weeds – Inner Grooves

Longtime fans of The Who may agree that despite its piecemeal nature, Odds and Sods ranks among their best efforts. Freed from the constraints of a unifying thematic approach, that album instead collected a bunch of excellent songs that hadn’t gotten the attention they deserved upon original release. And that’s the approach employed by The

Album Review: American Professionals — We Make It Our Business

Opinions vary – they’re in fact quote polarized on the issue – but people seem to either love or hate powerpop. While at its worst, it’s weak and derivative, at its best, powerpop expresses a sort of exuberance that few other types of music can communicate. When it’s insipid, it suffers from being what the

Album Review: Various — The Del Shannon Tribute: Songwriter Vol. 1

The history of rock’n’roll is littered with artists who — for one reason or another – never quite got their due. Del Shannon is on that list. Best known as the man who gave the world the 1961 hit “Runaway,” he also achieved permanent trivia question-fodder status as the first American to cover a Beatles

Hundred-word Reviews: New Rock/pop

More albums that deserve your time, but that I haven’t the time nor space to cover in a more in-depth fashion. Levin Minnemann Rudess – s/t This project brings together three of the busiest, most in-demand players on the scene today. Tony Levin (King Crimson) has played on literally thousands of sessions. Marco Minnemann is

Clearing the Backlog: Ten Micro-reviews

As the end of 2013 closes in, I look at my inbox and see a massive stack of CDs. Best as I try, I don’t always follow a first-in/first-out policy with regard to covering releases I find worthy. And while my occasional capsule reviews do help reduce the pile of CD on my desk, today

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,