powerpop Archive

Album Review: Hot Nun – Hot Nun

When the self-titled CD from Hot Nun arrived in my mailbox recently, it seemed oddly familiar to me. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but the package’s graphic design was reminiscent – not in actual look, but rather in style – of something else in my collection. When I opened up the gatefold

Album Review: Skrang: Sounds Like Bobby Sutliff

Positive things can spring from tragedy. This isn’t to suggest even for a moment that they mitigate the tragedy, or that they’re some sort of silver lining. But still. I’m not sure how, but I completely missed the music of The Windbreakers. Often mentioned in the same breath as Rain Parade, and associated with the

Album Review: True Hearts – s/t

In addition to their esteemed role as one of the go-to labels for new powerpop (and, I understand, alt.country), Kool Kat Musik has taken on an additional role: powerpop archivist. With their latest unearthing of the 1980 self-titled release from True Hearts, the label continues its fine work. The songs on True Hearts absolutely scream

Book (P)review: Boys Don’t Lie – A History of Shoes

On my desk at the moment is a pre-release Kindle copy of Mary E. Donnelly‘s long awaited book about the Zion, IL powerpop group. Shoes began their recording career in the 1970s and continue to present-day; in fact they’ll be making a relatively rare live appearance soon, at this year’s SXSW. (If you’re going to

Album Review: Jamie & Steve — Imaginary Café

I’ve probably told the story before: growing up in Atlanta, I discovered the Spongetones‘ debut LP Beat Music in the bin of an indie record shop not long after its release. I was taken in first by the cover photos, images that clearly suggested these guys has a Beatles fixation (always a good thing in

Album Review: The Cleaners From Venus – Living With Victoria Grey

I sometimes wonder if Martin Newell gets tired of all the Ray Davies comparisons. I mean, the man (Newell) has released something like thirty or forty albums (many of these on cassette, back in the 1980s) as Cleaners From Venus, Brotherhood of Lizards, and under his own name. While many of these were zero-budget, decidedly

Capsule Reviews: January 2013, Part Two

Here’s another installment in my occasional series of capsule reviews, this time covering new releases by indie/self-released artists. My self-imposed limit for this particular exercise is 150 words on each album. War Poets – Dulce et Decorum Est Every so often an act comes along that is – or at least seems to be –

Album Review: A Fragile Tomorrow – Be Nice Be Careful

As baseball boffin / bowtied blowhard George Will likes to begin especially forceful pronouncements, “It is axiomatic.” What exactly is axiomatic in this case? That big-label backing does not always equal quality music, and that indie- or self-released label product isn’t always unworthy of national attention. I mention this not only to get in a

I’m in the Fan Club: A Conversation with Jellyfish’s Roger Manning, Part Two

Continued from Part One… Bill Kopp: I remember one of those live-in-the-studio sessions you did back around the time of the second album. It was for 99X, a radio station in Atlanta (WNNX-FM). The thing I remember most from the interview part of that session – and I don’t know if it was you or

I’m in the Fan Club: A Conversation with Jellyfish’s Roger Manning, Part One

Jellyfish was one of the great bands of the early 90s. At a time when pop music had lost its way – or at least moved away from the things that made it such a culturally vital part of previous times (most notably the 70s), the Jellyfish approach celebrated the bombast and excess of rock/pop,