powerpop Archive

Album Review: Shoes – 35 Years: The Definitive Shoes Collection 1977-2012

As Shoes bassist John Murphy told me in our wide-ranging four-part interview, the new 21-cut compilation on Real Gone Music, 35 Years: The Definitive Shoes Collection 1977-2012 is “is a sort of Part Two to Shoes Best,” the 1987 collection released on Shoes’ own Black Vinyl Records. That’s about right; assuming one doesn’t plan to

A Really Big Shoes Interview, Part 4

Continued from Part Three… Bill Kopp: So Ignition is the first new Shoes album in 17 years. It’s an obvious question, but why so long? John Murphy (bass/vocals): It sounds terrible: eighteen years. And of course there was never any grand plan. I think, when I look back at what was happening in the late

A Really Big Shoes Interview, Part 3

Continued from Part Two… Bill Kopp: I think Shoes fans – especially ones outside the Midwest – think of you more as a studio band. Why don’t you play out more, or tour? John Murphy (bass/vocals): Going back to Elektra again, the labels in those days didn’t have much to do with a band’s live

A Really Big Shoes Interview, Part 2

Continued from Part One… Bill Kopp: I bought the Present Tense LP when it came out; I was 13 (fifteen; Math is hard! — bk). Gary Klebe‘s “I Don’t Miss You” got a decent amount of airplay on the rock FM station in Atlanta. Did you have huge hopes for high-profile mainstream commercial blockbuster success

A Really Big Shoes Interview, Part 1

Shoes are that curious breed: a powerpop band that’s consistently lauded critically, but that makes only occasional modest commercial inroads. They’ve been plying their trade – catchy, muscular, hook-filled rock with stellar vocal harmonies – since the mid-1970s. The band seemed poised for breakout fame – possibly as the Next Big Thing after The Cars

Album Review: Various Artists – Buttons: From Champaign to Chicago

Powerpop has always seemed to have its evangelists – the ones who shouted across the rooftops about the transcendent power of their chosen genre. Jordan Oakes was responsible for the (now highly-sought-after) Yellow Pills compilations; Bruce Brodeen ran the venerable Not Lame label – devoted almost wholly to powerpop – for a decade and a

Album Review: Nick Lowe – Jesus of Cool: 30th Anniversary Edition

Nick Lowe had a growing (if still somewhat underground) reputation in 1979. As a producer — mostly for Stiff Records — he had worked the boards on stunning a number of high-profile and successful albums, including ones for Graham Parker, The Damned and Elvis Costello. Lowe had already made a name for himself as bassist

Album Review: The Grip Weeds — House of Vibes Revisited

The 1980s and 90s saw the rise of a rock subgenre/movement dubbed the “paisley underground.” Populated by groups who bowed at the altar of mid-period Beatles and the other finer psych-rock of that era, many of these groups were called to task by critics for their (some said) too-slavish devotion to the sounds of old.

EP Review: Automatic Music Explosion — This Is…

“We wanna play your high school,” announces their MySpace page. This one gave me a real chuckle (and not the condescending kind, either). From the leadoff drum beat of “Take Me Home” (ripped from the Bay City Rollers’ “Saturday Night” and any number of sports cheers) to the faux-snotty vocals that recall Redd Kross, the

Tommy Keene in the Naughties (full interview)

In September 2006 I talked with Tommy Keene about his early brush with success, his new record Crashing the Ether, his disdain of genre labels, and much more. While it started out as an interview, it quickly became a conversation. In our lively and wide-ranging talk, we covered a great deal of material. He gave