powerpop Archive

Album Review: Jem Records Celebrates John Lennon

Today would have been John Lennon’s 80th birthday. Cover versions that stick very close to the original version have their place: witness the appeal of tribute bands. But beyond the hey-I-can-do-it angle, they’re more an exercise for the artist than a rewarding experience for the listener. Much better are reinventions, musical excursions whereby an artist

Album Review: Librarians With Hickeys – Long Overdue

I’m a pushover for the big, chiming guitar sound that characterized Big Star and many of the “paisley underground” (or Children of Nuggets, if you prefer) bands that eventually followed in their wake. And a mere five seconds into “Until There Was You,” the opening track on Librarians With Hickeys’ Long Overdue, I knew I

Album Review: Professor and the Madman – Séance

Don’t let the goofy name dissuade you from checking this one out: they may call themselves Professor and the Madman, but this group features some heavyweights. Led by Alfie Agnew and Sean Elliott, and – okay – you may or may not have heard of them. But the band also features a rhythm section of

Album Review: The Brothers Steve – #1

Following a proud rock ‘n’ roll tradition of misleading band names, The Brothers Steve aren’t brothers, and none is named Steve. The L.A.-based band plays its own brand of powerpop, with a healthy dose of bubblegum added into the mix. The band has previous released three singles (including a Christmas-themed one) but their debut album

Album Review: Råttanson — I’d Much Rather Be With the Noise

Nervy, high-octane powerpop is the chosen style for Råttanson, a one-man project from just outside Stockholm. If you’ve discovered the remarkably consistent output from Swedish bands working in the powerpop idiom, you’re likely pre-sold on something like this. Good on you; you won’t come away disappointed. But even those who may not yet have turned

Album Review: The Grip Weeds — Giant on the Beach (Deluxe Anniversary Edition)

Without delving too deeply into the semantics of the phrase, defining power pop can be a daunting proposition. There are some fine if a tad lightweight acts whose music gets the power pop tag. But if one goes back to some of its earliest uses – namely when Pete Townshend may or may not have

Album Reviews: Various Artists — The Big Stir Singles Series

Back in the days when it still actually played music videos, MTV put together a promo clip featuring David Bowie. The Thin White Duke smiled rakishly at the camera and intoned, “Too much is never enough.” And to make sure viewers got the point, Billy Idol, Cyndi Lauper and The Police told them the same.

Album Review: Pop Co-op — Factory Settings

It was more than a decade ago when the Spongetones released what would turn out to be their final album, Scrambled Eggs. The group went out (recording-wise) on a high note, with a collection of songs that stood nicely against a backdrop of great albums going all the way back to 1982’s Beat Music. But

Album Review: The Bye Bye Blackbirds — Boxer at Rest

It’s been nearly three years since the release of The Bye Bye Blackbirds’ previous album, Take Out the Poison (see below for a link to my review of that record). The reasons for that extended quiet period have much to do with the tone of the new record. Guitarist Lenny Gill experienced serious health problems,

Hundred Word Reviews for February 2020

Time for some more quick reviews. All good stuff, all worthy of deeper coverage. And all worth your time if you’re in the mood for some new sounds. Previte / Saft / Cline – Music from the Early 21st Century Bobby Previte is a drummer whose work falls into the avant garde/no wave box. Nels