powerpop Archive

Utopia’s Adventures Continue (Part Two)

Continued from Part One… Ra (1977) The most durable Utopia lineup now in place, the band made a concerted effort toward internal democracy. Or at least as much of a democracy as possible when the group included Rundgren, a star with his own separate record contract. “It was as democratic as any marriage is democratic,”

Utopia’s Adventures Continue (Part One)

In 2018, one of the unlikeliest reunions in rock history became a reality. Todd Rundgren’s Utopia – or at least three-fourths of its 1980s lineup – came back together for a two-month tour, one that would survey the band’s musical journey from a groundbreaking progressive ensemble to a more conventional (yet distinctive) melodic rock band.

Hundred-word Reviews for August 2018, Part 1

Time for some more hundred-word reviews. These days, I’m busier than I’ve ever been, so the only albums to make the cut for review are ones I consider remarkable, special in some significant way. So please consider all of these as recommended titles. Oytun Ersan — Fusiolicious When a release explicitly advertises itself as fusion,

Multiple Discs, Multiple Artists (Part 2 of 2)

Picking up where I left off last time, here’s a look at more multi-disc archival/reissue sets. The Posies – Dear 23 The Posies made a lot of great music before and after their second album. But I’d argue they never made anything as scintillating as Dear 23. The duo of songwriter-singers Jon Auer and Ken

Sloan: A Question of Balance

Canadian rock foursome Sloan is unusual in the context of popular music: the band has been together for more than 25 years without a single change in its lineup. Even more remarkably, all four members of the Toronto-based group sing, play multiple instruments and compose songs. And it’s no leap of logic to observe that

Album Review: The Eyebrows — Volume

Here’s the thing about powerpop: it’s either very good or hopelessly bland. There’s seemingly no middle ground; artists working in the idiom either knock it out of the park – see Badfinger, Gladhands, Greenberry Woods – or the results are faceless and shamelessly imitative. Happily, Charlotte N.C.-based trio the Eyebrows succeed on Volume, their debut

Fifty-word Reviews for July 2018, Part 2

Here’s ten more quick reviews of new music worth your time. Beth McKee — Dreamwood Acres This lovely clutch of original songs features the sultry, soulful vocals of McKee, and the rich instrumentation is built around McKee’s classic electric piano (Wurlitzer, Rhodes), which she plays in a straightforward, non-fussy manner. Imagine Bonnie Raitt playing keys

Fifty-word Reviews for July 2018, Part 1

For years now, I’ve engaged in an occasional series of reviews in which I limit myself to 100 words. The point isn’t at all to give short shrift to these fine releases; instead, it’s to cover albums that would otherwise go unmentioned only for lack of time. Speaking of time, all of these releases are

Hundred-word Reviews: New Releases

There’s quite a massive stack of new (or at least new-when-I got-’em) releases here at Musoscribe World HQ. Time to review them. 6-String Drag – Top of the World (Schoolkids Records) This Raleigh-based group was at the forefront of the Americana scene, back when it didn’t even have a name (some called it alt-country). After

Hundred-word Reviews: Reissues, Archival Releases, Compilations

My shelf full of albums to be reviewed has run out of space. So once again it’s time for a raft of hundred-word reviews. All sixteen titles in this roundup are reissues, compilations and/or archival releases. 6-String Drag – High Hat (Schoolkids Records) Before Americana was coined as a genre, there was alt-country. Combining rock