big stir records Archive

Album Review: Maple Mars – Someone’s Got to Listen

When Maple Mars released Galaxyland in 2010, I was thrilled. Thought it was the group’s fourth album, Galaxyland was my introduction to the group led by Rick Hromadka. And what an introduction it was, drawing from some of the best high-energy and creative influences in rock, yet never becoming overwhelmed by them. In short, Maple

Album Review: Walker Brigade — If Only

If we’re honest, it’s not the hardest thing in the world to create a batch of hard rocking tunes. It’s substantially more challenging to write durable melodies, and/or to create meaningful lyrics that exude passion, commitment and authenticity. And to do all of those things at once is a rare feat indeed. But a new

Album Review: Spygenius — Jobbernowl

Those Cantabrigian masters of melody are at it again. Jobbernowl may sport an inscrutable title, but the music is accessible in the extreme. Spygenius’ knowing way with ear candy tune creation is showcased once again on their latest release. The wordplay that is a baked-in characteristic of their music crops up immediately: the opening sonic

Album Review: Chris Church — Darling Please

The Posies came out of the Pacific Northwest with a sound that had little to do with grunge; the duo (later a full band) combined power pop sensibility with a shoegaze aesthetic, seamlessly welding sterling melodies and heart-rending vocals/lyrics to emotionally charged, powerful and soaring rock. Why, one may well ask, am I introducing a

Album Review: Lannie Flowers — Flavor of the Month

Texas singer, songwriter and guitarist Lannie Flowers is a giant in the power pop subgenre. His body of work showcases chiming, hooky and melodic songs with an immediate, relatable character. His 2019 release, Home took things in a slightly different direction, leaning in more of an acoustic/Americana style. Though widely acclaimed, Home remained something of

Hundred-word Reviews, March 2021

Hey, kids: collect ’em all! Five new albums, all highly recommended. Here’s the lowdown on each, in exactly 100 words per. Maxwell Farrington & Le SuperHomard – Once If you’re at all like me, you often find yourself sitting around pondering this age-old question: “What would it sound like if Lee Hazlewood recorded an album

Hundred-word Reviews: February 2021, Part 1

The majority among these five lean in a powerpop direction. Rob Fetters – Ship Shake If Fetters’ name strikes you as familiar, that may be because you fondly remember The Bears, the arty powerpop group featuring him and Adrian Belew. And maybe you incorrectly assumed that Belew’s prodigious creativity was the Bears’ sole center of

Album Reviews: Big Stir Singles — The Seventh and Eighth Waves

Time was, Jordan Oakes reigned as the tastemaker supreme in the powerpop world. His Yellow Pills compilation series shone a light on the very best that the genre had to offer. And the four volumes in the series – all quite expensive today if you can even find them (you can’t have mine) – hammered

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: 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