Been trying to post since last night, but up until only the last hour or so Blogger has been down. Anyway, here's a roundup of news, links, and thoughts:
* The Nines are about to unleash a new album, Calling Distance Stations. I have to confess I wasn't too familiar with them, but after reading their pedigree (involvement with the likes of Jason Falkner and Andy Partridge) my interest was piqued. After a listen to four outstanding tracks from the new one at their myspace page, and hearing samples from the rest at Not Lame's special page for them (replete with pre-order goodies), I grabbed their previous release, 2001's Properties of Sound, from eMusic. Just great stuff.
* The new Cheap Trick is ready to hit retail next Tuesday, and it's been mentioned by many as a return to form and their best since anywhere from 1979 to 1997, depending on who's doing the talking. I heard several tracks from it (some are streaming right now at their site), and they sound darn good.
* Speaking of hitting retail, Doug Powell's Four Seasons is out now. I blogged about it when it was announced, leading to a mini-controversy about whether Powell is a "pop genius" or not (see the comments). His versatility is certainly on display here, and the six "New Cars" tracks are worth the price of admission alone.
* An EP worth checking out is Get Steady, by the band Jonny Lives. Listen at their myspace page, where you can also buy the EP. They're garage pop/rock out of NYC with a real melodic sense. Been emphasizing the softer pop/singer-songwriter types quite a bit lately, so it's equal time for those who put the power in power pop.
* Speaking of power in the power pop, I know I mentioned them in passing about a month ago, but I just want to emphasize again what a great record The World Record's Guitars Forever is. One power pop gem after another, with my particular favorites being "See Saw Swell" and "We're #1". If there's any justice in the world, the latter will find some airplay in connection with winning sports teams (it's already my unofficial theme song of the national champion Florida Gator basketball team) with "We Are The Champions" having been done to death. And the song can be heard, along with three others from the album, at their myspace page.
* Another great song that I want to mention is one of my favorites from last year: "Amelia", by the Straw Dogs. The Dogs are one of my favorite poppy Americana bands, and this tune about legendary aviator Amelia Earhart is one of their best. Sung from the perspective of Frederick Noonan, the navigator who accompanied her on their ill-fated flight, it's haunting as well as melodic: "Everyone wants us to be on some island/everyone's hoping that we're still alive/nobody knows we got just what we wanted/we all died." I'm streaming it as my song of the day on the Absolute Powerpop myspace page, and the album can be bought and sampled here.