Thursday, October 12, 2006

Major label stuff I'm enjoying.

About 99.9% of the posts on this blog are focused on independent power pop; my primary focus is discovery of new or underpublicized acts, not as a review of all things power pop-related. Nevertheless, once in a while I feel compelled to tout some label releases of people you've probably heard of.

First off is Sean Lennon's Friendly Fire. I thought his first solo release, Into The Sun, was pretty mediocre, but I've consistently enjoyed this one. The sound here is somewhere between Jeff Hanson ("Elliott Smith on helium") and Elliott Smith himself. Of course since Elliott Smith's sound is derived in large part from solo John Lennon, you could just say that Sean is imitating his daddy. Regardless, the songs for the most part are really good, especially "Dead Meat" and "Parachutes".

Next is Ta-Dah, the sophomore (and somewhat sophomoric, but in a good way) effort from The Scissor Sisters. If "Take Your Mama Out" was one of your favorite songs of 2004 (it was for me), you'll like almost all of this disc, as the implied Elton John influence of the debut becomes an overt Elton influence (he helped pen one of the disc's standouts, the hit "I Don't Feel Like Dancin'", and "She's My Man" is a close cousin to "I'm Still Standing"). If you came of age in the late 70s (or even if you didn't), and didn't hate disco but appreciated some of its better efforts, then the Scissors are for you.

Finally, like many I thought that the Strokes' 2001 debut, Is This It, was a great disc despite all its affectations, and like many I've thought their subsequent two discs were largely crap. So it was with some trepdiation that I listened to Yours to Keep, the solo debut of bassist Albert Hammond Jr. But it was a pleasant surprise, much more in the power pop vein than the "new wave" influence in (what was at one point) the Strokes' sound. Right now, it's UK-only, but it's worth seeking out.

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