Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Pre-Thanksgiving Roundup.

Since most of you will have a nice long weekend off, I've assembled a roundup of discs that you can use that extra time to give a listen to, none of which are turkeys:

The Soundabout-Chasing Ghosts. Pasadena, California is primarily known for being the home of the Rose Bowl (and parade) as well as for the little old lady in the Beach Boys song, but it's also home to Daniel Cleland, a/k/a The Soundabout. Cleland lists the Beatles, XTC, The Shins and My Morning Jacket as influences, and while some mixture of these bands yields an approximation of his sound, I also hear heartland rock like the Wallflowers in the opener "The Things You Come to Love". "As It Goes" has the buoyancy of some of the Shins' better efforts, while "Finding My Way There" shares its anthemic quality with The Jayhawks' "Smile". Another winner here is "Underground" with its "ooh-ooh-ooh" hook. Viva Pasadena! CD Baby | MySpace

The Slingsby Hornets-Introducing The Slingsby Hornets
. I can't say that this is the crowning artistic achievement of the year in power pop, but I will say that this is one of the more fun and unique releases of the year. The brainchild of Englishman Jon Paul Allen, it's billed as "the sound of the best 70's school disco you never went to". The 10-track disc alternates originals and cheesy 70's covers such as "Love Will Keep Us Together", "Calling Occupants", and "My Sharona" (plus this hidden bonus track, a cover of the theme to "Jamie and the Magic Torch"). But it's the originals that make the disc: "The Man From Yesterday" slots in somewhere between Jellyfish and Teenage Fanclub; "I Love That Sound" has a bit of a T-Rex thing going for it; "Stop The Rain" is a pretty, psych-pastoral piece, and "Purple Roses (Fade Away) actually reminds me a bit of Cotton Mather. CD Baby | MySpace

Pinto-Hook Me Up. If you liked the self-titled disc from The Tangerines that came out early this year, you'll love this one; it's quintessential Swedish power pop, full of pleasing melodies, midtempo jangly sounds and earnest but slightly accented vocals. Highlights include the wonderful opener "Here Comes The Love", "We Breathe Too Much", "This Picture Needs a Frame" and "Talk to Me", the latter sounding like a lost Latebirds track. CD Baby | MySpace

The Backroom-Reagan Era Rocketship
. Stumbling across this Chicago band's debut disc was a pleasant surprise - they have a polished, radio-ready sound without sounding overly derivative or lowest-common-denominator-oriented. "Lost Without You", the leadoff track, is so good that I urge you to click the MySpace link below this very second and give it a listen. It really ought to be on the radio. And while the remaining 14 tracks have a tough act to follow, several stand out in their own right, including the Posies-ish "Forevermore", the peppy indie-poppy "Better Time Than Now", and the driving "'Loads of Love'", which merits its own 46-second introductory track. CD Baby | MySpace

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