Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Midweek Roundup.

Now that the top 25 of 1Q08 is out and I'm on the bad side of Bryan Scary fans, it's time to get back to the business of featuring discs:

Eric Salt & The Electric City-The Hail Mary.
Quality debut disc from this Boston band, which Bruce at Not Lame compared to The Figgs. I certainly hear that comparison, as well as latter-day Replacements, especially circa Don't Tell a Soul. Standout tracks: "Pearls", the power ballad "Open Doorway", the poppy "Never Intended" and the rave-up "Corner Store". Now when it comes to Boston and "hail mary", you'll have something other than Doug Flutie to come to mind.
CD Baby | MySpace

It's Over!-That Girl. This Kansas City band has come up with a fine disc of sprightly indie pop, and should appeal to those who enjoyed the Cheeksters disc. Opener "To Be In Love" is a real highlight, melding the indie pop sound with early Beatles while "Hallelujah" reminds me a bit of early Beulah (and not because hallelujah rhymes with Beulah). Other highlights include the shuffling "Good as Gold" and "Open Up Your Heart", which you could almost hear being played in the Cavern Club.
CD Baby | MySpace

Josh Fix-Free at Last
. This one's been out since last fall, but I haven't seen it get much play in the power pop community. Fix is from San Francisco, and there's quite a bit of Queen and Jellyfish influence here. Anyone who loved the recent Jackdaw4 disc will flip over opener "Don't Call Me In The Morning", the piano ballad "Rock and Roll Slut" is a standout, and "Tiger on a Treadmill" is a winner as well.

eMusic | MySpace


Larry said...

Steve, I think I probably speak for every fan of your site when I say we are all tremendously grateful that you even do what you do in the first place.

Absolute Power Pop has been a gift, and I don't think it's possible that you could get on anyone's bad side considering the service you provide to all power pop fans every day.

I don't think you can blame folks for being a tad surprised at the exclusion of "Flight of the Knife" on your top 25 given it's supreme catchiness as well as the many classic power-pop touchstones and flourishes (or at least, the Jellyfish/Checkpoint Charley/Jackdaw4 brand of power-pop) it jackhammers into your brain.

Although that raises an interesting point. In previous conversations we've had, and in posts you yourself have written, you've noted that you tend to lean more toward the singer-songwriter/jangle pop/alt-country end of the power pop spectrum. It does seem like, during the last few years, a lot of so-called "power pop" releases could really be drilled down a bit further into a more specific genre.

Clearly the Jellyfish/Checkpoint Charley/Jackdaw/B. Scary brand places a premium on immediately catchy hooks, and elaborate and intricate instrumentation that still hews to fairly conventional pop song structure, while the Clint Suttons (sorry to keep going back to him, but it's the first example that came to mind) of the world seem to rely more on mid-tempo guitars to drive their melody, and don't really assault the listener with hooks that lodge themselves in your head instantly.

I mean you could almost call bands in the former type of power pop I've described "Hyper-Catchy Power Pop," while groups in the latter could be "Trust Us We're Catchy but You're Really Going to Have to Listen and Listen Good and Even Then You May Not Derive Aural Pleasure Pop."

Obviously I'm ribbing you a bit, but I do think it's become more and more apparent that "power pop" really isn't that apt a description for a lot of the releases that supposedly fall under said label.

Anonymous said...

At this rate Steve you'll need to go into hiding when top 100 comes out. Great reviews great blog. Yet another classic found today -Josh Fix