Geoff Smith-Ones and Os. Geoff Smith is back with Ones and 0s, the followup to his fine 2006 release Geoff Smith & The Tonewheels (#13 in my 2006 list). As might be gleaned from the title, digital music is the theme here, with references galore to mp3s, URLs, podcasts and the like; it might be the first-ever power pop computer geek concept album (just check out the song titles). Smith's way with melody is still present, and he manages a couple of good Beatle pastiches with "Hello Hello" (think "Hello Goodbye") and "Talk Like a Man", which borrows liberally from "Lady Madonna". Good stuff, both in spite of and because of the subject matter.
Stratocruiser-Egg Shells. A search of the AbPow archives reveals that I've never mentioned this North Carolina band on this site before - an oversight that's being remedied right now. This is their third full-length, and possibly their best yet. For the unfamiliar, the sound here is heavier power pop, with almost a 70's AOR sound. "Try" and "Clear as Day" are a cross between Aerosmith, Cheap Trick and Collective Soul, while "Cracked Up" and "I Think So" are classic southern jangly power pop with none other than ex-dB Peter Holsapple on the organ. Put this one on and you can just feel the sideburns growing.
CD Baby | MySpace
Warm In The Wake-Speak Plainly. Staying in the south, AbPow favorite Warm In The Wake is back with their second EP, following up last year's American Prehistoric full-length. They continue to hone their Wilco meets Teenage Fanclub sound, and leadoff track "Explorer" is about as perfect an example of that sensibility as one can get, while "Middle Eastern Feathers" is an acoustic gem. Meanwhile, closing track "Place Change" is a matching bookend to "Explorer". These guys continue to be about as good as indie pop gets.
CD Baby | MySpace