The Blue Sky Secret-What We Are EP. This was a delightful surprise from a place that shouldn't surprise anyone who's been following power pop lately: Nashville. Although the band members mostly come from a Christian music background, their EP What We Are is Grade-A (secular) power pop. "In Your Eyes" is a great Byrds by way of Teenage Fanclub opener, "11 Years" is dreamy midtempo pop that recalls The Posies' more reflective moments, and the playful "What Went Wrong" (complete with horns) comes in somewhere between Paul McCartney and Ben Folds. These guys shouldn't be a secret any more.
The Showgoats-Lift Off. Another burgeoning southern power pop hotspot is Charlotte, NC, and if you guessed that Jamie Hoover might somehow be involved here, you're right. Hoover produced this disc, and it's pleasing southern power pop (i.e., Americana-influenced) in the tradition of Let's Active, The Windbreakers, R.E.M., etc. "Change Your Mind" is a jangly treat that sounds pretty much like you'd expect off the description above, "Angel" gets good and greasy in a John Hiatt kinda way, the title track is a rocking delight, and "Ride" sits at the intersection of Americana and power pop in a style reminiscent of The Meadows.
CD Baby | MySpace
The Tearaways-Knackered. This SoCal band has been around for quite a while, and they're back with their first new music since 2005's fine Beat Yer Own Mersey. This is a three-song (plus bonus track) CD single or mini-EP, and the title track is the draw here: a catchy, ballsy rocker about playing England. Also present is "Not Gonna Make It", a punchy & poppin' track which appears a second time in acoustic form as the unlisted bonus track, and "Under the Bus", a jangly retro-sounding number that makes use of one of 2008's more overused phrases (as in "throw") but is still a fine tune. Looking forward to the full-length!
CD Baby | Official Site