Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Quirky Pop Tuesday.

Lamar Holley-Confessions of a College Student. One of these days, I'm going to compile a "United States of Power Pop" that references power pop artists in each state of the country. Off the top of my head, I can think of several states that are unrepresented, but I can now cross Utah off the list thanks to SLC's Lamar Holley. His Confessions of a College Student is billed as a pop musical, or "theater-pop" as he calls it, and it's a wonderfully melodic and quirky album that works as a whole or as standalone tunes. Mixing in a little Jellyfish, a little Ben Folds, some Beatles, and a lot of Brill Building, there's plenty here to like. "Forgotten Friends" brings the 'fish to mind, "Pretend That She's Ugly" is where the Folds comparisons come in, and "This is True" is a baroque blast. Tuition will only cost you $15, so it's a bargain.

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Fred Van Vactor-Everything Good All at Once. If the Lamar Holley is up your alley, then you should also like the debut disc from this Oregon artist. While the sound is somewhat similar, Van Vactor comes at his material more from a slack aesthetic than Holley's theater geek. Regardless, this is buoyant pop that's catchy, quirky and clever. "Bottle of Wine" is great midtempo power pop, "Falling in Love with Jill Kotowski" is equal parts Dean Friedman's "Ariel" and Ben Folds' "Kate", and "L-O-V-E A.D.D." is as clever as its title. The only quibble I have here is that Van Vactor pushes the quirk factor a little too far late in the album with the goofy "Mexican Guitar" and the answering-machine-message-set-to-background-music "No More Gardening...", which Folds beat him to with "Your Most Valuable Possession" and kept under two minutes while this one drones on for nearly four. Nevertheless, there's enough here to please any pop fan.

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Everything Good All At Once

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