Australia's Popboomerang is one of my favorite labels out there, constantly releasing one power pop gem after another. Although perhaps nothing will top last year's trifecta of Adrian Whitehead, Bryan Estepa and Danna & The Changes, their latest pair of releases deserve a spot in your rotation.
Russell Crawford-Floating Aimlessly. Crawford made his debut with the excellent 2006 EP Hearing All That's Heard, which placed #3 on our year-end EP list that year and was produced by Michael Carpenter. Additionally, Crawford is one of Carpenter's Cuban Heels, the backing band MC used on two EP releases last year. Carpenter also mixed and mastered the new full-length, which raises the question where does Michael Carpenter end and Russell Crawford begin? To answer the obvious, there are a lot of stylistic similarities between the two, but Crawford is his own man here. "Overachiever" is a piano-based number with attitude, bringing Ben Kweller to mind, "Bad Luck" chronicles Crawford's grade school days with wit and melody, and the busy "Lisa" adds some nicely-placed chimes into the mix. Other standouts include the MC-co-written lovely ballad "If You Ask Me", the bright pop of "Melody", the piano boogie of "Shake It", and the pure power pop of "Leave it All Behind". It's nice to see the promise of the EP realized.
Kool Kat | Not Lame | MySpace
Deserters-Pale Morning. While Russell Crawford is something of a known quantity, Melbourne's Deserters qualify as a plesant surprise. Not quite power pop, they instead have a more rustic sound that brings to mind early Wilco, Waterloo and to some extent, My Morning Jacket, but with an Aussie twist. Leadoff track "Waking Birds" captures their essence, sounding like the aforementioned references but as if they were fronted by Neil Finn. First single "Take It as It Comes" is a tough rocker, and "I Think It's Alright" has a real front-porch rock quality to it. "Race Me Home" has an anthemic, classic rock feel, and "Looking My Way" shows they can handle the soft, string-laden ballads. A fine example of - what do we call it - Australiana?
Not Lame | Kool Kat | MySpace