The Figgs-The Man Who Fights Himself. The Figgs reign as power pop royalty, having been around for 23 years and 10 discs as well as serving as Graham Parker's backing band. Disc #10 may very well be one of their best, as The Man Who Fights Himself finds Mike Gent & Co. in top form. "Gone Spent" might not be as rip-roaring as some other Figgs disc openers, but it's a mature, assured midtempo tune that lets you know the grownups are in charge. The moody, jangly "Stuck on Leather Seats" is reminiscent of Gent's fine solo disc from last year, and "Ravena" is classic Figgs rock. "She Can't Say No" is another standout, and you shouldn't say no to these power pop legends at the top of their game.
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The Mike Benign Compulsion-Rollicking Musical. Milwaukee brings us The Mike Benign Compulsion, purveyors of Midwestern power pop not unlike The Shoes or The Bradburys, and Rollicking Musical is just that, a rollicking set of tunes both catchy and clever. "Legendary Heroes" and "The Soothing Sounds of Seals & Crofts" comply on both counts, with the former hitting just the right nerd-rock vibe and the latter follows its title with "make me want to put a bullet in my brain". "All The Married People" features an irresistible guitar hook, and "She Believes It" sounds like Crowded House if Neil Finn grew up in Milwaukee and had a smartass streak. Other highlights include the garage sound of "What a Way to Go" and "Hotel Bar", the best song about a bar since "Here Comes a Regular". Give these tracks a listen, and your compulsion will be to pick up a copy.
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