Honeywagen-Atomic Cafe. This Kansas City band is back from a near decade-long hibernation with Atomic Cafe, and it's a jangly delight of Midwestern power pop. "Throw it All Away" is a gem of an opener, kind of like Ray Davies fronting the Plimsouls, while "Go Someplace" sounds like a lost Byrds classic. "Lust" brings the Rutles' classic "I Must Be in Love" to mind, and "My Virginia" wouldn't be out of place of on a Gin Blossoms record. It's great to have these guys back, so janglers of the world, unite - you have nothing to lose but $14 or so. And Kool Kat is offering up a kool bonus disc - frontman Mike Penner covering A Hard Day's Night (the album) in its entirety.
Kool Kat | Official Site
Brian Hoffer-Into the Boulevard. I was pleasantly surprised to have stumbled upon this Milwaukee singer-songwriter's debut album, which has traces of Brendan Benson, AC Newman and Fountains of Wayne running through it. The upbeat, catchy "Good Day Now" is a near-perfect opener, and the clever "Psychoanalysis" reminds me of Dan Bryk and Lamar Holley. Other highlights include the raved-up "Keep Each Other Cold", the piano-and-guitar-based melody of "Superman Somehow" and the sardonic "When They Drop the Bomb". Hoffer really has a songwriter's ear for lyrics and melody here, and a nice sampling of the disc is below for your listening pleasure.