A couple of our favorite bands from the Northeast make welcome returns today:
Smash Palace-Do it Again. These Philly power pop icons really need no introduction, and album #8 finds them once again in top form. In fact it takes about three seconds to come to this conclusion, as the jangly guitars that open "Living it Lonely" let you know that you're at home.
"It's Easy" is a melodic rocker that compares to their 80s compatriots The Smithereens, and the title track manages to be both bluesy and Beatlesque. They're also effective when they take things down a notch, on the plaintive "21st Century Boy" and the mellow but menacing "Sympathy Runs Deep". Stephen Butler and company Do It Again, and by "it" I mean deliver the power pop goods.
Buy at official site | iTunes
The Successful Failures-Here I Am! This Jersey band has always been a favorite, mainly because they're not afraid to eschew the familiar power pop song topics of girls and cars in favor of stuff they just find interesting, and they usually do so with a skewed, humorous bent. This time around, subjects of their whimsy include "How People Start Sentences", "The Rise of China", "Mickey Mantle's Knees" and "Viking Heroes", among others. But while their choice of material might be goofy, they take their melodies and musicianship seriously so they don't come across as cute or precious. The common thread here is no-nonsense, straight-ahead rocking power pop in the tradition of their label (FDR), and this might be their best and most consistent release.
CD Baby | iTunes