Kevin Martin-Throwback Pop. Somehow this one got by us (and mos everyone else) when it was released last summer, but this is a stunning gem from San Diego's Kevin "Hair Bear" Martin, who was with the band Get Back Loretta. On Throwback Pop, Martin brings us the piano-pounding pop we associate with artists like Queen and Jellyfish, as well as contemporaries like Josh Fix. The opener "TV News" captures this perfect mix of melody and bombast and will bring an immediate smile to the face of any power popper, "I Need Your Love" and its "whoa-oh-oh-oh" chorus is an instant earworm, and the Beatlesque "I Wanted to Tell You" will have you thinking Secret Powers and The Nines. The back half of the disc is a bit ballad-heavy, but they're top-notch ballads. In this age of the internet and an active power pop community, it still baffles me how something this good went unheard last year but better late than never. (And if you really end up digging this album, Martin has an instrumental version of it available).
CD Baby | Kool Kat | Bandcamp | iTunes
Paul Bohan-For Now & Ever. This one is a tough find, and I can't even link you to samples so you'll have to take my word on it. Bohan is an Englishman with 1969 Records, Pugwash's label, and it's not a stretch to say fans of Thomas Walsh & Co (who contributes here) will want to add this one to their collection. "My Dream Baby" opens the disc with bright, catchy power pop, while "Heads I Win" has a more 60s British pop sheen to it, not unlike Rinaldi Sings. Elsewhere, the prominent guitars of "Inside Out" bring Pugwash to mind, and the title track's reliance on a horn section also has that Swingin' 60s feel. Only available in the US through Kool Kat and in England from the label.
Kool Kat | 1969 Records