Friday, December 07, 2012

Political Power Pop.

In honor of this very political year (what with a US presidential election and all), here are a pair of releases from artists we've featured before who've decided to make a political statement with their power pop:

Neil Nathan Inc.-Sweep the Nation. We last heard from this rocker in 2010 with the excellent The Distance Calls, and now he's back as "Neil Nathan Inc.", ready to Occupy your music player of choice with Sweep the Nation, an attack on crooked corporate capitalism. Of course you can get political commentary from virtually nook and cranny on the Internet, so the key here is whether the music behind the viewpoint holds up. And here it does, from the kinetic (and appropriately-titled) Matthew Sweet-style opener "Jumpstart" to the anthemic title track to the Tom Petty-esque "For the Lucky Ones". In some respects, Swept the Nation is power pop's answer to Bruce Springsteen's Wrecking Ball, another mad-as-hell-and-not-going-to-take-it-anymore album that still sounded great when you weren't paying attention to the lyrics. Fittingly this album isn't available from any of the big corporate outlets, but only on the artist-friendly Bandcamp.


UPDATE: Now available through CD Baby.

Khalid Hanifi-A Brief Respite from Shooting Fish in a Barrel. Khalid Hanifi has been a welcome presence in the power pop scene for over a decade, whether recording under his own name or as The Maypops. Here Hanifi, an Afghan-American, trades his mild-mannered singer/songwriter power pop to rail against the treatment of his ancestral land and the corporate-military complex behind it. And as in the case of Neil Nathan's record, Hanifi still manages to express himself through some solid songcraft. The loping "Free the World to Death" pulls no punches, and "The Splendor of Empire" is first rate dream-pop with a serious kick. Elsewhere, the acoustic-based "Rock and Roll Frankenstein" and "Whose Idea Was That" sport lovely melodies, and "Hog Futures" is the kind of catchy power pop Hanifi made his name with.

CD Baby | iTunes

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