Monday, December 23, 2013

My favorite track of 2013.

A bit busy now to try and compile a top tracks of 2013 list, so I'll just post my favorite of them all right now. To me, "Third Man" has it all - a great ELO-inspired melody and effects, clever lyrics, and a spoken-word interlude from Harry Potter himself. What more can you ask for? (OK, not having to look at that naked guy jumping over a wicket for the next four minutes would be nice).

What was your favorite power pop tune of 2013? Let me know in the comments.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Absolute Powerpop Top 100 Albums of 2013, #1-50.

Now you see why I changed the rules on VA albums. And yes, there are a couple of albums in here that were released in 2012, but I didn't hear them until 2013 and/or they didn't gain a lot of traction in the power pop community until this year. The bottom half (51-100) can be found here.

1. VA-Drink a Toast to Innocence
2. Nick Piunti-13 in My Head
3. Greg Pope-Pop Motion Animation
4. Eric Barao-S/T
5. Valley Lodge-Use Your Weapons
6. The Incurables-The Fine Art of Distilling
7. Phil Angotti-Life & Rhymes
8. Adam Daniel-Pop, Baby
9. The Nature Strip-Stars Turn Inside Out
10. Prattle on, Rick-Some Quiet Majesty
11. Mark Crozer & The Rels-S/T
12. JoDee Purkeypile-Messenger
13. The Sun Sawed in 1/2-Elephants into Swans
14. Gleeson-Gleeson II
15. The Nines-S/T
16. Todd Herfindal-Right Here Now
17. Wyatt Funderburk-Novel and Profane
18. Bohemian Radio-On the Air
19. Coke Belda-Coke Belda I
20. Chris Abad-Darling Dear
21. Roseland-S/T
22. Brendan Benson-You Were Right
23. The Tor Guides-Strawberries & Chocolates
24. The Duckworth Lewis Method-Sticky Wickets
25. Vegas With Randolph-Rings Around the Sun
26. Hot Nun-S/T
27. Rich McCulley-The Grand Design
28. Gregg Swann-Turn to Stars
29. The Tor Guides-Lots of the Pops! Volume 1
30. Nathan Roberts & The New Birds-S/T
31. Bryan Estepa-Heart vs Mind
32. John Amadon-The Bursting Sheaf
33. The Junior League-You Should Be Happy
34. VA-International Pop Overthrow Vol. 16
35. The Electric Soft Parade-Idiots
36. Joel Sarakula-The Golden Age
37. Any Version of Me-We Are You
38. Paint 31-Hot Dogs on Tuesday
39. Daren Sweet-Pop's Three Minute Pleasures
40. Wiretree-Get Up
41. Superchunk-I Hate Music
42. The Amprays-Brave New Strange
43. Shane Lamb-Together, We'll Get Through
44. Carter Beckworth-Humble Heart
45. Keith LuBrant-Who I Am
46. Bob Evans-Familiar Stranger
47. Shake Some Action!-Full Fathom Five
48. Stephen Lawrenson-Obscuriosity
49. Chris Degnore & The Black Drops-Cinema
50. Bobby Emmett-Brighter Days

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Absolute Powerpop Top Albums of 2013, #51-100

It's time again for the year-end list! One change I've made from previous years is that I'm considering Various Artists (VA) releases for the Top 100. In years past, I had basically ignored them at year's end, but this year there are a couple I feel need to be considered among the year's best and you'll see them when the top half of the list is posted. Here's the bottom half:

51. Sheboygan-Triple Fantasy
52. Third of Never-Downrising
53. Ted Billings-American Bedrooms
54. Tony Scalzo-My Favorite Year
55. Christopher Holland-Corner Green
56. David Brookings-The Maze
57. Skypilot-Distant Days
58. Josh Rouse-The Happiness Waltz
59. The Breakup Society-So Much Unhappiness, So Little Time
60. Dan Miraldi-Devil at Our Heels
61. Kevin Lee & The Kings-Breakout
62. Sean McMorris-Lo & Behold
63. The Grapes of Wrath-High Road
64. Happy Ashtray-Seventy Miles
65. Glenn Case-Throw Money
66. Dave Keener-Slugger
67. Ballard-Bucky
68. Lamar Holley-The Color of Day
69. Travel Lanes-Hey Hey, It's Travel Lanes!
70. Chase Hamblin & The Roustabouts-VAUdeVILLE
71. Magic Eight Ball-Sorry We're Late But We're Worth the Wait
72. The Big Sweet-Bicycle Nights
73. Extra Medium Pony-11868
74. Jimmy LeGuillox-Everything and the Box it Came In
75. Dave Rave & The Governors-Ashtray Makeup
76. The Charlie Watts Riots-A Break in the Weather
77. The Affections-Prologned Adolescence
78. The Castell Brothers-S/T
79. Bleu-To Hell With You
80. Richard X Heyman-X
81. Secret Friend-Time Machine
82. Rob Fetters-Saint Ain't
83. Jeremy Porter & The Tucos-Partner in Crime
84. Tommy Rivers-Cool Slip of Coins
85. Pete Donnelly-Face the Bird
86. Free Energy-Love Sign
87. Radio Days-Get Some Action
88. Sam Page-Breach
89. The Scruffs-Kill! Kill!
90. Michael Davis with Bandages-Real Love
91. Brett Goldsmith-Ordinary Life
92. Straw Dogs-No Dividing Line
93. Parthenon Huxley-Thank You, Bethesda
94. Red Jacket Mine-Someone Else's Cake
95. Liar's Club-Come and Go
96. Brett Newski & The Corruption-Tiny Victories
97. The Bottle Kids-Such a Thrill
98. Late Cambrian-Peach
99. Split Sofa-Coloured Dream
100. Anny Celsi-January

Monday, December 16, 2013

EP of the Day, 12/16/13: Moore-The Great Escape

Before I drop the year-end lists later this week, I felt I had to get one more release in under the wire since it'll place highly in top EPs of 2013. Moore is Aiden Moore, a NYC folk musician who ended up writing some pop songs over the last few years while working on his folk album. If The Great Escape is any indication, Moore might want to concentrate on the poppier side of things. With a sound that's comprised of a mix of Jellyfish, Ben Folds, Coldplay and similar to indie power pop artists like Kevin Martin (of last year's great Throwback Pop EP) and Josh Fix, Moore has cranked out a top-notch piano-pop EP. The title track opens with a bit more synth than piano, but has an infectious chorus which you'll eventually surrender to. But "Table Talk" is the real triumph here - a catchy and clever piano-based number that's one of my top tracks of the year and which would be more than worthy of some of the artists name-dropped earlier in this piece. And the following track, "Celebrity Crush". isn't much of a comedown from "Table Talk", with its own sharp set of hooks.

Meanwhile, the bouncy "In Your Head" earns the Jellyfish comparisons, and "Crazy Kinda Cool" maintains the quality with its Blue/Mike Viola vibe. Moore slows it down a few notches on the closing near-ballad "Clicks and Clanks", and while it doesn't reach the giddy highs of the rest of the EP it's still a pretty darn good track. With the likes of Mumford & Sons seemingly turning everyone with an acoustic guitar into a folkie these days, my (admittedly biased) advice for Moore is to zag in the pop direction while everyone's zigging in the folk direction as this is as good a pop debut as I've heard in 2013.

CD Baby | iTunes

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Two for Thursday, 12/5/13

The Allrightniks-Three. Wasting no time after regaling us with an EP released early this year, The Allrightniks are back with their third EP cleverly titled "Three". This time around, they make a couple deviations from their Spongetones-styled power pop. For example, "Delaplane" is a bluesy, swamp-rock ode to the Virginia town in their neck of the woods, and "Moonshine" follows in a similar vein. But their trademark British invasion pop shines on the opener "Would've Already by Now" and "Until I Get to You". And the Big Star-esque "Something to Believe In" is another standout. Here's looking forward to EP #4.

CD Baby | iTunes

Lamar Holley-The Color of Day. Also returning to our pages (albeit after a longer absence) is Salt Lake City's Lamar Holley, whose The Color of Day is his full-length followup to 2009's Confessions of a College Student. This one picks up where the last one left off with more of his quirky "theater-pop", although the college student of the debut if now finding his way in the world. "Planet Buzz" sets the tone, a cross between a Broadway/Vaudeville intro with a commercial jingle, while the acoustic guitar-based "Roller Coaster" channels Jon Brion circa the I Heart Huckabees soundtrack. "One and One" is delicious piano pop, "Acting in Love" is a highly catchy number about an actor falling in love with his leading lady, and "Are You Really Mine?" is a beautiful piano ballad. Elsewhere, the delightful indie pop of "Holding On, Holding Back" with its boy/girl harmonies and the bouncy "Joe" round out the disc nicely. So in this holiday season, add some Holley to your home.

CD Baby | iTunes