King Mixer-Hang On. King Mixer is Chicago's Eric Howell, whom some of you may remember from his Greatest Hitch, Vol. 1 debut in 2008 (which itself was a culmination of a 15-year career in singing/songwriting). This time around, King Mixer may be an appropriate moniker as Howell provides us a mix of pop, rock, power pop and Americana with the common denominator being quality melodies. Standout tracks include "Let it Go", Cheap Trick-styled power pop you'd find on a 45 on your record player in the days gone by; the Beatlesque staccato guitars of the catchy "Back to You"; the 70s-influenced midtempo piano number "Somethin' Else", and the pure pop of "One Too Many". Also seek out the single "45" which can be found at his Bandcamp page.
Ryan Krga-A Testament EP. One of 2016's more promising debuts is this 3-song EP (maxi-single?) from another Chicagoan, Ryan Krga. All three songs are top-notch here: "What Makes Me Blue" is fine guitar pop that has a bit of a Guided by Voices feel; the moody "She Gets Results" channels Michael Penn; and the title track wouldn't be out of place on a Teenage Fanclub record. Can't wait to hear more from Mr. Krga.
Wesley Fuller-Melvista EP. This young Aussie brings the glam and power pop on a rocking 5-track EP. "Change Your Mind" borrows the underlying beat from Gary Glitter's infamous "Rock and Roll Part 2", the title track is unadulterated sunshine pop, "Shock Me" is both guitar pop and dance pop at the same time, and "The Dancer" would sound right at home between "Ballroom Blitz" and "Little Willy" on a Sweet mixtape.