The Lunar Laugh-Goodnight Noises Everywhere. Jared Lekites and Connor Anderson team up once again as The Lunar Laugh with their third full-length (and first on the Kool Kat label), and Goodnight Noises Everywhere finds them emphasizing the pop side of their previous power pop/folk-rock mix. Lekites' "Welcome to the World" welcomes us to the album with its bouncy, Brit-poppy sheen while Anderson's "Old New Kid in Town" nods to their earlier folk/rock sound but also ups the BPMs; in fact, tracks like "Another Casualty" and "Waiting for a Sign" find them in borderline 1980s synth-pop territory. But there are plenty of less-modern sounding tracks that are a delight here as well, especially the warm, front-porch vibe of "Tell Me a Story" and the power pop of lead single "By the Light of the Living Room". Something for everyone.
The Bishop's Daredevil Stunt Club-End Over End. This Chicago band has been making records for the past decade but they've finally perfected their Sloan/Matthew Sweet-style power pop this time around as End Over End might have been more accurately titled Hit After Hit if this were the 1970s. "Get Up Get Up" is the quintessential power pop album opener, with its big guitars, big melodies and exhortations to get up, while "Starpower" channels Cheap Trick and The Cars. "The Henry Norman Hotel" has a touch of Guided by Voices in it (although it's twice the length of a typical GbV track), "Lifeguard" brings the Sloan comparisons, "Burndown at Sundown" rocks hard, and "Christine You're Mean" will have you reaching to hold up your lighter (or more realistically today, your cellphone light) in the dark. Primo power pop, in the classic sense.
Dinky-Open Letters. Dinky hails from Birmingham, England and their second album (I'll have to go back and listen to the first) is first-rate Britpop, most similar to Oasis when they were rocking a bit more and not openly aping The Beatles. Standout tracks include the gritty yet melodic opener "The Romance in Murder", the poptastic "Jennifer Against the World" and the 90s power pop of "Lights Go Out". They also show a great facility for the slower numbers too - the piano-and-strings ballad "Magnetic Fields" and the lush-sounding "More Than I Was Before" are tuneful treats as well.