Thursday, August 18, 2011

Two for Thursday, 8/18/11

Wiretree-Make Up. The career of Kevin Peroni (a/k/a Wiretree) has coincided with the existence of this site; his debut EP was one of the first reviewed here. So it's been interesting to follow him these past 5-6 years and see how his sound has evolved. He's gone from the Tom Petty/Wilburys sound of the debut and Bouldin to more of an indie rock sound with Luck, and has completed the transition here with Make Up. The one constant has been the songwriting, and whatever the subgenre, Peroni has consistently given us fine tunes. This time around, it's the ringing guitar chords of "Make Up", the catchy heartland rock of "Broken Foot" and the rollicking "The Shore", which is reminiscent of Green Day's "Holiday". The disc even closes with the Jayhawks-like country ballad "Josephine". But there are a few remnants of the classic Wiretree sound here with "Tinyhearts" and "Tonight". Overall, it's nice to see him branch out without sacrificing the quality of the tunes, and I look forward to what comes next.

CD Baby | iTunes

Third of Never, Kurt Reil & CJ Grogan-Life Saver (Three Fifths of a Third EP). Grip Weeds alert! Fans of that longtime power pop band will want to grab this split EP, which features lead singer Kurt Reil's Third of Never side project, two tracks from Reil himself, and two others from CJ Grogan (also in Third of Never). Third of Never's title track is excellent (and leads us to hope a followup to 2007's Moodring is the offing), Reil's catchy "Gonna Find My Way" is another standout, as well as his psych-rocking "Wake Up Time". Grogan's "Tracer" is an energetic rocker, but his piano ballad closer "Margaret" meanders a bit. Still, 4 out of 5 ain't bad.

CD Baby | iTunes

Sunday, August 14, 2011

New Well Wishers on the way.

Jeff Shelton's at it again. Perennial site favorite The Well Wishers are due for another new album. It's called Dreaming of the West Coast (where else?), and should be out by year's end.

As a sneak peek, here's "Escape the Light", which I'm sure you'll agree is vintage Well Wishers:

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Two for Thursday, 8/11/11

Tony Cox-On the Way. After a successful and well-received debut in the power pop community with 2009's Unpublished, Tony Cox is back with On the Way, and he's topped himself in the process. As with Unpublished, Tony enlists pop utilityman Nigel Clark (who can be heard with Dodgy, The Offbeat, and his own solo disc) on vocals, and the combination is another winner. Opener "We'll Get High" is a perfect pop confection, a slice of 60s-pop with a hint of soulfulness. "Hold Me Angeline" is reminiscent of Clark's work in The Offbeat, while "The Way" evokes The Association with a Nuggets-styled sheen. And "Curse of Love" could pass for a lost Zombies classic. This could the album of the year for those who love 60s-styled sunshine pop.

CD Baby | MySpace | iTunes

Rollo Time-Victims of the Crown. It's Rollo Time again, as this Chicago-area band returns with the followup to their 2007 self-titled debut. Once again, they show a great facility for melding classic rock and power pop, and that's apparent right off the bat with "You Can Talk" and "Sick and Tired", a pair of tracks that will appeal to fans of bands like The Shazam and Superdrag. "Eyman Prison" tells the story of a frustrated prisoner (of a real Arizona prison) to a power pop beat, while the midtempo janglers "Madeline Says" and "I Can't Believe This Day" are also standouts.

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Thursday, August 04, 2011

Two for Thursday, 8/4/11

Vegas With Randolph-Above the Blue. This Washington, DC band lets no moss grow under their feet - after they released their self-titled debut in 2009, they've issued a series of singles, and here they're collected on Above the Blue. If you missed them the first time around, the singles are really good: "The Better Part" is a punchy pop-rocker, the title track is Secret Powers-styled power pop, and "Some Time to Love" is very reminiscent of Fountains of Wayne. What they add to the singles collection is another of their "song suites", this time called "Double Play". Going from horn-based rave-up to acoustic interlude to straight-up power pop, Vegas With Randolph remain masters of the medley, and the Abbey Road-style album experience is not to be dismissed in the era of the iPod.

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The Quags-Priceless Grains of Sand. It's great to have this Oregon band back for the first time since 2005's Devil's Music. The Quags are on the Paisley Pop label and for those unfamiliar it means classic rock-infused power pop, in this case reminiscent of bands like The Kinks and The Figgs. The opening 1-2 of "Human Thing" and "Favorite Parasite" drive this comparison home, and the laidback "Beautifully Insane" is another treat. Elsewhere, "It Takes Heart" is a Rockpile-styled delight, "Going Through the Convulsions" rocks out, and "Do Yourself a Mischief" closes things on a wonderfully jangly note with a hint of The Who. Here's hoping we won't have to wait six years for the next one.

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