Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Wednesday Roundup.

The Sun Sawed in 1/2-Elephants into Swans. The big news for 2013 so far is the return of The Sun Sawed in 1/2, Tim Rose's psych-tinged power pop group that ruled the 90s as one of the genre's top artists (1997's Fizzy Lift made John Borack's Top 200 Power Pop albums of all-time in his Shake Some Action! book). But after their fourth album, 2000's Bewilderbeast, all we heard from Rose was his Fresh Mowed Lawn project, which put out a fine 2006 album. The good news is that the new album is like they've never been away. "You're the Something" continues their big, brash, melodic sound, complete with horns; the title track recalls Jellyfish with its keyboards-based melody, and "Brittle Star" is a gleeful power-pop number. And the mark of a great power pop band is the ability to handle the slower material with facility; here, tracks like the McCartneyesque "Ocean" and "Nowhere Fast" are as strong as the rockers. A triumphant return.

CD Baby | iTunes | Bandcamp

The Great Affairs-4. For a few years now Denny Smith has been alternating between the hard power pop of fORMER and the roots rock of The Great Affairs, but now that he's retired the, uh, fORMER it almost seems as if he's merged the two sounds on this new 7-track EP from the latter. This is apparent right off the bat- while "Rock 'n' Roll Heart" rocks as hard as anything released under The Great Affairs name, it isn't exactly hard. "Shame on You", on the other hand, does rock fairly hard in the classic rock sense as its bluesy underpinning means it wouldn't sound of place on a Black Crowes record. For those who liked the traditional roots/country-rock sound of The Great Affairs, "The Ring" is a midtempo gem and "Gone" is a wonderful, primarily-acoustic ballad with an indelible melody. But "Fits & Guitars" is as loud and brash as its title implies, meaning that his, uh, former band isn't quite dead and gone.

CD Baby | iTunes | Kool Kat (with bonus disc and alternate artwork)

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Midweek Roundup.

Keith LuBrant-Who I Am. Jersey power popper Keith LuBrant is back like clockwork with his third album, having last entertained us six years ago with Searching for Signal and releasing his debut album six years before that. Like his first two albums, Who I Am features catchy, no-frills power pop but with a bit more emphasis on the guitar sound this time around. The pulsing rocker "Wide Awake and Alive" comes roaring out of the gate as LuBrant announces his return with a declarative statement about playing music he loves, and "She Always Finds a Way" shows his mastery of the power pop form with crunchy guitars and a sing-along chorus. Elsewhere, "Call Off the Search" recalls vintage Gin Blossoms, the midtempo "Breathe" boasts an easy melody and some fine guitar work, and the agreeable rocker "Stranger in My Skin" nods to the guitar riff of "Baba O'Riley" in its chorus. LuBrant sounds like he's never been away, and he'll probably sound that way when his next album comes out in 2019.

UPDATE: Now available from Kool Kat with a bonus disc.

CD Baby | iTunes | Kool Kat (w/bonus)

Daniel Novick-Devil Down. The debut full-length from NYC singer-songwriter is billed as his "journey from Nashville to Los Angeles to New York, a path filled with love, heartbreak, pain, and redemption" and while it may be that, it's also an extremely agreeable pop record with hooks and melodies galore. The opening title track is Exhibit A for this premise, with a driving beat and an earworm of a chorus. "Pacific Coast Highway" isn't a bad follow-up, a perfect soundtrack for driving around with the top down (or at least the windows open). The moody piano-backed "Safe With Me" brings Steven Mark and Michael Penn to mind, and the minor-key melody of "Reason to Leave" is straight out of the Neil Finn playbook. Overall, Devil Down has proved to be one of my more pleasant pop surprises of the past few months and hopefully yours too.

CD Baby | iTunes

Friday, January 11, 2013

David Bash's Best of 2012, Part 2.

Here's Part 2 of David Bash's comprehensive year-end lists. Today's installment covers 2012's best reissues.

Reissue Categories

For this category, at least one of the following criteria must be met for the album to qualify:

a. those that are on CD for the first time
b. those that had been previously issued, but are now out of print or difficult to find
c. those in whose current issue have lots of bonus tracks, or some other unique feature
d. those reissued on LP where they never had been

A CD or LP which contains exclusively previously unrelesed material which is not from current times is still considered a “reissue” in my ranking structure.

With the above in mind, while quality is the major factor in determining the rankings, other factors such as number and type of bonus tracks, liner notes, sound quality, etc…do come into play.

Those marked with an * are LP-only.

I. Top 75 Proper Albums

1. Small Faces: Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake: Deluxe Edition (Universal/Decca/Charly)
2. The Beach Boys-Today! Mono/Stereo (Capitol)
3. Paul and Linda McCartney-Ram: Deluxe Edition (MPL)
4. The Beach Boys-Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!): Mono/Stereo (Capitol)
5. The Byrds-Younger Than Yesterday: Mono/Stereo (Sony Japan)
6. The Beach Boys-Pet Sounds Mono/Stereo (Capitol)
7. The Beach Boys-Sunflower (Capitol)
8. The Beach Boys-Surf’s Up (Capitol)
9. Durocs-Durocs (Real Gone)
*10. Jellyfish-Spilt Milk (Omnivore)
11. Klaatu-Hope: 2012 Remaster (Klaatunes)
12. Rick Springfield-Beginnings (Real Gone)
13. Sugar-Copper Blue: Deluxe Edition (Edsel)
14. Small Faces: The Immediate Album: Deluxe Edition (Universal/Decca/Charly)
15. Daughters Of Albion-Daughters Of Albion (Now Sounds)
*16. Paul and Linda McCartney-Ram: Mono (MPL)
17. Kirsty MacColl-Desperate Character (Salvo)
*18. Jellyfish-Bellybutton (Omnivore)
*19. Shoes-One In Versailles (Numero)
20. Del Shannon-Home & Away (Now Sounds)
21. The Byrds-The Notorious Byrd Brothers: Mono/Stereo (Sony Japan)
22. Small Faces: From The Beginning: Deluxe Edition (Universal/Decca)
23. The Alan Bown-Outward Bown (Grapefruit)
24. Kirsty MacColl-Kite (Salvo)
*25. Shoes-Black Vinyl (Numero)
26. The Late Show-Portable Pop (Trashy Creatures)
27. Curved Air-Air Cut (Repertoire)
28. The Beach Boys-All Summer Long Mono/Stereo (Capitol)
29. Gilbert O’Sullivan-I’m A Writer, Not A Fighter (Salvo)
30. Spider-Spider (Air Mail)
31. The Byrds-Mister Tambourine Man: Mono/Stereo (Sony Japan)
32. Cotton Mather-Kontiki: Deluxe Edition (The Star Apple Kingdom)
33. The Jam-The Gift: Deluxe Edition (Universal)
34. Harpers Bizarre-Anything Goes (Now Sounds)
35. The Electric Light Orchestra-The Electric Light Orchestra 40th Anniversary Edition (EMI)
36. Kayak-See See The Sun (Esoteric)
*37. Octopus-Restless Night (Guerssen)
38. The Beach Boys-Shut Down Volume 2: Mono/Stereo (Capitol)
39. Small Faces-Small Faces: Deluxe Edition (Universal/Decca)
40. Strawbs-Of A Time (Witchwood Media)
41. Curved Air-Airborne (Repertoire)
42. Sugar-File Under Easy Listening: Deluxe Edition (Edsel)
43. Tir Na Nog-Strong In The Sun (Esoteric)
44. Candy-Whatever Happened To Fun…(Rock Candy)
45. Brewer & Shipley-Down In L.A. (Now Sounds)
46. Kayak-Royal Bed Bouncer (Esoteric)
47. Steve Miller Band-Brave New World (Edsel)
48. The Beach Boys-Smiley Smile Mono/Stereo (Capitol)
49. Gilbert O’Sullivan-Back To Front (Salvo)
50. The Byrds-Turn! Turn! Turn!: Mono/Stereo (Sony Japan)
51. Phil Seymour-1 (Fuel)
52. True Hearts-True Hearts (Kool Kat)
53. The Sex Pistols-Never Mind The Bollocks: Deluxe Edition (Universal)
54. Blur-Parklife: Special Edition (Food/Parlophone)
55. The Beach Boys-Little Deuce Coupe Mono/Stereo (Capitol)
56. Jamie & Steve-English Afterthought (Air Mail)
57. Lyres-On Fyre (Munster)
58. The Byrds-Fifth Dimension: Mono/Stereo (Sony Japan)
59. R.E.M.-Document: Deluxe Edition (Capitol)
60. The Spinners-Truly Yours: Their First Motown Album w/Bonus Tracks 1963-1967 (Kent)
61. T. Rex-Electric Warrior: Deluxe Edition (Universal)
62. Chubby Checker-Chequered (Sunbeam)
63. The Mamas & The Papas-People Like Us (Now Sounds)
64. Kayak-Kayak (Esoteric)
65. Curved Air-Phantasmagoria (Repertoire)
66. The Brotherhood Of Lizards-Lizardland (Kool Kat)
67. The Glitter Band-Listen To The Band (7 T’s)
68. My Bloody Valentine-Loveless (Sony Music)
69. The Tokens-It’s A Happening World (Real Gone)
70. Nervous Rex-Nervous Rex (Air Mail)
71. Sugar-Beaster: Deluxe Edition (Edsel)
72. Family-Music In A Doll’s House (Pucka)
73. The Beach Boys-Surfer Girl Mono/Stereo (Capitol)
*74. Rockin’ Horse-Yes It Is (Sing Sing)
75. Wally Tax-Love In (Relics)

II. Top 5 Two-Fers, Three-Fers, and Four-Fers: Proper Albums

1. Peter & Gordon-Peter & Gordon 1964/In Touch With/Hurtin’ ‘N Lovin’/Peter & Gordon 1966 (BGO)
2. 20/20-20/20, Look Out (Real Gone)
3. SRC-SRC/Milestones/Travellers Tale (BGO)
4. Sam & Dave-Hold On, I’m Coming/Double Dynamite (Edsel)
5. Peter & Gordon-Sing And Play The Hits Of Nashville/Woman/Hot Cold & Custard (BGO)

III. Top 25 Compilations, Single Artist

1. The Association-The Complete Warner Bros & Valiant Singles Collection (Now Sounds)
2. The Beach Boys-50 Big Ones: Deluxe Edition (Capitol)
3. The Byrds-Original Singles A’s & B’s 1965-1971 (Sony Japan)
4. Jellyfish-Stack-A-Tracks (Omnivore)
5. Shoes-35 Years: The Definitive Shoes Collection 1977-2012 (Real Gone)
6. The Critters-Younger Girl: The Complete Kapp & Musicor Recordings (Now Sounds)
7. The Pencils-Anthology (Kool Kat)
8. Every Mother’s Son-Come On Down: The Complete MGM Recordings (Now Sounds)
9. The Knack-Rock & Roll Is Good For You: The Fieger/Averre Demos (Zen)
10. The Fifth Estate-Anthology Volume I: The Witch Is Dead (Fuel)
11. The Jackson Five-Come And Get It: The Rare Pearls (Hip-O-Select)
12. Kaleidoscope-Further Reflections: The Complete Recordings 1967-1969 (Grapefruit)
13. The Hollies-Radio Fun (EMI)
14. Carole King-The Legendary Demos (Concord Music Group)
*15. Shoes-Pretense: Demos 1978-1979 (Numero)
16. Alex Chilton-Free Again: The “1970” Sessions (Ace)
17. The Knack-Time Waits For No One: The Complete Recordings (Now Sounds)
18. The Electric Prunes-The Complete Reprise Singles (Real Gone)
19. MC Squared-Tantalizing Colours: The Reprise Recordings (Now Sounds)
20. Jackie DeShannon-Keep Me In Mind: The Complete Imperial and Liberty Singles Vol. 3 (Ace)
21. Hotlegs-You Didn’t Like It Because You Didn’t Think Of It: The Complete Sessions 1970-1971 (Grapefruit)
22. The Move-Live At The Fillmore 1969 (Right Recordings)
23. Design-One Sunny Day: Singles and Rarities 1968-1978 (RPM)
24. Amen Corner-Round Amen Corner: The Complete Deram Recordings (RPM)
25. Christie-No Turn Unstoned (Angel Air)

IV. Top 20 Compilations, Various Artists

1. Buttons: From Champaign To Chicago (Numero)
*2. Fading Yellow Volume One: Times Pop-Sike & Other Delights 1965-1969 (Flower Machine)
3. Down Under Nuggets-Original Australian Artyfacts 1965-1967 (Warner Music)
4. Smash Boom Bang!: The Songs And Productions Of Feldman-Goldstein-Gottehrer (Ace)
5. Nuggets: Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era 1965-1968 (Rhino)
6. Power Pop Prime Volume 1: 1996-1997 (Pop Geek Heaven)
7. Power Pop Prime Volume 2: 1998-1999 (Pop Geek Heaven)
8. Piccadilly Sunshine Part Ten: British Pop Psych and Other Flavours 1966-1969 (Particles)
9. Honey Honey: The Sound Of Bubblegum Pop (Sony Music)
10. All Kinds Of Highs-A Mainstream Pop/Psych Compendium 1966-70 (Ace/Big Beat)
11. Mixed Up Minds: Obscure Rock & Pop From The British Isles 1968-1972 Part Three (Particles)
12. Something Good: From The Goffin & King Songbook (Ace)
13. Da Doo Ron Ron: More From The Ellie Greenwich & Jeff Barry Songbook (Ace)
14. Piccadilly Sunshine Part 7: British Pop Psych and Other Flavours 1966-1970 (Particles)
15. Piccadilly Sunshine Part 9: British Pop Psych and Other Flavours 1964-1970 (Particles)
16. Fading Yellow-Volume 14: Spanish Pop Psych and Other Delights 1967-1973 (Flower Machine)
17. Mixed Up Minds: Obscure Rock & Pop From The British Isles 1969-1973 Part Two (Particles)
18. The Red Bird Girls-Very First Time In True Stereo 1964-1966 (Real Gone)
19. Sassafras & Moonshine: The Songs Of Laura Nyro (Ace)
20. Action!: The Songs Of Tommy Boyce & Bobby Hart (Ace)

V. Top 20 Box Sets: Single Artist

*1. The Beatles-Stereo Vinyl Box Set (EMI)
2. Paul and Linda McCartney-Ram: Superdeluxe Edition (MPL)
3. Dusty Springfield-Goin’ Back: The Definitive Dusty Springfield (Universal/Mercury)
4. 10CC-Tenology (Universal)
5. Manfred Mann’s Earth Band-40th Anniversary (Creature Music)
6. The Searchers-Hearts In Their Eyes: Celebrating 50 Years of Harmony & Jangle (Universal)
7. The Kinks-At The BBC (Universal)
8. George Harrison-Living In The Material World (Universal)
9. The Beatles-Magical Mystery Tour (Capitol)
10. Blue Rodeo-1987-1993 (Warner Music)
11. Cheap Trick-The Complete Epic Records Collection (Sony Legacy)
12. Pink Floyd-The Wall: Immersion (EMI)
13. Green Day-The Studio Albums 1990-2009 (Warner Bros.)
14. Roxy Music-The Complete Studio Recordings (Virgin)
15. Bill Withers-The Complete Sussex and Columbia Albums (Sony Music)
16. Heart-Strange Euphoria (Sony Music)
17. T. Rex-Electric Warrior: Superdeluxe Edition (Universal)
18. The Velvet Underground & Nico-The Velvet Underground & Nico: 45th Anniversary Superdeluxe Edition (Universal)
19. World Party-Arkeology: Diary & Music Collection (Seaview)
20. The Yardbirds-Glimpses 1963-1969 (Easy Action)

VI. Top 3 Box Sets: Various Artists

*1. The Rubble Collection-Volumes 1 To 5 (Pilot)
2. Surf-Age Nuggets: Trash & Twang Instrumentals 1959-1966 (RockBeat)
3. Mind Expanders: 80 Rare Trips From The ‘60s & ‘70s (Particles)

VII. Top 5 Reissue Labels

1. Now Sounds
2. Futureman
3. Ace
3. Real Gone Music
4. Salvo

Note: Capitol and Universal would definitely be on this list somewhere, but since they’re not exclusively reissue labels, I decided not to include them.

Note 2: Some of the sharp-eyed among you might wonder how Futureman finished at #2 without having any albums place on any of my reissue lists. It’s because Futureman specializes in download-only releases, and for reissues I don’t wish to place download-only albums on my lists. Having said that, Futureman has done a wonderful job of bringing about awareness of several awesome powerpop albums from the last 10 years, by artists like Starbelly, Liquor Giants, Gladhands, Lisa Mychols, and so many others, and for that they deserve plenty of kudos (as well as a #2 ranking here!).

Thursday, January 10, 2013

David Bash's Best of 2012, Part 1.

Just when you thought you were done with Best of 2012 lists, it's time once again to bring you David Bash's year-end lists, which are even more comprehensive than mine. To keep things manageable, today's post is limited to new material, and tomorrow I will follow up with his reissues lists. So without further ado, I turn the floor over to Mr. Bash:


Hi Everyone,

Here are my lists of favorite albums of 2012. As is my usual custom, I've broken this down into several categories, as I'm just not comfortable ranking unlike entities on one list.

Contemporary Categories

Those marked with an * are LP-only releases and those marked with an ** are download-only releases. I’m hoping I didn’t forget to include some of the download-onlies: my filing system for them isn’t too efficient. 

I’ve probably obtained more albums in 2012 than I have in three or four years, and it definitely showed in the quality level. I’d planned to limit the first category to 100, but it quickly became clear that there were just too many releases I thought were list-worthy, so I kept going. I decided to stop at 125 because I didn’t want to test your patience (as if 100 wouldn’t do that!), but even then there were several albums I was sorry didn’t make the cut.

Ok, without further ado, here are the lists!

I. Top 125 Albums

1. Nelson Bragg-We Get What We Want (Steel Derrick)
2. Marty Graveyard-Summer Holiday (V2)
3. David Myhr-Soundshine (Lojinx, Thistime)
4. The Tor Guides-Strawberries & Chocolates (Self-Released)
5. Green Day-Tre! (Reprise/Warner Bros.)
6. Throwback Suburbia-Shot Glass Souvenir (Self-Released)
7. King Washington-The Gears (Self-Released)
8. Sweet Diss and The Comebacks-Emerald City Love Song (Thistime)
9. The Kik-Springlevend (Excelsior)
10. Sitcom Neighbor-Charmed (Gravy Works Music Group)
11. The dB’s-Falling Off The Sky (Bar None)
12. The Trashed Romeos-Where Dreamers Never Go (Trashy Creatures)
13. The Primitives-Echoes and Rhymes (Elefant)
14. Shoes-Ignition (Black Vinyl)
15. Jared Lekites-Star Map (Self-Released)
16. The Explorers Club-Grand Hotel (Rock Ridge Music)
17. Wanderlust-Record Time (Zip)
18. Green Day-Uno! (Reprise/Warner Bros.)
19. Kurt Baker-Brand New Beat (Collector’s Club)
20. Ruby Free-Introducing Ruby Free (Sodastar)
21. The Demos-Lovely (Thistime)
22. Chris Richards and The Subtractions-Get Yer La La’s Out (Gangplank)
23. Cliff Hillis-Dream Good (Tallboy)
24. Mark Crozer & The Rels-Mark Crozer & The Rels (Planting Seeds)
25. Uncle Green/3 Lb. Thrill-Rycopa (Self-Released)
26. Latvian Radio-Kill The Static (Belpid)
27. Secret Powers-More Songs About Her (Self-Released)
28. A.C. Newman-Shut Down The Streets (Matador)
29. Bryan Scary-Daffy’s Elixir (Paper Garden)
30. The Corner Laughers-Poppy Seeds (Mystery Lawn)
31. Redd Kross-Researching The Blues (Merge)
32. Wes Hollywood-Fantasy Arcade (Sweet Science)
33. Green Day-Dos! (Reprise/Warner Bros.)
34. The Breakup Society-So Much Unhappiness, So Little Time…(Get Hip)
35. The Moons-Fables Of History (Schnitzel)
36. The Junipers-Paint The Ground (Self-Released)
37. The Anderson Council-Looking At The Stars (Sinclair)
38. The Afternoons-Fan Fiction (Saturday)
39. Lannie Flowers-New Songs, Old Stories (Aaron Ave.)
40. The Mayflowers-Plymouth Rock (Rooster)
41. The Blood Rush Hour-Shrink (Nicola)
42. The Well Wishers-Dreaming of The West Coast (Thatwasmyskull)
43. Paul Rocha-Crayons (Crackback Flause)
44. Peter Baldrachi-Back To The Start (Prodigal Son)
45. Gavin Guss-On High (Fin)
46. The Housekeeping Society-Postcards (Self-Released)
47. Frederick Herrmann-Fairy Tale Musik (Self-Released)
48. Christopher Holland-Corner Green (Cosmic Harmony)
49. Lukah Boo-Calidad De Vida (Rock Indiana)
50. Kontiki Suite-On Sunset Lake (Self-Released)
51. Brendan Benson-What Kind Of World (Readymade)
52. Kevin Martin-Throwback Pop (Self-Released)
53. Holmes-Complication Simplified (Groove Gravy)
54. Three Minute Tease-Three Minute Tease (Untitled Music)
55. Hot Freak Nation-Lifetime To Lifetime (Trashy Creatures)
56. Oberon Rose-Wunjo (ThouArt)
57. Graham Gouldman-Love and Work (Rosala)
58. Rob Bonfiglio-Mea Culpa (Damask)
59. Bubble Gum Orchestra-II (Out Of This World)
60. The Sunny Boys-Freeboobin’ (Self-Released)
61. Jay Gonzalez-Mess of Happiness (Self-Released)
62. Ben Folds Five-The Sound of The Life of The Mind (Sony Music)
63. The Hi Risers-Hang Around With You (R &R)
64. The Jigsaw Seen-Gifted (Vibro-phonic)
65. Kjarr-Kjarr (Self-Released)
66. Jeremy-Love Explosion (Jam/Rock Indiana)
67. Ben Kweller-Go Fly A Kite (The Noise Company)
68. Sidewalk Society-Venus, Saturn and The Crescent Moon (Grandioso)
69. Marmalade Army-All Tomorrow’s Yesterdays (Modern Artichoke)
70. Trevor Childs-Spirit Guide (Self-Released)
71. Juan Antonio Ross-Durante El Fin Del Mundo (Clifford)
72. Goodfellows-Happynitol (Kzoo Music)
73. Eytan and The Embassy-Everything Changes (Self-Released)
74. Norman Kelsey-On The Rebound (Self-Released)
75. Brad Brooks-Harmony of Passing Light (Mouth Magic Music)
*76. Suzi Chunk-Girl From The Neck Down (State)
77. The School-Reading Too Much Into Things Like Everything (Elefant)
78. Spygenius-The Comforting Suture (Whammo Whammo Whammo Excellent)
79. Metropolitan Farms-Our Hero Pleads His Flimsy Case (Braceling)
80. Stay-The Fourth Dimension (Subterfuge)
81. Peter Buzzelle-Museum of Peter Buzzelle (Self-Released)
82. The Condors-3 Item Combo (Vital Gesture)
83. Paul Starling-Shipwrecked Commotion (Tomboy & Twine)
84. The Breakups-Running Jumping Falling Shouting (Self-Released)
85. Dave Birk-Speed Queen Mystery Date (Self-Released)
86. Archie Powell & The Exports-Great Ideas In Action (Good Land)
87. The Cheeks-Featured Tigers In A Magic Zoo (Teen Sound)
88. Ed Tulipa-Pop Terapia (Lapro Duktiva)
89. The Catholic Girls-Exposed! (Cinema)
90. Salim Nourallah-Hit Parade (Tapete)
91. The Floorettes-Pocketfull Of Soul (Waterfall)
92. The Galileo 7-Staring At The Sound (State)
93. Michael Carpenter-SOOP #5 (Self-Released)
94. Cow-Dedicated To…The Mighty Drum (Self-Released)
*95. Kenny Howes-Tornadoes Here & Past (YEAH!)
96. The Flashcubes-Sportin’ Wood (Air Mail)
97. Grahame/Steinberg-Grahame/Steinberg (Dog Turner)
98. Vinnie Zummo-Swinging Guitar Sounds Of Young America, Vol. 3 (VAZ Music)
99. Kent-Jag Ar Inte Radd For Murkret (Universal)
100. The Lemon Clocks-Now Is The Time (Jam)
101. William Seen’s Transport Music-Can I Sit Here And Absorb? (Crane Lake)
102. Pony Taylor-How To Fold Paper In Half Twelve Times (SuperHomard/Clifford)
103. The Sick Rose-No Need For Speed (Rock Indiana)
**104. Peelgreems-Big Adventure
105. Nine Times Blue-Fading Slowly (Renegade)
**106. Andy Goldberg-Moonlighting
107. Beyond Veronica-Hard Times For Dreamers (Fetish Pop)
108. Matt Purcell & The Blessed Curse-Mathew Street (Self-Released)
109. The Standards-A Slight Distraction (Schnapps House)
110. The Jac-Faux Pas (Egomaniac Music)
111. Magatha Trysty-Your Clothes Will Wear Themselves (Self-Released)
112. The Sunchymes-Let Your Free Flag Fly (Self-Released)
113. Paul Bohan-For Now & Ever (1969)
114. Smash Palace-…Do It Again (Zip)
115. I Am Next-How To Tell The Phonies From The Phakes (Self-Released)
116. The Electric Mess-Falling Off The Face of The Earth (Self-Released)
117. The Pozers-The Sun’s Going Down (Mirror Town)
118. The Seasongs-Out Of The City (Self-Released)
119. Jeff Litman-Outside (Born Enormous Music)
120. Jason Karaban-Shift (Ascend)
121. The Jooles-To Mr./Mrs. (Waterfall)
122. Mark Lane-Something New (Orange Deuce)
123. Your Gracious Host-1Up 2Down (Meccanic)
124. The Honey Wilders-Singles For Singles (Rubber Bucket)
125. The Ace-Next Time Around: Images In Sound (Self-Released)

II. Top EPs

Disclaimer alert: I’m not a big fan of EPs, as they always seem to leave me wanting more. For this reason, I never seek them out the way I do full-length albums, and 2012 was no exception. A few of them came my way, regardless, and I will list those I particularly enjoyed, in alphabetical order. I realize my rationale for not actively pursuing EPs is anything but…rational…and I will definitely seek to change this in 2013.

The Freddie Steady 5-1000 Miles
The Iveys-Days & Nights
The Jellybricks-Suckers
Fernando Perdomo-Home Is Wherever You Are
*Sunday Sun-I, II, and III
**Talk Tonight-A Single Day
Two Sheds Jackson-The Collaboration Series, Movement One

Note: some people have combined the three Sunday Sun EPs and ranked the aggregate on their “best album” list. I’m not going to do that because I believe that the cream of these EPs will come out as an album in 2013.

III. Top 5 Compilations-Various Artists

International Pop Overthrow: Vol. 15 (Pop Geek Heaven)
Power Pop Planet: 30 Bands-30 Smiles (Pop Geek Heaven)
Powerpopaholic Fest-Original Soundtrack Vol. 1 (Powerpopaholic)
The New Sell Out (Futureman)
Pop Garden Radio-The Rock On The Road Tour (Pop Garden Radio)

IV. Best DVD

Beatles Stories-A Fab Four Fan’s Ultimate Road Trip, By Seth Swirsky

V. Some Fine 2011 Releases I Found Out About Too Late To Be Ranked Last Year (In Alphabetical Order)

The Ash & The Oak-Searching For The Soft Rays
The Broken Vinyl Club-The Broken Vinyl Club
Mark Carroll-In Silence
Ivan Mudd-Greetings Earthlings
The Hazey Janes-The Winter That Was
Ben Jones-Kaleidoscope
The Little Black Bottles-Let Them Eat Red Velvet Cake
The Sons-The Prime Words Committee

VI. 2013 Releases I’ve Heard And Am Excited About (In Alphabetical Order)

The Beat Rats-Have Mersey! (Cavern)
Paul Bertolino-Where The Buildings Hit The Sky (Kool Kat)
The Bottle Kids-Such A Thrill (Self-Released)
The Fast Camels-Dead Rooms And Battery Dreams
Goodman-What We Want
Stephen Lawrenson-Obscuriosity (Kool Kat)
Peachfuzz-Fall Down Dreaming
The Popdogs-Cool Cats For Pop Dogs (Self-Released)
The Resonars-Crummy Desert Sound (Burger)
Secret Friend-Time Machine
Chris Stamey-Lovesick Blues (Yep Roc)
Surf School Dropouts-Summer Is A State Of Mind

Friday, January 04, 2013

Friday Roundup.

Static in Verona-Some Things You Knew EP. Rob Merz, a/k/a Static in Verona, is back with a brand new EP that builds on the strength of his previous releases. Opener "White Knuckles" is an atmospheric dream pop delight, while "Everything You Knew" is a piano-based stomper that recalls Spoon and "Look Like Gold" would fit at home on a Pernice Brothers album. Top-rate stuff to kick off the new year, and best of all if you like what you stream below you can download it free off the official site.

Engloria-Shine. The debut full-length from this New York band will undoubtedly appeal to fans of Brit Pop, especially Oasis as frontman/chief songwriter James Stewart bears a vocal resemblance to Liam Gallagher. This is readily apparent on the title track which commences the proceedings, which wouldn't have been out of place on What's the Story, Morning Glory?. "High Tonight" is another strong rocker, and the midtempo "Where You Are" has a bit of "Roll With It" to it. Meanwhile, "I've Been Down" has a lighter, jangly pop feel and "Melrose" manages to combine Brit Pop with a heartland rock sound. The most impressive thing about this album is that they keep the hooks coming, and there really isn't a clunker to be found.

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