Rich McCulley-The Grand Design. LA-based Roots rockin' power popper Rich McCulley is back with The Grand Design, his sixth solo album, and the man proves he has a knack for topping himself each time out. Ironically it was only a few weeks ago I reviewed a couple of new singles from McCulley's running mate Todd Herfindal, and the leadoff track on this album is "Right Here Now", co-written by Herfindal and the B-side to Herfindal's "Shine Shine" single, giving us two versions of an excellent track. "The Most Beautiful Thing" is another standout (co-written by Will Kimbrough and Herfindal), which could pass for a lost Wilburys track with its Jeff Lynne-style backing vocals and slide guitar, and the title track has an anthemic feel that's insipirational and takes on greater resonance considering the personal losses McCulley suffered prior to his last album, Starting All Over Again. Elsewhere, "Troubles Behind" and "The Gift" are pleasing roots rock, and "She's Like a Tattoo" is a classic country drinking song with pedal steel. There isn't a duff track to be found here, and McCulley has himself a 2013 top 10 contender on his hands.
CD Baby | iTunes
Full album stream at official site
Radio Days-Get Some Action. Italy's Radio Days return with their third album, and Dario Persi & Co. serve up another helping of classic power pop in the vein of the Paul Collins Beat, The Rubinoos and The Knack. Opener "Burning Together" is an infectious power pop tune that seems melodically inspired by Bryan Ferry's "Let's Stick Together", while "Girl Girl Girl" captures the early-mid Beatles sound. The songs keep coming at you in 2-3 minute bursts, and it's easily their best and most consistent release to date. Whether it's the "yeah yeah yeah"s of the title track, the raved-up "I'll Be Your Man" or the swelling chorus of "Goodbye My Love", Radio Days have made the retro/60's power pop album of the year so far.
CD Baby | iTunes