Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The Absolute Powerpop Top 100 of 2015, #1-50

So here it is, the top 50 of 2015. 51-100 can be found here, and the year's top EPs are coming tomorrow. One special mention that I didn't include in the list was Jon Latham's Real Bad News. It's an Americana/alt-country album that probably didn't fit in on a power pop list (although it's a fine line involved in leaving it off, given some other selections). Had I included it, it would have been in the middle of the top 10. Some other random thoughts: If this really is Michael Carpenter's last album, he's going out on top; if someone told me at the beginning of the year that Bryan Adams would make my top 10 I would have laughed, but I enjoyed his new Jeff Lynne-produced album more than the one from the man himself; Mitch Gettman is an artist I haven't written about, but I've really enjoyed his last few albums, so I'll advise you to check him out; and it didn't get much buzz, but warhorse singer-songwriter Freedy Johnston came back with his best album since his early-mid 90s heyday. Finally, you probably already have, but if you haven't check out Powerpopaholic's top 25 of the year as well. Our top two are the same (albeit in different order), along with 3 others that both make our top 10. And then we each have some the other doesn't list at all, proving that there's a ton of great music out there from 2015. Here's hoping 2016 lives up to its predecessor.

1. Michael Carpenter-The Big Radio
2. Reno Bo-Lessons from a Shooting Star
3. Mooner-Masterpiece
4. Wade Jackson-Whiskey Alpha Delta Echo
5. Elvyn-Valley of the Kilowatt Hour
6. Nick Piunti-Beyond the Static
7. Sam Vicari-Giving Up
8. Bryan Adams-Get Up
9. Martin Courtney-Many Moons
10. Coke Belda-Nummer Zwei
11. Tobias Jesso Jr-Goon
12. Pop4-Summer
13. Steve Robinson & Ed Woltil-Cycles
14. Three Hour Tour-Action and Heroes
15. Tad Overbaugh-Beauty & Barbed Wire
16. Marco Rea-Wallpaper Music
17. The Nines-Night Surfer & The Cassette Kids
18. Mitch Gettman-Dichotomy
19. Michael Collins-Last Laugh
20. Freedy Johnston-Neon Repairman
21. Jeff Lynne's ELO-Alone in the Universe
22. Minky Starshine-Pop Jewelry
23. Greg Pope-Fanboy
24. The Orange Humble Band-Depressing Beauty
25. The Ravines-Everything's Fine
26. Stereo Tiger-Two Weeks
27. The Junior League-Also Rans
28. Sports Fan-Minor Hits in Major Keys
29. Ryan Allen & His Extra Arms-Heart String Soul
30. Yorktown Lads-Songs About Girls and Other Disasters
31. Tommy Keene-Laugh in the Dark
32. Cloud Eleven-Record Collection
33. Zombies of the Stratosphere-In Technicolor
34. Kontiki Suite-The Greatest Show on Earth
35. The Roseline-Townie
36. Mark Pountney-Mark Two
37. The Small Square-S/T
38. Taylor Locke-Time Stands Still
39. Hidden Pictures-Ottomans
40. People on Vacation-The Chronicles of Tim Powers
41. Ocean Carolina-Maudlin Days
42. Brandon Schott-Crayons & Angels
43. Scot Sax & Suzie Brown-Our Album Doesn't Like You Either
44. Kevin Martin-Future Friends
45. Wilder Embry-Smolderoldingpictureaid
46. Kyle Vincent-Detour
47. Dan Israel-Dan
48. Billy Shaddox-I Melt, I Howl
49. Tom Rich-American Fantasy
50. Ryan Hamilton-Hell of a Day

Monday, December 28, 2015

The Absolute Powerpop Top 100 of 2015, #51-100.

Another year in the books, and it was an excellent one for power pop. Whereas last year I had to scrape up a top 75 instead of the full 100 for the first time in site history, this year I had to drop about 10-15 to make the cut for 100. The year-end list plan is as follows:

Today (12/28): #51-100
Tomorrow (12/29): #1-50
Wednesday (12/30): The top 15 EP list.

So here's #51-100:

51. John Faye-Meddling Kid
52. Mikal Cronin-MCIII
53. Caddy-The Better End
54. Steve Baskin-Dead Rock Star
55. The Supernaturals-360
56. Pugwash-Play This Intimately
57. Saul Zonana-Devolving
58. Chris Murphy-Ghost Town
59. Big Talk-Straight in No Kissin'
60. The Stereo Twins-Good News
61. Supraluxe-Morphine Creek
62. The Sylvia Platters-Make Glad the Day
63. The Grip Weeds-How I Won the War
64. Kurt Baker-Play it Cool
65. Noel Gallagher's High-Flying Birds-Chasing Yesterday
66. Jared Rabin-Something Left to Say
67. Daniel Wylie's Cosmic Rough Riders-Chrome Cassettes
68. Jonathan Rundman-Look Up
69. Timmy Sean-Songs of the Week
70. The Saucy Jacks-You Make Your Own World
71. Pasadena 68/Dakota Showdown-S/T
72. The Pollocks-Johnny Sunshine and the Rainbows
73. Nic Hessler-Soft Connections
74. Static in Verona-Odd Anthem
75. The Turnback-Are We There Yet?
76. The Fraidies-Try Again
77. Junebug-Pongo vs The Corporate Vampires
78. Benton Leachman-Bury the Hatchet
79. Summer Fiction-Himalaya
80. Honeywagen-Jamboree
81. Plastic Macca-Sensation
82. Blindswitch-S/T
83. Dragmatic-At Least We're Not Dead Yet
84. The Allrightniks-Two Places at One Time
85. All Day Sucker-Denim Days
86. Salim Nourallah-Skeleton Closet
87. Brian Jay Cline-Trick Photography
88. Justin Avery-Careless
89. Phil Yates & The Affiliates-No Need to Beg
90. Travel Lanes-Let's Begin to Start Again
91. The Modulators-Try Try Try
92. Jesse Valenzuela-Hotel Defeated
93. One Like Son-New American Gothic
94. Dave Rave & The Governors-Sweet American Music
95. Chris Cole & The Circus-Still Rolling With the Times
96. Baby Scream-Fan, Fan, Fan
97. William Bradford-S/T
98. Anthony Plain-Continuing on My Plan
99. Rob DeLion-Rolling Thunder
100. John Dunbar-From Expectation to Surrender

Friday, December 11, 2015

Mid-December Roundup.

Zombies of the Stratosphere-In Technicolor. Back with their third album and first since 2010's Ordinary People, NYC's Zombies of the Stratosphere (named after a 50s sci-fi serial) regale us again with another fine collection of Hollies/Kinks/Zombies-styled late-60s Britpop. "Poor Gallahad" is a great opener that you'd believe Ray Davies wrote, "Emily Lies" is first-rate psych-pop, and the title track is jangle heaven. Meanwhile "She's Counting the Days" might be a lost Left Banke track, and "Mr. Fairfax" would fit right in on a Nuggets compilation. So until a real time machine is invented, listening to this album is going to be the closest thing to traveling back to 1969.


Andy Reed-Relay Vol. 1. Longtime favorite Andy Reed returns with a new EP released under his own name (after the last few as An American Underdog) and it's full of the quality pop we've come to expect from him. "Dreaming of the West Coast" is a mid-tempo gem that has a dreamy quality, and the same can be said for "Love is Gone". The EP also features "Darlin, Don't You Know", released earlier as a single, and a cover of Sloan's "I Love a Long Goodbye" from their underrated album Pretty Together. Based on the fact the title of the EP says "Volume 1", I'm now looking forward to Volume 2.

Bandcamp | Kool Kat

Pasadena 68/Dakota Shakedown-Pasadena 68/Dakota Shakedown. We were wondering what Nick Leet's next move would be after the breakup of High on Stress, and now we know - a split full-length with his new band Pasadena 68 and his friend and former 90's bandmate Mike Hjelden's Dakota Shakedown, who share the same musical sensibility. In this case, that sensibility is classic Midwestern power pop/rock a la The Replacements and Gin Blossoms. Melodic rockers "This Day is Your Life and "Pardon the Mess" should dispel any concern about no new High on Stress music, and Dakota Shakedown's "Shut Out the Night" and "Slow Burn" are cut from the same cloth. Twice the rock, twice the fun.