Monday, December 31, 2018

The Absolute Powerpop Top 100 Albums of 2018, #51-100.

Let the lists begin! A little later this year but that's allowed me to get some later releases in. Of course, it never ends and I'll inevitably discover a 2018 album or two in early 2019 that should have placed on the list. Ring in the New Year tomorrow with the top half of the list, and the other lists (EPs, Americana, miscellany) will go up Wednesday or Thursday.

51. Joel Sarakula-Love Club
52. Mick Terry-Days Go By
53. Wyatt Blair-Inspirational Strawberries
54. Brian Jay Cline-The Avenue
55. The Great Affairs-Ten & 2
56. Matthew Sweet-Wicked System of Things
57. Brother Reverend-The Tables Turn Too Often
58. Pale Hollow-Pilots
59. Mario Soutschka-Long Stories Short
60. Brett Newski-Life Upside Down
61. Glowbox-Fossil Fuel
62. Vegas With Randolph-Legs & Luggage
63. Fernando Perdomo-Zebra Crossing
64. The Vinyl Skyway-Long Cool Journey
65. Oberon Rose-Tell Me All About It
66. Four Star Riot-Daylight
67. Mystic Braves-The Great Unknown
68. Henry Chadwick-Marlon Fisher
69. Ryan Allen & His Extra Arms-Headacher
70. Dropkick-Longwave
71. Michael Slawter-Last Call for Breaking Hearts
72. Minky Starshine-Dirty Electric
73. Adam Miner-Christina
74. Grace Basement-Mississippi Nights
75. Dan Israel-You're Free
76. Paul McCann-Here Comes the Rapture
77. Andy Bopp-Wherewithal
78. The Amprays-Sleepchaser
79. Zombies of the Stratosphere-The Physical Kids
80. The Spindles-Past and Present
81. Mooner-Satisfaction/Promise
82. Richard Turgeon-Lost Angeles
83. Chris Price-Dalmatian
84. Afterpartees-Life is Easy
85. The Grip Weeds-Trip Around the Sun
86. The Hope Trust-Passengers
87. Mike Viola-The American Egypt
88. Daniel Romano-Nerveless
89. Young Scum-Young Scum
90. The Genuine Fakes-Issues
91. Big Sunset-Big Sunset
92. Amoeba Teen-Selection Box Vol 1
93. Van William-Countries
94. Scot Sax-Drawing from Memory
95. Bubble Gum Orchestra-Zentopia
96. LowRay-Friends & the Fakers
97. Alfa 9-My Sweet Movida
98. The Speedways-Just Another Regular Summer
99. Kyle Craft-Full Circle Nightmare
100. Devin Farney-Stealing Sand from the Sandbox

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Year-end lists update.

For those checking in and looking for the lists, I should have them up either later this week or by New Year's Eve at the latest. Thanks for your patience.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Early December Roundup.

Various Artists-White Lace & Promises: The Songs of Paul Williams. Andrew Curry has done it again. The man behind some of this decade's best compilations (including the "lite rock" Drink a Toast to Innocence for which I broke my own rules to make #1 of 2013) has turned his attention to 70s songwriter extraordinaire Paul Williams. While Williams' impish blond mop-top and glasses guise is well-known enough from TV and movies to stylize on the cover, the average music fan may not be able to rattle off all the songs he wrote for others which became hits in the 70s and early 80s. His most notable successes came from the Carpenters, whom he put on the map with songs such as "Rainy Days and Mondays", "We've Only Just Begun" (from which the compilation gets its title with the lyric "white lace and promises") and "I Won't Last a Day Without You" among others.

The usual all-star cast of indie poppers contribute here, with Cliff Hillis nailing "Rainy Days and Mondays", Corin Ashley faithfully covering "We've Only Just Begun" and Chris Price's enthusiastic reading of "I Won't Last a Day Without You". But Williams was more than the Carpenters - Cait Brennan turns into a wonderfully trippy version of Three Dog Night's "Old Fashioned Love Song", The Davenports add their power pop style to "Evergreen", Barbra Streisand's smash hit from the 70s version of A Star is Born, and Andy Reed gives the cheesefest which is Kermit the Frog's "Rainbow Connection" his all. But while the covers of the well-known hits by your favorite current-day artists are what pull you in, the real treats here are the covers of lesser-known tracks, some of which Williams recorded himself. Greg Pope's "Waking Up Alone" could pass as his one of his own tunes, and Plasticsoul's "Still Alive" rocks way harder than anything you might associate with Williams.

Given that Williams' m├ętier was lite rock, this compilation makes a great bookend with the aforementioned Drink a Toast to Innocence, so this one is a must-have holiday gift for fans of timeless pop music.


Hot Nun-Born to Blaze. Hot Nun is Jeff Shelton's vehicle for rocking harder and louder than he does with the jangle-oriented Well Wishers, and this latest EP delivers more of the rawk you didn't know you needed but can't do without after hearing. From "Livin' a Dirty Mind" to "Anyway" to "Back to Now", Shelton & friends live up to their own description of "imagine you're at a weekend kegger and Judas Priest and The Archies are jammin out to some Cheap Trick while Bob Mould and the McDonald brothers from Redd Kross chime in". Their mission statement can be summed up in the title of the final track: "Rock and Roll is My Advice".


David Woodard-I Used to Be Cool EP. Nashville's David Woodard has stumbled upon the perfect title for all of us middle-aged power poppers who came of age in the 70s and 80s (although I myself was never cool), and his debut EP reminds me of the godfather of Nashville power pop, Bill Lloyd (who himself has a great new album out which I may or may not get to before it ranks very high on my year-end list). Opener "We Didn't Know" is a wonderful wistful song which looks back on lost youth, while the title track is a jangly delight and "Chase After Me" recalls the kind of smart pop Lloyd is known for. Woodard closes out the EP with a quality cover of The Beatles' "Help!" and he also has a pretty good Christmas single out as a separate release.