Cliff Hillis-Seven Sisters. New music from Cliff Hillis is always a treat, and his latest single may not be the upbeat power pop he usually traffics in, it's a beautiful melancholy ballad featuring Louis Clark Jr. (of The Orchestra) on cello.
Starbelly-Love Song 26 (feat. Roger Joseph Manning Jr.). And if a new Cliff Hillis single isn't enough, here he is with Starbelly and special guest Roger Joseph Manning Jr. "Love Song 26" is a classic Beatlesque mid-tempo number which features Manning on piano, backing vocals and orchestration.
The Top Boost-Tell Me That You're Mine/Early Morning Days. And as we continue to thematically link the current single to the one before it, this Vancouver duo had their 2019 EP produced by Roger Joseph Manning Jr. This time around, the guys trade in their classic pop stylings for Sweetheart of the Rodeo-era Byrds on "Tell Me That You're Mind" while "Early Morning Days" has a more lush countrypolitan sound. An interesting but welcome departure.
Dungeon of Skeletons-Valencia. Some of you may remember Justin Kline from earlier last decade. He's been quiet for a while but is back with his band Dungeon of Skeletons. Despite the death metal-sounding name, "Valencia" is more of the bright pop Kline was known for as a solo artist and it's a great summer track.
Empty City Squares-Parmenides/History Rhymes. Big Stir Records has been bringing us some great power pop singles the last few years and the latest from Empty City Squares, whose 337 was one of the pleasant surprises of 2019, is a double-sided single which is "thinking man's pop" as it's literally about a thinker, the philosopher Parmendies. But don't worry, these are catchy tunes, not ponderous navel-gazing.
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Bryan Estepa-Weight in Gold/Subject to Change. Like Cliff Hillis above, Bryan Estepa has been one of most consistently excellent power pop artists of the past 15-20 years and fresh off his grabbing of the top spot in 2019's year-end list on this site he has two new tracks that are, uh, worth their weight in gold. "Weight in Gold" is a sweet, subdued track that gets by on charm and melody, while "Subject to Change" is more classic Estepa with its big, catchy chorus.
Ryan Allen-Hope and Control/Feeling Alright?. Ryan Allen is back with more of his heavy power pop (but without his Extra Arms this time) on a couple of new tunes. "Hope and Control" is classic Allen while "Feeling Alright?" has a glam sound. Proceeds from this single are going the Black Lives Matter Foundation, so check it out.