Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Mick’s Picks -A Dozen Delights From My Favourite Albums of 2009

Music journalist and psychedelic poster artist Mick Dillingham has once again honored PPO with his top picks for 2009. You can read more from Mick at his brilliant site "Art Into Dust". Filled with music, interviews and great insight, it is worth your time.

1. Jason Falkner –Princessa (from All Quiet On The Noise Floor)
After releasing the opinion dividing I’m Okay, You’re Okay after a decade long hiatus (I’m in the thumbs up camp on that album) Jason Falkner returns with the stunning masterwork that is All Quiet On The Noise Floor to almost universal acclaim. You don’t need me to tell you here, how ridiculously talented the man is, he is after all Jason Falkner for crying out loud. Those of you who haven’t had the cash to splash out on this so far only Japanese release will be happy to hear that a stateside release is in the works and arriving early in the near future.

2. Anne Soldaat –Runaway (from In Another Life)
And Mr Falkner is all over another brilliant album, both playing and empathetically producing Anne Soldaat’s heart stoppingly glorious debut solo album In Another Life. Soldaat was the brilliant lead guitarist and one of the songwriters in Daryll Ann who I consider to be one of the finest bands to ever walk the planet and together these two legends have crafted a work of depth and melodic passion they are both deeply proud of. A magical delight of a record chock full of brilliant songs that effortlessly matches the glory of his musical history In Another Life is a majestic classic deserving of your love.

3. Roger Klug – Girl After my Own Heart (from More Help For Your Nerves)
Ten years after delivering up two genius monster slabs of clever, inventive rock/pop Roger Klug returns with More Help For Your Nerves and, impossible as it might seem to those of us already hopelessly smitten with what has gone before, delivers up his best album yet. Classic pop melodies, swooping choruses, blazing playing (mostly all by the man himself) topped off with razor sharp wit of great humanity and white hot magma guitar work that will not just knock your socks clean off but sear them from your feet in a unfortunate smelting accident sort of way. There’s so much listening adventure to be had in this treasure house of master class clever its almost embarrassing. A mighty, mighty album from a mighty, mighty talent.

4. Waz -All You Want (from These Bright Lights)
Waz is I believe the only artist here that made it into my top ten of last year with his previous gem. Waz, like Philip Price and Mark Mikel has a seemingly endless supply of drop-dead gorgeous melody lines to scatter about his songs, each eliciting the same sort of hopeless heart lifting pleasure you get when you see a beautiful girl walking past you on the street. He also has a voice that would melt honey and a love of creativity that makes anything he touches a true and real glory to behold. These Bright Lights is his singer songwriter album but beautifully played and warmly and thoughtfully produced enough that it stands next to his previous more flashy outing with ease. At the heart of his work are the songs and my oh my can Waz write songs.

5. Jeff Litman –Anna (from Postscript)
New York based Jeff Litman turned his back on a career as a classical guitarist to return to the arms of his true love, melodic guitar pop and his debut album Postscript effortlessly shows the sacrifice was anything but in vain. Built around a song cycle of love, loss and regrets it’s a beautifully played, sung, produced and arranged pop treat of such depth and quality that you can easily listen to from start to finish and then press play all over again. It beautifully crafted by a man who knows exactly what he’s doing and is doing it right up our street. Part Jason Falkner, part Michael Penn but mostly unmistakably Jeff Litman, Postscript heralds a major new talent to be embraced and enjoyed for years to come hopefully.

6. The Damnwells- Dandelion (from One Last Century)
I first heard The Damnwells around the same time as another fine band Wayne and both bands reminded me of the other in that at their collective hearts was a very strong songwriter whose vision drove the band members to a true level of creative melodic playing (as with Scott Sax and Wanderlust on their classic debut Prize). Wayne sadly disappeared without a trace, The Damnwells fortunately did not and on their third album One Last Century they continue to do what they do best; being one hell of a class act. If it says Damnwells on the sleeve then you just cannot go wrong, it seems to me.

7. The Twilight Hours –Never Mine (from Stereo Night)
Back in the yesterday that was the 90’s John Munsun and Matt Wilson were half of the legendary and unique Trip Shakespeare a band I love forever with every fibre of my being. Today John and Matt are The Twilight Hours and the tunes on their debut album Stereo Night are the dreams that stuff is made of. The songs, the playing and the singing are as masterful as you would expect, tender, warm and softly passionate, wistfully romantic. It’s beautifully recorded with the added strength of the sort of perfectly timed unleashed production flourishes that turns such proceedings into an album proper and not just a recording of musical performances on a CD that so many artists seem to settle for at the moment. And another source of joy is that Matt hasn’t forgotten to bring his unmistakable soaring sonically magnificent guitar solos along for the ride. It all adds up to one hell of a fine album.

8. Moss Comfort (from Never Be Scared/Don’t Be A Hero)
Dutch band Moss are signed to Daryll Ann’s old label Excelsior and their classy debut album The Long Way Back was a real sit up and listen winner with me so the follow up Never Be Scared/Don’t Be A Hero was much anticipated. Spacier and yet more direct than before the melodies and songs are just as delightfully addictive, and come wrapped in lightly golden clouds of subtly rising layers of flat guitars and tumbling keyboards. Less immediate than the debut, a few plays in you realise that this splendid band have produced yet another winner deserving of repeated listens.

9. Marc Carroll- Always (from Dust Of Rumour)
The excellent Irish songwriter and musician Marc Carroll after the diversion of his last Dylanesque last album has returned to the pop field once more on his strikingly excellent Dust Of Rumour. While his debut was effortlessly power pop for this latest album he’s added an extra sixties shimmer that is probably due to hanging out with The Quarter After in LA half the year. He plays nearly everything on this fine inventive album and is a dab hand at writing one great song after another so how can this album be anything other than a great listen.

10. Sam And Me- Green Fingers (from The Battle Of Hemsby)
Originally from Brighton England Sam and Me have been around a while but finally got around to recording their debut album this year The Battle Of Hemsby is a beautiful mid tempo pop confection overflowing with charming playing and production full of details and melodic sixties tinged songs that remind me of the type of cotton candy fragile romantic pop Chris Holmes does so well. This is a warm and inviting album built on sighs that once played wont let go of your heart or your ears. Wonderful golden listening pleasures drips from every blissful tear. An easy choice for my albums of 2009 or any year for that matter.

11. It Hugs Back-Don’t Know (from Inside Your Guitar)
.Another British band It Hugs Back have also caught my attention this year with a debut Inside Your Guitar that also reminds me of Chris Holmes and for that matter Sam And Me though it is at times more dream pop that either. There’s lots of jangly guitars and buried vocals when they do get going though and the mixture of fast and slow brings lots of rewarding listening pleasure and makes the album on that you can slide into your player and drown into time and time again.

12. Don McGlashan and the Seven Sisters- The Switch (from Marvellous Year)
If Crowded House were REM then they would sound like The Mutton Birds except the Mutton Birds sound like no one but The Mutton Birds. . The Mutts are another of my greatest bands of all time, like the already touched upon Trip Shakespeare and Daryll Ann and like those legendary combos they are no more. Fortunately principal song writer and lead vocalist Don McGlashan has continued along the same epic musical path as his former band on his pair of wonderful solo outings so far. He’s a highly literate songwriter and when not turning out passionate and soul lifting love songs he is busy populating his soaring melodic tunes with all manner of slightly twisted characters set in the claustrophobic towns and wide open spaces of his native New Zealand. He continues to be one of the major songwriters in my book.

Mick’s Picks/rs
Mick’s Picks/mu

The 2009 Top Ten à la Eric Knox

Once again great friend of PPO and "The Man With The White Jaguar", Axe-Man Eric Knox, is sharing his 2009 Top Ten again! I wait for his list from the minute January begins and it is always fun and interesting to see his choices from the music of 2009.

Thanks Eric!!

The Riptides - Tales From Planet Earth

The Ratboys - Cash, Gas and Trash

The Leftovers - Eager to Please

The Riverdales - Invasion U.S.A.

The Huntingtons - Punk Sounds

Muck and the Mires - Hypnotic

Dan Auerbach - Keep It Hid

The Heavy - The House That Dirt Built

Baby Woodrose - Baby Woodrose

Kepi Ghoulie - Life Sentence

Interesting reissues that did not make the list:

The Rationals – Think Rational

The Del Lords - Frontier days

Kraftwork – The catalogue

Loaded Dice – No sweat

The 2009 Top Ten à la Eric Knox/rs
The 2009 Top Ten à la Eric Knox/mu

1. Telephone Operator / The Leftovers
2. Hung Up / The Riptides
3. Heart Out Of Season / The Riverdales
4. Judy Jetson / The Huntingtons
5. Oh No! Not You Again! / The Heavy
6. I Want Some More / Dan Auerbach
7. Ratboy / The Ratboys
8. How You Like Me Now? / The Heavy
9. Hang All Over Me / Muck And The Mires
10.Bye Bye Brain / Kepi Ghoulie
11.Countdown To Breakdown / Baby Woodrose
12.Rocketship X-M / The Riverdales
13.Hypnotic / Muck And The Mires
14.Can't Stop / The Leftovers
15.Hollywood Summer / The Ratboys
16.I Can't Have a Merry Christmas / The Riptides
17.Freaks On Parade / Kepi Ghoulie
18.No Mas / Baby Woodrose
19.It's Always Christmas At My House / The Huntinhtons
20.My Last Mistake / Dan Auerbach

Monday, December 28, 2009

The PPO Top Ten Power Pop Albums of 2009

Like last Christmas, I am sitting here up to my ass in snow thinking about the great music that has been presented to us this year and I am finding it difficult to come up with just 10!!
So many talented artists and groups, It is hard to make a decision! I am basing my list on the fact that most of these discs were in heavy rotation at home, work and in my car.
Well, here you are...

10) Biscuit - Cinnamon Fade Out - By the album title alone, one would assume “Cinnamon Fade Out” would contain loads of 60’s psychedelic pop rock. Guess what? You won’t be disappointed. Think Buffalo Springfield meets The Who meets the Posies. Produced by Santi Garcia and mastered by Bob Weston (of Shellac), this is their fourth album. Having played with the MC5, The Dexateens and Boss Martians, Biscuit is renowned for their live powerful performances.

9) The Tomorrows - Jupiter Optimus Maximus - This is what a Power Pop Album should sound like! Marc Stewart and Scott Fletcher withTony Kerr and Adrian Buckleyalong for the ride, are building on the model of their former band, The Roswells, but taking it one step further. Crunchy guitars and faultless melodies plus really groovy suits make them all that much better. Look out for these guys in the future.

8) The Research Turtles - The Research Turtles - These guys are the best band you have never heard of! Taking cues from The Beatles and Weezer, Research Turtles bring an energetic mix of pop and rock that is fun, honest, and at times nostalgic. Their sound is reminiscent of 60s-era British invasion rock with thick guitars, driving beats, and simple pop structures. The “Turtles” consist of brothers Jud and Joe Norman, Logan Fontenot, and Blake Thibodeaux.

7) The Riffbackers - The Curtain Shop And Alterations - Fausto Martin and Nacho García have gathered the remnants of their former band, The Winnerys, and produced a first class album. Inspired by late 70’s Power Pop, The Curtain Shop and Alterations is loaded with reverberating riffs and hook-packed pop vocals. The Riffbackers craft great pop music that hits you from the first note to the very last.

6) Stephen Lawrenson - Somewhere Else - Calling all Jeff Lynne fans...or Beatles fans...better yet, calling everyone, you need to listen to this! Combining refined dense layers of harmonies and passionate love for late 70’s Power Pop, the sophomore release from the Pennsylvania singer/songwriter is a not textbook pop album, but rather the student showing the teachers how it should be done… And it is done well!

5) Bobby Emmett - Learning Love - A power pop singer-songwriter from Detroit, Bobby Emmett has offered up this Power Pop goodie, for lack of a better expression, filled to the brim with catchy melodies and unforgettable riffs, combined with the fact that vintage gear from that era was used to create a classic power pop feel, makes for an incredible debut... and it makes me ready to hear exactly what Bobby Emmett give us next.

4) The Resonars - That Evil Drone - Presenting 12 tracks from Tucson Arizona's finest "unknown" band! Released on CD in the spring (so this counts!), Matt Rendon, the talent behind curtain, intermingles psychedelic melodies, driving guitars and some well placed fuzz into an appealing blend of Beatles meet the Byrds, constructing a most enjoyable album. Another winner from The Resonars! As if we expected less.

3) The Madd - The Madd Are Pretty Quick! - Okay, take The Beatles, The Hollies, The Electric Prunes and any other band from that era and add some high-octane caffeine, blend it on "11" and you got The Madd. Featuring catchy choruses, hyperactive guitars, a pumping organ, the furious paced drumming of Slammin 'Marty Graveyard, and the fabulous voice of Dave von Raven, The Madd do not disappoint on their sophomore release. 15 addictive songs, each better than the last, it is difficult to put this album down, even more difficult to wipe the smile off your face when you are finished listening to it.

2) Tony Cox - Unpublished - From the start songwriter Tony Cox has given us one of the most consistent and listenable pop records of the last ten years, maybe one of the top ten albums of this decade. With the help of Nigel Clark and Darren Finlan, Tony has presented us with some of the most perfect pop songs I have heard in a long time. Intense layers of guitar tracks provided by Tony and brilliant vocals of Nigel Clark provide a Sunshine Pop meets modern inspiration sound that will not be disappoint.

1) Gidgets Ga Ga - The Big Bong Fiasco - It’s Gidgets Ga Ga from Chicago, Illinois! This three-piece power pop trio is the real deal. Combining classic modern rock and a smartness of the past pop music ala Cheap Trick, they have perfected the 3-minute song! Crunchy, face melting guitars, high energy vocals intertwined with unbeatable pop sensibility, Gidgets Ga Ga has bestowed upon us an unquestionable pearl of Power Pop goodness. Thank you Gidgets Ga Ga!

The PPO Top Ten Power Pop Albums of 2009/rs

The PPO Top Ten Power Pop Albums of 2009/mu

1. Pity Her / The Tomorrows
2. Stupid Rock Star's Dream / The Riffbackers
3. Let Me Play / Biscuit
4. Welcome To My World / Tony Cox
5. Damn! / Gidgets Ga Ga
6. Hey! / Stephen Lawrenson
7. Bird Using Bird / The Resonars
8. Love Is Real / Bobby Emmett
9. Try / The Madd
10.Breakdown / Biscuit
11.Damn / Research Turtles
12.Feel Real Love / Tony Cox
13.Baby You're A Star / Gidgets Ga Ga
14.Let's Go / Stephen Lawrenson
15.Queen Of Hearts / Bobby Emmett
16.One Part Moan / The Resonars
17.Don't Ask Me Love / The Madd
18.Jupiter Optimus Maximus / The Tomorrows
19.Sometimes / The Riffbackers
20.The Riff Song / Research Turtles

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Michael Gross and The Statuettes - Impulse & Exports - to be released in January of 2010

Michael Gross and The Statuettes are an American Indie Rock/Pop band from Salt Lake City, Utah that formed in the summer of 2008.

From 2003-2007, Michael Gross was the guitarist and one of the singer/songwriters in the band The Brobecks. After his departure from that band and a stint in a band called Lets Become Actors, Michael recorded his first solo album in the spring of 2008 entitled "Tales From a Country Home.” A short time later, Michael formed a full band around this project. The Statuettes were born.

Michael Gross and The Statuettes released their debut EP “Dust & Daylight” in June of 2009. It was met with much success and received healthy praise and great reviews on national music blogs and web pages. The Salt Lake City Weekly described “Dust and Daylight” as “twangy pop that has a slightly uneasy tone beneath the jingle jangle flow."

With their follow up six-song EP entitled “Impulse & Exports” (to be released in January of 2010), the band replaced the alt-twang sound found on their previous EP with reverb soaked guitars, and sweeping synthesizers that fit nicely into a moody pop/rock package. 2010 hopes to be a good year for the band, as they plan to tour, write and record new music, and continue expanding their fan base in a variety of ways.

Keep Driving - Michael Gross and The Statuettes

For more information (including music, tour dates and photos)visit the band at and

Monday, December 21, 2009

Farrah - Moustache - 2001

This is a very agreeable Pop Underground album. Not surprisingly, it features pleasing guitar riffs, sweeping harmonies, and a generally cheery sound even when the songs are about romantic disappointment; this is the type of band that makes lyrics like "Life's too short to waste my time on you" ("Life's Too Short") seem as convivial as "If you'll be my Louis Lane, I'll be your Superman" ("Lois Lane"). Possible influences and similar bands include the Rubinos (the album features an early 80s-sounding cover version of "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend"), Supergrass, the Jagz, the Vapors, the Cars, Squeeze, Fountains of Wayne, and the usual power-pop suspects. Lyrics tend toward conventional romantic fare with the occasional display of wordplay ("We used to talk about the way we're feeling"/"Now I don't feel as though we're really talking") and unusual rhymes ("ambition"/"titian"). You also get to hear the vocalist stretch out "why," "cry," "by," "head" and "bed" to two syllables each on "Tired of Apologizing," which features some nice synthesized horns, and observe that the band truly understands the value of brevity on "Only Happy When She's Sad," a 58-second ballad about a woman in love with a man who doesn't appreciate her. The album ends with "Seventies Superstar," which features sirens and savory guitar, and a piano-driven ballad, "Goodnight God Bless," with apparently tongue-in-cheek lyrics extolling the audience to "sing along to the fade." Extremely patient listeners can stick around for several minutes before reaching the uninteresting bonus track of Casio noodling at the very end of the CD.- AMG

Removed at copyright holders request

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Fate Lions On KXT 91.7: Hot Jive In-Studio Performance

Here is something no one should miss!
The fabulous Fate Lions are going to be playing across the airwaves and through your hairs TODAY, December 16th at 3:15pm – 4:15pm Central Time on Dallas, Denton and Fort Worth's very own KXT 91.7. The kind folks over yonder have deemed it worth the risk to have our bunch of ne'er do wells into the studio to make an attempt at entertaining. Hopefully we can deliver something worth mentioning to friends. Thanks again for all the support everyone and don't forget to download the entire album, FREE, through Christmas HERE. It's just our way of getting our psychic hands into your homes and hearts, or at the very least your car stereos and whatever other portable devices you utilize for music toting.

Stay Groovy!

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Rosenbergs - Department Store Girl - 2004

The Rosenbergs spent the early 2000s riding a most unfortunate roller coaster: They were offered a slot on the then-hip Farmclub TV show, but turned it down when the contract terms proved unacceptable. They inked a groundbreaking profit-sharing record label deal with Robert Fripp's artist-friendly imprint Discipline Global Mobile, only to be left holding the bag when DGM failed to bear fruit. And their vocal advocacy of Napster went for naught when the file-sharing service crumbled under its own controversy. The band could have been forgiven, then, if they had followed up 2000s Mission: You with a record embittered or indulgently dwelling on the trappings and challenges of the record industry. To their credit, they do not, instead releasing a record so earnestly pop and so incessantly buoyant that one suspects they might actually only be in the business for the sake of making good music. Department Store Girl is a far less-produced effort than Mission: You, foregoing bells and whistles (literally) in favor of keeping the attention on Joe Mahoney's chunky guitar riffs and David Fagin's glossy vocals. Like Cheap Trick's better moments, the formula works fabulously in places, particularly when Fagin gets to toy with playful rhymes and pop culture references. "Crockett & Tubbs," an homage to kids playing TV characters, is the best example; other standouts include the bouncy "Birds of a Feather" and "Nighttime Lover." Beyond the up-tempo successes, the ballad "Woods" marries a gorgeous acoustic guitar melody to tasteful strings and tight harmonies, showcasing a new side of the band. All told, Department Store Girl is a smart, tight collection of pop underground gems, deserving of the same success that Fountains of Wayne experienced in this time period with their fluke hit "Stacy's Mom." This is a highly recommended album for fans of true power pop. -AMG

The Rosenbergs - Department Store Girl - 2004/rs
The Rosenbergs - Department Store Girl - 2004/mu

Friday, December 11, 2009

V/A - xo for the Holidays - 2009

Wow it's already December, and Christmas is almost here! I am sure there will be no shortage of gift ideas placed in your path during the next few weeks. Newspapers, Radio and TV will be filled with ads offering novel, interesting, compelling, and occasionally useful gifts for those on your list!

Not to be outdone xo publicity (home of the faboulous BAcksliders) offers up their second installment of "xo for the Holidays"! Best of all, this one is free! Ho Ho Ho! Happy Holidays from xo!

V/A - xo for the Holidays - 2009


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