Friday, December 31, 2010

Mick's Picks 2010 - Poptimized

Music journalist and psychedelic poster artist Mick Dillingham has once again honored PPO with his top picks for 2010. 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 - Play Myself Some Music
Obviously 2010 was the year Jason finally got and American release of I’m Okay, You’re Okay together. Seen by some as his difficult third album, just a few dedicated listens show it to be just as essentual as anything the maestro has put his hand to. But for this comp I just had to plump for his majestic cover of R. Stevie Moore’s beautiful Play Myself Some Music. Rendered in grand Falkner style and taken from Volume 2 of the (so far) eight volume set of RSM covers available for free download over at the Sick Of The Radio site.

2. Buva - Smoke Into The Sky
California’s Tom Wolfe has put together an album Not Scary, Friendly of such complex, masterful and winning melodic gravitas pop class that it is impossible to listen to without your mouth hanging open in joyful amazement. Possibly the most must have release of the year hands down.

3. Dog Age - 18th Of July
For their sixth album On Garish Isles Norwegian psych pop masters Dog Age stay as true as ever to their beautiful lysergic pop template that has served them so wonderfully for all these many years. Truly Neo Psychedelia without a steal of retro On Garish Isles shows a band mid way through their third decade as vital and as innovative as they have always been.

4. Broken Promise Keeper –Hyperdriven
Atlanta based power pop master Rob Stuart got to the top of everyone’s best of list with his previous outing Ice Cold Pop and for his latest Poptimized he delivers another master class in everything that makes the genre so beloved. He hits every target he aims for with dazzling ease and has melody and classic pop riffs in endless supply it appears. Any track off Poptimized would have served well here in so I just closed my eyes and stuck in a pin.

5. The Flower Machine – Traveling By Trampoline
If Broken Promise Keeper are unashamedly power pop (which they are) then LA’s The Flower Machine are the psychedelic pop equivalent. When done well I am a total sucker for such through the looking glass melodic delights, so I am hook lined and sinkered into the tangerine skied perfumed garden inhabited by this superb combo. Take a ride on a magic rocking horse to the land of the LS Bumblebee with the Flower Machine as you white rabbit guide. Beautiful stuff.

6. Captain Wilberforce – The Girl Who Broke Her Own Heart
In the grand tradition of The Lilac Time and the much underrated Straw, Leed’s Captain Wilberforce deliver up sophisticated melodic beatlesque pop with rich splashes of baroque left banke colour while remaining true to their 90’s indie hearts. Definitely an album to be sort out a treasured.

7. Tame Impala – Solitude Is Bliss
Young Perth combo Tame Impala’s album sounds like a killer volume of Bam Caruaso’s Rubble series, chockfull of psyched out pop songs bounced around by youth fuelled gusto, smile inducing experimentation and acid drenched production trickery.
It’s more ill mannered than mannered but with a quality of material at the centre that anchors it to something special land. I think I am going to love this lot.

8. Saab 78 - Chasing The Light
You know those occasional bands that are just class, plain and simple? Superb assured songwriting, masterful playing, great vocals, everything as it really should be in the very best ways. The type of band you can blindly buy each new album the moment it arrives with unshakeable confidence that it will be another slab of brilliance. Well Australian gravitas pop rockers Saab 78 are one such band and to not possess every note they have ever unleashed puts a shameful hole in your record collection like an open sore.

9. Greg Pope -The Awful Whisper
A last minute arrival to my list but as soon as I realised that ex Edmund’s Crown main man Pope had a new album out I knew it would have to be here now. I don’t think I need to sell this to the average PPO follower because the man knows exactly what he is doing here just like on his previous efforts. Brilliant stuff.

10. Winterpills – Are You Sleeping
I have been convinced of the creative genius of Northampton’s Philip Price since the debut album by The Maggies way back when. Through that fine band, a couple of solo albums and into his most high profile combo, the exquisite Winterpills he has not once dropped the ball or dented that conviction. This year’s Tuxedo of Ashes might be a six song mini album but it is still a thing of wonder. Recorded in the home studio this time means the production has a more psyched out edge than the previous album wrapped around the half dozen whispered melodic pop folk dreams within.



Thursday, December 30, 2010

The PPO Top Ten Power Pop Albums of 2010

Every 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) The Dolly Rocker Movement - Our Days Mind the Tyme - Hammond organ and a fuzzbox infused, These Ausie rockers grab a page right out of the psychedelic 60s. Since exploding onto the world stage in 2002, Our Days Mind the Tyme is thier third release and features 11 original tracks that hits you from the first note to the very last..

9) The Russians - Crashing The Party - From the start Scott Janovitz has given us one brilliant and listenable pop record. Crashing The Party is a gathering of fresh, clever pop songs that finds a balance between 60's influenced sunshine pop and modern inspiration, The Russians will not be disappoint, in fact, it is almost literally flawless and difficult not to listen to repeatedly.

8) The Apples in Stereo - Travellers in Space and Time - Poppy, futuristic and just plain old fun, The Apples in Stereo everything you need in order to have a great music experience.  Elijah Wood and Yep Roc Records have given us a glimpse into the future, and it looks pertty damn cool. The band consists of guitarist/vocalist (and Elephant 6 collective co-founder) Robert Schneider, guitarist John Hill, bassist Eric Allen, and drummer Hilarie Sidney.

7) The Len Price 3 - Pictures -  This UK trio gives us the same fun, early Who/Kinks sound from their previous albums but even more, I can't say enough good things about this release. Pictures is 60's style garage rock and Power Pop melded into an exciting, high energy album that will keep your feet tapping and your head moving long after the first listen!

6) The Parties - Coast Garde - Jangle pop goodness and intelligence exudes from The Parties latest Rainbow Quartz release, Coast Garde.  The songs are infectuous and exquisitely crafted and it’s hard to imagine any Power Pop self respecting fan not loving this nugget. Run out to your nearest record store and get it...Now!

5) Oranjuly - Oranjuly - Brian E. King, the force behind Oranjul (as well as a member of the a fore mentioned Russians) and is proving that Boston Mass is a hotbed for great music.  Oranjuly's catchy and totally pleasing debut is filled with smart, dense arrangements, stellar harmonies and effective lyrics ala Brian Wilson, that accentuate this wonderful album.  Expect to be thoroughly entertained.

4) The Men - Four Good Men and True - Presenting 12 tracks from one of  Stockholm's finest bands! Released on CD in the spring , Four Good Men and True, their third release since 2002, intermingles stylish melodies, tight driving guitars and some well placed fuzz into an appealing blend of Small Faces meet the Who, constructing a most enjoyable album. Another winner from The Men! As if we expected less.

3) Thee Attacks - That's Mister Attack to You -Pure power from the first chord, Danish act, Thee Attacks debut is an electric, hard hitting smack in the face!  Taking Mod to the next step with windmill axe work and enthusiastic lyrics, That's Mister Attack to You can't just played once.  It needs to be played again and again with the volume fully cranked.

2) Edward O'Connell - Our Little Secret - This is what a Power Pop album should sound like!  DC songwriter, Edward O'Connell has given one of the best albums in this genre since the 70's.  Filled with fantastic pop goodies from cover to cover, Our Little Secret deserves to be heard by all. This should be a "must have" for everyone that enjoys bright, clever and well crafted music.

1) Title Tracks -- It Was Easy - Title Tracks, the new project from  DC's John Davis, is definitely a cool band, and their first album was a good one to put them on the map.  This album never lets up, just energetic pop with catchy-as-all-hell choruses.  This band is going to be huge, pick up the album now and be one of those kids that can say “Yeah, I totally knew those guys before they were on MTV… Oh yeah, did I mention I’m cooler than you.”



1.You'd Better Get Back In Line / The Men
2.With This Ring / Edward O'Connell
3.Let's Call It Love / The Parties
4.Man Who Used to Be / The Len Price 3
5.Hello There / Title Tracks
6.I Could Break Your Heart / Oranjuly
7.Dance Floor / The Apples in Stereo
8.Memory Layne / The Dolly Rocker Movement
9.Crashing The Party / The Russians
10.On the Move / Thee Attacks
11.Every Little Bit Hurts / Title Tracks
12.Sold for Sinners / The Dolly Rocker Movement
13.Personal Ads / Oranjuly
14.Catastrophic Storm / The Parties
15.No One in the World / The Apples in Stereo
16.The Girl Who Became a Machine / The Len Price 3
17.Love In Disguise / Thee Attacks
18.The Hardest Job In The World / Edward O'Connell
19.Goodbye Before Too Late / The Men
20.The Record's Over / The Russians

Sunday, December 26, 2010

What’s in your Top 10?

Sizing up the year in Power Pop

It’s that time again, and here is an opportunity to let your opinions be heard, and I am sure you have plenty.

The year is coming to a close and it’s time to reflect on the music and events that made 2010 memorable. Curty Ray and PPO want to know what are your top 10 (or 20, 25 whatever) Power Pop Albums for 2010? Consider it a list that would no doubt, change with the weather, time of day, day of week, what side of the bed you woke up on, love life, etc, but for right now, what's yours?

You show me yours, and I’ll show you mine. I'm finalizing mine now and will post then here shortly.

Leave your list in the comments or email it to powerpopoverdose@gmail.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Noel Coward's Ghost - Peyote Marching Songs, Vol. 1 - 1995

Burdened only by its perplexing nomenclature , Peyote Marching Songs, Vol. 1 is an amazing solo creation by Steinberg (f/k/a Lane Hollend). Blown in from a parallel pop universe, the album is endlessly inventive, intricately crafted and burnished with gorgeous harmonies. This homemade stunner variously sounds like XTC ("Excuses"), the Left Banke ("The Lovely Maiden Voygle"), the Beach Boys ("Timon of Athens," "A Ghost in Wexford Terrace"), Sell Out-era Who ("Spanish Birthday Across the Miles"), Syd Barrett ("Benzaline") and nobody in particular ("Sad Lions"). Most of the songs gaily mix stylistic metaphors as Steinberg realizes his fantasies, using countless skillfully played instruments. But as the oblique lyrics don't provide much of a clue, Peyote Marching Songs, Vol. 1's intentions are as enigmatic as the choice of its title. -Trouser Press 



Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Cinerama - Va Va Voom - 1998

Though the thought is blasphemy in some committed quarters, Va Va Voom is evidence that the Wedding Present should be put to rest, or at least go on extended holidays. Not to belittle 12 years of yeoman LPs and a few dozen ripsnorting singles, but it's clear how refreshed David Gedge is. Perhaps the only limitations were in his own mind as to what constituted a Wedding Present sound or record -- and to be fair, the singer/writer/guitarist has monkeyed with the band's recognizable formula, such as on the more esoteric Seamonsters -- but there have been times when he seemed to be spinning his formidable wheels into too familiar circles, in too narrowly defined and repetitive corners. Imagine instead a playful, joyous, buoyant sound, filled with happy, lush keyboards, freshly sighing strings, neo-flamenco acoustic guitar fills, Sally Murrell's angelic backing vocals/hums, and brighter, more vivacious production -- as well as inspired aid from members of the Delgados, Animals That Swim, and the Church. Gedge's lyrics of sensitive obsession, frustrated, honest, and realistic longings, and kindly regard for his lovers remain intact. Now that they're placed in such a wildly different context, they gain a diametrically opposite power. Further, by turning down the guitars' grate factor, there is much more space for Gedge's likable-guy voice to fill, which means he needn't only feature the harsher, angst-barked tones in his throat. The double-tracked, friendly la-la choruses on "You Turn Me On" or "Dance Girl Dance," on top of surging violins and plinking background xylophone, would have been unthinkable in times past. Yet they seem so natural, you wonder when Gedge realized his own strengths had been so underused! To further antagonize the admirable faithful, Va Va Voom is not only the total shot in the arm the former star has needed, but it's the best album of his career. Maybe the gripping, high-energy power of his more culminating, wrenching Weddoe works such as Bizarro's "What Have I Said Now?" are missed, but the trade for 45 minutes of such focused, crafted, exuberant, yet more lighthearted music is too marvelous to complain. Cinerama is a rare comeback of rightfully restored relevance. -AMG



Monday, December 20, 2010

The Autumn Leaves - Treats and Treasures - 1997

Leader David Beckey has been in an extensive portfolio of Minneapolis bands, including stints with the Sedgwicks and Glow, who released one single via Susstones records. Soon after that, he formed the Autumn Leaves and has since released two singles and a debut CD.
The cast on the album includes Keith Patterson (The Funseekers, The Spectors) on bass, Matt Gerzema (Dearly, The Legendary Jim Ruiz Group) on guitars and extra vocals and Steve Kent on the sticks. Local Minneapolis producer Bryan Hanna lent his able hand to the production duties, and the album rings with a crisp, clean sound classically influenced by greats like the Beatles, Hollies, and Byrds.  A quintessential collection of vital pop songs - Sixties influenced paisley pop with a sterling melodic sensibility tinged with just the right dose of psychedelia.



New The Dolly Rocker Movement video

The new video for “Memory Layne” by The Dolly Rocker Movement premieres today! The gothic tale about murder, ghosts and a love story that goes beyond this world is directed by John Charter, a filmmaker based in Hollywood who has written and directed shortfilms like “The Grocery List”, “Old Soul” and “The Hollywood Sign”.

“Memory Layne” is taken from the third The Dolly Rocker Movement album, “Our Days Mind the Tyme”, which was released in february 2010 on Bad Afro Records on LP/CD and download.

The video is shot in Los Angeles where Daniel Poulter lived for the most part of 2010. He´s now back in Australia and plans to write a soundtrack for a shortfilm by photographer/director Amber Gray from NYC and a new single for Bad Afro Records in the near future.

Thanks to John Charter & crew for making this possible.

Bad Afro Records
Halmtorvet 29, Bygn. 12 A, 1
1700 Copenhagen V

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Brilliant Mistakes - All Hands & The Cook - 1999

The melodic, eclectic pop band the Brilliant Mistakes consists of vocalist/keyboardist Alan Walker, bassist Erik Philbrook, guitarist Andy Resnick and drummer Mick Wood. The New York City-based quartet formed in the mid-'90s when Walker and Philbrook discovered they shared a love for classic Motown and British pop singles; after Resnick and Wood joined them, the group became a fixture of Manhattan's club circuit. In 1997 and 1998, the Brilliant Mistakes were semifinalists in Musician magazine's "Best Unsigned Band" competition and played the CMJ Music Festival. 1998 also saw the release of their debut album All Hands & The Cook, which the group put out on their own Aunt Mimi's Records label, and re-released the following year. -AMG



Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Allisons - The Allisons - 1989

Once upon a time, or maybe twice, there was an unearthly place. 80,000 leagues beneath an ocean of chemical refinery effluence it lay...or lie...I'm not too sure. Blahtown. A tickle of complacency on the beer belly of the universe. A place where guilelessness reigned supreme under the shadow of an oversized shopping mall. But all that was threatened when the '80s economic recession declared war and sent in an army led by urban cowboys and MTV to destroy the vapidity that blissfully existed. Enter The Allisons to save the day! Four score and 12 bars ago....armed with little more than their lunch, songs, and of course, their Rickenbackers, The Allisons tackled the anti-music missile armed troops in an effort to bring down the evil forces of boredom. For a while, it was a great party. -The Allisons




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