Tuesday, August 31, 2010
The Mullens - The Mullens - 1997
Specializing in the early-'70s proto-punk sounds of the Stooges and the New York Dolls as well as select N.Y.C. punkers from the '70s (Ramones, Dead Boys), the Dallas, TX, quintet the Mullens packs quite a punch. Formed in the mid-'90s and comprised of frontman Tim Stile, guitarist Matt Mayo, bassist Dana Williams, and drummer Rod Baird, the band's three albums -- 1997's self-titled debut, 99's Go Where the Action Is, and 2001's Tough to Tell -- were all issued on the Get Hip label, receiving favorable reviews in such well-respected punk publications as Maximum Rock and Roll and Flipside. -AMG
Monday, August 30, 2010
Frank Bango - Fugitive Girls - 2000
This record is one of sheer song writing brilliance. it will grow on you. it will seep into your soul. It will provide the soundtrack for unrequited love or suddenly found love. it will live with you. evoking the spirit of classic Costello prose, Michael Quercio meets Left Banke baroque melodicism. fugitive girls shows a real, long lasting pop talent coming into his own. featuring the works of Bango and lyrcist Richy Veseky, this is sweet, lyrically swervy and twisted pop craft rarely seen or visited in the late 90`s. -AMG
Friday, August 27, 2010
Sun Sawed in 1/2 - Fizzy Lift - 1997
The neo- psychedelic pop outfit the Sun Sawed in 1/2 was formed in St. Louis in 1990 by bassist Ken Rose and his guitarist brother Tim; filling their roster with singer Doug Bobenhouse, keyboardist Dave Farber, guitarist Jeff Bartholic and drummer Bill Yaeger, the group debuted with the LP The Happiness and Other Short Stories, issued on the BeeHive label in 1992. Hot Feet for Monkey God followed a year later, and when the Sun Sawed in 1/2 resurfaced in 1995 with Mind Flip, Farber, Bartholic and Yaeger had all exited, replaced by keyboardist John Holt and drummer Steve Bunck. Neither lineup addition was long-lived, however, and as of 1997's Fizzy Lift, the Sun roster included drummer Matt Martin. The album was recorded for the Not Lame power-pop label, which also issued the 2000 follow-up, Bewilderbeest.-AMG
Thursday, August 26, 2010
The Hawks - Perfect World Radio - 2003
Along with bands like the Knack and the Plimsouls, the Hawks combined the melodic songcraft of Badfinger with the angular immediacy of the bourgeoning '80s new wave sound. Despite being signed to Columbia and garnering a loyal cult following, the Iowa band never achieved great success with their 1980 self-titled debut and 1982 follow-up, 30 Seconds Over Otho, eventually fading into obscurity. Fortunately, Not Lame Recordings created a third Hawks album of sorts, proving the band had much more up its sleeve. Compiled with the assistance of the band, Perfect World Radio features various demos and unreleased tracks. Sounding something like Dwight Twilley meets Styx, the collection paints the picture of a talented band too quirky and intelligent for mainstream radio and conversely too slick for the underground of college rock. What is also apparent is that lead vocalist/guitarist Dave Steen, vocalist/keyboardist Dave Hearn, vocalist/guitarist Kirk Kaufman, vocalist/bassist Frank Wiewel, and drummer Dolor Larry Adams knew how to craft an immaculate pop song. It's hard to believe that the driving "Only Love Is Real" couldn't have competed with any Cars classic and that one couldn't at least argue that Steen's Rupert Holmes-like "Roxanne" is as good a use of the name in a pop song as Sting's. The album also attempts to put to rest the argument that the band became too commercial on 30 Seconds while sacrificing their jangle pop roots. Here you find a band equally adept at 12-string Rickenbacker folk-isms as it is at synthesizer-laden stadium anthems and sounding great at both. If Wiewel's "Right Away" sounds better than anything Badfinger released in 1979, than Steen's "The Show Is Over" is the best Who song you never heard. Barring a complete reissue of the Hawks' studio albums, Perfect World Radio stands as long overdue pop justice. -AMG
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
The Fabulous Poodles - Mirror Stars - 1977
The jokers in the post-pub rock pack, London's Fabulous Poodles lined up within the same bag of flamboyant pop as created Deaf School and the Kursaal Flyers, lighthearted enough to guarantee a great night out, but just a shade too esoteric to meet a major audience head-on. Formed as the Poodles in 1974, the band lined up as Tony DeMeur (vocals, guitar), Jon Bentley (bass), Bob Suffolk (keyboards), Bobby Valentino (violin, mandolin), and Gordon Coxon (drums), and the following year the band released a one-off single on the Private Stock label, "Chicago Boxcar." It sold poorly, and within the year Coxon, Bentley, and Suffolk had departed, to be replaced by a new rhythm section of Richie Robertson and Bryn Burrows.
The four-piece now underwent a name change to the Fabulous Poodles and, buoyed by considerable success on the London pub and club circuit, signed to Pye early in 1977. With the Who's John Entwistle producing, the band released its debut album, The Fabulous Poodles, that fall, accompanied by the single "When the Summer's Through." Two further albums, Unsuitable and Think Pink, followed over the next couple of years, as the band streamlined its sound toward a catchy new wave angle. They also garnered considerable support in the United States, but never quite mustered the strength to make the breakthrough they deserved. The band broke up in late 1979. -AMG
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
The Kelly Affair - Welcome To...The Kelly Affair - 1998
Like their fellow Canucks in the group Sloan, the Kelly Affair filter the sound of the classic power pop era through a uniquely Canadian perspective which informs their music with a sense of self-awareness and unadulterated fun often absent from the work of like-minded bands from other corners of the world. As befits an album from a group named in tribute to Russ Meyer, Welcome to...the Kelly Affair is as kitschy as it is catchy. Stand-out tracks like "That School" and "Another Edit" are as instantly memorable as they are unpretentious, crafted with a genuine love and understanding for pop's golden era. -AMG
Monday, August 23, 2010
Stories - About Us - 1973
Compared to the band's intricate, insular debut, About Us is a completely different story altogether. No work is required of the listener on this second album by Stories, as Eddie Kramer's cinematic production gives the band definition and drama, pulling them into the leagues of such power poppers as Badfinger, the Raspberries, and Todd Rundgren. Not that Stories rocked as hard as any of those three -- there's not much kinetic thrust to their rhythms or reckless abandon to their playing, not even on the boogie "Don't Ever Let Me Down" or the jokey blues of "Down Time Blooze" -- but there's muscle and color to their sound on About Us; the songs leap out of the speakers and command attention, unlike the tunes on the debut which whispered and required close listening. Not that Michael Brown has abandoned his long-standing infatuation with delicate melodies, or even his fondness for McCartney-esque whimsy, but when put through the filter of Kramer's production, everything becomes bigger and bolder, to the extent that a jaunty piano instrumental, "Circles," recalls nothing so much as one of Billy Joel's ragtime tunes of the early '70s. Such moves toward the mainstream are undoubtedly why Brown bolted some time during the recording, leaving the band as the sole province of singer Ian Lloyd, but the music left behind is almost all unmistakably Brown's, as its all driven by melody and even occasionally built upon baroque keyboards. The major difference and inarguable improvement is the production, which fleshes out the songs, not only making them easier to appreciate but harder to resist, turning About Us into a minor power pop classic. Of course, the exception to the rule is the album's lone hit, a lush cover of Hot Chocolate's "Brother Louie" which suggested Stories were a blue-eyed soul AM pop band, a suggestion that the rest of the album proved unfounded, but fewer people heard the other 12 songs on this album, not just in 1973, but throughout the years, so About Us turned into a lost pop classic that even pop aficionados had to be persuaded to find. But once they were persuaded, they were often seduced by this sumptuous yet powerful pop album. -AMG
Saturday, August 14, 2010
On Vacation Again...
Heading down the road before school starts...sorry Dw.
Look through the archives while I am away, I bet there is something you missed. Also feel free to leave comments suggestions or what ever comes to mind.
Friday, August 13, 2010
Outrageous Cherry - Self Titled Vinyl LP on Microfiche Records
Microfiche Records is a new label specializing in filling the holes in your vinyl collection by focusing exclusively on titles that have been available on CD but never available on vinyl. It's with extreme pleasure that our first release will be the 1994 debut record from Detroit indie-pop/garage/psych legends Outrageous Cherry.
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Push Kings - Far Places - 1998
Melodically, the Push Kings keep up the pace with another album full of ace tunes. This time, though, they mess with the formula a bit and experiment. Instead of straightforward pop songs in the standard "pop" format, they add drum loops, scratching, breakbeats and keyboards, making for a far more dramatic listening experience. Though they may not play the game according to its rules, the Push Kings are one of the best pop bands around, alongside such like-minded bands as Holiday. To experience the magic of this album, you must step inside it and let it devour you.-AMG
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