Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Glands - The Glands - 2001

Eponymously-titled albums that follow a previously released debut (especially once the band signs to a major label) usually seem to indicate that the band is going back to square one, and this self-titled album by the Glands -- who hail from the college burg of Athens, GA -- does just that, offering up refreshingly enigmatic, artfully arranged and bouncy Confederate pop that blends porch swing guitars, jazzy basslines, and jangling Paisley Underground and Britpop aesthetics. "Work It Out" sounds like a pre–Mersey Beat Britbilly workout that woulda rocked the U.K. back in '62, while "Straight Down" is pretty straight-up indie rock. Vocalist/guitarist Ross Shapiro's endearing but heartbreakingly frail vocals have been compared to Village Green vintage Ray Davies, but fans of Olivia Tremor Control's Bill Doss or the Flaming Lips' Wayne Coyne may hear a little of them in there too. Doug Stanley's airy keyboard burbles and Craig McQuiston's keening lap steel will appeal to fans of the Elephant 6 collective sound as well. -AMG



Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Sparkwood - La La Crutch is avialable at a special price

Bart Padar of Sparkwood says if anyone is interested in purchasing their first CD, "La La Crutch", he is selling them through Amazon for $7.49.

Metro - Metro - 1977

Contemplate the death of glam rock and any number of mortifying factors can be weighed, from the over- abundance of ultimately faceless teen idols to the under- exposure of the handful of bands who could have respangled the old star-studded sham. But timing also came into it, and if you want to talk about missing the boat, Metro never even found the harbor. Metro was released in early 1977, but it belonged to late 1974. Not to be confused for a moment with the later incarnation of the band that danced through the early '80s, the original Metro comprised vocalists Duncan Browne and Peter Godwin -- Godwin alone carried the flag into the future. Smartly suited on the cover of their only album together, the pair resembles flamboyant gangsters, caught unaware on a brightly lit film set. Step into Metro, however, and the only illumination is the flame of a few guttering candles, and the only laughter comes from a champagne party winding down in the penthouse upstairs. It's an album of velvet-layered secrets and satin-sheeted mysteries, where lovers wear lace and have hearts carved from jade and the string section swells to save your ego the bother. Lavish choirs, murmuring synths...Cockney Rebel and the Doctors of Madness both glanced in a similar direction, but, though a synth pop group later kidnapped the phrase's true meaning, Metro was the original orchestral maneuvers in the dark, with only Bryan Ferry on hand to drive the survivors home. The symphonic "One Way Night," a profession of a love that needs more than a word of explanation, and the agitated drama of "Black Lace Shoulder," regretting a failure to live up to such standards, cloak the album like giant bat wings, vast and comforting, but dark and leathern all the same. And they have no hesitation in scooping you up and away, through the fires that dance on "Flame"'s romantic Seine and into a criminal world of such brutal conflict that even "the girls are like baby-faced boys." Long before David Bowie wrapped calcifying fingers round its alabaster throat and hauled it away to Let's Dance land, "Criminal World" dominated Metro, both musically and thematically, setting a stage for a black sexuality that leaves you feeling somehow soiled, whether you (think you) understand the song or not. Certainly British radio realized something very dark and dingy was happening, as it banned the single version of the song without even asking for an edit. The 45 bombed, the album sank, and, by the end of the year, the original group had gone the same way. The album, however, remains a dirty secret, a secret sin, a sinful pleasure, and glam rock's final gleaming. How unlike it to leave the best till last. -AMG



Monday, August 29, 2011

ATony Cox - On The Way now avialable

It has been two long years since songsmith Tony Cox released his debut album “Unpublished” and I have been waiting impatiently for his next release. How long does it take to put together a new album?  Well “On the Way” has finally arrived and it is better than I anticipated. Combining classic song craft with soulful lyrics and passionate playing, Tony, with the support of Nigel Clark (vocals, keys, and bass) and Darren Finlan (drums) has once again given us retro styled pop music that will make everyone stop, listen and tap their feet.

From the start Cox kicks it into high gear and weaves us through a collection of classic modern rock with smartness of pop music from the past. The well balanced, near perfect mix of songs includes the soulful “We’ll Get High”, The Lennon-esque “Hold Me Angeline” and “Feel the Ride” featuring Brian Wilson like harmonies and falsetto. There is no filler on this one. My only complaint is that “On the Way” is too short.

“On the Way” might or might not change the way you look at pop music, but Tony Cox will at the very least will give you a half-hour's worth of top-quality jangly guitars and well written pop melodies, and what's wrong with that? Not a thing, buddy so sit back and enjoy it

This one is sure to be in my 2011 Top 10 and is highly recommended. -Curty Ray, PPO

You can get your copy now at CD Baby

Tony Cox No More Lies

Velvet Crush - In The Presence Of Greatness - 1991

Velvet Crush's first and best album was mistakenly lumped in with the then- predominant shoegazer aesthetic upon its release in 1991, thanks to its British release on the shoegazer-central Creation label and the occasional washes of sparkly electric feedback and creamy-smooth harmonies that settle over some of the songs. However, this album, produced by the band and Matthew Sweet (who also added lead guitar and harmonies), is actually a straight-up piece of '90s power pop. Considerably more electric and driving than Paul Chastain and Ric Menck's '80s recordings under a variety of band names (collected on the albums Hey Wimpus! and The Ballad of Ric Menck), thanks in large part to the contributions of guitarist Jeffrey Borchardt (confusingly known as Jeffrey Underhill when leading his own concurrent band Honeybunch) and Sweet, In the Presence of Greatness sounds like Big Star's #1 Record updated for a new decade. The general air of mildly anguished wistfulness is the same, as are the jangly guitars and high harmonies, but Velvet Crush plays with a post-punk sprightliness and a less overtly British Invasion-inspired melodic sense. -AMG



Friday, August 26, 2011

The Fondas - Coming Now, The Fondas! - 2003

It might seem surprising to folks who only learned of the Detroit garage rock revival when the White Stripes' "Fell in Love with a Girl" hit mainstream radio in 2002, but the local guitar band scene has lasted long enough that there are now second- and even third-generation Detroit garage bands, of which the Fondas are a front-tier example that has leapfrogged over many of the original Detroit garage bands both in name recognition and musical sophistication. Though much of the press attention surrounding the Fondas focuses on lead singer Julie Benjamin's movie star looks and magnetic stage presence, the real leader of the Fondas is guitarist Steve Shaw. Shaw, a protégé of Alex Chilton with a similar obsession for vintage R&B and obscure early rock singles, founded the Detroit Cobras in the mid-'90s, but left that band after only a few releases. The Fondas are stylistically in the same ballpark as the Detroit Cobras, mixing punky aggression, garage rock primitivism, and a sultry R&B vibe, but with a greater emphasis on band originals over reworkings of rare B-sides known only to hardcore record collectors. -AMG



Thursday, August 25, 2011

A Review (sort of) of Tony Cox's On The Way

The hole in my schedule allows just enough time. I can either schedule a long weekend at the beach with the family or a root canal. Unfortunately, these experiences can be quite similar.

I haven't been to these parts since the summer of 77, I believe. My only recollection of that trip was a visit to a non descript record store and my purchase, a copy of The Clash's Give Em Enough Rope which I bought with the few bucks I had earned from cutting lawns that spring. I'd read (probably in Trouser Press) about this great new band and so I had to have the LP. That record drastically changed the way I had thought about music at the time.

In that instant I saw the possibilities.

It's a long drive to the coast and while the kids argue incessantly and the wife asks how I could have possibly missed our exit again, The CD player in the car works fine. As Nigel Tufnel would say, it goes to 11. Tony Cox's new CD, On The Way, just arrived in my inbox and I've yet to give it a spin (or whatever it is that CDs do).

And so I popped my new CD into the car player. I give three listens to any new music acquisition before I pass judgment. The first spin piqued my interest, always a good sign. I wasn't sure whether I was listening to a British Invasion style band or an R&B inspired Jellyfish kinda thing, but I liked it. My son had his ipod plugs in so, for all intents and purposes, he was a vegetable. My daughter was twisting her hair and making faces.

I decide to play it again and my daughter groans.

I've always loved R&B influenced artists, so I'm really enjoying several cuts on second listening. We'll Get High and Dropped Me Like a Stone have an irresistible groove to them. While those two stand out, each and every cut has it's merits. Hold Me Angeline is the perfect soundtrack for driving along Ocean Blvd. It occurs to me that this is also a pretty good summertime beach record.

I've got to give this a third spin NOW. My daughter appears to be going through the agony of hip-hop withdrawal and my son is comatose, or so it seems. Good thing I brought the first aid kit. For me, not my daughter.

Cox has damn near channeled John Lennon on the record's fourth track entitled Way. What a great song! How did I miss this last time around? This CD gets better and better with each listen. I played the disc several more times over the weekend and contrary to my daughter's prediction, there were no casualties.

With the vacation winding down, we began packing our things to head back home. As usual, my son was doing nothing, waiting for the rest of us to clean up and pack for him. Oblivious to his surroundings, he was plugged in to his laptop headphones and I was becoming more and more aggravated with him. I approached him with every intention of letting him have it.

My temper is legendary. The closer I got to him, the more my blood began to boil. I was now close
enough to hear what was emanating from his earplugs. As the first syllable left my lips, I realized
what he was listening to. The new Tony Cox CD.

In that instant I saw the possibilities.

Years ago while attending art school Rich spent many hours listening to XTC, The Records, The Heats, Plimsouls and other powerpop bands of that time. Many children's books, greeting cards and website designs later he finds himself (quite by accident) in the employ of a few powerpop artists. I'm not name dropping but they include, John Wicks, Paul Collins and many more.

Life has come full circle. You can find Rich at if your so inclined.

Jiffipop -Demolicious - 1996

Essentially the one-man demo project of Rick Gallego, Jiffipop stirred up a major buzz amongst power pop circles in 1996 and 1997. Utilizing a distinctly lo-fi aesthetic, Gallego crafts what is meant to evoke memories of a box full of dusty, forgotten 45s from the '60s that are dragged out and tossed back on the turntable again. And it's true that these 14 tracks -- 12 originals and covers of Harry Nilsson and the Beach Boys -- do sound an awful lot like a hodgepodge of ringing, lo-fi '60s pop music. The problem is that at times they sound a bit too much like a throwback. It's true that those indebted to the style will probably find a lot to love here, particularly in the details, but the problem is that Gallego's hooks don't seem to fully gel into great songs most of the time, even if sonically everything is really groovy. A few tracks, such as "Fall Through You" and "Dreamland," stick out, but the album unfortunately feels more like a demo than a fully realized project. Gallego used the attention garnered from this release to form a full band, who then changed their name to Cloud Eleven and issued their debut in 1999. -AMG



Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Cuts - The Cuts - 2004

The Cuts' self-titled first album was originally released as a limited-edition LP on a tiny label. Birdman unearths it here and while it is no patch on, and not very much like the album that followed it, 2003's excellent 2 Over Ten, it is worth a listen to fans of noisy, exciting guitar rock that draws on '60s garage and psych. There is none of the rampant-'70s influence at all here; the band is totally in the grip of the garage rock ethos as fuzz guitars, stabbing organ fills and snotty vocals are prominent. "Upside Down" sounds like the Chocolate Watchband as filtered through the Stooges; "Salt in My Wounds" like the Monkees as played by the actual Monkees instead of the studio cats; "Anne Always" a bit like the Stones if they were only semi-competent and didn't like the blues very much. In fact, the record sounds like it could have been released during the '80s garage revival. If it had it would be legendary today. Well, as legendary as any of the albums from that time. Today it stands up well next to the Greenhornes or any of the other modern-day revivalists. In a sign of things to come, the best track on the album, "Don't Look Behind the Mirror," turns down the fuzz and gets just a bit funky in a Velvets' fashion. It has a strutting energy that the rest of the faster, louder tracks bulldoze right over. "Say My Name" is also close to what the band became, as the vocals are more Tom Verlaine that Sean Bonniwell and the guitars are more angular and less garagey. So don't go looking too hard for a record that sounds like the Cuts but if you like tough and weird garage rock with a bit of post-punk flair, this record should suit you just fine. -AMG



Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Handcuffs Release New Album & Open for Blondie 9/7/11

The Handcuffs new album "WAITING FOR THE ROBOT" will see it's official national release on September 6, 2011.

To celebrate, you can get the disc for only $8.99 now through September 6 at CD Baby. After September 6, the price goes up to $12.97.

The Handcuffs will be opening for BLONDIE at the House of Blues in Chicago, on September 7, 2011. Tickets for this 17+ show are available now! For information and tickets, Follow this link

For all kinds of news, information, show dates and more visit:

You can also check out...

Paul Bertolino - Bandmaster Flash - 1998

Paul Bertolino is a behind-the-scenes musician's musician from Berkeley, California... a short-list Bay Area session player who has done time fronting one of San Francisco's toughest garage-soul outfits The Sleaves, and is currently playing drums for major label breakout band Persephone's Bees.
Paul draws from a well that incorporates the toughest 60s jangle-rock, the softest 70's a.m. gold, and maybe even a pinch of Radio Shack synth swagger. Almost in spite of that it's laid back, California songwriting so solid and proprietary that it refuses to be picked apart into it's base elements...try as you might. This is the stuff that will make up the Nuggets Boxes of the future, so why wait? Come feel the love. - Paul Koehler 
Find out more about Paul at



Monday, August 22, 2011

Pre-order the new fORMER disc now

The new fORMER record, "The Kid's Deserve Cable", is about to go to the presses, so they're making it available for pre-order now, and offering an advance .mp3 of the album opener "Head Light" with each CD order. Just go to and head to the "store" section to place your order. As soon as the CDs arrive, you'll be among the first to receive a copy. In the meantime, they will get your .mp3 out to you right away.

While you're there, check out some of the new/old tracks loaded into the audio player this week. Added are some rare Best Of Seven and some new stuff from The Great Affairs. Speaking of The Great Affairs, don't forget that the physical pressing of "Happy Ender" with 7 bonus tracks not included on the digital version is available now, exclusively from Kool Kat Misik

Little Barrie - Stand Your Ground - 2006

Little Barrie is a London -based trio whose sound is an exciting blend of hard rock, blues, soul, and funk that calls to mind classic bands of the '60s like Traffic and Cream, and whose loose and groovy earthiness earns it a place near the front of the jam band class. Formed in Nottingham in 2000 by Barrie Cadogan (guitar, vocals), Wayne Fulwood (drums, vocals), and Lewis Wharton (bass), the group released a handful of singles for small labels like Stark Reality and Showdown before getting signed to Genuine Recordings and beginning work on its first album. Produced by indie pop legend Edwyn Collins (whom Cadogan had met while working in a guitar shop), We Are Little Barrie hit the shops in February 2005. Recorded over the course of 23 weeks in Collins' studio, working on Wednesdays only due to Collins' busy schedule, the band concocted an album that sounds both meticulously crafted and bashed out. The record, combined with the group's fiery live performances, gave Cadogan a rep as one of the best young guitar slingers on the scene and led to his subbing for Morrissey's guitarist in some live dates and collaborating with Johnny Marr and inspiring Collins to pick up his guitar again. Artemis Records released the album in the U.S. at the end of June 2005. Before the recording of their second album, Fulwood, who had tired of the rock & roll lifestyle, left the band. Sophomore record Stand Your Ground was recorded during 2006 in New York with producer Dan the Automator at the helm and Blues Explosion drummer Russell Simins, and in London with Mike Pelanconi producing and new bandmember Billy Skinner on drums. The album was released in 2007 by PIAS/Wall of Sound. The band went back into the studio with Edwyn Collins and began work on their third album, King of the Waves, which was released in 2011. -AMG



Sunday, August 21, 2011

Sally Crewe & The Sudden Moves - Transmit​/​Receive

Austin Texas based Sally Crewe & The Sudden Moves have done it again. Transmit​/​Receive is everything a Power Pop album should be, winning hooks and crunchy guitars that compliment electrifying vocals and smart songwriting. The energy and impact of the music is felt full force starting with "Make Me Stay" and continuing through this short but powerful EP. There is no filler here. Transmit​/​Receive is an instant party - just pop it in and turn it up, and enjoy it! -Curty Ray, PPO

This September, Sally Crewe & The Sudden Moves embark on a package tour of the US with Tommy Keene and Doug Gillard Electric, creating something of a dream bill for fans anywhere along the power pop spectrum. This could be the show of the year. We suggest you get there early.

w/ Tommy Keene and Doug Gillard Electric

9th – Arlington, VA – Iota
10th – Brooklyn, NY – The Rock Shop
11th – Boston, MA – Church
13th – Cleveland, OH – The Grog Shop
14th – Milwaukee, WI – Shank Hall
15th – Chicago, IL – Schuba’s

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Len Price 3 Live October 14th

The Len Price 3, The Jetsonics & The Past Tense Live will preform at the Half Moon Putney Friday October 14th 2011

The Len Price 3 are a garage pop band hailing from the Medway Towns. Their sound is forged in the Medway tradition, fusing driving energy, catchy hooks and a raw 60’s garage sound. On disc and at live shows The Len Price 3 offer a truly memorable and invigorating sonic experience 

The Loud Family - Interbabe Concern - 1996

Anyone who wondered where the fragmented songs and purposefully twisted aural montage went on Loud Family's second album, The Tape of Only Linda, will either be elated or annoyed to know they're back in force on the group's third full-length release, Interbabe Concern. While the edition of Loud Family that cut The Tape of Only Linda had been solidified by a solid dose of touring after the release of their first album, Interbabe Concern was cut with a new lineup in which Scott Miller handled all guitar duties and Kenny Kessel and Dawn Richardson took over on bass and drums (Paul Wieneke remained on keyboards and occasional lead vocals). This new Loud Family sounded more like Scott Miller's backing band than the group that made the first two albums, and without producer Mitch Easter on hand, Miller seems to have used Interbabe Concern as an opportunity to reacquaint himself with the cryptic side of his musical personality; there are a lot more short pseudo-tunes interspersed between the "real" songs, plenty of odd found noises and sound effects, and while Miller plays plenty of guitar here, there's a decidedly lower hard-and-heavy quotient than on the muscular The Tape of Only Linda. Interbabe Concern plays like a somewhat stranger version of Loud Family's debut, Plants and Birds and Rocks and Things, except that there are fewer memorable songs (there are memorable songs, of course, just not as many), the production has a lot less gloss, and Miller's fondness for chaos seems to outweigh his knack for perfect pop hooks. It's an inarguably interesting album, but one that demands a lot more work for the listener to ferret out the good stuff. In short, it's a lousy starting point for non-fans, and an acquired taste for the initiated. -AMG



Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Rubinoos - The Rubinoos - 1977

For a brief moment, the Rubinoos seemed to be the last hope for pure pop music, carrying on the tradition of the Raspberries with an engaging blend of innocent bubblegum and power pop. The band was formed in 1973 by teenage friends Jon Rubin (vocals, guitar) and Tommy Dunbar (guitar, keyboards, vocals) along with Royse Adler (bass) and Donn Spindt (drums), but it wasn't until 1977 that they made their recording debut for Beserkley Records. The single, a cover of Tommy James' "I Think We're Alone Now," made an appearance in the lower reaches of the U.S. charts, giving the indie label their first hit. The same year, their self-titled debut LP received rave reviews all-around but failed commercially. Back to the Drawing Board (1979), another solid collection of bouncy pop songs, again went ignored despite its classic single "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend." The band effectively broke up the following year. Rubin and Dunbar returned in 1983, contributing a pair of songs for the Revenge of the Nerds soundtrack and then teaming with producer Todd Rundgren for the Party of Two EP. "If I Had You Back" from the EP saw some airplay on MTV but it failed to ignite enough interest for the band to go on. In 1989, Tommy Dunbar formed a new band, Vox Pop, with former-Rubinoos Al Chan and Donn Spindt, along with John Seabury, formerly of Psychotic Pineapple. The band's self-titled release arrived in 1998 on Sandbox Records. Two collections of lost Rubinoos recordings were released in the early '90s. The group returned in 2000 with Paleophonic, which was originally a fan club-only release, and headlined that year's International Pop Overthrow festival. Coming back like they had never left in the first place, the band chose to release an all-covers album (Crimes Against Music, Vol. 1) in the fall of 2002. -AMG



Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Loveless - A Tale Of Gin And Salvation - 1995

The Loveless were John Schubert on drums, Jonathan Daniel on bass, John Ceparano on guitars, and Shane on vocals. Everyone except Ceparano were the surviving ‘veterans’ of ‘80s pop-rock band Candy (who scored a minor hit with their 1985 Mercury power pop album Whatever Happened To Fun), and ‘90s pop-metal act Electric Angels (who released one self titled record on Atlantic towards the end of the hard rock era). Both bands had fallen victim to unfortunate timing, and also the fickle nature of major record labels. Both were largely ignored by the music buying public, despite the songwriting talent of Daniel shining through on songs like “Whatever Happened To Fun” and “True Love and Other Fairytales” to name but two.

But Jonathan Daniel wasn’t about to give up his musical career because of a record label. In a move that mirrored the punk spirit and ethos of bands that influenced him as a teenager, the demise of Electric Angels convinced the bassist to gather together Schubert and Shane and enlist the help of New York musician John Ceparano to join him in a band free from the creative shackles of a major label that wasn’t supportive, and the result of long nights and spare time weekends spent independently in the studio was astonishing.

A Tale of Gin and Salvation was released in 1995, and everything about it reeks of quality—the film noir concept artwork, the sharp suits and ultra-cool look of the band, the witty, acerbic lyrics and cast-iron melodies, and also the shift in emphasis from raw, intelligent hard rock to a slick, polished, and sophisticated power pop sound that provided the perfect vehicle for the songwriting brilliance of Jonathan Daniel. Utilising resources such as the fledgling Internet for marketing, and a home studio for recording, it was a low-budget do-it-yourself production that sounded fabulous, and was packaged just the way the band wanted it. More importantly, it was exactly the type of record that a major label exec wouldn’t know what to do with. -Andrew Ellis "Pop Matters"



Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Three Reasons You Need To Go Experience IPO by Rich Rossi

Traffic was bumper to bumper on the parkway. By the time I had navigated my way thru the land of "The Boss", passed Carlo's Bakery and arrived at Sinatra's boyhood home, I was ready for whatever musical surprises these unknown local bands could deliver.

It was IPO 2001 I believe, and each band performed a short set of glorious, jangly, melodic guitar pop, New Jersey style. Anderson Counsel, Copperpot, and Evelyn Forever all
brought their "A" game. One would expect nothing less when performing in Hoboken, the birthplace of baseball.

Ten years later I was headed for Los Angeles and the first night of International Pop Overthrow LA. I was traveling from the land of silent films (most films in the 20's and 30's were shot in Ft. Lee, NJ) to the land of today's reality shows and porn flicks. The irony wasn't lost on me.

Sitting in the bar after the the opening night of IPO 2011, I contemplated why a middle aged guy like me with a wife, kids, and responsibilities would fly all the way across the country to see a rock n roll show.

I scribbled these three reasons on my cocktail napkin:

1) The Bands

King Washington was a band I had never heard of but they immediately piqued my curiosity. All harmonies and hooks, someone standing next to me described them as almost "nilssonesque". One doesn't get a bigger compliment than that. King Washington is a throwback to Lennon, Nilson, and the energetic, sunny guitar pop of the late 70's and early 80's. And as good as they were (and they were good!) things were about to get even better.

Many of these shows have an epiphany moment, and this year would be no different. Lannie Flowers and his band blew me away. Live, I'd describe his roots tinged power pop as half Tom Petty, half Cheap Trick, and half Badfinger (there's a reason why my wife helps the kids with their math homework). Starting with Give Me A Chance from his first LP, Same Old Story, they launched into some great guitar driven numbers from Circles, one of last year's best LPs. Lyrically my favorite from that LP, Around the World, is about an insomniac's late night companion (TV) and was a high water mark to that point. Turn Up Your Radio would wind up a set truly memorable set.

The biggest name on the bill, The Records, had perhaps the most impressive and satisfying set of the evening. Making sure to play a couple of their hits, Starry Eyes and Teenerama, while offering up something new for the younger fans, they were a tour de force (that was forced to tour?). Liverpool 6512 and That Girl Is Emily (a song about Syd Barrett) are examples of how Wicks and company have matured lyrically while retaining the energy we've come to expect from this classic powerpop band. All hooks and new looks, they've cultivated an edgier, more substantive live sound that makes even the most grizzled veteran of IPO sit up and notice.

2) The Camaraderie

Whenever I've attended an IPO show I've run into people I know (or know of) but hadn't expected. This year it was John Borack, author of one of my favorite books from 2007, Shake Some Action, The Ultimate Powerpop Guide. Musicians often hang out in the rear of the venue waiting their turn to hit the stage, giving fans the opportunity to exchange pleasantries or, if they're lucky, have a brief chat with a favorite songwriter or guitar hero, maybe get their free IPO CD autographed.

And then there's the mysterious one, David Bash.

3) The Characters

The Grand Pubah of IPO and it's creator, David Bash, acts as your host for these shows. Dressed in all black, he is Johnny Cash on steroids, both friendly and frenetic. He's everywhere. I've often wondered what's under that ever present big black hat. He wears it indoors or out, night or day. Maybe there's a turntable under there...or the data recorders from the planes that hit the World Trade Center. Is his "do" more Don King or Dwight Youkum? The world may never know.

While sitting at the bar after the show, I had decided, after taking stock of the evening, that it had been well worth the extraordinary travel distance. In the morning I would board a plane back to the east coast knowing that the Boss (That's my wife, not that guy from Asbury Park) would be waiting for me with an extensive list of household items to fix. The dreaded "Honey do" list.

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.
Don't tell my wife I said that.

Years ago while attending art school Rich spent many hours listening to XTC, The Records, The Heats, Plimsouls and other powerpop bands of that time. Many children's books, greeting cards and website designs later he finds himself (quite by accident) in the employ of a few powerpop artists. I'm not name dropping but they include, John Wicks, Paul Collins and many more.

Life has come full circle. You can find Rich at if your so inclined.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Secret Affair - Glory Boys - 1979

Secret Affair first slid into the U.K.'s consciousness in September 1979 with their exhilarating debut single "Time for Action," which danced its way to number 13 in the charts. Britain was in the grip of a mod revival, spearheaded by the success of the Jam, and Secret Affair were perfectly placed to take advantage of the prevailing mood. Although their follow-up 45, "Let Your Heart Dance," stalled in the lower reaches of the Top 30, their debut album, which included both songs, was eagerly anticipated. Glory Boys didn't disappoint and quieted any sneering suggestions that this new crew of mods were merely Jam wannabes. Of course Secret Affair shared influences with their bigger brethren -- Tamla Motown and British beat bands -- but from them the group fashioned a unique style far removed from the Jam's own. This was partially due to singer Ian Page bringing his trumpet to the proceedings, gracing Affair with a much more genuine retro sound, while also adding further exhilaration to the music. Page's horn solo on "Don't Look Down" (with nods to, of all things, the E Street Band) just cooks -- it also punches up the aforementioned "Dance," and is vital to their cover of the Miracles' "Going to a Go-Go." The Jam were so impressed by the authenticity brass gave to Affair's sound that they promptly began including some on their own records. But of equal importance was Affair's attitude; they reveled in their modness, and their upbeat mood had little in common with Paul Weller's angst and alienation. This stance is clearest on the album's centerpiece, "Glory Boys" itself. A rousing mod-like punk exhortation of mod pride, it immediately became the movement's anthem for parka-clad youth across the nation. Secret Affair had arrived in definite style. The CD reissue appends two bonus tracks to the original album -- the rocking "Soho Strut" and "Sorry, Wrong Number," the closest a mod band could get to Two Tone without using a syncopated beat. Both were previously released as B-sides on "Time for Action" and "Dance," respectively. -AMG



Sunday, August 14, 2011

Fountains of Wayne perform "Richie and Ruben" live on Jimmy Fallon

 Fountains of Wayne's Sky Full of Holes hit record store shelves this week and the band is top gear promoting their latest batch of songs. In addition to all the great press at the Onion A.V. Club, LA Times and ABC News the band stopped by late night powerhouse Jimmy Fallon's show and performed "Richie and Ruben" live. Click the player below to watch the performance now. Also, click HERE to watch a web-exclusive video of the band performing the song "Survival Car."

Sky Full of Holes
is available now on CD, LP and digital at the Yep Roc Store. Order the CD or LP and get the full digital album for download instantly to start enjoying right away.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Captain Wilberforce - Mindfilming - 2005

UK pop band that fans of Brendan Benson, Matthew Sweet, ELO, Starbelly, Velvet Crush, some Jellyfish, the pop-side of Radiohead`s "The Bends" and XTC all wrapped up a bit of glammy British swagger that only a band that was wells up when thinking about Marc Bolan`s loss on the music world. The singer sounds a lot like Jon Brion, which will bring some comparisons to The Grays, which is happily appropriate, too(listen to "A Very British Earthquake" for aural proof!). Chock full of raw and infectious slices of harmonic pop, it buzzes with crunching guitars and killer choruses. Bottom line, song after well-crafted song and melody after infectious melody that should be more than just casually appealing to the majority of folks out there! Classic Not Lame styled power pop. -Not Lame



Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Candyskins - Space I'm In - 1991

Space I'm In is a nice solid production, stuffed with lots of great-sounding pop guitar (from jingle-jangle acoustics to wah and fuzz-tone riff), strong drums and nice bass work. While it's another page in that well-stuffed book of nuevo-'60s rock (complete with hints of Squeeze and an Elvis Costello vocal imitation on "Black and Blue") it's a melodic, well-done and highly enjoyable page that's worth rereading a few times. For good measure, they even cover a Stephen Stills song and have an original called "Freedom Bus." -AMG



Wednesday, August 10, 2011

D.L. Byron - Exploding Plastic Inevitable - 1998

D.L.Byron is a powerful singer/ songwriter. Once signed to Arista Records, and produced by Jimmy Iovine, he began his own independant record label, Zen Archer Records.
His first release on Zen Archer, \"Exploding Plastic Inevitable\" which has already sold thousands of copies worldwide.
His second release, is entitled \"Plain Clothes\". It is an all acoustic recording, and falls more into the \"Power-Folk\" genre. Zen Archer has subsequently released other works from D.L.
D.L.Byron is also responsible for writing the Grammy Award winning song \"Shadows of the Night\" as recorded by Pat Benatar, selling millions units to date.
His music is poetic and timeless, allowing the listener to weave in and out creating their own colours. Although, somewhat remeniscent of the music of the late 60\'s, D.L.\'s music stands out on it\'s own! Turn it up! -CD Baby



Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Peechees - Do The Math - 1996

Do the Math offers ample proof that there's still a little life left in the punk sound after all -- the Peechees' breathless energy is infectious, and frontman Christopher Applegren's vocals positively drip with sneering sarcasm and whiny disgust. Its 13 tracks ricocheting past in under a half hour, the album is loud, fast and abrasive -- nothing new, of course, but everything a punk record should aspire to be. -AMG



Monday, August 8, 2011

New Kool Kat Release - The Modulators "Tomorrow's Coming"

The Modulators     Tomorrow's Coming   GREAT!!    $12

Major, major kudos and thanks must first go out to IPO's David Bash for turning us on to and putting us in contact with this 80's New Jersey band that totally escaped us "back in the day"! In conjunction with the group, this is the official CD(R) reissue of their now incredibly rare 1984 LP, and comes bolstered with 3 non-LP bonus tracks taken from singles and EP's - representing their entire recorded output. Jangle, jangle, jangle is the order of the day here on this pop-drenched gem folks! The hook-filled songwriting and vocal harmonies are also first rate throughout. If you didn't know better, you might think they were from the UK (there are some very strong period indie Brit-Pop influences on display here) or even the Midwest (Marshall Crenshaw and the Shoes immediately come to mind). The Merseybeat influences are definitely present throughout. They even cover Bob Dylan’s "My Back Pages"! "Songs like 'Spin Me Around' and 'She's So Cynical' are the type that keep running through your head long after the last chords have been struck and last notes sung. They've delivered a fantastic set of vintage power pop! Sometimes the old ones are the best – they had no need for any gadgets and technology. They just play, simple as that and it works really, really well." - Minty and the Beeb Go Gigging "Though it was a well-kept secret to anyone outside of Northern New Jersey, The Modulators were one of the finest practitioners of power pop in the Garden State. During their heyday in the early to mid '80s, they released several 45s and one LP of perfectly crafted, hooky tunes, and you'll be able to hear them for yourself on this fine reissue. The story does not end there, folks; The Modulators are still going strong, as their live gigs in New York, New Jersey and Liverpool (at The Cavern Club!!!) would attest. File under: Get This CD, NOW!" - David Bash/IPO Nice one David! Solid from start to finish!

You can hear songs @

Get it now at Kool Kat

The Shins - Oh, Inverted World - 2001

The Shins’ first full-length is a definitive indie rock album of the 2000s not just because of its thoughtful, tuneful songs, but also because of the vivid portrait it painted of indie culture. After the high irony of Pavement and other ‘90s standard bearers, indie rock began moving into more emotionally forthright territory. Oh, Inverted World is the sound of realizing there’s more to life than being a smart-aleck -- but also not being ready to open up completely. The album’s first song, “Caring Is Creepy,” sums up the typical indie response to emotional situations with its title alone, but it also introduces James Mercer's delicate, dryly witty take on that attitude. Hyper-literate lyrics like “It’s a luscious mix of words and tricks” suggest someone who’s better with words than with feelings, yet Mercer’s high, wavering tones -- which are as awkward as they are beautiful -- prove otherwise. Caring might be creepy, but it’s hard to avoid; the rest of Oh, Inverted World chronicles this post-ironic vulnerability, wrapping it in jangly guitar pop that echoes the Kinks, Zombies, and Beach Boys. This may not be the most innovative sound, but it makes Mercer’s boy meets girl, boy runs away, boy comes back, girl runs away travails all the more familiar and relatable. And, of course, just how good the album’s songs are can’t be overlooked. “Know Your Onion” practically jumps out of its skin, bursting with British Invasion riffs and angst that goes way beyond adolescence; “New Slang” tempers a yearning that curdles into bitterness with a beautiful melody and a ghostly falsetto coda. More importantly, all of Oh, Inverted World’s songs hang together in an immensely satisfying way. “Weird Divide” is a backyard Pet Sounds: its winding melody channels that point in the summer when it’s too hot to care much about anything, punctuating it with percussion that evokes incessant sprinklers. An airy feel runs through the album, from “Girl on the Wing”’s bird imagery and pristine harmonies to “Girl Inform Me”’s giddiness to “One by One All Day”’s psychedelic coda. As things wind down, “Your Algebra”’s spooky chamber pop and “The Past and the Pending”’s acoustic musing foreshadow the experiments the Shins undertook on later albums. Oh, Inverted World is so full of ideas and emotions, and so fully realized, that it’s hard to believe it’s just 33 minutes long. Whether or not the album lives up to the breathless “It’ll change your life!” claims made about it in Garden State, the less ironic direction of 2000s indie begins here.-AMG



Friday, August 5, 2011

Ko & The Knockouts - Ko & The Knockouts - 2002

Detroit's Ko and the Knockouts come charging out of the gate on this, their debut record, with a storming garage rock track, "Cry No More," and never let up after that. Their sound is garage mixed with a little bit of psych and a little bit of soul -- maybe a little punk too. Ko's vocals are sweet and tough, breaking hearts and kicking butts with ease. Eddie, who also is a member of Detroit mod rockers the Sights, pounds out loud and mean chords on guitar. The whole thing comes together sounding like a band who loves the music they play and are having a blast. Most garage rock records can be judged on their cover versions, usually the more obscure the better. Ko and the lads do a fine job on their cover of the Birds' (Ron Wood's first group) "You're on My Mind" and honor their Motown roots by doing a Nolan Strong tune, "If I," and a Marvelettes song, "Twisting Postman." Pretty obscure and well done, too. In an unusual twist, their originals sound better than the covers. This is down to strong songwriting on tracks like "Go-Getter," with its dynamite chorus and great vocal harmonies, and "I Really Hate You," a weird hybrid of country and girl group sounds with Ko singing the bitter words with a big grin on her face. A minor weakness is Eddie singing lead on a couple of tracks. He sounds fine with the Sights, but Ko is so dynamic that she should take all the leads. This is a great debut. -AMG


Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Jennifers - Nine Days Wonder - 1994

The Jennifers have released three full length albums, Nine Days Wonder (1994), Colors from the Future (2007), and Well Intentioned World (2011), one e.p., Book of Bad Advice (2002), and one 7" vinyl record, a split with the Mommyheads. The band has also appeared on many compilation CDs back when that used to mean something. The Jennifers first CD, Nine Days Wonder, was recorded with Tony French at Half alf Studios. Mixed and Mastered at Blue House productions.



Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Dipsomaniacs - Freakin' Eureka - 2003

Following up 2001's acclaimed The Life You're Faking, Burlington, NJ's the Dipsomaniacs again delight fans of driving, Replacements-like melodic rock & roll on Freakin' Eureka. Frontman Mick Chorba writes memorable, hook-doused rockers like "Always Forgetting Something" and "Black Cloud." The latter's driving, Badfinger-meets-Wilco feel is totally irresistible, while boozy stomps like "Sun Shine Through" and "Calvin" balance grit with gumption. If the boogie rock found on "Little One" seems a little misguided, it's also a hell of a lot of fun. Simply stated, the Dipsomaniacs are a stellar band, and although Freakin' Eureka doesn't break much stylistic ground, it is a freakin' good time. -AMG



Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Masters of the Hemisphere - I Am Not a Freemdoom - 2000

Half concept album, half comic book, the Masters of the Hemisphere's I Am Not a Freemdoom uses the group's gently catchy songwriting skills to tell the tale of Krone Ishta, a far-off island populated by mild-mannered folk like the Frog King, Mal the Fish, and Ed, a reservoir dweller. The island is terrorized by Freemdoom, an evil dog bent on polluting and seizing the island, and his monster sidekick Gorgar. Musically, the album blends the folky, fairy-tale quality of Peter, Paul & Mary's "Puff the Magic Dragon" and the sugar-high energy of the theme songs to '60s and '70s kids' shows; acoustic guitars, organs, sweet harmonies, and "ba-ba-ba"s abound. Sweet, sunny pop songs like "The New Commotion," "Gorgar's Room," and "The New Freemdoom" sound like they're straight from lost episodes of The Archies or The Hair Bear Bunch, while folky ballads like "Summer in Krone Ishta" and "So What About Freemdoom" add to the album's storytime feel. Indeed, I Am Not a Freemdoom includes song descriptions and a mini comic book to hit home the album's plot; it's this attention to detail that proves the album is a labor of love and not just an in-joke. Even so, for those not in the mood, I Am Not a Freemdoom can seem too precious and insular for its own good. But with the right attitude, the album's seriously playful approach is irresistible. -AMG



Monday, August 1, 2011

Soul Engines - Closer Still - 2003

One of the brightest and most talented power pop bands to come in the scene in 2003... except the band has been around for quite awhile it appears but has not bothered to connect up the whole indie power pop scene until this year. No problem as their 2003 "Closer Still" is their best and one of the year`s very best. Stunning and stupifying as every single song here is endowed with plaintive vocal cadences, effervescent guitar jangle and fluid hooks. It`s a simple formula, granted...but they *nail* it, dead middle. They sound like The Posies, The Merrymakers, The Monkees, Gin Blossoms(lots!), a more rootsy version of The Lolas and Chewy Marble playing Hollies covers. -Not Lame


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