Monday, October 31, 2011

See you in a couple of days

Sorry folks, but I have to do a lot of running around for the next couple of days, and so, new stuff here will be spotty at best. I'll be back very soon. Try to hold back your tears.

Curty Ray

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Kurt Baker - Rockin' For A Living now available...

The brand new record from Kurt Baker.. "Rockin' For A Living".. Out NOW on Oglio Records. Vinyl released by Stardumb Records and Torreznetes Entertainment!

Whatcha waitin' for, get it now!

1. Just Forget About It
2. Don’t Steal My Heart Away
3. Can’t Have Her Back
4. Kiss Me
5. Why You Gotta Lie?
6. The Problem

Produced by Kurt Baker & Wyatt Funderburk
Executive Producer: Carl Caprioglio

Kurt Baker - "Don't Steal My Heart Away" from Tasty Dude Films on Vimeo.

Kurt Baker - Lead & Background Vox, Bass Guitar, Electric Guitar

Kris “Fingers” Rodgers - Background Vox, Rhodes, Hammond, Farfisa,
Piano, Privia-tone

Josh Malia - Rhythm Guitar/Lead Guitar, Backing Vox

Geoff Useless - Rhythm Guitar, Backing Vox

Wyatt Funderburk - Bass Guitar, Lead/Rhythm Guitar, Backing Vox

Craig Sala - Drums, Percussion

Additional Musicians:

Mike Byrne - Lead Guitar
Michael “Miek” Rodrigue - Lead Guitar

Friday, October 28, 2011

The Wind - Where It's At With the Wind - 1982

Playing exuberant power-pop with abundant talent and a solid grounding in '60s AM radio — from Merseybeat to folk-rock to summery soul — this Miami trio made a wonderful debut with the winningly unpolished Where It's At. The marvelous 14-song collection of beguiling originals not only re-creates the sound of a simpler time, but captures the giddy innocence of musical self-discovery, as if this were all new.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

This is your last chance to get "Shake Some Action: The Ultimate Power Pop Guide "

Just a brief note to let you know  "Shake Some Action: The Ultimate Power Pop Guide" - is now available again after being out of print for three years!

The book is an in depth look at the power pop genre and features a rundown of the top 200 power pop albums of all time. Every copy also comes with a 24 song CD featuring rare and/or previously unreleased songs from a variety of artists, including Shoes, Rubinoos, Chris von Sneidern, Tommy Keene, 20/20 and many more. There are also tons of previously unpublished photos included.

There is a limited supply of books available - around 225 - and around 70 of these have already been sold, so you might want to act fast if you'd like to grab one. The cost is $49.95, but don't forget that it also comes with what is basically a double CD filled with music and it's sure to increase in value as the years go by. Plus, it'll make a great holiday gift for the discriminating music fan on your shopping list. ;-)

Here is the link to order and to find out more information:

The Black Watch - The King of Good Intentions - 1999

It hasn't been easy for the Black Watch. This makes five records on five different labels. But like wandering the desert in an endless search of bountiful waterholes instead of mere drops of cactus juice, such wayward struggles have just made this fledgling band more determined. Each album, three years apart, has been better than the last, and if the quantum-leap The King of Good Intentions finds a spot in the stereos of discerning pop fans, the Black Watch will have found their oasis at last. For this release, they've pared down to the two essentials: singer/songwriter/guitarist John Andrew Frederick and multi-instrumentalist J'Anna Jacoby. They're aided by a phalanx of L.A. underground musicians playing the other parts, and together the assemblage has made a minor masterpiece. Enjoying by far the best production of his career, Frederick seems to have a Go-Betweens jones on such beguiling, handsome, fertile pop as "The Wrong People," "Hey Hey Hey," and the more organic, skipping "Obligatory Blues." Jacoby's exceptional violin used to save the group's weaker work; now it adds translucent sparkle to a freshly painted canvas. And the multiple times a piano drops in for coffee in the background, it's the sort of ageless pop moment you spend hours in CD stores looking for. As a result, the poet Frederick finally has a backdrop to match his abilities. Always a cutting wordsmith, he's full of acerbic disregard for those whose lives have crossed his. "I suppose she'll go upstairs with anyone that mumbles that he cares" he gibes at one point, typical of the austere subject matter. Nothing happening in pop? No talent, no craft, nothing to say in pop today? Buy this, then. -AMG



Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Mood Elevator - Listen Up! - 2000

Falling squarely into the category of power pop bands that don't take themselves too seriously, the Mood Elevator crafted a jovial and lively debut album in Listen Up! In the course of 11 tracks, the band runs through a few rave-ups ("Leisure Time Provider," "Day of Renee") pure pop ("Butterfly Net"), ska -- sort of ("Cool Nights") -- and a ragtime-based piano rocker ("Better Than That.") For a debut, the diversity in songs is surprising and refreshing, as the album doesn't tire after a few listens. The downside, really, is that the lyrics are often too silly, detracting from the rest of the picture, and the hooks are not nearly as interesting as those written by their peers. Still, it's too easy to point out what's wrong with a pop album rather than what's right: And what's right here is that this band has managed to craft an engaging debut album that manages to be diverse and adventurous while still maintaining the band's pop roots. And that's more than most can really hope for anyway. -AMG



Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Swirl 360 - Ask Anybody - 1998

Borrowing from every pop band from the Beatles to Oasis, Swirl 360 may be a little hard to pin down, but that's part of the reason why their debut album, Ask Anybody, is so enjoyable. Favoring the sweet pop of McCartney over Lennon's brittle rock & roll, Swirl 360 augment that melody with crackling modern rock production. If they get a little too slick -- and let's face it, anyone who collaborates with Desmond Child is bound to get a little slick -- they make up for it with sharp collaborations with Adam Schlesinger (Fountains of Wayne) and Ken Stringfellow (Posies), a crisp attack, and uncluttered arrangements. Denny and Kenny Scott, the twin masterminds behind the band, still need to find their own voice, but Ask Anybody remains a cheerful, pleasing debut. -AMG

Monday, October 24, 2011

Chris Von Sneidern - Sight & Sound - 1993

The first solo album by ex-Flying Color singer/ songwriter Chris Von Sneidern is a terrific slice of '90s power pop, roots and ruefulness division. Von Sneidern's slightly rough voice isn't particularly suited to chipper material, and so the better tracks here are the darker ones like "Bad Black Lonesome" and the downright bleak closer "Never Again My Love." Von Sneidern is capable of his lighter moments as well, like the sweetly jangly "Annalisa" and the lighthearted homage "Hey Nino Tempo," but the best parts of this album, which features guest appearances by fellow Bay Area luminaries like John Wesley Harding and American Music Club guitarist Vudi, have an emotional depth and richness not often associated with the sometimes facile world of power pop. At 16 tracks, Sight & Sound is a little overstuffed and could use some pruning, but minimal use of the skip tracks buton will turn this CD into something special. -AMG



Friday, October 21, 2011

Second Saturday - Here`s The Deal - 2002

GREAT power pop band - hard to find 2002 debut album. Imagine(go with us here) The Beach Boys(but not literally) playing Fountains Of Wayne, The Argument, Jetpack and Ben Folds. Or Jeffrey Foskett teaming up with new up and comers The Blakes, The Rentals, Light FM or Adventures Of Jet. Huh? What`s all this? It`s spiffy, up-beat lightly tinged new wave power pop for modern made to splash water on stiff, established pop contributions of late. Second Saturday`s music is a fine-woven blend of catchy, energized, and powerful sugar-pop tunes with beautiful melodies, up-beat tempos, rip-rocking guitars, infectious synthesizer, and four-part harmonies that can be matched by the likeness of only Brian Wilson. Every song a winner! -Not Lame



Thursday, October 20, 2011

Big Hello - Orange Album - 2000

After neo-power pop group the Elvis Brothers disbanded, drummer, songwriter Brad Elvis formed a new outfit in late 1994, which he dubbed Big Hello. Despite a rash of early personnel changes, the band built a following in its hometown of Chicago and around the Midwest through extensive touring. The remainder of the lineup eventually settled on vocalist Chloe Orwell, guitarist Johnny Million, and bassist Tom Atteberry. In addition to contributing to several power pop compilations, Big Hello gained increased exposure through hosting Chicago Pop Mondays, a highly successful series of concerts at the Beat Kitchen. -AMG


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Doug Powell - More - 2000

For his third outing, Doug Powell follows much the same formula as with his first two albums: straight ahead rock songs with a definite, pronounced pop leaning. Powell's influences are plastered all over this, from Jellyfish-like vocal harmonies to Todd Rundgren's brand of smooth pop and Cheap Trick-style guitar crunch. But thankfully, Powell does manage to mold the record into more than just a sum of its parts. The album's best songs -- the uppity rock of "Dinah Might," the soulful pop of "The Scent of a Rose," and the hard rock of "Empty V," amongst a few others -- are extremely well-crafted modern pop. While not exceedingly commercial or adventurous, the devotees of verse-chorus-verse song structures and gooey background vocals will agree that not only is More catchy and memorable, but it manages to steer clear of potholes of derivation. With that being said, there are a few flaws that keep More from being a classic. The production is appropriately crisp but strangely tinny, and on the requisite mainstream music rant "Empty V," Powell appropriately gives the musical finger to MTV and their ilk. But the problem is that the listener is torn between believing whether it's appropriate commentary or a cranky old man who is upset that he never got his commercial due. Maybe it's a little of both, but that assessment is probably a bit too harsh given the songwriting expertise displayed by Powell here and with his band, SWAG. And something does seem wrong if a song as infectious as "Rise" isn't all over mainstream rock radio. The true assessment, then, is that More is very much music by a pop fan who hates MTV, for pop fans who hate MTV. It can't be fairer than that. -AMG

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Sun Sawed in 1/2 - Bewilderbeest - 2000

St. Louis' Sun Sawed in 1/2 made a major departure from their flexible, inventive power pop on Bewilderbeest. Recorded partially in the Ukraine, Bewilderbeest tries to make world music a palatable influence in power pop; of the disc's 14 tracks, three are world music-styled instrumental tracks. The remaining tracks sound heavily influenced by Eastern European rhythms and music, and it makes Bewilderbeest an admirable and ambitious affair. The album's highlights include "Kiss Her Like You Mean It," an excellent up-tempo rocker that sounds like a lost Jellyfish classic, the moving ballad "Shining Knight," and Ken Kase's "Song No. 11." While it's not quite as solid of an album as the defining Fizzy Lift, the ambition alone of this album makes it a worthwhile listen for both fans and the curious. -AMG



Monday, October 17, 2011

Save Pluto - Age of Lowered Expectations - 2007

Their debut album, Age of Lowered Expectations, is reminiscent of Barenaked Ladies meets Matthew Sweet. It’s fun, it’s smart, and it rocks. The group’s musicianship shines through on the album, with all three band members sharing lead vocal duties on various songs.
Shawn Moynihan (vocals, rhythm guitar) and Alan Miller (guitar, vocals), songwriting partners since high school, have been recognized by Billboard Magazine's National Songwriting Contest, and were commissioned to write the theme song for the New York Yankees' minor league team on Staten Island. Miller's guitar skills, displayed prominently on the album, have also been featured in Guitar One Magazine. Gautam Peri completes the lineup on bass and keyboards. -CD Baby



Sunday, October 16, 2011

Another album, another band, another name.

Matthew Bannister has made numerous records under different names, with different people - first Sneaky Feelings in Dunedin in the 80s, then the Dribbling Darts of Love in Auckland in the 90s, a solo release as One Man Bannister - Moth (2007) - and another band effort -The Weather’s Aroha Ave (2008). And now the Changing Same.

Why so many names? Why not just use your own? “I’ve never felt comfortable being a solo artist. Music to me is something you do with other people. That’s what makes it fun. When I get new people, it’s a new project. Of course it’s a bit of a disaster from a publicity/career point of view.”

Since 2008 Matthew has been living in Hamilton, where he works at Wintec, who also support his music activities. “I make a CD, and it counts as research!” The album was mostly recorded at the studios in the Music Dept there. “But I have the same software at home, so I could take away live backing tracks and overdub in my own time. You get live feel, but also lots of time to fiddle with additional parts - the best of both worlds.”

The Changing Same are:
Matthew Bannister: guit./bass/vox
Nick Johnston: keys
Stan Jagger: drums

The Changing Same’s CD is available through Powertool Records, or can be downloaded at the bandcamp site. They’re also on Facebook.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Jigsaw Seen - My Name Is Tom - 1991

This is the Jigsaw Seen's 1991 EP for the now-defunct New Jersey-based Skyclad label. The mini-CD featured an early version of "Persephone Again" (the track was later re-recorded for release on the Swedish-released Pop Under the Surface, Vol. 1 compilation and the band's own self-released Zenith from 2000) and a cover of Love's "The Daily Planet." -AMG



Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Rumble Strips - Girls and Weather - 2007

The Rumble Strips don't take any chances on Girls and Weather, but that's because they don't need to. If the Devon foursome's fun, innocent, and refreshingly light tone -- not to mention their eschewing of guitars in favor of horns -- isn't enough to make their debut album stand out, then their musicianship and wry lyrics certainly are. It takes a few listens to discern the Rumble Strips' technical proficiency, because it's all too easy to get caught up in the fun that they're having instead. There's no build-up to the revelry -- Girls and Weather gets off to a rollicking start with "No Soul," a tune that sounds a bit like a Kaiser Chiefs tune that replaces synthesizers with a deliberately off-kilter brass section. It's immediately followed by "Alarm Clock," which tells the story of a young slacker through the use of an infectious melody, singalong chorus, and cheery self-deprecation. Happy melodies coupled with bittersweet lyrics are a running theme throughout the album, but it's a formula that works well for the Rumble Strips, especially when they're poking fun at the Walter Mitty-like fantasies of average Joes. The best example of this on the album is "Motorcycle," a riotous take on the "cars and girls song" that alternates between the mundane reality of a 10-speed bike and the sunny fantasy of a motorized chick magnet. There are times when the band's giddiness is a little too overwhelming -- the repetition of the chorus on "Clouds" quickly goes from endearing to annoying -- but it's a minor complaint in the end. Girls and Weather loses neither steam nor charm throughout; it's an album for adults who want an excuse to behave like kids again. -AMG



Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Zumpano - Look What the Rookie Did - 1995

The title says it all. This debut effort from Vancouver's Zumpano is an astounding piece of infectious, guitar-driven pop. The group's original material is outstanding, but the lone cover proves to be one of the album's highlights -- a compelling version of Jimmy Webb's "Rosecrans Boulevard" (previously recorded by the Fifth Dimension and Johnny Rivers). With Webb as an influence, it's no wonder Zumpano end up crafting such sophisticated yet melodic compositions of their own. In the '60s, tracks like the Zombies-esque "I Dig You" would have been all over the charts and the radio, but in the 1990s, there seems to be less of an audience for such inventive, intelligent pop. However, the freshness of Zumpano's sound, combined with adventurous melodies and rhythms, makes this an essential piece of work. -AMG



Monday, October 10, 2011

Parthenon Huxley - Mile High Fan - 2005

Parthenon Huxley had a pretty sweet job between 1987 and 1993 -- he was a contact songwriter with MCA Music Publishing, and he got to spend his work days writing tunes, recording them with first-rate musicians and getting paid for the privilege. Best of all, it appears no one was riding herd over Huxley regarding what he should be writing about, judging from Mile High Fan, a 15-song collection of Huxley's demos from the period, which includes catchy songs about heroin addiction, soaring real estate prices and urban sprawl. According to Huxley's liner notes, a number of his MCA demos became basic tracks for his first album, 1988's Sunny Nights, and the recordings collected here sure don't sound like songwriting demos -- the combo Huxley put together for these sessions evolved into his band P. Hux, and they sound professional as all get out, especially guitarist Rusty Anderson, whose Eddie Van Halen-esque Stratocaster gymnastics are certainly impressive if more than a bit overstated on several cuts, and drummer Rob Ladd, who pounds with conviction. Huxley's material here walks a tightrope between witty power pop and muscular hard rock, and the two sides don't always get along, with the guitar shredding often getting in the way of the melodic side of these recordings. But there are some good tunes here that work just fine with the band, especially "This Isn't Yesterday" and "Bazooka Joe," and Huxley's smart-ass wit is welcome throughout. Mile High Fan isn't perfect, but it's as polished and satisfying as any of Huxley or P. Hux's "real" albums, and this certainly deserved better than sitting on a shelf at some publisher's office for 13 years; Not Lame are to be commended for finally giving this music the public hearing it deserves. -AMG

Friday, October 7, 2011

True Believers - True Believers - 1986

Legend has it that the True Believers' pre-production process with producer Jim Dickinson before they began sessions for their first album consisted entirely of a conversation in the car as the band picked him up from the airport and drove to Austin's Arlyn Studios. While Dickinson has a splendid track record producing maverick rock bands, for this project money and time were in short supply, and the True Believers album suffers a bit accordingly. The sound is thin and lacks the punch that the group's three-guitar lineup demanded, and the gated snare sound on Kevin Foley's drum kit is such a mid-'80s cliché that it sounds almost comical more than a decade down the line. But if True Believers captured a great band under less-than-ideal circumstances, it leaves little doubt that this really was a great band; Alejandro Escovedo, Javier Escovedo, and Jon Dee Graham all sing, write, and play guitar well enough to lead fine bands on their own, and together they were a guitar army in the truest sense of the phrase, thinking and performing as one and leaving behind some inspired music as a result. (Bassist Denny Degorio also helped write a number of the album's best songs, and drummer Kevin Foley holds down the backbeat with smarts and precision.) True Believers was the only album this group would release during their lifetime, and while it doesn't get the full impact of their live show on tape, it gets just enough of it down to prove that this band's reputation as one of America's greatest roots rock bands wasn't just talk. -AMG



Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Shore - The Shore - 2004

The Shore's full-length Maverick debut offers enthusiasts of the AAA radio format a palette-pleasing aggregate of spacy Britpop and dusty American rock texture. It's a fashionable, well-appointed album, impeccably designed for the leisuring iPods of listeners who like their music furiously in the moment. Ben Ashley -- songwriting brains and frontman of the Shore -- channels Richard Ashcroft brazenly, particularly the cheekboned one's more dramatic solo work. But that won't matter to those swooning over the Shore's sun-spackled piano ballad "Take What's Mine," or the dusky, loopy, string-laden opener, "Hard Road" -- the sound might be shockingly derivative, but since three out of five Americans have either forgotten or never knew of the Verve and Ride, the Shore's lapping pace and gentle waves will wash forth as fresh and new as a watercolor daydream. "Waiting for Sun" plays soft pop verses off a chorus melody worthy of Embrace's grandeur (more keening strings, stat!), while "It Ain't Right" and "Firefly" do nice things with tensile electric guitar dynamics and changes into fluttery vocal harmonies. In its weaker moments ("Everything We Are"), The Shore drifts into middling alterna-pop. -AMG



Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Sweet Apple Pie - Between the Lines - 2004

Pitched somewhere between Sloan, the Apples in Stereo, and Club 8, France's Sweet Apple Pie provide a sound much like their name: warm, sweet, and wholesome. Between the Lines is their second album, and it is a huge step forward from their first. In fact, it is one of the better indie pop records you will hear in 2004. The songwriting is tight, the arrangements are fully realized, and the group vocals are large and lush, sometimes coming close to Polyphonic Spree proportions. Songs like "Harder Than We Thought," "Pray Before," and "Oyster" reflect a '70s influence, sometimes sounding like Squeeze, sometimes like a more flexible ABBA. Always sounding good and hooky, Between the Lines is full of laid-back charm; it's the kind of record that radiates warmth from beginning to end. Playing it is like hanging out with the kind of friend with whom you don't have to say anything; you just have to be there. Add Sweet Apple Pie to the list of bands making adult pop (Walker Kong, the Heavy Blinkers, Young and Sexy) drawn from the '70s and '80s but sounding completely modern and completely fabulous. -AMG



Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Rick Parker - Wicked World - 1991

Parker's dynamic voice allows him to sound like three very different vocalists on the same album. On tracks such as "Cause Your Mine" and "Sally's Home" his voice bears a striking resemblance to that of Mark Knopfler. When the music slows, however, his sound metamorphoses into something more akin to Corey Hart. He rounds out his range with some INXS/Michael Hutshens style vocals. But with strong, consistent backing vocals bi guitarist Josh Blake, the album flows nicely. - L.A. Times



Monday, October 3, 2011

The Hellacopters - Payin' the Dues - 1999

The Hellacopters reconvened for a second album in 1998, churning out a platter that retained the raw ferocity of their debut while featuring even better songs. Payin' the Dues is a winner from start to finish, but special kudos go out to "You Are Nothin'," "Hey!," "Where the Action Is," and "Soulseller." One has to wonder how huge these guys would be if they were American instead of Swedish. The record did so well in Europe that vocalist/guitarist Nicke Andersson (aka Nicke Hellacopter) decided to quit the security of his day job on the drum stool of death metallers Entombed to concentrate on the Hellacopters full-time. Unfortunately, co-leader Dregen chose to carry on with his main band, Backyard Babies. -AMG



Sunday, October 2, 2011

A Gift From John Wicks and the Records!

With Fall comes change. And, thanks to a new Records' Facebook promotion, you can keep yours in your pocket while getting some FREE music
to listen to. John Wicks, lead singer of The Records and co-writer of the hit songs Starry Eyes and Hearts In Her Eyes, has decided to post
a complete live set via his Facebook fan page found right here. Starting
October 2, each week John will be posting one of nine live songs from a set that was recording earlier this year. With guest appearances
from Debbi Peterson of The Bangles and Andy Qunta of Icehouse, this recording is truly one of a kind.

Just "like" the page, and the mp3 is yours.

We'll post one track per week, leading up to the re-release of Rotate due out Noverber 8, this time with three bonus tracks and an all new, pedal
to the metal version of The Records' classic hit "Starry Eyes".

Starting October 2, go to and click "Like", refresh your browser, and the mp3 will be available
to you...FOR FREE. Check out The Records' main website at for news, tour, or any other additional information
about The Records or the new version of "Starry Eyes".


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