Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The PPO 2012 Top Ten

Every year I think about the great music that has been presented to us and I find 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... Sorry it took so damn long!

10) The Well Wishers - Dreaming of the West Coast - Based on a solid foundation of melody, songcraft, and the ever important "musical hook", the Well Wishers' deliver a warm, full-bodied sound and engaging take on the typical power pop formula. In addition to five full studio albums,

9) Jeremy - Love Explosion - You can call him Mr. Consistency. Jeremy (Morris) is a lot like Steely Dan. Not in music style, but in terms of consistency and having a pretty good idea of what you can expect to get with each release. And you know, that can be a good thing indeed. Think in terms of high-end musical "comfort food" and you should get a real good idea of what we're getting at.

8) Fay Hallam & The Bongolian - ‘Lost In Sound’ the very first collaboration between Fay Hallam (Makin’ Time, The Prime Movers, Phaze) and Blow Up Records’ The Bongolian. Both share a serious passion for 60’s Hammond Beat and Soul. A variety of styles are covered here: Bossa Nova, heavier 70's grooves and a strong Northern Soul influence.  Not just a rehash of old grooves, Lost In Sound mixes in a good amount of the new with the old.  Always good to hear. Get ready to get Lost In Sound . . .

7) Shoes - Ignition - Self-produced and released on the band’s own Black Vinyl Records, The Shoes have gathered the remnants of their former band, and produced a first class album. Inspired by late 70’s Power Pop, Ignition is loaded with jangly riffs and hook-packed pop vocals. The Shoes craft great pop music that hits you from the first note to the very last.

6) Seven Long Years - Chained To Your Love - The opening moments of "Don’t Break My Heart In Ink" make it very clear that Seven Long Years, the first solo project of Eric Knoxx  , is a Psychedelic/Dream Pop explosion . Layers of sound are stacked one by one until the songs are so full they have nowhere to go but outward in all directions. It's percussive, but pleasingly melodic cover to cover. It's not "all-sound-all-the-time", though. Song writer Eric Knoxx does however leave a little breathing room throughout the entire album, which is good. You'll need to catch your breath.

5) Marty Graveyard - Summer Holiday - The Madd's former drummer /songwriter gave us his first solo album, Summer Holiday on V2 Records ! Filled with relentlessly catchy vocals and hook-laden guitar power pop, this album deserves some many repeated listens! It’s a great pop album which doesn’t get boring, or overcomplicated. There’s loads of fun to be had with this one.

4) Paul Bertolino - Where The Buildings Hit The Sky - Presenting 11 tracks from Brooklyn's finest "unknown" artist! Paul Bertolino, the talent behind the curtain, intermingles psychedelic pop, classic production and some well placed baroque melodies into an appealing blend of Beatles meet Burt Bacharach, constructing a most enjoyable album. Another winner from Paul! As if we expected less.

3) The Trashed Romeos-Where Dreamers Never Go - The Trashed Romeos, led by Greg Roberson (Tiger High, Reigning Sound, Arthur Lee’s Love, Compulsive Gamblers), hail from the very epicenter of rock- n -roll, Memphis, Tn. Roberson has a pretty straight forward mission with his bands debut record Where Dreamers Never Go, to pay homage to his late friend Jim Dickinson (Bob Dylan, Rolling Stones, Big Star, The Replacements, Ry Cooder) and to focus attention on some of his hometown heroes and the obscure psychedelic garage rock 45’s they released in the mid 6o’s.  

2) The DomNicks - Super real - Their debut album Super Real marks a coming of age for The DomNicks. Forged by Perth based Dom Mariani and Nick Sheppard, the band is a powerful blend of swagger 'n' roll rock, soul and pop smarts. Among the 12 tracks you'll find the Exile era Stones' sound of Reconcile, the brazen brass and swing of Let's Go Baby, soul flavours in I Wonder What You're Doin' Now, the straight ahead rollicking of Miracle and tantalising twists and turns of the electric sitar driven Winter. It's bound to cause the head and heart to shake.

1) Kurt Baker - Brand New Beat - This is what a Power Pop Album should sound like! Part time librarian and full time Ass Kicking Power Popster Kurt Baker  has bestowed upon us an unquestionable pearl of Power Pop goodness. Baker and band does not disappoint on their sophomore release. 10 addictive songs, each better than the last, it is difficult to put this album down, even more difficult to wipe the smile off your face when you are finished listening to it. Thank you Kurt Baker!

The PPO Top Ten Power Pop Albums of 2012/rs
The PPO Top Ten Power Pop Albums of 2012/zs

1. Escape the Light / The Well Wishers
2. Gotta Find A New Love / The Trashed Romeos
3. Don't Break my Heart in Ink / 7 Long Years
4. Do You Really Wanna Dance / Marty Graveyard
5. Where the Buildings Hit the Sky / Paul Bertolino
6. Freefall / Fay Hallam & The Bongolian
7. The Joke's On You / Shoes 3:05
8. I Wonder What You're Doin' Now / The DomNicks
9. Rise Above The Clouds / Jeremy
10. Don't Go Falling in Love / Kurt Baker
11. Black Eyed Girl / The DomNicks
12. Lost In Sound / Fay Hallam & The Bongolian
13. See Me Now / Paul Bertolino
14. Honoree / The Well Wishers
15. Stop What You're Doin' / 7 Long Years
16. Weekend Girls / Kurt Baker
17. Working Man / Marty Graveyard
18. I Thought You Knew / Shoes
19. My Way Of Thinking / The Trashed Romeos
20. Not Of This World / Jeremy

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Les Abrahamson said...

it's all a matter of taste, but I really liked Chris Richards & the Subtractions "Get Yer La La's Out", Eytan Mirsky's " Year of the Mouse" and Lannie Flowers' "New Songs, Old Stories". David Myhr's "Soundshine" was great too.

Anonymous said...

great list!thanks curt.

Anonymous said...

Great comp. Thanks!

Doug said...

Yeah .... Kurt Baker!

tomg said...

I only heard "Brand New Beat" of the list, but i can imagine without too much effort that it's the best.

tomg said...

Soundshine is good, but a little mellow, for me. Bubblegum is my favorite.

PD: RS link is broken already (ZS works fine).

Roy Pearl said...

Awesome. And this is the first I've even heard of a 2012 DomNicks album! Is it even released in North America yet? Gotta track that down.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this!! It's great to be exposed to new music in sampler form. The Well Wishers were a real standout, and The DomNicks impressed me with their soul. One of my favorite bands is The Smoking Popes, so anything close to that rhythm and/or lyrics equals great power pop for me.

Cheers, and thank you for all you do!

- d.

The Contrarian said...

Kurt Baker was far & away my best purchase of 2012. And KB's live show is not to be missed.


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