Posts Tagged ‘Bubblegum’

Wolfmanhattan Project – “Silver Sun”

Plenty to love in a band that comes packed with Bob Bert (Sonic Youth, Pussy Galore), Mick Collins (Gories, Dirtbombs) and Kid Congo Powers (Gun Club, The Cramps, Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds) and the band makes good on more than their past reputations with the single “Silver Sun.” Sounding like one of my favorite Mick Collins records, Ooey Gooey Chewy Ka-Blooey!, his Dirtbombs ode to bubblegum, the song’s not bogged down in the grit and garage blast that could easily come from any of the players involved here. It sparkles and swings. Its a sunshine strummer with a popcorn beat built for dancing. This one’s been building for quite a while, but seems to have dropped out of space with a release tomorrow. If the melted syrup choruses and laconic harmonies on this track aren’t enough to sell ya then I give up.



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Wyatt Blair

Wyatt Blair sneaks out his second low-key release of 2018 with the decidedly sunny blast of power pop, Inspirational Strawberries. The album shrugs off pretty much all of the 80’s vibes that permeated his last couple of releases, making a pretty spectacular about face on the melancholy New Wave of March’s Smoke & Mirrors. The album reinvests in a more classic brand of power pop, chucking the neon out the window in favor of mod-pressed visions of jangle-pop that range from the ‘70s strut of Raspberries to the psychedelic swirl of The 3 O’Clock. While it doesn’t have the kitsch factor and AquaNet smirk that drove his high watermark Point of No Return, for power pop fans there’s plenty to hold onto here.

The hooks are about a mile wide and trussed up in the sunniest hues of the bubblegum brigade. There’s a definite feeling that Blair has been soaking his solace in the works of The Archies, Rick Springfield (circa Mission: Magic) and The Lemon Pipers with total sincerity. The ‘60s flame burns brightest on “(Stuck In A) Daydream” and “It’s Yesterday,” but there’s a general veneer of catchall Saturday Morning strummer inclusiveness adhered to the record, recalling whole hosts of Don Kirshner productions from the era. Blair’s always had a knack for pop, and he tends to serve the cult of listeners who don’t mind retreading a little old ground in search of those perfect pop swoons. So, while this might not be for every indie-pop tart out there, its manna to the sunshine searchers just looking for one more go ‘round through the best moments of 60s sparkle.

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Mikah Wilson – “Sunshine Grooves”

Every once in a while and artist comes along that ticks all the boxes on some of my personal musical obsessions. For me, I have a deep love for bubblegum, sunshine psych, power pop and the bittersweet side of the ’60s that somehow leaves you sighing and smiling at the same time. Mikah Wilson has found a way to pack all of those things into one song that’s shimmering like a cloudless afternoon, but also leaves a pang of loneliness hanging in the air. The track echoes traces of collector bait songwriting team Gary Usher (Sagittarius) and Curt Boettcher (The Millennium, The Association) as filtered through the cartoon catchy workings of Rick Springfield during his tenure at Mission: Magic. Throw in a dash of Emmitt Rhodes’ buttery pop soul and I’m all but sold on this song. For fans of this type of glowing sunshine psych, Wilson has resurrected a sound with such precision that this already feels like it could slip right in between the stacks of old singles and fool the most ardent crate digger into thinking they’d stumbled onto a lost gem. I

Despite his label associations with Lollipop and Burger, Wilson works at a much more measured pace than many of his contemporaries, marking this as his third track in just about a year. It follows up on the sorely overlooked cassingle from last April that saw Wilson drop double power pop perfection with “Sweet Jules” b/w “Look At The Way”. Frankly I’m overjoyed for just this little bit added to the catalog, but the single track drop does leave one wanting much more. Though, if the quality of songs continue on this caliber, I’m willing to wait as long as it takes for an album from Wilson. They may be time-shifted works of sugary pop, but this, along with Wilson’s other two tracks are some of the strongest I’ve heard in a long time.




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Eric Copeland

Ah man Black Dice gone bubblegum, what more could you ask for on a hot summer day in the confounding year of 2016? Copeland’s had his share of high waving experimental solo excursions and a tenure in Black Dice that gives him free ice cream for life with his noise pioneer club membership card, but he’s throwing all that built up goodwill at the fan and going with his gut on Black Bubblegum. The record still pulls in a fair amount of chaos, but it finds its footing in pop, showing Copeland’s soft spot for the digestible bits of his chosen profession. There’s a dub glaze thrown on top, an ever present influence in Copeland’s solo works, but this time he’s pairing it with glam grind, calliope pop contortions and disco-melted harmonies. A very large part of me can’t help but love that Copeland’s made an album with a self-admitted influence of Neil Diamond. There needs to be more Neil influenced noise pop records rolling off the presses these days, chucking sequined shirts through a wood chipper and running it through a fuzz pedal. That’s the American Dream made manifest at this point of the game.

Copeland’s vision of bubblegum pop is a hard shift from the norm to say the least. He’s jettisoned catchy choruses for the most part in favor of mantras repeated like pop hammerings through the bulk of his songs. He’s got the bright colors and loud snap, but they all seem to be running together, smeared by a good dose of paint thinner while lining up the images in a kaleidoscopic view finder. Its just the blast of weird hot stench that we all need rolling out of this summer though and perhaps a more poignant take on life as it exists between the lines of logic in twenty one six.




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White Mystery

Outta Control sees White Mystery step away from a lot of their comfort zones and some excursions work and others don’t but in either case there’s a joyous ripple that runs through the record that kinda makes it ok even when things truly get outta control. The band is still at their best when hewing a bit close to the garage rock that bore them through, though here they bring in the jubilant pound of pianos, acoustic strums and noisy squalls to augment the raucous rip of fried amplifier fume that’s been their steadfast companion. In truth, at its heart, there’s a great explosion of bubblegum that’s rearing its head on the album and in that respect there’s a lot of crossover with one of my latter day garage faves, The Dirtbombs’ Ooey Gooey Chewy Ka-Blooey album from 2013. It gives the album a sense of elastic fun that pushes towards a more pop sound, that’s big and brimming and worthy of its own cartoon band (albeit one that might land on Adult Swim instead of Cartoon Network’s daytime rotation).

The downside to pushing the boundaries is that it doesn’t always work, but any collector of bubblegum pop knows that any gum compendium is never 100% and in that respect the auto-tune laden, modern day pop satirizing “Pacci” is the bum sticker in the bunch, but hey life gives you skip buttons. Its not nearly enough to sour the absolute fun that gushes out of Outta Control. The rest of the album bounds by on spring loaded legs, bopping and swaying and generally sticking in your head like a pop-rocks coated aneurysm of fun. Been a long time coming seeing this band fully embrace their truly outsized personalities and run with it, on Outta Control they feel like they’re having as much fun as anyone listening.




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Slick!

The force of glam runs strong through Slick! and that’s probably because Nick Slick has spent his tenure in quite a few acolytes of the glittered stomp, trading time in Glitz, Apache and backing The Runaways’ Cherrie Currie for a time. In the wake of Glitz’ demise he’s back with a new outlet for 70’s riffs taller than a triple stack and pulling a spot on sweat tribute to his forebears. Yeah yeah yeah, I know, what the world needs is another glam punk band like it needs another pothole, but I say, hell if you can bleed leather and rock the alter of Alice Cooper and The Sweet with equal aplomb then more power to you. The album’s a full tilt, dance inducing slice of sex obsessed rock ‘ roll and its easy to see how this is a close sibling of Glitz’ Its Glitz. Though in a way it also reminds me of Cozy’s Button by Button an album that knew that bubblegum lies at the heart of glam. The frothy organ lines that thread their way through a few tracks find the band tripping on that excellent tipping point when rock took itself less seriously again and glam found its childish heart and sense of swagger. For an album only available as 500 run cassette, this has a huge sound and its the kind of album that luck should stick permanently in the deck of your ’87 Escort. Blowin’ lights with Slick! on the speakers seems a natural fit.





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