Posts Tagged ‘power pop’

Parsnip – “Health”

There’s been a bit of a decline in girl-group punk swagger since the heydays of lo-fi faded into the background, but Parsnip brings the sound rushing back in full color for their debut single on Anti-Fade. The track is swooning with ’60s vocal harmonies but rooted in the Paisley-punk of bands like The Pandoras, doubling down on twangin’ guitars and squirming organ. The song is caffeinated cool, careening around hooks with a sugar buzz that’s pretty damn hard to ignore. Why would you possibly want to, though? This is a top-down stoplight dance party from start to finish and I’m keeping it on repeat.




Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

Mixtape: Only After Dark

Now I know that glam is well worn territory. You could spend a day just running down lists of essentials – each telling you that Marc Bolan’s glittery tears started it all and shuffling well worn cuts with a forgotten gem or two in the mix. I’m not going to even begin to claim to sweep up all the glam essentials, though there are certainly a few of the ten foot high stompers on here. This, is more about sweeping the listener up in a specific ’70s night: getting dumped, rallying with friends and losing yourself in the big, stupid beat until daybreak. Book-ended by a couple of power pop gems that act as sunset and sunrise, this is just a feelgood vision of hard drinking stupidity that slaps a smile on your face. Check out the tracklist and mix after the jump.

Continue Reading
0 Comments

Marvelous Mark

I have to admit, I have a soft spot for power pop that echoes the ’90s variety, sloshing through the lurid puddles of sound left behind by Matthew Sweet, Weezer and Teenage Fanclub. There are quite a few that are picking at this point in the power pop food chain, choosing to ignore the roots of the sound that tied heavily to ’60s nostalgia or ’70s sinew. Toronto’s Mark Fosco definitely has his roots in this varietal, and every heartsick note comes ringing through with a love for the big stage bittersweet riffs that permeated the sunnier side of grunge’s heyday.

The LP has rough moments, it’s chewed through with fuzz like an asbestos coating over a great deal of these tracks, but underneath the cracked woofer tone is a syrupy sweet bit of pop that definitely makes better use of the aforementioned Fanclub, Superdrag or Ash’s approach than the majority of the pop punk followers of the sound. Fosco has a knack for finding big hooks and running them through a sticky sweet bummer echo chammber that’s welling up some nostalgia for cracked case mixtapes of days past. Yes, by nature this is leaning on the crutch built from others‘ accomplishments, but I’ll be damned if he isn’t making it sound fun to cherry pick the past.




Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

The Blondes – The Blondes

The aughts had its fair share of power pop – from Sloan to Matthew Sweet, Fountains of Wayne to late Apples in Stereo, there was no real shortage of sticky sweet pop that owed a fair amount of debt to the Yellow Pills set and Big Star. Still, the the majority of those bands used the genre as a jumping off point to splash in some ’90s grunge grit and bittersweet songwriting that put them in line with a new indie ethos. For L.A.’s Blondes, the heyday of ’70s power pop, tinged with just the right holdover of glam seemed the golden standard. To be fair, they hit the mark pretty dead on in the end.

Formed as Eagle in 1998, the band claimed members from music and art circles alike, crossing over membership with Eels, Beachwood Sparks and The Lilys. The band also contained indie icon and photographer Autumn De Wilde , who may have had more of a hand in effecting indie rock’s heyday than most of her L.A. compatriots. Of course, on release, the name Eagle drew the attention of classic rocker/general curmudgeon Don Henley and he put the kibosh on that moniker. Hence, they resurfaced as The Blondes.

Their first album was in 2002, following a spot-on cover of Mud’s “Dyna-mite”. By this time, several founding members, including De Wilde had left the group, but the band still captured the flicker-flame perfection of bubblegum-glam and the giddiness of power pop. This retrospective from Burger rounds up most of their key output. There are even some demo versions from the original Eagle lineup included, though sadly, that cover of “Dyna-mite” remains lost from the spools on this one. Burger and HoZac have gone to lengths lately to dig up the corners of all that’s necessary in punk, glam and power pop and this is an essential entry to the canon. A little sad this one’s ended up just on tape, but maybe if we all wish real hard the Burger Bros will press it down to a fitting vinyl tribute.




Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

Premiere: The Lovebirds – “Ready To Suffer”

San Francisco is full of guitar rock of the jangled variety but rising above the typical Mission fray soars The Lovebirds. They’re packing a satchel full of chiming chords here, but rather than throw a nod to SF’s ’60s roots, they channel College-ready literate charmers and powerpop dandies alike, drawing a line from the Groovies on down to Elvis Costello and Teenage Fanclub waiting in the wings. “Ready To Suffer” flicks at the subconscious, feeling familiar in a way that pushes it out of time, like a lost b-side from the archives of any of those bands.

It certainly doesn’t holler fresh-faced kids about town, that’s for sure, but that’s to the band’s credit as scholars of their influences. Add to the quality tunes some mix n’ master duties from RSTB faves Glenn Donaldson and Mikey Young respectively and this is a tight package and prime introduction to a band to watch.




Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

Young Guv – “Traumatic”

Ben Cook’s transition from hardcore hammer to lo-fi burner and into power pop perfectionist has seen him master many genres without seemingly breaking a sweat. His previous outing for Slumberland, Ripe For Love, was one of 2015’s best (and yet somehow most overlooked) record. He continues to work towards the ’80s pop vein that’s been pulsing through his later work, though this time he’s turned down the power and slipped on a shade of New Wave that’s got him echoing Nick Lowe through a warm cassette player. The first cut from his upcoming single also taps a touch of early synthpop to the party, marrying the aesthetics of Strawberry Switchblade to the subtle sheen of Shoes-styled pristine pop. At this point I’m sold on Young Guv’s pop mastery and as long as he keeps churning out gems like this, I’m on the hook for life.

Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

Matthew Melton on John Denver – Farewell Andromeda

Hidden Gems has become an opportunity to look into the inspirations that drive the artists I love around here, but it’s also revealed several layers to those I’d thought I had pegged. Case in point, for all his catalog leanings and past permutations I’d have figured that Matthew Melton would turn in an uncharted power pop gem, or given his latest direction in Dream Machine, perhaps a proto-metal nugget from beyond the grave. However, Melton went deep into the past to unearth some of his first musical inspirations with a look at John Denver’s under-celebrated 1973 album Farewell Andromeda. I asked Matthew how this album came into his life and how it’s affected his work.

Continue Reading
0 Comments

Air-Sea Dolphin / Honey Radar – “Split”

Chunklet has been a favored well for singles the past couple of years and their dedication to pairing with Third Uncle for blink-and-you-miss-em lathe cuts makes it both exciting and elusive to get your hands on them. However, this double shot from solid steamers Honey Radar and new(ish)-comers Air-Sea Dolphin is worth capturing physically, or at the very least, digitally. Honey Radar do what Honey Radar do best, gnarled pop nuggets laced in a post-Pollard hangover of fuzzed glory. The track is on par with the best bits that Jason Henn has kicked out of the cracked speakers lately and if you’re a fan of his habitually dusty screeds then this will appeal no doubt.

The flip, which acts as the debut proper from Air-Sea Dolphin, is headed up by none other than Robert Schneider of Apples in Stereo. Now the thing about idiosyncratic voices is that no matter where they roam, all bands tend to sound a bit like a singer’s highest marquee moment. Which, since it’s no Death Metal indulgence, means the glossy power pop that Air-Sea Dolphin explode from the wires has a distinctly Apples slant to it, but who cares when Schneider’s pop acumen is footing the bill? This track is dosed in Velocity Of Sound level buzz-pop energy and it’s completely addictive. This is a joyous summer jam that should be packing playlists for months. Given Chunklet’s connection to the E6 archival efforts, its no huge jump of reason that Schneider would put something out here, but its received with open arms for sure and I hope this winds up with more material to come.




Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

Wyatt Blair – “Pop Your Heart Out”

Wyatt Blair’s power pop hockey stop Point Of No Return was a pleasant surprise from an artist devoted to outsized hooks and 200 SPF beach party vibes. So, it’s with equal pleasure that this one-off from Blair drops down into Volcom’s single’s cache as curated by Burger. The rest of the bunch is standard Burger fare, fun but not particularly bursting with fruit flavor. Blair, on the other hand, shows the rest how it’s done. “Pop Your Heart Out” is ten feet tall from the moment it hits and feels continuously like the epic finale of some sort of ’80s college film.

Somewhere between the bars John Cusack is finding resolve, Anthony Edwards is toppling the oppressive scowls of authority and/or Val Kilmer is filling some domicile with enough popcorn to burst a window. More likely though, I think Steve Guttenberg is smirking somewhere and just letting those guitars wash over him. That’s been Blair’s magic in his hi-fi incarnation, he knows just how neon to tint those guitars and synths. He knows just how huge the chorus has to be and then he aims higher. It’s pure cotton candy pop, but everyone likes a cheat day every now and again.




Support the artist. Download it HERE.

0 Comments

Warm Soda

Rather impressively, Matthew Melton has not one, but two records slated for the next couple of months. First up, he sends his tenure i Warm Soda off in style, delivering a fourth platter of faded yet sugar shaken power pop that proves he’s a man who’s done his homework time and again. Melton set out to run Warm Soda as an ode to those soft crushes in power pop – The Quick, Milk n’ Cookies, Shoes, Hubble Bubble – and as always he delivers that pining pop swoon with the kind of devotion to form that’s usually lost under lesser ambitions. Melton has assembled four albums that spin themselves out like a one man Yellow Pills and it’ll be sad to see him set it aside.

That said, four albums in the arms of lavender punk seems about right. It can be a hard genre to work through without repeating oneself, which probably explains why most of the original class of Power Pop High only churned out one or two before toughening up or calling it quits. Melton himself has already found himself in garage punk’s embrace (Snake Flower 2) and the leathered lock of glam-ignited punk (Bare Wires) so the road to toughing up feels closed. In a move no one expected he’s actually taking a tack into prog territory with his new Dream Machine project out next month. Before that though, it’s one more romp through the jukebox speakers, serving up a xeroxed dream of the the past that’s always been as strangely sweet as it is inescapably infectious.




Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments