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.
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