Everybody Else--Everybody Else
This is an absolute killer debut that will thrill
fans of Marvelous 3, The Knack and even Squeeze. I had this one playing
in my car, iPod, PC, actually everywhere I traveled for months. It’s an
upbeat, melodic, hook-heavy good time without a weak tune to be found
anywhere. This is no jangle rock, its punchy party rock.
Fountains of Wayne--Traffic And Weather
If I only had enough cash to buy one Fountains of Wayne CD, it would be this one. Everything this band does is gold but after to listening to all of FOW’s albums habitually since they began doing their thing, "Traffic and Weather" is the most consistently catchy and exciting of them all. This one is packed with great songs, “Someone To Love”, “Yolanda Hayes”, “This Better Be Good”, “Strapped For Cash”, “Revolving Dora”, “I-95”…geez, its just loaded! Smart and sing-along Power Pop gets no better than this.
Featured Tracks: "Someone To Love", "This Better Be Good", "I-95"
I’ve been as loose with the definition of “What is
Power Pop?” as anyone and this album is more emo-pop if it must be
categorized. But there’s something immediately gratifying about
listening to this Cartel release. Naturally, there are plenty of
slamming, crunchy power chords to be found but its more entertaining and
enjoyable because of the presence of some mid-tempo and different songs
that allow this talented group to stretch out and really separate
themselves from the emo-pop crowd.
The super-talented Bleu released Happy Birthday to iTunes (maybe other outlets, too) back in July '07. Its an eight-song compilation of tunes that he has apparently written about friends for their birthdays. As strange of a concept as that seems to be, the proof that it works is evident in a wildly varied collection of winning numbers. My favorites are the lo-fi “Ducky” which is complete with great lines like “he’s so cool/he’s a Frigidaire” or how about “if I’m a Spock/He’s a Captain Kirk/The opposite of suck/That’s our Duck”. Next up is “Alex” which is a Utopia-era Rundgren, keyboard-driven rocker. If you like Bleu, there’s no way that you won’t be entertained by Happy Birthday.
Favorite Tracks: "Ducky", "Alex", "Kate"
Maroon 5--It Won't Be Soon Before Long
Sure, this is all over the radio and its major-label,
but its Stevie Wonder/Jamiroquai/Dag flavored funky-rock that deserves
the airplay it gets. These guys really put together a solid record that
easily out grooves their debut. Maroon 5 manages to satisfy their
Alternative cred while continuing to expand their mainstream appeal. The
number of current bands that have accomplished this are few and far
Catchpenny--From Where You Are
Minneapolis-based Catchpenny open up their terrific debut with an all-out rocker titled “Tell Me Tomorrow” and it’s a great way to set the stage for the hooky choruses and two-part harmonies to be heard all over this one. There’s nothing fancy about Catchpenny. The songs here are tight and with any justice would be playing all over the airwaves. "From Where You Are" is a radio-ready wonder, reminiscent of All-American Rejects, Owsley and American Hi-Fi.
Featured Tracks: "Tell Me Tomorrow", "When You're Gone", "Jealousy"
Ed James--...In The 21st Century
Thrill to the Power Pop sounds of the 21st Century courtesy of Ed James. Ed starts our journey with the effortlessly tuneful "Out Of This Town", a crunchy, chugging power-chorded beast. It's followed by the pretty, Posies-meets-PFR wonder of harmony called "She's The One". "Girl Gone Bad" is a marvel, it's as if Ed hired Andy Sturmer to front Adrian Belew and The Bears. "Miss Polly" is massively catchy with it's doot-doot backing vocals and clever, ultra-fun lyrics. Recollections of the '80s come rushing back to me when I hear the Utopia-flavored pop on display when listening to "And When She Smiles". Now...keep in mind, I've only covered the first five tracks! This is truly a must have release that solidifies Ed James' status as a major Power Pop player.
Featured Tracks: "Out Of This Town", "Miss Polly", "Disposable"
Dug Pinnick--Strum Sum Up
The lead singer of the mighty rock gods King’s X
steps away for a solo effort here and it’s a hard-hitting, funky punch
to the gut. Pinnick has always had the best voice in rock (think
Hendrix/Sly Stone) and its just one of the many highlights to be found
on this release. Honestly, this is not Power Pop but its got harmonies,
big, tuneful guitars and is so melodic it’s a crime to try to cram into
a genre. This is just great stuff! Why Pinnick and King’s X are not one
of the biggest bands on the planet continues to baffle me.
Class Three Overbite--Rendezvous
Bradley Jendza and Mike Elgert (whose Days Gone By release made my "Best of 2006" list) absolutely astound here with Rendezvous, an album jam-packed with pop/rock goodness. Rendezvous is a blast to listen to as its loaded with great songs of varied styles, all wonderfully executed and expertly performed and arranged. Check out the disco-flavored title track, the Queen meets Jellyfish-like sweetness of "No Good Rotten" and the riff-heavy 70's guitar rock of "Milkshake". Prepare to be knocked out by this one!
Featured Tracks: "Milkshake", "Rendezvous", "No Good Rotten"
Singer/Songwriter/Producer Roy Shakked is Holmes and his latest release Stop Go is a refreshing cross-section of musical genres. Holmes serves up punchy Rock, tuneful Power Pop and even smooth R&B with the help of top-notch musicians the likes of Lyle Workman and Brett Simons. It doesn't get much more fun than the title track, which delivers exactly what it's title promises. The whistle-along melodic treat that is "Another Week" recalls other tune-masters like Bleu and The Argument. "Five Days A Week" is a smooth Power Pop ride right out of the Joe Jackson songbook. You've probably heard Holmes already as his music has been featured on many television shows and album compilations. Chances are you'll be hearing a lot more of him everywhere else very soon.
Featured Tracks: "Stop Go", "Another Week", "Five Days A Week"