Thursday, August 7, 2014

The New Mothboxer Album - Out Now!

One of the most anticipated releases of the summer just dropped.   The new Mothboxer album "Sand And the Rain" is the latest slice of Beatlesque pop from Mothboxer leader Dave Ody. It's a strong candidate for the year's best album and a reliable scratch for that English power pop itch.  

Since 2007, Mothboxer has quietly released four great albums and a couple of EPs (all available for download at the Mothboxer site).. The band charts a center stream squarely between XTC, Pugwash and the Electric Soft Parade.   I'd recommend every track to readers of this blog. All are brilliant and well worth your time.  Thanks to Power Pop authority David Bash for turning me on to this great band. 

Dave Ody has almost every bit of Mothboxer's music available for purchase on line.    I've included the very few tracks that are not available to purchase in my compilation.  There are three tracks from a Dave Ody solo studio session and  a couple of instrumental versions of album tracks posted to SoundCloud.   If anyone else has any rare/unreleased Mothboxer tracks, I would really love to hear them.  Please contact me.

1 It's Been Going On Too Long (instrumental version)
2 Don't Know What To Say (solo studio version)
3 Dream in Time (instrumental version)
4 Sad Crazy Love Songs (solo studio version)
5 Don't Remember (solo studio version)

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Timmy Sean - Perfect Summer Pop

It's officially summer and that's an excuse to reach for that perfect cruzin' Power Pop disc.  For the second summer in a row, I've gone to the same disc from Timmy Sean, the "East Coast Girls" EP.  This is a perfect summer record. It's chock full of great anthemic rockers that get stuck in your head as you drive around town..  Timmy Sean and his band "The Celebrities" rock hard in the vein of Cheap Trick or Valley Lodge but their songs get stuck in your head like Fountains of Wayne.  Over the last year, Timmy has released several singles that have freshened up the entire set for me. When added to the EP tracks, there is now an albums worth of material.

Sean is a Power Pop treasure.  He used to front the band "Luzer" and released three great records with that band.  Since going it alone, He put out the incredibly great "Songs for Noisewater", a Brian Wilson influenced Pop concept record classic.  If you haven't heard that record, you are in for a treat. Timmy has made the album available for free on Bandcamp.   He is incredibly generous with his music and for that reason I'm not going to repost these tracks together as a compilation.  However if you don't mind doing just a little work, Timmy has posted good quality early mixes of much of the material on his EP, much of it for free and they sound great to me.  I've included links to download each of the tracks below.  Simply follow the links and right click and  "save as" to download the material.   I've included the order I listen to them in.

This summer, Timmy is releasing his "Sir Video"synthpop side project and though much of that material is a bit "dancy" for me. there is still some great material there as well. I've included a Sir Video song "This Magic" as part of my list below.  Pull down these tracks and make sure you support Timmy by buying his commercial material.  He has got the right recipe for summer.

1 You're Still On My Mind
2 She's Mine
3 Back to the Middle
4 Come On Mandy Updated version of a Luzer song
5 Heart of Glass  Blondie Cover
6 Gimme Everything Updated version of a Luzer song
7 This Time Around
8 East Coast Girls
9 Say You'll Be There Spice Girls Cover
10 This Magic Sir Video Track
11 You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet Bachman Turner Overdrive Cover
12 It Doesn't Feel Like Christmas Updated version of a Luzer song

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Jim Boggia - In the Studio!

Just had the good fortune to find myself in Philadelphia at the same time that Jim Boggia was playing one of his periodic solo shows.  What a terrific time!  Jim ripped through his wonderful back catalog with support of keyboard wiz Mike Frank and a bright red record player. He had the crowd from the first note.  Toward the end of the evening, He also spent a half an hour demonstrating his Ukulele prowess on Pop classics. If you ever find yourself in Philadelphia you owe it to yourself to see him.   One of the finest singer songwriters performing today.

Here are links to a hard to find show recorded at Think Tank Studios in Hoboken, NJ.  It's a great recording and Jim actually used track 11 as part of his last album, the live "Ample Seating Available", one of my best albums of last year.  All the individual links are still active but I've collected them together in one download for your convenience.  Enjoy these and thank you Jim.


Sunday, April 27, 2014

Philip John - Master The Monster

Those end of year "best of" lists always help me discover Power Pop gems I missed during the previous year and no one has help me discover more Power Pop than David Bash.  Last year while going through David's best of 2013 list I learned about the incredible band Mothboxer. I've enjoyed each Mothboxer album more than the next.  A truly great band.

David Bash's 2008 list contained mention of a spectacular but little known album by Philip John. That album Master the Monster was never widely released though individual tracks were made available on social networking sites Facebook, Myspace and Bebo. I've collected a sampler of the available tracks and together they add up to an incomplete but still spectacular Power Pop album with first class arrangements and production..  Shades of XTC and Pugwash, Supergrass, the Beach Boys and Beatles.   I'm still short of the complete album and have been looking for years for the missing tracks. If anyone has them, please let me know.  
Philip is evidently working on a new album.  Here's hoping it's near the quality of his elusive first effort.

1 A Million Minds
2 Strange World
3 Sunny Afternoon
4 Broken Dreams
5 Too Much is Goin' On
6 Dynamite
7 Don't Let it Die
8 The Game
9 A Million Minds (Vocal Mix)
10 Strange World (Vocal Mix)

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Adam Levy and the Honeydogs

In 2013, Honeydogs front man Adam Levy demonstrated yet again why he is one of the most creative songwriters working today. His 2013 side project "And the Professors" started life as a teaching project for Levy's music production class. It features orchestra musicians in addition to traditional electric instruments.  The finished product is just as tuneful and compelling as any of the recent Honeydogs albums and that's extremely high praise. This album was one of last year's best and more than worth picking up if you haven't done so already.

In support, I pulled together a compilation of recent Adam Levy radio appearances, featuring the Honeydogs along with side project the psychedelic instrumental band "Liminal Phase".   I'm a huge supporter of Adam Levy and can only hope that he can keep up such consistently creative output with all his projects.

1 What Comes After (Honeydogs in studio)
2 Dear Prudence (Honeydogs performing Beatles cover in studio)
3 Always a Long Time (Honeydogs acoustic in studio)
4 Particles and Waves (Honeydogs acoustic in studio)
5 Broke it, Buy It (Honeydogs in studio)
6 Aubben (Honeydogs in studio)
7 Quantum Entanglement (Liminal Phase in studio)
8 I'm Looking Through You (Honeydogs performing Beatles cover in studio)
9 Death By Boredom (Honeydogs in studio)
10 Better Word (Honeydogs acoustic in studio)
11 I Dig a Pony ((Honeydogs performing Beatles cover in studio)
12 Crow Wing (Liminal Phase in studio)

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Deleted Waveform Gatherings - A History

I've been on a marathon, listening to "Deleted Waveform Gatherings", the Norwegian psych pop project lead by singer songwriter Øyvind Holm.   Each of Deleted Waveform's three albums (Baby Warfare, Complicated View and Ghost, She Said) bares repeated listening. They are dense and tuneful records.  The band alternates from spacey 60’s rave ups to mid-period Beatles rockers.  Closest comparison would be a louder more psychedelic Cotton Mather.

I tried to put together a rare tracks compilation of Deleted Waveforms but settled for a sampler of tracks from the history of the band. This sampler features several live tracks along with some rare tracks culled from Øyvind Holm's rare solo album "The Vanshing Act" and his prior group the Dipsomaniacs (the Norwegian band  - not to be confused by the Replacements influenced U.S. band who share the same name). I found only a few tunes on YouTube and Myspace but I really liked what I heard.   I've been listening to this a lot.   Let me know if anyone has more tunes by the Dipsomaniacs or Øyvind's solo album. This sampler continues to demonstrate the great songs his has written his entire career. 

Most interesting to me is the new single (2013) from Holm's latest country-pop project, Sugarfoot.  The track is cover of "My Friend" an obscure 1970's tune by the band Spirit’s songwriter Randy California that is a dead ringer for mid period Byrds.   It’s an excellent song that demonstrates that Holm is still making great Power Pop.

1 Sugarfoot - My Friend
2 Øyvind Holm - The Vanishing Act
3 Deleted Waveform Gatherings - Complicated View (Live on Peak Radio NYC 2007)
4 Dipsomaniacs - Nothing is for Keeps
5 Øyvind Holm - Salt-Mutated Summer Breeze
6 Øyvind Holm - Everything (A Good Taste of)
7 Dipsomaniacs - Dear Mrs. Widdecombe
8 Øyvind Holm - When She's Sleeping
9 Øyvind Holm - Sunday Church Bell Chime
10 Dipsomaniacs - Bring Flowers to the Courthouse
11 Dipsomaniacs - Fair-weather Friend
12 Dipsomaniacs - The Water Choir's Drowning
13 Deleted Waveform Gatherings - Will I Ever (Live Arlene's Grocery NYC 2007)
14 Deleted Waveform Gatherings - Minefield Baby (Live Arlene's Grocery NYC 2007)

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Top 25 Power Pop Releases of 2013

Some great releases this year.  Notable return performances from prior year stars (though some larger established artist remained silent ).   All in all, a balanced set that ranged across the many subgenre's of Power Pop.  Here is my "Best of" list in order and here's looking towards 2014....

  1. Electric Soft Parade - Idiots
    I think I've already been pretty public about what I think of this terrific album.  Looking for Fountains of Wayne, Teenage Fanclub goodness?  Look no further.  A classic record, start to finish.  Get it!
  2. Corin Ashley - New Lion Terraces
    This one was a big surprise.  Former Pills lead singer Ashley already had produced one solo album music in the chamber pop subgenre. His 2013 release "New Lion Terraces" pushes all the Power Pop buttons.  Great songs with great production by Ducky Carlisle.  One of the year's best.
  3. And the Professors - Our Postmortem 
    I can't stop listening to this side project from the Honeydog's Adam Levy.  This one started as an engineering teaching project but the addition of strings turns singer Levy's pop songs in a new direction.  Thanks to Jenny McClintock for her post on the Jellyfish listserv that alerted me to this one. 
  4. Wyatt Funderburk - Novel and Profane
    Love this album from the former Second Saturday singer songwriter. Tight production and rockin hooks that never let up.  This album seemed as close to a classic Owsley record as we could expect in 2013.  More of this Wyatt...
  5. Adam Daniel - Pop, Baby
    surprise return to Power Pop from Adam Daniel after years producing folky AOR.  Lots of killer pop hooks on this one, some with a radio friendly gloss.  
  6. Eric Barao - Eric Barao
    I did not know the solo work from Cautions lead singer Eric Barao, but this effort grazes as far into Jellyfish territory as anything else this year.   From the credits, its obvious that Barao is chums with Bleu and Duckly Carlilse.  His solo debut is beautifully recorded as a result.
  7. The Nines - The Nines
    It sounds like the latest collection of great Nines tracks started life as another odds and ends collection, but Steve Eggers organized it into a wide ranging pop record. Great album.  Loads of great songs here. I never miss anything that Steve puts out.  
  8. Josh Rouse - The Happiness Waltz
    The Happiness Waltz as a welcome return to pop form from his generation's Paul Simon. This album had so many great pop songs that it made my Power Pop list.  I recommend this one even though the vibe is typical Rouse AOR.
  9. Joel Sarakula - The Golden Age
    Didn't know anything about Joel Sarakula, but his album was a surprise best for this year.  Sarakula belts out a variety of catchy tunes in a Bowie-esque baritone.  At times this album sounds like Parthenon Huxley left his stamp.
  10. Valley Lodge - Use Your Weapons
    Valley Lodge is back with a Cheap Trick style blast of Power Pop.  This one rocks hard though the second half of the CD seemed poppier to me than the first.
  11. Greg Pope - Popmotion Animation
    The "Pop Monster" returns with another brief but quality collection of twangy Power Pop tracks.   Always glad to hear whatever projects Greg is working on.  This was a yet another great one.
  12. Parthenon Huxley - Thank You Bethesda
    A Parthenon Huxley release is cause to celebrate. This one rocks hard as Hux moves back east from years in California. An over-the-top cover of his own 70's classic Buddha Buddha is the cornerstone of this release.
  13. Agony Aunts  - Big Cinnamon
    It seems that KC Bowman has determined that he needs to mix up his patented quirky Power Pop songs with vocals from other singers.  Agony Aunts is his latest project with members of the Corner Laughers. Lots of great KC Bowman fun here.
  14. Lisa Mychols  - Above, Beyond; In Between
    Lisa cranks out another collection of contemporary Power Pop meets 60's girl groups.  The hits never let up on this one. Each tune better than the next. An essential listen.
  15. Jim Boggia - Ample Seating Available 
    Boggia revisits his fabulous back catalog with this live album.  Great recordings and the songs!  The songs!  Don't know Jim Boggia, you owe it to yourself to pick this one up.
  16. Tor Guides - Lots Of the Pops Volume 1
    This is the best example of Swedish Power Pop this year.  Great album, I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly it was released after last year's "Strawberries & Chocolates".
  17. Mike Viola - Ghoul
    It's a trading card game! It's also a sampler of the super-prolific pop star's many projects in the music business in LA!  This virtual release by favorite Viola is frankly a bit all over the place. Still it's Mike and that means that there are lots of stellar moments here.  It's worth playing Mike's game....
  18. Bob Evans - Familiar Stranger
    The fourth solo release by Kevin Mitchell, lead singer of the Australian band Jebediah.  This one has a glossy synthy sheen of the moment but you find yourself humming the songs very quickly.
  19. The Contrast -  A Sinister Flick
    The Contrast always takes me back to the early days of REM and the first couple of albums by the Smithereens.   This latest release is not as concise as 2010's "God of Malfunction", still the Contrast specialty is producing 3 minute rock songs and there are lots of good ones here.
  20. Brendan Benson - You Were Right
    This year Brendan Benson released a series of singles.  This album collects them all and adds to them for a surprisingly coherent listen.
  21. Richard X. Heyman - X
    I've been a big Richard X. Heyman fan from the beginning and the latest song cycle from Heyman doesn't disappoint.  For fans of Costello, Nick Lowe....
  22. The Sun Sawed in Half - Elephants in Swan
    Always great to hear "The Sun Sawed in Half" pull together their unique brand of Jellyfish oriented pop. Always worth a listen.
  23. David Brookings - The Maze
    Former Memphis based singer songwriter David Brookings has relocated to California (there is a theme here) and has a new album for us.  This guy always brings me back to the days of early dB's, Let's Active, Don Dixon.
  24. Vegas with Randolph - Rings Around The Sun
    It seems like this collection came together over the last year and a half as a collection of pop singles.  That's the way it listens to me but it doesn't make it any less of an essential listen.
  25. The Grapes of Wrath - High Road
    Canadian band "The Grapes of Wrath" have reformed and released a new album.   It's still hard to secure a copy in the states but well worth trying to do so.  This one seems a bit over produced to my ears but there are some great tunes on it.