Monday, December 24, 2012

Top 25 Power Pop Releases of 2012

A nice if not breakthrough year for Power Pop, some of the best efforts were from round the globe (The Netherlands, Sweden). Quite a few return efforts from old friends like Gavin Guss, Bill Lloyd and Andy Goldberg. Of course, the return of the dB's was some of the biggest news around here. Looking forward to 2013. Happy new year to you.
  1. David Myhr - Soundshine
    It's almost too easy for David Myhr. Myhr is a great player, obviously has access to great facilities and can write pop hooks like falling out of bed. Though, "Soundshine" treads through familiar territory, it does so extreme;y well. Best PowerPop release of the year IMOP.
  2. Sunday Sun - EPs 1,2 and 3
    I know its a stretch to treat three EP's as the second best album of the year, none-the-less by the time I downloaded all three EPs I had a collection of eighteen of the freshest tracks of the year. Great songs, nice harmonies. I love these guys and look forward to future releases by this new band from the Netherlands.
  3. The dB's - Falling Off The Sky
    More than any other single event, 2012 represented the return of legendary band the dB's. This may not be the stongest of the dB's releases, still it manages to have a variety of tasty tracks by heroes Peter Holsapple and Chris Stamey. Now that they are back together, let's hope they continue the magic....
  4. Kurt Baker - Brand New Beat
    I'll admit that Kurt Baker takes me perilously close to teen pop punk. That said, listening all the way through Brand New Beat reveals an uninterupted string of great songs with solid hooks. This guy sounds like a young Butch Walker to me, and there are worse role models to live up to.
  5. Gavin Guss - On High
    The second album by former Tubetop frontman Gavin Gus is a great one. Clever detours abound along with memorable choruses. If the instrumentation is a bit stripped down, this album is still very well recorded. Along the album by Mark Lane, this one rewards repeated listening.
  6. The Honeydogs - What Comes After
    I'm an unrepentant Honeydogs fan, and I played the hell out of this one when it came out earlier this year. Its a solid ride start to finish. Honeydogs frontman Adam Levy is a genius and you need to listen to his latest work.
  7. Mark Lane - Something New
    Sleeper of the year in my opinion. Every song a gem and a nice flow through the album. The first album from Mark Lane since 2003's Golden State of Mind, this is a very strong album indeed.
  8. Saul Zonana - Fix the Broken
    It's getting redundant. Another great Power Pop album by Saul Zonana and yet more crickets from the press.I simply don't understand how a guy who consistently delivers such great albums, gets so little recognition. Well I appreciate this effort Go out and hear the latest output from a guy who deserves to be mentioned with Jason Falkner and Mike Viola. Very nice album.
  9. Throwback Suburbia - Shot Glass Souvenir
    This is a great album that brings me back to the days of the essential Cheap Trick albums. Great rockers, great hooks abound from this Portland band. These guys keep getting better.
  10. Bill Lloyd - Boy King of Tokyo
    I've been a Bill Lloyd fan since 1986's Feeling the Elephant. This is the best song cycle from Bill in years. A solid pop run with an Elvis Costello, Marshal Crenshaw vibe.
  11. The Breakups - Running Jumping Falling Shouting
    After one earlier EP, the Breakups emerge with their debut album fully formed witha beautifully produced, terrifically written, well played effort that hangs together well front to back. Take a road trip and crank it in you car!
  12. The Honeymoon Stallions - Moonlighting
    Andy Goldberg returns, this time with a band that doesn't share his name. Still we have the same well written power pop confections we've grown to expect from Andy Goldberg. This one features more synthesizers and busier production. Glad that Andy is back playing his great music for us.
  13. Bryan Scary - Daffy's Elixir
    Bryan Scary is a mad genius and you can't got a minute into any of his songs before he knocks you over the head with it. This concept album is set in the Old West and manages to bring forth Queen/Jellyfish flourishes into a mini opera. Another great album from Bryan. 
  14. Nelson Bragg - We Get What We Want
    The sophomore effort by sometime Wondermint drummer Nelson Bragg get's off to a slow chart. I loved the last 7 tracks that showed off Nelson's sun drenched folk pop songs. Evokes the Hollies and the Beach Boys (of course!)
  15. Jackdaw4 - Dissectacide
    The new one from Jackdaw4 is a nice effort. The British band continues very much as in the past with its poppy proggy sound. Tight arrangements take us through some pretty dramatic territory. By and large a more tuneful and easier to follow effort than their prior three.
  16. Paul Rocha - Crayons
    I didn't know anything about Paul Rocha but his album Crayons is a fine effort. As "British" sounding as any thing I listened to this year. Interesting, for a guy from Massachusets. Great songs. Nice production. Very  "Beatlley" What do you have in store next Mr. Rocha?
  17. Bleu - Besides
    Yes. I know that Bleu's album for 2012 was in fact a collection of b-sides, some of which had been released years before. Still, its Bleu and even his scraps can be very very good. Looking forward to his 2013 effort "To Hell With You".
  18. Blinker the Star - We Draw Lines
    I love Blinker the Star and find this project form alt rocker Jordon Zadorozny to be a convincing stand-in for Jason Falkner. Brave proggy lines punctuated by understanded pop refrains. This was a nicely packaged effort that represented a return to pop form for Jordon.
  19. Chris Richards - Get Yer La La's Out
    The sole entry from the Tommy Keene/Smithereens wing of the Power Pop spectrum in my top 25 this year. I found this album to be Richard's best ever. Solid jangle pop from start to finish. He's getting better and better.
  20. Mike Viola - Acousto El Perfecto
    A fun side project for Mike Viola. This year he rerecorded some of his previous songs with a string quartet. A detour but a fun effort from a blog favorite. I also loved the new songs along with the old.
  21. Cardinal - Hymns
    We didn't hear much about the much antipated reunion of chamber poppers Cardinal early this year. The reunion of coleaders Eric Matthews and Richard Davies produced a album with a vibe from another time. I could have used to hear more Matthews but enjoyed the effort start to finish.
  22. Rob Bonfiglio - Mea Culpa
    The third solo record by former Wanderlust guitarist was a bit of a let down for me. Not as consistenly hooky as his first two, it seems a bit more overtly interested in commerical appeal. Even so, there are enough hooks throughout for me to recommend.
  23. The Afternoons - Fan Fiction
    Another fine effort by the Welsh band "The Afternoons".  These folks always manage to crank out jaunty jangly tracks that occupy the space between Teenage Fanclub and more twee bands.
  24. Jay Gonzalez - Mess of Happiness
    Who would have expected this slight off center Power Pop epic by the keyboard player for the Americana band "the Drive By Truckers"? This one got a lot of press and deserved it. A very cool album.
  25. Anne Soldaat - Anne Soldaat
    Self titled new solo record by the former lead singer for the Dutch band "Daryl Ann". This is the second album in a row coproduced by Jason Falkner and it has some incredible moments. He has a tendency to put his own twists on some very classic Power Pop themes.

4 comments:

Ben said...

The best top Power Pop list I've seen this year. David Myhr is brilliant.

Aaron Kupferberg said...

Great list, and we share many of the same artists (www.powerpopaholic.com). However that Mark Lane pick is a real gem! I missed it, but will review it for the new year.

Jeff Shelton said...

Cool year-end list. A few releases I need to check on here!

Also...I'd like to familiarize you posthumously with the Well Wishers' 2012 release. Power pop? Probably.

See what you think:
https://www.cdbaby.com/cd/thewellwishers

Indiggy said...

Your list consistently leads me to the discovery of new favorites. The best "Best of" in the blogosphere in my humble opinion. The only releases I would add would be the Salim Nourallah record and the latest from Hidden Pictures. Thanks for putting this together.