Friday, November 23, 2007

Big News - New Mike Viola

Around here Mike Viola is a kind of hero. The man manages to combine Elvis Costello with a gorgeous sense of pop melody. If there were any kind of justice, the man would be a superstar. As it is, the release of a new Mike Viola or Candy Butchers (his band name) CD is a cause for celebration.

Mike's got a new one coming out in the next couple of months called "Lurch". He is streaming 5 of the 13 tracks from that release on his website. They are absolutly terrific. I think even better than his last two releases (which I also loved).

Head on over to Mike's site and sample the gem's he's got in store for us. You can preorder that release from him as well.

I particularly like "Strawberry Blonde" and "So Much Better". Amazing pop!

Thank you Mike!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Rare Fountains of Wayne

Its easy to forget how great they are...and their most recent album has been panned as not some kind of positive step forward. I disagree. The last album Traffic and Weather may not have a standout megahit like Stacy's Mom, but it is still wall-to-wall pop gems.

Here are links to download some rare early tracks hosted on a fan site:
Raise the River
Bluer than Blue
Fading Fast
I Know You Well

The guys recorded a nice concert exclusively for iTunes. I bought it. I liked it.

Don't let up FOW!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Did I Miss the Latest "Bleu"?

So most readers of this blog know the formerly Boston (now LA) resident Bleu. The guy has a killer voice and a knack for writing great pop hooks. If you don't have his ELO tribute projet L.E.O. Buy it now. You won't be dissapointed. Sublime stuff. featuring guest appearances by Andy Sturmer, Mike Viola and more. Here is a link to download the track You Had Me Goin from his website.

Purchase the entire L.E.O. album download
from iTunes.

Bleu recenly released a new EP called Happy Birthday. It's made up of what seems to be personal Happy Birthday messages. Sounds like a weird idea for an EP, however its Bleu and the tracks are great. Purchase Happy EP on iTunes

During 2005, while still in Boston, he recorded a number of tracks and released them over time on his Myspace page. He just released them in high quality versions as as "the Blizzard of '05". These are a bit more serious but still fine tunes. Blizzard of '05 on iTunes . I almost missed these. Glad I didn't!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Ice Cream Hands are back!

Ice Cream Hands are an Australian pop band who have 5 flawless albums to their credit (not counting last year's best of collection - You Can Ride My Bike ). Their latest CD is entitled "The Good China" and its been out in Australia for several months. It's a return to form for the band who have taken four years off to pursue solo projects.

This time the band ramps up the harmonies, almost evoking Teenage Fanclub. Also this time singer Charles Jenkins shares singing duties with other members of the band.

This is sure to be one of 2007's best.

You can listen to or download the album at Rhapsody. Great Album!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Do you know Jim Boggia?

One of best singer songwriter working today is Jim Boggia. He's completed two stellar albums. Both are pop classics and are essential listening:

Fidelity is the Enemy


Safe in Sound

If you haven't heard this stuff you should. Boggia's got a great gravelly voice and a killer instinct for the pop hook. Check out his podcast page for some great unreleased demos and radio shows:

Some of my favorite tunes from Boggia's podast page are:

Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle

Talk about the Weather


Monday, October 8, 2007

The "New" Jason Falkner

In some alternate universe Jason Falkner gets the acclaim he deserves. He writes amazing Power Pop epics - each a three minute wonder. In this real world, his last album "I'm OK, You're OK" is only available in the US as a Japanese import with only fuzzy plans for a domestic release.

Still you need to hear this record. Each tune is truly a gem (some detractors say its not his best. I think that the only real problem here is that Jason plays all the instruments himself.) The songs are great but would be even better with the energy of a live band. Maybe next album . Still very strongly recommended!

Purchase it at Amazon

A couple of years back some great demos leaked out from Jason. Only one of these surfaced on the new album. Here are some of the best tracks from those sessions:

Jason Falkner - Hello Mr. Future Demos

Download these and enjoy. It's amazing how the cast-offs from this talented artist are better than most of what's out there.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Jon Brion - Early Stuff

Jon Brion is a favorite but he has released very little of his own material. (he has contributed to lots of soundtracks and albums from Aimee Mann to Kanya West) If you haven't heard his band with Jason Falkner from the 90's, the Gray's you should.

Buy his solo album "Meaningless" from CDBaby if you don't have it already. You won't be disappointed.

Farifax Avenue is a great fan run site dedicated to Jon Brion's work. It has lots of bootlegs. I enjoyed listening to Jon's early work:

Finally Favorita!

Legendary CD by the 90's Swedish band Beagle who were in the process of updating their sound and then lost their record contract.

Though never officially released, this classic album has been turning up as MP3s on the web for years. Thanks to Luke at Indiespinzone for finally putting the project out on his own. He did a great job. Great sound. Beautiful package. Extra tracks.

Buy it at Indiespinzone today

I bought it and you should too. A Power Pop classic.

Thank you Luke!

Best new band!

Everyday I check out the terrific Power Pop blog . A fabulous resource for the Power Pop lover.

There I learned about "The Treasury". The CD I am listening to most at the moment. Great songs. Solidly played. Terrifically recorded. There are only 6 songs available on their debut EP. I'm waiting for more. The good news is you can listen to the entire EP streaming at their website:

Wisely's New Album

Last year's album by Wisely was one of the best of the year. His self titled album won't be out until January - but the entire album is streaming in it's entirety at his record company's website. Great record! Listen to it now:

Favorite track is track five California.

Mark Bacino

Mark Bacino released a couple of terrific Power Pop CDs a couple of years ago. He's posted a couple of great new tunes on his website. Check out Happy and Camp Elmo.

Nice stuff. Waiting for the next album Mark

Weren't the DBs supposed to be recording some new stuff?

The word was that last summer the DB's were reforming and recording some new material. What happened? The last tune available on their website was great. How about some more material?

Grapes of Wrath 2007

No. They're not back, but the Canada's Grapes of Wrath's lead singer Kevin Kane has a great new CD. The first song really recalls some of the Grapes best moments.

Listen to the opening track Last to Know at Sonic Bid.

An excellent reminder of how great the Grapes of Wrath could be.