Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Millard Powers

This post is by request. It's the long out-of-print complete album by the co-leader of the Semantics, Millard Powers. I finally found the original way back in cold storage.

Initially issued as a virtual album on the original incantation of, this album shows how critical Powers was to the sound of the Semantics - in addition to Will Owsley who we all know turned into a two hit Power Pop comet phenom. Both had classic (and somewhat similar) Power Pop voices

I've posted most of this before , intermixed with some of the demos for the Semantics album . Here is the complete posting with the original mp3s in the original order in all of their glory. This version includes Millard's solo redo of the Semantics classic "Jenny Won't Play Fair".

...and Happy New Year!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Dada - Bonus Tracks and Rarities

I'm afraid I'm late with this one.... Here is a bonus track and rarities compilation from Dada. These LA based power poppers have released 8 CDs over the years. I'd describe their sound as slick California pop with a strong hint of electric blues. (They are often compared to the Police but I don't hear it). When they are great (and they often are), their hooks rank with the best. Their playing is loud, powerful with amazing harmonies. I recommend checking out each of their releases below. You can find used copies of most of them for cheap.

The tracks in this compilation were compiled from current Internet sources (Dada's website, and other bloggers...). I've also included some hard to find bonus tracks from the 2004 reissues of El Subliminoso and American Highway Flower. Those reissues had limited release and are hard to find now. I only came up with two of the seven extra tracks. (Trust me - you are going to want to hear Dada's version of California Dreamin' one of those extra tracks!) If anyone has the others, would you please enlighten the rest of us? I've also included several rare tracks from side project Butterfly Jones.

Several years ago, the Dada Enthusiast List did a better job on a rarities project like this - but the postings there appeared to have gone cold. Maybe one of you is out there...

Great band. Looking forward to their next release.

1992 Puzzle
1994 American Highway Flower
1996 El Subliminoso
1998 Dada
2001 Napalm Springs (Butterfly Jones - side project)
2004 How to Be Found
2005 Live: Official Bootleg
2006 A Friend of Pat Robertson (EP)

Saturday, October 25, 2008

New Future Clouds and Radar

There is a new "Future Clouds and Radar" album scheduled for release in the upcoming weeks - and that's great news. Last year's self-titled album was a welcome return to form by Cotton Mather's lead singer Robert Harrison. In my opinion, it was a candidate for 2007's best release. Stellar Beatles influenced song filtered through a contemporary lens. What I've heard from the new album "Peoria" is just as great.

In honor of the upcoming release, I'm posting a collection of radio performances in support of the last album. Listen closely and hear Robert and the gang revision and repurpose some of the best material from the first release.

Can't wait to hear the new one....

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

David Mead - Unreleased Songs, B-Sides and Demos

I really think that David Mead is one of the most underrated Power Pop artists of our time. He has issued four beautiful albums and possesses an other-wordly voice with an amazing range. However the most exciting thing for me about Mead's output is the quality of his writing.

I highly recommend all of his albums. 2004's Indiana and his new album "Almost and Always" are quite introspective affairs. "The Luxury of Time" and "Mine and Yours' have their share of rockers. "Tangerine" is classic Beatlesque song-cycle end to end. You really can't go wrong with any of them.

1999 The Luxury of Time
2001 Mine and Yours
2004 Indiana
2006 Tangerine
2008 Almost and Always

On his website and on some fan sites, Mead has issued a generous number of unreleased demos and b-sides. For convenience, I've collected all I could find here. There are some great songs here:

1 Wherever - Intro Version from unreleased version of "Wherever You Are"
2 One Plus One - Original Version from unreleased version of "Wherever You Are"
3 Jonathan Barnum, Talk of The Town - Out take
4 Attitude - unreleased out take from unreleased version of "Wherever You Are"
5 Claws - Out Take from "Luxury of Time"
6 I Like to Run - From kids song compilation "For The Kids Too"
7 Little Sister - unreleased out take from unreleased version of "Wherever You Are"
8 Patience - unreleased out take from unreleased version of "Wherever You Are"
9 Growin' Up - unreleased out take from unreleased version of "Wherever You Are"
10 Full of Myself - "Mine and Yours" Out take
11 Chutes and Ladders - Japanese bonus track from "Indiana"
12 Subway - unreleased out take from unreleased version of "Wherever You Are"
13 Only Living Boy in New York - Simon and Garfunkle Cover from "Everwood" sountrack
14 Three Stars - Demo of David with Daniel Tashian
15 Comfort - Original Demo
16 Sex and the Single Girl - "Luxury of Time" Out take
17 Sweet Sunshine - Demo Version
18 Beauty - Original Version from unreleased version of "Wherever You Are"
19 Fighting For Your Life - Radio Session
20 Venus Again - Demo Version
21 A Gift For You All - Christmas song released for fanclub
22 Christmas is So Far Away - Christmas song released for fanclub
23 I Like Christmas Cause You Feed Me Real Good - Christmas song released for fanclub

I know that there are some I'm missing, please let me know if you have them.

Ken Stringfellow's Saltine

Since their first CD, I've been a Posies fan and somewhat of a completist. Today, I've posted a long out-of-print side-project by Ken Stringfellow called Saltine.

Saltine issued a single CD in 2000 during a period when the Posies had "broken up". The writing is strong, however the production is certainly of its time. In addition to Ken, Saltine included Braden Blake of Super Deluxe, a band that was very much influenced by the Posies.

Saltine only officially released the six song EP included here . I've also included a live broadcast concert from the same era. The recording and songs are quite good.

Enjoy and as always let me know if I am missing anything.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Redd Kross - Any Hour Every Day

You have GOT to love Redd Kross. They evolved from pre-teen LA punk stars during the 1980s into a full fledged Power Pop force during the 1990s. Albums from Redd Kross have been few-and-far-between however, and much of their best stuff has come out as singles and compilation tracks . For the power pop collecter, I recommend all the 1990s albums - from Third Eye on. Essential stuff!

I've collected most of their fine singles and compilation tracks here: 

1 Any Hour Every Day
2 Switchblade Sister
3 So Cal V8
4 Fancy
5 What's Wrong With Me?
6 Dancing Queen
7 Popular Cult
8 Tico and Yolanda
9 Yesterday Once More
10 Misery is Mother
11 Byrds and Fleas
12 Girls Can Tell
13 The Insatiable Kind
14 Star Lust
15 How Much More
16 Trance
17 It's In The Sky
18 What Cha Doin to That Girl?
19 I'll Meet You Half Way
20 Sick Love
21 It Won't Be Long
22 Hard Luck Woman
23 Sister Teresa's Biography
24 I Was Born to Love You
25 Marry Christmas
26 Super Sunny Christmas

Enjoy and let me know if I've missed anything. I hear they are working on a new album (don't get too excited. They've been promising that for years.) Can't wait....

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Andy Sturmer Demos

In 1990 and 1993, Jellyfish released two mind-blowing Power Pop classics, Bellybutton and Spilt Milk. Though years later we continue to feel the effcts of those amazing albums, Jellyfish was never (really) heard from again (...well not if you don't count Not Lame Record's excellent live and rare tracks compilation from a couple of years ago).

Band members have put out their own fine efforts. The Roger Joseph Manning Jr. cds have been great ... and obviously Jason Falkner and Eric Dover have gone on to find their own voices and to release Power Pop epics of their own. However we have heard almost nothing from the lead voice and major song writer of Jellyfish, Andy Sturmer. What follows are all the demos that Andy sings on that have leaked out over the years. (I get requests for this stuff often.)

For avid readers of this blog, these tracks are probably old news. Great songs all (at least until the end of the compilation where Andy's recent work on cartoon soundtracks is featured) but there is nothing new or different here. However, for the uninitiated, these tracks should be a revelation, very much in the spirit of Jellyfish. You have to wonder why finished versions never saw the light of day. If you haven't heard these songs, you'll want to get them immediately. The original songs are great and the cover versions bring you back to what was great about Spilt Milk and Bellybutton.

Thanks to the contributors from the Andy Sturmer Yahoo Group who remixed and extended some of the unfinished tracks. I really appreciate your work!

As the first track says, "we're holding out for something better..."

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Mike Viola and the Candy Butchers - Something Special

In honor of the upcoming release of the Mike Viola and Bleu's power pop project "The Major Labels", I'm posting some collected demos by Mike and the Candy Butchers. This compilation contains tunes from a number of sources including some songs posted on an older version of the Candy Butchers website.

Some of the best songs are at the beginning of this compilation and though they are great, however I've got to warn against trying to listen to them on headphones. Somebody (maybe Mike?) "released" this stuff a few years ago in a version sure to discourage bootlegging by all except the most devoted fan. The stereo channels are reversed on the first four tracks every couple of seconds or so. The effect is absolutely maddening over headphones - yet you really don't notice at all when listening over speakers.

Listen to them and let me know if you love this stuff as much as I do. Mike should really consider releasing these tracks. Also, if you have any other demos or outtakes from Mike and the Candy Butchers would you let me know about them?

Mike Viola and the Candy Butchers - Something Special

Enjoy. Can't wait till the "Major Labels"!

Mike Viola + Bleu + Ducky Carlisle are "The Major Labels"

This is a big deal. Mike Viola, Bleu and Ducky Carlisle have just released a killer summer album under the name of "The Major Labels". I've listened to this three times and it is absolutely great! To my ears, lots of 60's pop mixed together with Queen/ELO/Wings style vocal choruses. Think a cranked up sequel to Bleu's LEO project (a fabulous effort if you haven't heard it). Anyone who has any interest in the music talked about on this blog should own this.

Here is the kicker. You can pay what you want to download a digital version of this. Follow the link below. Listen before you buy. I guess they get the money... so support these guys. What are you waiting for? Get this. You will not be sorry.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

"Can't Get Enough of..." The Wannadies

I miss the days when Sweden produced lots of bands concerned with putting "power" in their pop. The Wannadies are one of my favorite Swedish bands from that period. They produced 6 essential albums in 13 years.

Nothing has been heard from the Wannadies since 2003, so I put together a compilation of b-sides and rare tracks . I know that it's far from complete (the Wannadies were great about releasing b-sides and rare tracks).

If you have something I'm missing , please let me know. If you don't know this band, these b-sides should help you see what you've been missing.

1990 The Wannadies
1992 Aquanautic
1994 Be a Girl
1997 Bagsy Me
1998 SkellefteƄ (Best of)
1999 Yeah
2003 Before and After

Monday, June 30, 2008

Blinker the Star - Collected B-Sides and Demos

In 1999 Canadian muli-instrumentalist Jordon Zadorozny released "August Everywhere". It was a departure from the two earlier efforts with his band Blinker the Star. Those earlier albums had fine moments but were a bit unfocused, sounding like many indie-bands of the time influenced by Nirvana. August Everywhere was more synthesizer based and contained a series of Beatles influenced tunes mixed in a britpop influenced manner. There is not a bad track on the album. Very much worth picking up.

It took four more years for the next Blinker the Star to release their next album. 2003's "Still in Rome" was a mixed bag. In many ways it returned to the harder edge sound of the two earlier albums. There were great moments though. The pop tune "Got to Go Through It" is great, as is the bitter but catchy "Don't Believe It".

Since 2003, Zadorozny has released a tantalizing trickle of songs on the three MySpace pages he controls in addition to his now deleted Blinker The Star homepage. Each of these songs is a nicely produced PowerPop epic. Many as good as the pop contained on "August Everywhere". I've collected all of these songs in one place. They include b-sides from 'August Anywhere" as well as demos and singles from more recent sessions. Also included are three songs by "Abbey", Jordon Zadorozny's new band with fellow Canadian singer Sofia Silva. Silva has a voice that complements these songs and they integrate well with the others that Jordon sings.

Listen to this Collection of Blinker the Star B-Sides and let me know what you think. Hopefully Jordan will eventually release his next epic. These tracks show he has it in him.

1993 Blinker the Star
1996 A Bourgeois Kitten
1999 August Everywhere
2003 Still in Rome

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Jason Falkner - Live Acoustic

I'm very glad that Jason Falkner is putting out something new...even its part two of his Bedtime with the Beatles series. His first volume of instrumental lullabies was filled with clever "Jason" takes on classic Beatles tunes. Lots of fun.

However, what I most appreciate about Jason Falkner are the excellent songs he writes. I'm posting a fine sounding solo acoustic concert from years ago below. These stripped down solo performances help bring out the power of his song writing. I'm enjoying listening to these classics all over again.

Jason Falkner - Solo Acoustic

Friday, May 30, 2008

The Lost Super Deluxe Album

During the late 1990's the Posies were turning out a series of terrific Power Pop albums. At the same time, another Seattle based band was producing great music closely modelled on that prototypical "Posies Power Pop sound". The band "Super Deluxe" was lead by lead singer Braden Blake. in 1995 and 1997, Super Deluxe released two excellent power pop albums. A coincidence was that Braden Blake's voice sounded remarkably similar to Posies leaders Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow. (I think that Blake subsequently worked with Ken Stringfellow in his "Salteen": project during the couple of years when the Posies broke up - but that's the subject of another post).

Super Deluxe produce great poppy tunes charged with the high energy sound of the bands of that era. They released two excellent albums, "Famous" and "Via Satellite". You can hear "Famous", their excellent out-of-print debut at King Size Mongs fine blog.

After their second CD, 1997's Via Satellite, Super Deluxe faded from sight only to reemerge in 2005 with their fine comeback CD "Surrender". However in 1998 a series of excellent demos for an unreleased third album made their way around. The songs are great and the production excellent and to my knowledge they were never officially released. Enjoy!

..also be sure to check out the 2004 solo album by Braden Blake entitled "A Year in Pajamas". Though much more mellow, its full of memorable Power Pop tunes... and its still in print.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Sweden's Moonbabies - Making Some of Today's Best Power Pop

Sweden has produced some of the most sublime Power Pop music of the last decade. And though the heyday of Swedish Pop appears to be over (late 1990s bands such as the Wannadies, the Merrymakers and This Perfect Day are no longer recording), there are still many wonderful sounds coming out of that country. The Moonbabies have updated the classic Swedish fixation with sublime melody by adding contemporary electronica and indie attitude to the mix. They produce gorgeous Power Pop updated with recording techniques that superficially make them sound similar to contemporary Canadian bands such as Stars, Mates of State, or Great Northern. I think Moonbabies' melodies are influenced more directly by the Beatles than those other bands.

Over the last seven years, the Moonbabies have released three wonderful albums and a series of singles, EPs and even some early tapes (does anyone have mp3s of those early tapes?). Last year's album "At the Ballroom" was a gem, but my favorite so far was 2004's "The Orange Billboard”. Just listen to Crime O' the Moon off of that album and tell me you don't hear echos of the Beatles or even CSNY. You can stream most of their recorded output at their record label's popup player. If you have never heard the Moonbabies, you are in for a treat.

You can also download two of their best pop singles directly from their website:
War on Sound
Sun AM

Purchase their CDs on their website as well

2001 June and Novas
2004 The Orange Billboard
2005 War on Sound (Mini Album)
2007 Moonbabies at the Ballroom

Most of these albums can be downloaded from iTunes, Rhapsody and eMusic as well.

The Moonbabies have always been really great at making b-sides and demos available for a while on their website but they do take them down after a while. As usual, I've compiled a bunch of b-sides and demos for collectors. Most of the songs on the compilation here were made available by the band over the last couple of years. The majority are demos and left-over songs from The Orange Billboard. Needless to say, there are some wonderful tunes here.

Enjoy... and support these two talented artists. Ola Frick and Carina Johansson have lots yet to say.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Seth Swirsky and The Red Button

Probably every Power Pop fan agreed that "She's About To Cross My Mind" by the Red Button was one of last year's best Cd's. The talented duo of Seth Swirsky and Mike Ruekberg released a Beatles influenced disc with terrific tunes and sterling production. If for some reason, you were living on a deserted island and missed this one, run (don't walk) to your latest on-line music store and pick it up. You won't be disappointed.

In 2004, Seth Swirsky released his first CD entitled "Instant Pleasure". This one is also a Beatle lovers dream with tunes that could have been lifted right out of Revolver or Sgt. Pepper. Really superb stuff. Its a must as far as I am concerned.

I'm a collector and I've collected some of Seth's demos and b-sides. For me they are also essential tracks however these are all I that I have. I know that I am missing some key tracks. Does anyone have anything missing here?

There are reports that Seth is working on both a Red Button CD AND a new solo CD this year. I can't wait...

Friday, April 11, 2008

Parthenon Huxley - Unacknowledged Genus

Parthenon Huxley is a sorely under-recognized pop genius. He's been putting out superior Beatlesque power pop for nearly 30 years with a criminal lack of public recognition. As "Rick Miller", he was one of two singer songwriters for the seminal North Carolina power pop band the Blazers. Later as "Rick Rock" he recorded three classic slices of power pop in the Mondo Montage series. in 1986, "Parthenon Huxley" recorded his first album "Sunny Nights", a 1980s Power Pop classic. His 1995 epic "Deluxe" was recorded by his working band "P. Hux". (It's great that this classic is back in print and currently available for download. ) In 1998, Parthenon Huxley joins ELO 2 and then that band is renamed "The Orchestra" when Jeff Lynne demanded control of the ELO name back. Parthenon's classic "Jewell and Johnny" was a high point for the Orchestra.

Parthenon Huxley has put out a remarkable string of P Hux albums, all of them classics and highly recommended. I've included a link to some hard to find b-sides and compilation tracks. There are some great tracks here and you should definitely check them out. But don't miss out on the official releases, they are even better. Almost all of them are available directly from Parthenon Huxley. I've purchased most of mine this way and recommend every one.

1980 The Blazers How To Rock
1988 Parthenon Huxley Sunny Nights
1993 P Hux Mile High Fan (released in 2006)
1995 P. Hux Deluxe
1997 VeG
2001 P. Hux Live In Your Living Room
2001 P. Hux Purgatory Falls
2001 The Orchestra No Rewind
2004 P. Hux In Your Parlour
2005 P. Hux Homeade Spaceship (the Music of ELO)
2007 P. Hux Kiss The Monster

Thanks to Powerpopaholic, I found and enjoyed reading this recent interview with "the man". Sounds like Parthenon is up to some interesting projects. I'll be checking those out soon.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Excited About the New Pugwash

For those of you who don't know, the Irish band Pugwash is one of the finest Power Pop bands recording today. Band leader and writer Thomas Walsh has worked with Andy Partridge and Jason Falkner and he really deserves to run in that distinguished company. They have a new CD out in the UK entitled "Eleven Modern Antiquities" and from what I've heard it may be the best thing so far this year. I can't wait to receive my overpriced import copy from Amazon!

You can listen to snipets from the CD at their Myspace site.

I loved the single "Take Me Away". I downloaded from Amazon and I really recommend it. It has a great "Revolver" vibe to it. In honor of this new CD I'm posting a few (not so great sounding) rarities I've picked up. They're nice but I'd really recommend the albums if you don't have them:

2005 Jollity
2003 Earworm
(A compilation of some of the tracks from two earlier albums "Almanac" and "Almond Tea". If anyone owns these would you let me know please!)

These are all highly recommended.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

The Grays Studio Rehearsals and Radio Shows

One of the great things about keeping a blog is that you get help on the things you write about. I've had a couple of posters turn me on to some great music. I had thought that had I all of the Jason Falkner unreleased stuff, but I was wrong. Below is a compilation I put together from a couple of postings of some live studio covers performed by the Grays. I put these together with some acoustic radio show tunes from the same era.

The Grays - Studio Rehearsals and Radio Shows

Together, these complement the only release by the Power Pop supergroup the Grays featuring Jason Falkner, Jon Brion, Buddy Judge and Dan McCarroll.

Don't know that cornerstone album? Get over to the Never Get Out of the Boat blog immediately and check it out. if you like anything on this blog, you'll want to hear this!

Thanks to all for helping me complete my collection....and if I'm missing more stuff, will you let me know?

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Rare Wondermint Demos

We are starved for more brilliance by one of the best Power Pop bands there ever was, the Wondermints. Though recently best known as Brian Wilson's backing band (leader Darian Sahanaja is credited with convincing Brian Wilson to finally re-record and release his concept album "Smile"), each or the Wondermints CDs feature amazing melodies informed by a fascination with California 60's pop. In their history, they have released only four CDs:

1995 Self Titled
1996 Wonderful World of the Wondermints
1998 Bali
2002 Mind if We Make Love to You

Each of these are absolutely essential, however all but "Mind if We Make Love to You" are out of print at this point. Somebody needs to re-release these gems, and soon!

Several years ago, there was a set of MP3s in shareland of songs from their "Colored Tape Demos" that didn't make the Self Titled Debut release. More info on that from the All Music Guide review below:

"Throughout the early '90s, the Wondermints recorded a bevy of exceptional homemade demos and small indie singles primarily in co-founder Darian Sahanaja's bedroom studio. Slowly but surely that music circulated through the Los Angeles underground music scene on a series of semi-legendary tapes identified solely by their colors. The band's music, however, still flew under the radar of the music business until the Japanese label Toy's Factory picked up the slack, releasing an eponymous debut in 1995 that cherry-picked the very best songs from those original tapes."

The longstanding Wondermints Fan Site provides more details about which demo tracks were chosen to comprise their debut CD and which were left off.

I've collected many of the left-off demos and b-sides in the link below. Most of these tracks don't sound terrific and I am missing a few tunes (I purposely left off a set of 6 hissy live in-studio cover tunes that never sounded like they belonged with the rest of the more finished tracks). I think that these tracks are absolutely outstanding, a must hear. I know that I'm missing a few tunes - so if anyone has better versions or a more complete set, please let me know.... Hopefully there will be an official re-release of their debut someday enhanced with these "extra" tracks. I'll be standing in line...

Listen to the Colored Tape Demos and let me know if you find these tunes as amazing as I do!

As a bonus, go check out the excellent Power Pop Criminals blog for a link to a great unreleased Wondermints concert CD from Japan.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Eric Matthews - The Imagination Stage one of the CDs I am listening to most at the moment is the new one by Eric Matthews, The Imagination Stage . For my money, Eric Matthews has been succesfully traversing the already thin boundary between Power-Pop and Chamber Pop for years.

I first became aware of him as the #2 singer in the band Cardinal. In 1995 and 1997, he created two terrific solo albums, It's Heavy in Here and The Lateness of the Hour. He didn't release another CD of his own for another 8 years thought he did make a number of guest appearances on other artist albums. Since 2005, he's been quite prolific - releasing 2 EPs and 2 CDs in three years. The music is of consistent quality with great singing, haunting melodies and impecible production. Eris also plays classical trumpet well. It reminds you of Penny Lane when you hear it within his Beatles influenced songs (listen to the first song on his debut - Fanfare). I warn you that this music is a bit "serious" for some - but I think that it holds up well with repeated listening.

I've included links to buy downloads of all Eric's officially released stuff below. I recommend all of these. I also included link to a compilation of songs from tributes to help fans complete their collections.

A Short Discography:

It's Heavy In Here (1995)

The Lateness of the Hour (1997)

Six Kinds of Passion Looking For an Exit - EP (2005)

Foundation Sounds (2006)

Self Titled Limited Edition - EP (2006)

The Imagination Stage (2008)

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Blink and you missed it!

Well evidently if you didn't act fast enough, you missed picking up the CD from the initial pressing of Mike Viola's fantastic new album "Lurch". But not to worry, for a limited time you can link over to the Power Popaholic's fine blog. There you'll find a link to download mp3s of the entire CD for free. I'd do it SOON if you missed the CD. Its a fine one! Evidently this is a limited time offer.

Another great Mike Viola/Candy Butchers CD that many people missed was his 1995 Debut CD" often known as "the Blue Thumb album". Simply stated - It's a classic. Only a few of the songs actually made it to release on the fake live EP "Live at La BonBonniere." If you don't have it then you can buy it below. This is an embed of Mike's Snowcap store. Mike get's all the money and you get an absolutley great album. Get caught up!

Mike is no longer selling his first CD through Snowcap. Check out an info page on it with a couple of mp3s at Mike's home page.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Great Lost "Owsley" Album

What happened? In 1999, Will Owsley takes the Power Pop world by storm by issuing his self titled debut album - one of the finest examples of PowerPop ever. (If you don't know this album, don't read another word. Proceed directly to Amazon to purchase the actual CD. Used copies were listed as low as $1.50 last time I checked or download MP3s at Amazon for 9.99. If you like the other music we discuss on this Blog then you need to know this album.)

It took another four years, but in 2003, Owsley finally released his sophomore release, the Hard Way. Though not quite as consitently poppy as his debut effort, The Hard Way still has many amazing moments. Don't have it? Buy it at Amazon in CD form . I saw it used for $3.31 when I looked.

Before an extended period of silence, Owsley release one more single and hasn't been heard form since (the word is that he pays the bills as Amy Grant's touring guitarist. I guess that keeps him busy and employed).

What only dedicated Power Pop collectors have discovered is that Owsley released an earlier effort under the name of the Semantics. In this band, Owsley shares songwriting and singing duties with Millard Powers, the future bass player for Ben Folds. This is simply another must hear, must own album. Powers and Owsley have very similar singing voices and the songs are excellent. Zak Starkey plays drums recalling his lineage. A CD was recorded in 1992 and was supposed to have been released by Geffen in the US. It never came out here. It did have a very limited release in 1996 in Japan. The excellent Blog Peanutus Playground Blog has more info and a download link. You've got to hear this one. You can read much more about the album at the Zak Starkey fan site run by Kathy.

This brings me to the purpose of this post. Around 2000, some demos for the Semantics PowerBill session were cirulated. These included most of the songs on PowerBill but also quite a few songs unreleased anywhere else. A friend of mine intermixed these tunes with most of the tracks from solo CD put out by Millard Powers on and there you have it, the lost Semantics/Owsley album! To be truthful, most of the singing is done by Millard Powers on these, however Owsley is heard from on a number of tracks and Powers has a great voice. More importantly, he writes Owsley-like great songs. My personal favorite is Track 4, Standing Still. A power ballad by Owsely that sports a gorgeous chorus.

Owsley, where-ever-you-are, some more material please? Millard, another album from you would be great!