Sunday, January 2, 2011

Top 25 Power Pop Releases of 2010

2010 had its share of bad news (the terrible loss of Will Owsley and the end of Not Lame). Even so, it actually ended up a strong year for Powerpop releases. Probably the best portfolio of great albums in years. My favorite 25 releases:
  1. Mark Bacino - Queens English
    Finally Mark Bacino released the masterpiece I knew he had in him. Its a classic and the production is great (Mark has been working as a producer and it shows). More on the best release of 2010 later!

  2. Buva - Not Scary! Friendly
    I've already written about this one. Great singer songwriter pop with clever hooks and stellar production. An unexpected treat!

  3. Duncan Maitland - Lullabies For The 21st Century
    It sounds like a long lost XTC album. Great British pop from frequent Pugwash collaborator Duncan Maitland. This one has been a few years in the making and it shows.

  4. Seth Swirsky - Watercolor Day
    Seth's a Power Pop genius and this is his Sunshine Pop concept album. I loved this one - though maybe not as much as his first effort.

  5. Damien Lott - Damien Lott
    Didn't see this one coming. A great effort by Spanish singer Damien Lott. Lots of well deserved comparisons to Jason Falkner on this. A mix of Spanish and English songs. Cool songs. Great chord changes.

  6. Jason Falkner - All Quiet on the Noise Floor
    It's Jason and a good one by him. More complicated arrangements this time. Two new arrangements of Jason classics and a nice Bill Nelson cover....maybe someday it will come out in the states! Whatever he puts out, I'll buy it.

  7. Farrah - Farrah
    England's answer to Fountains of Wayne, Farrah put out yet another fabulous slice of cavity causing pop. The Archies got nothing on these guys...I look forward to every track.

  8. Slumberjet - Slumberjet
    A big year for Irish Power Pop. Barry O'Brien and the boys sound like Jason Falkner mixed with XTC and that's a great thing.

  9. Hans Rotenberry and Brad Jones - Mountain Jack
    Seems like everyone missed this one. A dream collaboration between Shazam lead vocalist Hans Rotenberry and Power Pop producer extraordinaire Brad Jones. I love the songs and the production. I do believe that this second effort by Brad Jones puts him in the same lofty company as Jon Brion.

  10. Saul Zonana - Phatso
    Saul Zonana is a genius and Phatso is a return to form. His last one "Blue Monkey" was a more prog effort. Don't know why this one didn't get more play. It is full of Saul's trademark Beatlesque pop.

  11. Timmy Sean - Songs From & Inspired By Noisewater
    The former lead singer of rock band Luzer has put out a convincing tribute to both Jeff Lynne and the Beach Boys. A great and surprising solo effort. Timmy's new band "Sir Video" sounds great as well. Very much in the Cheap Trick vein.

  12. The Candles - Between the Sounds
    Sounding like a cross between Rhett Miller and the Lemonheads, "Between the Sounds" is great driving music. Keeps sounding better with each listen...

  13. Greg Pope - Blue Ocean Sky
  14. This one just snuck in under the wire in December. Greg Pope obviously knows what he's doing. More than anyone recording today, he consistenly puts out Power Pop that really rocks. Another great effort by Greg.

  15. The Davenports - Why the Great Gallop
    Not sure whether this one should be in here as a 2010 release. The Davenports have been working on this one since 2007 and it looks like this one may make it into broader release in 2011. Lots of Fountains of Wayne style pop songs with a slightly more serious side.

  16. Taylor Locke - Marathon
  17. Sophomore effort by Rooney guitarist Taylor Locke. Where does he find the time? Great one.

  18. Joe Reyes - Worry Row
  19. Another very nice effort by Joe Reyes. In the tradition of Jon Brion and Jim Boggia, its singer songwriter stuff with a debt to Harry Nilsson and the Beatles.

  20. The Contrast - God of Malfunction
  21. Whoa! The Contrast are back. The God of Malfunction may be the best album every by this British band. Lots of Smithereens and early REM influences however the songs are hookier this time around. A great direction for this great band.

  22. The Posies - Blood/Candy
  23. The Posies put out another strong effort in 2010. Nice variety. Great production... and its the Posies!

  24. Three Hour Tour - Looking For Tomorrow
  25. This Champaign, Illinois band is back with another rocking power pop effort in the style of Baltimore bands like Starbelly and Myracle Brah. This may be the hardest rocking Pure Pop effort of the year.

  26. Edward O'Connell - Our Little Secret
  27. Where did Edward O'Connell come from? He sounds very much like Richard X. Heyman... and that's not a bad thing. A really nice album full of Nick Lowe, Graham Parker influenced tunes. My favorite is the rocker "With This Ring" which sounds an awful lot like "See No Evil" by Television.

  28. Bleu - Four
  29. Bleu had a great year and you can hear it. "Four" has better songs than his previous "A Watched Pot". Features a nice cameo by Roger Joseph Manning.

  30. Teenage Fanclub - Shadows
  31. Teenage Fanclub contribute this nice effort. A more folky effort than ever..but its Teenage Fanclub!!!. They still have the magic...

  32. Genuine Fakes - The Striped Album
  33. The Genuine Fakes recall the glory days of 1990's Swedish Power Pop. A nice surprise to hear a new effort in this classic style. Great tracks!

  34. Oranjuly - Oranjuly
  35. A great debut recalling the Beach Boys and early Teenage Fanclub in equal measure. Lots of great music to come from these guys. Loved this.

  36. Charles Jenkins - Walk This Ocean
  37. This one is a broader rockier effort by the Ice Cream Hands vocalist. Love the track "Swing Bridge". One of the best tunes of the year.