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.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Pugwash - Thank You All

Happy Halloween. In this last day of October, we have our annual treat from Blog favorite, Pugwash. For the uninitiated, Pugwash is the current standard bearer for Beatles influenced pop recording today. There output is consistently brilliant. Great songs, cleaver melodies and hooks abound.

Band leader Thomas Walsh has been busy this year and it shows. There is a new EP on the way with several newly recorded tracks. He’s also been generous sharing his rare tracks through YouTube postings. This compilation represents 2012’s Pugwash collector output. As usual, there are treasures galore collected here. Acoustic covers recorded late in the morning, Rare vocal mixes of official releases along with a suite of tracks backed by the Section String Quartet.

Listen carefully to these tracks and hear one of today’s Power Pop geniuses at work and as usual please let me know if I’m missing any other rare tracks.

1 Landsdowne Valley - Unreleased Demo
2 Apples - Early Mix
3 Us and Them - Pinkfloyd Cover with Section String Quartet
4 What Becomes of the Broken Hearted - Cover of Jimmy Ruffin hit
5 Here - Instrumental String Mix
6 If I Needed Someone- Live Beatles Cover
7 Brennan's Bread - Short Commercial Jingle
8 Ashes to Ashes - David Bowie Cover with Section String Quartet
9 Happy Again - Recent U.K. Bonus Track
10 Tinsel and Marzipan - Acapella mix of Christmas Single
11 On With the Show - Alternate Mix of B-side
12 Four Days - Acoustic Version
13 You're Like Manchester - Alternate Mix of John Shuttleworth Cover
14 Walter Reed - Acoustic Cover of Michael Penn Song
15 Portrait of Louise - Acoustic Cover of Bee Gees Song
16 Emily Regardless - Vocal Wulitzer Mix
17 Chinatown - Acoustic Cover of Move Song
18 Elisa - Acoustic Cover of Bee Gees Song
19 To The Warmth of You - Alternate Mix
20 Waltz - Live Cover of Gerry Rafferty Song
21 Dear Belinda - Live Acoustic Version
22 This Could Be Good - Live on RTE 2006
23 This Boy - Acapella Beatles Cover
24 Thank You All - Acoustic Track of Thomas Thanking Birthday Well Wishers

Monday, September 17, 2012

Cotton Mather - They're Back (Really)

I recently had the chance to see two amazing performances by Cotton Mather.  The band has recently reunited to support a deluxe re-release of their 1998 classic album "Kontiki".  This is no "play the hits" nostalgia trip tour.  During the shows I saw, the band kicked with purpose as they reeled off one Beatle/Badfinger/Big Star influenced number after another.  Bassist Josh Gravelin is up and down his instrument recalling the late John Entwistle.  Guitarist Whit Williams soars with short bursts of psychedelic punctuation,  Drummer Dana Myzer is a pro - propelling the band with force and precision and Robert Harrison is truly back after his five year stint is chief alchemist in Future Clouds Radar.  (He looks 15 years younger since losing his Future Clouds wizard beard.)  He cycled through the Cotton Mather back-catalog in his typical Lennonesqe timber, jumping and spinning and generally providing strong focus for this great band.  This band is on and they really deserve a position among the Power Pop elite.

For me the biggest news is that the band is recording an album of new material. I couldn't be more excited.  I loved the tunes that Robert wrote during his Future Clouds days, but there is something more compelling with them being performed by a premier rock band.  The release is supposed to happen next spring.   Until that time, we've been treated to an appetizer of new tunes, in the new digital and vinyl single release of:

1 I'll Be Gone -  a classic Swedish Power Pop rave up originally written and performed by Ola Framby and the Girls.
Animal Show - a new slinky rocker.  The band rocked hard on this one during their recent performance

I've pulled together a compendium of recent live Austin recordings from the reformed band.   Thanks to the folks at KUT who broadcast the first five tracks.  They are truly studio quality.  Thanks also to the posters of the remaining four live performances on YouTube.   The handheld recordings still capture the power of this classic quartet.   Really looking forward to next spring's new Cotton Mather release.

1 Camp Hill Rail Operator
2 Panama Slides
3 Aurora Bori Alice
4 Amps of Sugarland
5 Homefront Cameo (incomplete)
6 She's Only Cool
7 Spin My Wheels
8 My Before and After
9 Password

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Probyn Gregory - The Collected Demos

I'm extremely pleased to offer a guest post today by reader Larry Graykin. Larry is a friend of Probyn Gregory and read last months' post on the Wondermints. He checked with Probyn, who gave his permission to share his collection of demos with us. Listen carefully to these gems. A peek into the creative process of a musical genius. Thanks much Larry!

"I feel like I was a witness to history, and it was all built on happenestance.

It had happened that, one day in 1985, my father had extra frequent flyer miles he had no need for, and offered them to me. It had happened that my friend George, when we were sharing an apartment in LA, had befriended a coworker at the bookstore where he worked. It had happened that that friend was Probyn Gregory, and that he was more than happy to let me crash at his pad for a couple of nights.

And it had happened that, on the first full day I was at Probyn's small home on Las Palmas, that he had a new acquaintance swing over to visit. A guy named Darian Sahanaja.

Now, I don't know how they had met, but when Darian came over, it was clear that they had previously shared a conversation about their common musical interests. Beatles. Monkees. Obscure 60s bands, James Taylor, Todd Rundgren, and on...

...but mostly the Beach Boys.

I had only a passing familiarity with the Beach Boys hits. I knew nothing of Pet Sounds, Sunflower, Wild Honey, Surf's Up, Carl and the Passions, or Smile. And this was, in a sense, great news for Probyn and Darian, for they realized that they had a neophyte to indoctrinate.

It was a long day that flew by much too fast, full of the eager conversation of true fans and the hasty cuing of a certain song on a certain LP or the impatient fastforwarding of a tape to a choice moment. I absorbed, and quickly grew to understand just what made the Brian Wilson and Beach Boys so amazing.

Who'd have guessed these guys would be backing them up one day?

They also shared recording that they each made. Of all the memories I carry from that bull session, the most precious is hearing Probyn's solo version of "Our Prayer"--he had recorded all the parts, bouncing back and forth from one tape deck to another, adding a single voice at a time--followed by Darian's--done the same way, and a virtual match to Probyn's version. They marveled. I marveled.

And thus began a long friendship with Probyn, who must be about the kindest person I've ever met, in or out of show business. He proved to be a great letter writer (this was pre-internet, folks), and we stayed in touch consistently. It helped that he grew up in Keene, NH, not 2 hours from where I live in eastern NH, and so we have sometimes been able to visit in person.

In this collection, you'll hear digitized incarnations of songs Probyn sent me, usually 2 at a time, on generic-looking, 7(?)-minutes-per-side cassettes. Each cassette was accompanied with a letter, and most of the time he gave some history about the song. The backwards cymbal sounds on "Twinkies are Drugs" is really just him sucking air inwards. "Storyteller" was written and recorded in one night, after he met and was entertained by the title character, and a copy was delivered as a present the next day. "How'd You Get to be 60?" was a birthday gift to his (sadly, now deceased) mother; it features vocal snippets from some (or maybe all?) of his siblings. (His mom, by the way, was one of the first five women to be arrested in a protest against the building of a nuclear power plant in Seabrook, NH.) You'll hear a broad range of genres, styles, and instrumentation. The vast majority of these cuts are just Probyn, solo, doing it all without the "benefit" of auto-tuning, multitracks, or assistance.

Probyn is always happy to meet his fans, and fans of the band he is touring with. He is still a fan of many bands and performers himself--in fact. he was so excited after playing a gig with Micky Dolenz last November that he had to call me and tell me some of the many stories he'd collected. He knows (and still enjoys) the excitement of meeting a musical hero.

So if you go to a show where he'll be playing, show up early, and loiter around out back. If you see him, say hi, and enjoy a conversation with one of the nicest (and most talented) multi-instrumentalists/vocalists you're likely to meet.

Larry Graykin
August 12, '12
New Hampshire"

1 No More Small Talk
2 Twinkies Are Drugs
3 Let All Mortal Flesh
4 I Don't Want to See You Go
5 No More Small Talk (Instrumental)
6 Valentine 85
7 I Send Up My Prayer
8 Storyteller
9 Valentine 86
10 Bangkok Prunes
11 Valentine 87
12 Hands of Time
13 Heal This Broken Heart
14 Valentine 88
15 O Sacrum Convivium
16 Valentine 89
17 October
18 Valentine 90
19 How'd You Get To Be 60?
20 Dreamfuse
21 Valentine 91
22 Peace on Earth
23 Midnight

24 55 Gallon Drum

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Wondermints - Scavenger Hunt (Version 2)

It's high summer in the western hemisphere and we are currently in the middle of a scorcher. The heat makes me long for some summer beach tunes. The new Beach Boys album has its moments but what I'm really longing for is a new one from the Wondermints. Its a tall order since Wondermints albums have been few and far between since the start of the band back in 1992. All told, there have been just five albums released during that 20 year period. The last effort 2009's Kaleidoscopin' was an official compilation of rare b-sides that Wondermints fans have been collecting and recompiling since the very early days of the band.

Since the band itself has been spending its more recent years supporting Brian Wilson during his welcome comeback, I've been only able to put my hands on a hand full of tracks (many of them solo tracks by band members) that were not included in Kaleidoscopin'. This is obviously a work in process and I am not finished with the project. (This is the second version of this compilation. Thanks very much to some of our loyal contributors who helped me fill in the missing bonus tracks from "Mind If We Make Love to You".) Its summer and I'm enjoying this compilation - however if you have any other Wondermints tracks I am missing , please drop me a line. I'd like to add them in. Enjoy and stay cool.

1. Getting Better - Beatles cover recorded (but not used) for a Phillips commercial
2. Bionocle - Newer Nick Walusko track from his MySpace page
3. Surf's Up - Nice live cover version of the Beach Boys track. Probyn Gregory sings
4. Do You Have Any Regrets - Classic Darian Sahanaja cover of unreleased Brian Wilson song. Released as a single
5. A Time to Live in Dreams - Newer Probyn Gregory track from a Stephen John Kalinich (poet and Beach Boys lyricist) compilation
6. I Send Up My Prayer - Track written and sung by Probyn Gregory on an album by Dutch band leader Eric Van Den Brink.
7. I Wanna Pick You Up - Classic Darian Sahanaja cover of the Beach Boys track from Love You album. Released as a single
8. Valentunes - Probyn Gregory demos from the 1980's (and it shows
9. Our Prayer - Wondermints live cover version of Beach Boys Acapella hymn
10. Theme to the Family Way - Darian covers Paul McCartney instrumental soundtrack at a live McCartney tribute concert
11. The Bubbler - Short instrumental track from Probyn Gregory
12. Out of Mind - Demo bonus track from "Mind if We Make Love With You"
13. Ride - Instrumental version. Bonus Track from "Mind if We Make Love With You"
14. Time Has You - Demo bonus track from "Mind if We Make Love With You"
15. I Send Up My Prayer (Demo) - 1980s solo Probyn Gregory demo of track 6

16. Custome Machine - Live sounding beach party track
17. I Just Wasn't Made of These Times - From the earliest Wondermints tapes, Nick Walusko sings this version of the Brian Wilson track

Sunday, June 10, 2012

The dB's - Bonus tracks left off of the new album

So I am in awe of the great PR job that somebody is doing at dB's Central and Bar None Records. There have been numerous great reviews of this week's momentous release of "Falling Off the Sky" by the dB's. Lots of press (all positive) would cause you to hope that the album will be a smash and finally bring the band the attention it deserves. I don't have a lot more to add other than to echo the comments that this is one of the years best releases, that the dB's have still "got it" and that all of their fans are vindicated for our long suffering devotion.

It was certainly scary about how long this album took to put together. One of the highlight tracks "World to Cry" was available in almost its final form on the dB's website back in 2005! The Will Rigby track "Write Back" as released for Record Store day in April 2011.

Rob on his must-read dB's fan shrine blog points out the dB's are the definition of a cult band. True enough, and as such I would have expected some official channel to distribute some of the great tracks evidently left off the new release. These have dribbled out over the years and die hard fans will probably have picked them all up by now - but for those who haven't, I've pulled them together in one short collection (Rob does a great job commenting on many of these tracks on his post here):

1. Picture Sleeve - Fine DB's track from the Record Store Day single on March 2011. Chris sings. "Write Back" was on the other side.
2. Revolution of the Mind - Peter's rockin' tune about the "Occupy" movement. Released as a download. Went viral and well deserved.
3. If Memory Serves - Great Chris ballad. A rough mix from his future solo record "Lovesick Blues" available on SoundCloud.
4. You 'n' Me 'n' XTC - Terrific Chris pop song. Great song  about travelling listening to one of my favorite bands. Rough mix from"Lovesick Blues" on SoundCloud.
5. The Adventures of Albaross and Doggerel (Instrumental Mix) - A "no vocal mix" from this album track. Released months ago as an album appetizer on the dB's website.

As usual, if I am missing any recent rarities, please enlighten me. dB's fans unite. Its a pivotal moment for this great band.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Mike Viola - Oh What a Lonely Boy

Here is a real treat. As usual, I've been background collecting new rare tracks by Mike Viola for the last several months and have pulled together a new bunch for your listening pleasure. This time its a collection heavy on covers - featuring tracks originally by Phil Spector and Ellie Greenwich, Andy Partridge of XTC, Morrissey of the Smiths and Ratt.

However the pick of the bunch in my opinion is the new version of Andrew Gold's Lonely Boy. Stalwart fans have already heard the version of that track that Mike performed in the studio on his radio session on WFMU (recorded with an extremely out of tune piano). This is an entirely new studio version that Mike cut earlier this year that he was kind enough to share with me (and gave me permission to share with you!). Listen carefully and let me know if you don't think this is one of the best Power Pop tracks of the year. Great arrangement of a classic song replete with Blue Swede style "oohs" and "aahs". This is real Power Pop magic.

Thanks to Andy at Power Pop Square who made me aware of many of these great tracks on this comp. I'm really excited to hear Mike's new album Acousto De Perfecto. Until then let me know what you think about these rare tracks (and PLEASE let me know if you have any I'm missing).

1. Lonely Boy - New Studio version of the Andrew Gold hit
2. Be My Baby - Studio cover of Ronette's hit by Spector and Greenwich
3. 1000 Umbrellas - Cover of XTC's great track with the Section String Quartet
4. Round and Round - Menacing cover of Ratt's hit
5. Do it All Night - Studio rehearsal out take from WFMU session
6. Primary Caretaker - Original solo track from Radio Show
7. Start of Something - Cover of Steve Allen tune from 1955. Briefly the theme to the Tonight Show.
8. How Soon is Now - Cover of Smith's hit recorded with the Section String Quartet
9. Little One - Lullaby
10. Motel Mood - Solo Acoustic version of this great track
11. God Give me Strength - Mikes cover of the classic Costello, Bacharach collaboration. Recorded with "the Violas"

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Gavin Guss's "On High" Almost Here

Great news. One of the most eagerly awaited Power Pop releases of 2012 is complete and available for your preview. Gavin Guss's "On High" is streaming in its entirety at his website for a limited time until its formal release. Guss was the lead songwriter and vocalists for TubeTop, the Seattle based Power Pop unit that released one great album "Three Minute Hercules" (long out of print) and then faded from view. I always considered TubeTop in the mode of Fountains of Wayne or The Davenports with ironic self aware lyrics delivered on top of catchy radio friendly tunes.

In 2009 Gavin resurfaced with a solo record "Mercury Mine". One of that years best releases. "Mercury Mine" had it all. Clever tunes with unexpected hooks. Lots of songs I found myself humming days after first listen.

I've been waiting for his second release for a year and "On High" doesn't disappoint. The piano based songs are strong and the production is under-stated but clear. There isn't a weak tune on the album. Guss currently seems to be shopping the release to labels. As part of that process he's posted the entire effort to stream on his EPK (Electronic Press Kit) website. I want to support the project once it has it gets a proper release but until that time, I've assembled a short compilation of non-album tracks. Don't miss "On High"!

Non-Album Tracks:
1. Every Other December
2. Wintertime (Once Again)
3. Voice Inside My Head
4. Place in France
5. Oceans Cracked
6. With You

Sunday, April 8, 2012

The Honeydogs - Live Concert

One of the top Power Pop albums this year is from the Minneaapolis band the Honeydogs. Lead by singer songwriter Adam Levy, the Honeydogs play a unique brand of roots influenced Power Pop. Their new album "What Comes Next" is a fresh serving of that trademark sound. There are elements of Americana, R & B, and roots rock. No one playing today melds as many of these elements in a seemless whole while serving up such timeless melodies.

In order to celebrate what is certainly one of year's top releases, I'm attaching links to one of my favorite live sound board concerts by the band. The Honeydogs permit fan recordings and this live concert from 2005 is a great date with impecible sound. The concert features material from the 2003 epic 10,000 Years. If you don't know the Honeydogs, this is a great place to start courtesy of A great session by a great band:

1. Panhandler's Serenade
2. Dead Stars
3. Test Tube Kid
4. Poor Little Sugar
5. Rumor Has It
6. Red Dye #40
7. Heads or Tails
8. The Rake's Progress
9. Piece of Cake
10. For the Tears
11. Cherub
12. Across the Great Divide
13. 10,000 Years
14. Sour Grapes

Friday, March 30, 2012

Bryan Scary - Don't Miss "Daffy's Elixir"

Bryan Scary is a phenom. A scary talented genus who keeps getting better with each release. His latest CD "Daffy's Elixir" took 2 years to make and is absolutely crammed with soaring melody's "Queen-like harmonies" and dizzying array of stop/start breaks. It's really something to hear. I've got a feeling that in December, this one is still going to be battling it out with David Myhr's Soundshine for best album of the year!

Since 2006, Bryan has released three amazing albums and an EP, but "Daffy's Elixir" may be his best. If you haven't heard him, its certainly a great place to start. It's clear from his Twitter post that he is a discriminating fan of all things Power Pop. You can hear influences of XTC, Beach Boys and even a bit of Elvis Costello in his latest. For completists I've collected some recent acoustic radio sessions. They are great but don't miss "Daffy's Elixir".

1. Ziegfield Station
2. The Blood Club
3. Mrs. Gracy's Revenge
4. The Number Game
5. Riding the Shadow
6. The Ceiling on the Wall
7. The Wicked Frontier
8. Song of Stab

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Mike Viola - In Studio Performance December 23, 2011

Mike Viola completists probably already have this one. However, if you missed it, here is a link to a download of Mike's recent radio show on WFMU last December.

Thanks very much to the folks at WFMU for posting this great session at
Mike performed most of his new album "Electro De Perfecto" along with a great cover or Andrew Gold's classic Lonely Boy. Mike says that he had such a good time performing that song, that he is considering doing a completely 70's pop cover project. Sounds great. It'll be interesting how that slots in around the new "Acousto De Perfecto" project he is readying for Record Day release.
Thanks to Power Pop Priest Bruce Bodeen for yet again "showing me the way" to this one. Tracks below:

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Merrymakers - Rare B-sides and Compilation Tracks

So its early 2012 and I'm still waiting to to hear the entire Soundshine album by David Myhr (only released in Japan as I write this). In anticipation, I was listening to the two albums by his previous band "the Merrymakers".

The Merrymakers were a Swedish Power Pop unit co-lead by David Myhr and Anders Hellgren. Their two albums "No Sleep till Famous" and "Bubblegun" were some of the best examples of Power Pop to come out of the Swedish Power Pop renaissance of the late 1990's. In my opinion 1998's "Bubblegun" is maybe the best single album from that scene, benefiting from the arranging, producing and co-writing of Jellyfish leader Andy Sturmer.

The Merrymakers were only together for a short time. They appeared on the scene in 1992 and released two classic albums (along with one hard to find early singles collection). By 1998 they were gone (The band continued to exist until 2010 but there was nothing released after 1998 - I wonder if there are any good unreleased material from that 1998 - 2010?). Here is a collection of their B-sides and compilation tracks for your listening pleasure. This compilation reminds me of how great this band could be (makes me anticipate David Myhr's Soundshine release that much more).

1 Feel A Whole Lot Better - Byrds cover From "Full Circle: A Tribute To Gene Clark"
2 Somebody Made for Me - Emitt Rhodes cover. Bonus track from "Bubblegun"
3 Parachute - B-side of "Monument of Me"
4 No More Lonely Nights - McCartney cover from Tribute Compilation "Listen to What the Man Said"
5 What About? - Bonus track from "Bubblegun"
6 You Get What You Give - New Radicals cover from the Bam Balam Explosion Compilation
7 Love (You Can Make it Alright) - B-side of "Monument of Me"
8 Still Someone to You - B-side of "Monument of Me"
9 Strange Kind of Girl - From 1998 compilation "Somewhere Down the Road"
10 High Horses - 1993 track from split flexi included with Swedish SOUND AFFECTS magazine
11 Saltwater Drinks (Remix) - B-side of"Saltwater Drinks"
12 The Prettiest Star - B-side of "Superstar"
13 Superstar (Remix) - B-side of"Saltwater Drinks"

Thanks to one of my Power Pop friends (you know who you are) for helping me pull this collection together. We would not be listening to all of these great rare tracks without your generosity.