The latest album from Thomas Walsh's band Pugwash, The Olympus Sound, really is one of the finer records of 2011. If you love power pop as much as I do -- hell, even if you don't -- get a copy today and you'll become a fan too. But if my track record of displaying immaculate taste in music isn't enough to convince you, perhaps this clip will. It features the band (with special guest keyboardist Neil Hannon of The Divine Comedy in tow) performing one of the best cuts from The Olympus Sound for an Irish talk show that I can't place. Enjoy Pugwash performing "Answers on a Postcard"! (and don't forget to subscribe to my Listening Booth playlist on Spotify!)
Today's edition of the listening booth is special for me, as it celebrates the most important event in my life thus far. On this day one year ago, my son Justin was born. It was about this time that I was really getting into the full-length debut from Josh Fix, Free At Last. As I drove back and forth to the hospital in those few days when time seemed to freeze, this album was in constant rotation. For that reason, I will always associate Free At Last with my little man. It doesn't hurt that it's also one of the best power pop albums I've heard in years. One song that resonated in particular with me is "The Water in My Brain." That melody lodged itself in my brain for weeks, and has never really left. One day I will share it with Justin and hope he loves it as much as I do. Happy ...
Ask a dozen people to define the term "power pop" and you'll likely get a dozen variations of the same concept. For my part, any music with killer melodies, crisp songwriting and arranging, and (usually) big guitars probably qualifies. Or to get more specific, here's what the All Music Guide says: Power Pop is a cross between the crunching hard rock of the Who and the sweet melodicism of the Beatles and Beach Boys, with the ringing guitars of the Byrds thrown in for good measure. Yeah, that's about it. So anyway, power pop probably offers more value for your listening dollar than any other style I can think of. Here is but a handful of some of the most choice power pop ever committed to tape. 1. Nick Lowe, "So It Goes" (from Jesus of Cool, 1978) — Power pop aficionados will recogn
I've been in the mood for power pop lately, so I can think of few better albums to spotlight for this series than one of the best ever — Nick Lowe's 1978 debut LP, Jesus of Cool. This was how the album was issued in most countries in '78, via Radar Records. But in the good ol' USA, Columbia Record execs didn't think that title would fly. So the album was rechristened (get it?) as Pure Pop for Now People. The Americanized version featured a few different pictures on the front and a different track listing. At least this change, silly as it was, made a little sense. If you look closely at the first cover, you can see the phrase "Pure Pop for Now People" spelled out in the borders of the pictures. Nevertheless, this bit of meddling was rectified in 2008, when Yep Roc reissued th
I don't know about you, but I find NBC's serialized television program Community to be one of the more humorous ones currently airing. But this post doesn't concern the show, rather it concerns its most excellent theme song. It's called "At Least It Was Here" and is performed by Los Angeles-based indie rock band The 88. It's a charming and fun tune, I hope you will agree.
Man, I take a short break from updating the site and, just like that, I'm buried under a pile of new music releases. Not to mention, of course, the Beatles remasters. So with no big preamble, let's get right into it... Ace Frehley - Anomaly (Brooklyn Born Records) Peter Criss couldn't do it, Paul Stanley almost did it, and who the hell knows what Gene Simmons was trying to do. I'm speaking, of course, about original Kiss members putting out a solo album this decade that even approached their best work from previous decades. So how does the Spaceman fare on his first release since George Bush Sr. was president? Pretty decently, by and large. Sure the album art is...well, it sucks. It's just bad. But who even notices such things anymore? The music's the thing, and Ace acqu
I'm headed out for a mini-vacation so I'll leave you with a double shot from one of my favorite bands - the criminally overlooked Be Bop Deluxe. Bill Nelson deserves a place in the pantheon of great songwriters and guitarists of the age, but for some reason neither he nor his '70s project achieved the wild success they deserved. First up is a performance from the TV show Pop Quiz. It's "Ships in the Night", as infectious a piece of power pop as you're likely to hear. The album that spawned it, 1976's Sunburst Finish, is nothing short of awesome. The second number is "Maid in Heaven", from the 1975 release Futurama. You can hear how much more glam the band was at this point in their career. A lot of BBD sounds like vintage David Bowie, which is always welcome.
Being an Ace Frehley fan is not without its frustrations. His last studio album, Trouble Walkin', was released nearly 19 years ago and relatively little had been seen or heard from him since he left Kiss (again) in early 2002. What he's been up to during the last 6 years - other than recording a yet-to-be released solo album and rocking executive meetings across America - is anyone's guess, so it came as a pretty big surprise late last year when he announced his first full-fledged solo tour since before the original Kiss reunion in 1996. Frehley and his band (rhythm guitarist Derrek Hawkins, bassist/vocalist Anthony Esposito, and drummer/vocalist Scot Coogan) kicked off the Rocket Ride Tour in earnest in late December and rolled into New York City's Nokia Theatre last night for the co...