PoP RECOMMENDS: LOVE X STEREO

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Better late than never, eh?

Oliver Mann (JPNSGRLS) was raving about Korean alt-electro rockers Love X Stereo and so upon his recommendation, I followed him to Paulaner for the band’s final gig at Music Matters Live 2014 at 1 am. What I witnessed was an epiphany! The tunes had epic pop melodies, the arrangements were tight with a post-punk revival vibe but ultimately it was charismatic vocalist/synth player Annie Ko that sealed the deal for me.

Upon further investigation, it appears that Annie and guitarist/producer Toby were both part of a ska-punk band called Skrew Attack and re-invented themselves as Love X Stereo in 2011 (and picked up bassist Sol along the way). With critically acclaimed releases Off the Grid and Flow under their belts and significant appearances at top indie rock festivals, Love X Stereo is definitely a band to explore.

Hopefully, we will be able to get PoP fans an interview with Annie soon. In the meantime, enjoy…

Official Site

 

HOT BUZZ: SAM PAGE “SHINE YOUR LITTLE LIGHT”

Singer-songwriter Sam Page does a great job at evoking the alt-rock of the 80s with nods to The Replacements, Dinosaur Jr, Long Ryders and The Dream Syndicate evident in his country-folk-powerpop amalgam. This new single keeps the fires burnin’ for all of us who remember that era fondly.

Official Site

 

DISCOVERED @ SPOTIFY

Yeah, more power pop/pop underground music you should be listening to if you dig sophisticated melodies with crunchy guitars and clever arrangements. Please take notes…

SPLITSVILLE

The last time this wonderful band released new material was 2003 – unsure whether the band still exists as the official site has not been updated since 2004! Tough being a power pop in this current environment. In any case, I need to highlight three essential LPs that need your attention. Enjoy!

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PoP RECOMMENDS: WAX FANG

WAX FANG – “Hearts Are For Beating” 

After three digital singles in 2013, Wax Fang will be releasing its third album – The Astronaut – in January 2014. Check out the official video to the latest single.

Sounds like: David Bowie, Television, Pixies.

Check out the other singles at Spotify.

Official Site

LOU REED (1942 – 2013)

I got into Lou Reed relatively late in life. 1989 to be precise – the release of the New York album, which I bought on cassette. That prompted me to investigate Reed (and the Velvet Underground, of course) in piecemeal form in the 25 years since.

As a rock scholar, it’s impossible not to recognize Reed’s importance to much of modern rock music – there’s really no point in setting out the sheer number of bands and artists that Reed had a tremendous impact on – suffice to say that Reed was influential. As a songwriter, Reed’s honesty and creative thinking was always challenging to me, with his lyric writing truly seminal.

His passing was hard to take – a sense that an era of rock music has ended. But Reed’s legacy will never be forgotten – the sound and attitude of indie pop & alt-rock bear his indelible stamp. Yes, Lou Reed may no longer be with us but his music will live on forever, something to cherish.

For the uninitiated, begin with Velvet Underground & Nico, Transformer and New York and work your way through from there.

“The music is all. People should die for it. People are dying for everything else, so why not the music?”

DEAD STARS – HIGH GAIN EP [REVIEW]

The early 90s were an exciting time for alternative rock. It was an epoch where edgy melodies met crunchy guitars with pummeling rhythms! Hell yes, it’s time for a 90s alt-rock revival and Williamsburg, Brooklyn’s Dead Stars have no qualms declaring their intent to evokes the likes of Teenage Fanclub, Pavement, Sonic Youth and Dinosaur, Jr. in their delightfully tuneful rock agenda.

This five-track EP is a pleasing introduction to the wonders of Dead Star’s way with a melody and ups the ante with punk, country and folk vibes headily incorporated for a intoxicating brew. The one-two knockout punch of the rollicking “Waste Away” and sensitive “Let It Go” bring out all the best feelings rock n’ roll imparts – adrenaline pumping, wild abandon and the unconfined thrill of rock songs that hit the spot!

Consisting of Jeff Moore (guitar/vocals), John Watterberg (bass) and Jaye Moore (drums), Dead Stars is a power trio of the best kind  – where that indeterminable touch of cool and homespun connection meld perfectly – the ultimate godsend for rock fans out there tired of all this fucking hipster bullshit!

ELEVENTH DREAM DAY – NEW MOODIO RELEASE [NEWS]

Eleventh Dream Day is an American alt-rock band which made its reputation in the late 80s/early 90s, parlaying its hybrid of psychedelia-folk-rock n’ roll into a heady brew that got both critics and fans of the period excited.

On May 14th, Comedy Minus One will release New Moodio, a parallel world version of the band’s 1991 LP “El Moodio”. A bit of background from the Riot Media press release –

The material that appears on “New Moodio” was recorded on their own dime, with the intent to find a new label to put it out. Recorded at Idful Studios in Chicago with Brad Wood at the dials (Liz Phair recorded “Exile In Guyville” with Wood there just months later), these songs were being shopped around when Danny Goldberg – who now was running Atlantic – came to Chicago and made his pitch to the group over lunch. The band was impressed by what he had to say, and made the inference that if he went to this effort to get the band back, he and the label must really care. He urged Eleventh Dream Day to start over with a new producer, and the band spent the better part of 1992 working on what would become “El Moodio,” their third and final major label record.

The vinyl pressing is limited to 500 copies, and each includes a digital download containing three additional songs. New Moodio will also be available on all digital download platforms. Check out the previously unreleased “Thinking Out Loud” below.

 

INSTANT SPECIES – THIS ROME… [REVIEW]

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Nothing quite compares to a British pop band trading in the fine legacy of Britpop and being able to make the connections between The Kinks and Blur and beyond. Instant Species has been around since 1997 and according to its official site, “we’ve made music we love, played gigs to entertain people and released records with an enormous sense of pride. It’s more than a hobby but it’s far from a career and it’s always fun. We don’t have a “plan” or “bid to be” anything other than 4 blokes playing some music we hope is half decent.”

More than “half-decent” I’d say — This Rome… is the quartet’s new album (#8) and it is chock full of catchy tunes, spiky rhythms and an edgy pop smart attitude. It’s clear from songs like the languid “Rise of the Idiot”, the bouncy “Simple Repetition”, the chirpy title track and the garage-y “I Need A Little Help” that the band writes and records the kind of music it loves without any thought about trends. Essential for fans of classic British pop music.

 

THE GREAT SPY EXPERIMENT – LITMUS [REVIEW]

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Six years in the making, the sophomore effort of The Great Spy Experiment arrives with the band a completely different entity to what it was when I first met Saiful, Fandy, Song, Khai and Mag in the rehearsals for Singapore Day in 2007. Interim period has seen marriages, children and daily challenges with the ubiquitous work-life balance. Factor in the creative musical need of recording artists and things no doubt become complicated.

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LISTENING ROOM: SAM PAGE “HOLD ON” [STREAMING]

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Yes, we’re always on the look-out for good old-fashioned pop-rock sweetness here at Power of Pop! So here’s Sam Page, who’s got a new album in tow – Breach – and you can listen to “Hold On”, a charming lil ditty that recalls Dinosaur Jr and Matthew Sweet in a very good way. Check it out!

Official Site