Pancho-san is songwriter Patrick Abernethy (formerly of Beulah, and Rogue Wave) and, for sophomore album Americans, his old bandmates Pat Spurgeon (of Rogue Wave) and Eli Crews (of Beulah/tUnE-yArDs producer) provide invaluable assistance. By all accounts, the sound is a mish-mash of Roy Orbison, Brazilian pop and ’80s-’90s art rock! You can stream the entire album over at Bandcamp. The opening track – “Americans Can’t Be Romantic” – is available for free download.
Contrary to what most of you might think, I am not against covers – well, I am dead against carbon copy covers – but when a band is able to put its own spin on familiar favorites so that you’re forced to re-assess the song from a different perspective, well that takes talent and skill, folks. So am deeply tickled by this amazing version of Paul Simon’s “You Can Call Me Al” by country-folk-rock outfit Chamberlin as the band channels Neil Young/Crazy Horse to achieve its aim. Well done!
Rock n’ roll meets lo-fi electronica seems to be on the agenda for UK band Elephant 12. Simple but effective – rather old skool Beastie Boys as well. Listen to “Holiday” to get a good idea of what Elephant 12 is all about. Definitely worth closer investigation.
Multi-instrumentalist, Zac Clark, known for his work with The Queen Killing Kings [Wind-Up Records] and Smoke Signals, has been keeping himself busy as an active touring member of Vermont’s Chamberlin and prepping for the launch of a project that finds him truly coming into his own, entitled Young Volcanoes. If “Traffic” is any indication, I am certainly looking forward to listening to more from Young Volcanoes, for its wonderful evocation of 70s country-rock stylings. In addition, after losing his mother to cancer, Clark looked to use his talent to help the cause and raised thousands of dollars through Pledge Music to support Burlington’s Cancer Patient Support Program. The Young Volcanoes project will continue to support this cause.
Yet another UK band hyped up to be the “Next Big Thing” – can Citizens! live up to the hype? You decide. Produced by Franz Ferdinand’s Alex Kapranos, the debut album – Here We Are – will be out on 9th October via Kitsuné / Cooperative Music. In addition, Citizens! might be making its way down to our shores as well soon…
UK-based band alt-J (∆) released their debut album, An Awesome Wave, in North America today via Canvasback Music. Already the album is a firm favorite here at Power of Pop and now, you can listen to “Fitzpleasure” a superb track that highlights the eclectic nature of the band’s songwriting and production. Cool stuff!
Always maintained that we need a strong mainstream pop scene here before the so-called “alternative” can surface so am glad to report that pop songstress Sarah Cheng-De Winne‘s new single – “Parallel Lives” is one to listen to again and again, if nothing else for that rather hooky chorus, its easy R&B vibe and Sarah’s thick luscious vocals. Coming soon: new album, Brand New. Look out for it…
The beauty of music making is taking your various influences and inspirations and concocting something distinctive that is greater than its component parts. Shiny Toy Guns seems to have gotten this simple truth right with “Fading Listening” off its upcoming new album, III. Sure, you can hear the obvious debt to Fleetwood Mac (that boy-girl vocal combo that Lindsay Buckingham and Stevie Nicks specialized in) BUT from the general electronic ambience, it is clear that this is NOT the Mac and for that fact the song is that much more stronger. Looking forward to that new album.
“Not Giving Up” (off upcoming new album, We Were Born to Glory)
Royal Wood is a Canadian pop music singer-songwriter/ producer, based in Toronto, Ontario. His classic pop style has drawn comparisons to Hawksley Workman, Ron Sexsmith, Randy Newman and Rufus Wainwright. It’s comforting to know that people like Royal Wood still make music like they used to before. Listen and weep…
“Electric Fever” (from upcoming new album, Love Sign.
Everything you ever loved about 70s rock anthems is brought to bear on this electrifying (pun intended) first single from retro rockers Free Energy. “Electric Fever is in my blood/You know it’s been there all my life” Oh yeah!
What might have been? Check out this 5-track EP (that was never officially released for one reason or another) from the now-defunct Indus Gendi. I’d run across the band sometime in 2007 and throughout the numerous personnel changes, I’d always make it a point to keep up with the band. So I was pleasantly surprised to see this EP streaming at Soundcloud, courtesy of Adam Shah. Enjoy…
This new track is a Record Store Day 2012 exclusive 7-inch by Marco Benevento, available at independent record stores across the USA this Saturday, April 21. The song from the pianist is the first to ever feature vocals. Taking the honors is Kalmia Traver from the exploding indie-dance band Rubblebucket.
It’s quite repetitive but in a good way. And you will be hitting ‘repeat’ an inordinate amount of times. Check it out!
“Another Circle of Fifths” (Off upcoming new album, Are’s and Els)
Okay, I clicked on this link because of the following –
Michael The Blind is Michael Levasseur, a singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist living in Portland, Oregon. Think Leonard Cohen, but not so low. Elliott Smith, but not so high. Suzanne Vega, but not so female. John Fahey when acoustic, Paul Westerberg when electric. A lyrical style that is both e.e. cummings and Mother Goose.
Now that’s winning copy! And what about that song title – which only music geeks will get? Priceless. The song itself, nasal high register voice, rockabilly rhythms, sawing violins and twang up to the wazoo. WIN WIN WIN WIN!
Country + Rock n’ Roll is still one of the most potent music out there in the modern rock wasteland. Thankfully, bands like Yukon Blonde is smart enough to eschew current obsessions with 80s post-punk/synth-pop and deal exclusively good old fashioned alt-country magic. For one week only, PoP visitors get to check out the upcoming new album – Tiger Talk – streaming in its entirety at Soundcloud. The album is due for released on 20th March. Can hardly wait!
“Come On, Be A No One” (off new album, In the Belly of the Brazen Bull)
The band of brothers known as the Cribs returns with their 5th album in May. Taking the 90s alternative rock aesthetic (I really hesitate to use the term ‘grunge revival’) to its logical conclusion, the album is co-produced by Steve Albini and Dave Fridmann and promises to be a cracker. This track is a example of the goodness that resides in the new album – boasting a garage vibe and a screaming chorus that sends the adrenaline rushing. Yeah, it’s fun.
In the spirit of presenting you, kind PoP visitor, the most promising and exciting new power pop out there in the wasteland of contemporary pop-rock, I give you The Running Jumps. Consisting of Joel Martin (vocals, guitar, keys), Todd McDearman (guitar, keys, vocals), Dave Johnstone (drums) and Sid Jordan (bass, vocals), The Running Jumps claim an affinity for albums like XTC‘s Skylarking, Jellyfish‘s Spilt Milk, The Beatles‘ Sgt. Pepper, The Kinks‘ Village Green Preservation Society and The Zombies‘ Odessey and Oracle. All this with a Guided By Voices or Superdrag edge.
“There is Only Love” is the band’s new single and the influences mentioned above offer fair representation of what to expect. Edgy and sweet when it needs to be, the song has an engaging chorus hook which will keep you humming along before too long. The vocals probably need work in certain points but there is no denying the strength of the songwriting. Looking forward to more from The Running Jumps!
“Primitive Girl” (off upcoming new album A Wasteland Companion)
Merge Records artist M. Ward is probably best known nowadays as Zooey Deschanel’s partner in She & Him or a member of Monsters of Folk. Of course, the critically acclaimed singer-songwriter has been recording and releasing his own material for over a decade now and new album, A Wasteland Companion will be Ward’s eighth LP. “Primitive Girl” is the lead single for Ward’s new album and to these ears, it’s poppy veneer seems a mild departure from Ward’s more classicist/rootsy ventures. In fact, in some ways, it does appear to be similar to Ward’s She & Him excursions. The song structure itself is still fairly old-school and typical of Ward’s sonic preferences but overall, rather slight. That all said, it is meant to be lead single and in that respect it should do the necessary to generate interest in the upcoming album. Review to come…
The Jealous Sound is back, with its sophomore effort, nine years after the release of its debut album. Called A Gentle Reminder, the new album drops Tuesday, 31st January 2011. And until that release date, fans can listen to A Gentle Reminder in its entirety. What are you waiting for?
Still fresh in the memory of Singapore fans is the magnificent performance of The Jezabels at the recent The People’s Party. Well, the Sydney quartet’s new album – The Prisoner – is due for release soon and you can now listen to Try Colour, a powerful teaser for the delights to come…
Red Wanting Blue’s previous album – These Magnificent Miles – was a firm favourite here at Power of Pop central and so we are definitely looking forward to the upcoming new album From the Vanishing Point. The opening teaser – White Snow – with its rollicking demeanor and heartfelt sentiment will win over country-folk-pop-rock fans all over the world. Check it out and come back for the Power of Pop review…