“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…
Lambchop is back with a new album, Mr M, to be released in February 2012. Can’t wait that long? Then here’s a teaser for you – this simply gorgeous slab of string-swept Brill Building show tune sweetness with one of the finest opening lines I’ve heard in many a year… magnificent! Now this is what I call ‘alternative music’.
Vancouver pop-rockers The Zolas make the right noises about the influence of Ray Davies/The Kinks on its music but it’s probably more a conceptual thing rather than a musical inspiration. Cultured Man recalls Davies’ compositions like Well Respected Man but that’s where the comparison ends. To these ears, Cultured Man evokes the closer memory of The Shins, Pavement and The Chills. It’s not an immediate attraction but a couple of plays ought to do the trick quite nicely. Cultured Man is available now on the split 7” split single with The Liptonians on Light Organ Records. The 7” will be available digitally.
Here’s an intriguing single from this new UK band with shades of John Barry’s Bond theme echoing in the background and mysterious lyrics about illicit activities. A tad repetitive but aren’t the catchy ones usually like that? A definite earworm that is already receiving airplay on UK radio. Worth checking out. Released on 5th Sept.
Regular PoP visitors will know that I am an absolute sucker for good old fashioned honest-to-goodness country-folk-soul music. Add a spine-tingling female vox into the equation and the result is obsession! So here’s Star Anna, who at 25 has established musicians raving over her vocal abilities. Listen to this glorious track off her debut album of the same name and understand why…
Old school. Classic pop-rock. This is the kind of music that inspires and invigorates me. Dan Hubbard and the Humadors presents this rustic rumination of our mortal existence. Fans of Tom Petty, Van Morrison, Neil Young and Jackson Browne will dig it…
In Each Hand A Cutlass – Chocolate and the Lovelorn Girl
Here it is, boys and girls, the introductory tasty morsel for the upcoming debut album – A Universe Made of Strings – of In Each Hand A Cutlass. Delicious indeed, with equal parts jangly guitar, funky rhythms and indie rock sensibility. Catch IEHAC live at The Amaranthine Voyage on Friday, 24th June at the Esplanade Recital Studio. Tickets on sale now at SISTIC.
Foster the People – Pumped Up Kicks (Chrome Canyon REMIX)
Chrome Canyon (aka Morgan Z, Apes & Androids former keyboardist) has remixed LA electro-pop group Foster the People’s track Pumped Up Kicks, available for download at RCRD LBL. Very chilled and light, the hipster set will dig it, most certainly.
Now if only I am living by the beach, and maybe own a hammock which I could lay on with my sandy feet pointing towards the sun, hair down, soak up the kind sunshine and ipod on one hand with the playlist I’ll specially reserve for beach getaways… Oh, one can dream of such life. Truth be told, that was my first impression upon being asked to review You’ll Never Know by our locally bred Ze Wen Seah aka Travel Tales.
The singer/songwriter has experience up his sleeves. Having lived in different countries such as Taiwan and America, his songs are thus influenced by the different cultures he was brought up in. Sandwiched with his smooth Jason Mraz cum Jack Johnson voice, one can pleasantly categorise him as a simplistic, straight up raw local talent without having to put in much effort. You’ll Never Know is basically, “..a conversation between a highly rational individual, who smirks at the thought of ‘dreams’, and a dreamer who believes that it only makes sense to achieve what you want if you work hard for it”, as explained by Ze Wen himself. Need I say more? Not really.
With soft percussion and subtle guitar, the whole song gives off nothing more then a breath of fresh air. A break from life, a vacation from being too much of a realist. Have a listen and you’ll get what I mean.
For some reason, this song reminds me very much of the Canadian 80s new wave band, Men Without Hats. I suppose it has something to do with the very idea of North Americans singing with a baritone Anglophile accent. Whatever the form, this Baltimore-based band have enough synth-pop savvy to make good use of the now-popular style. In any case this new single Before the Bridge will be the A-side from the 7″ of the same title, out July 19 on Thrill Jockey. Check it out and make your way to Future Islands…
Fact of the matter is that if I read about a modern rock band describing themselves as ‘power pop’, I roll my eyes in abject skepticism. BUT in the case of Saint Motel, that’s exactly what they are! Check out this melodically muscular single which will knock you senseless with delight. Hypnotic piano riff, frenetic guitars and hyperventilating vocals will leave you smiling. Where’s the album, boys??? Whatever, in the meantime, enjoy…
This is an exciting project as artists of many different persuasions gather to pay tribute to a true rock ‘n’ roll legend – the late great Buddy Holly. This is an tasty teaser – from My Morning Jacket, a rather faithful rendition of True Love Ways. Brilliant!