More of the same from blues-rockers Deap Vally viz. Lindsey Troy (vocals, guitars) & Julie Edwards (drums) on new LP, Femejism, which is great news! Femejism is 13 tracks of raw power delivered in the duo’s trademark dynamic fashion.
We run the rule over the artists playing Neon Lights Festival on 26th and 27th November and find out who gets the PoP Recommendation! Enjoy!!
A recap on the songs we dug in the last quarter. All rock, no filler.
Seeing is believing.
What makes new music worthy of anyone’s attention? Is it merely the fact that it’s contemporary and in a style and fashion that is popular and trendy? The pop music scene prizes glitzy superficiality over substance of any form to such an extent that the very art and craft of songwriting is in danger of withering away and going the way of the dinosaur.
Which is why every now and then, the discovery of a new singer-songwriter that adheres contrarily to the classic formats of 60s and 70s pop-rock is like a breath of fresh air, in a heavily polluted environment. Thus, ladies and gentlemen, in the background set out before, we give you Max Jury.
Jury released 2 EPs in 2014 – Something in the Air and All I Want: The Sonic Factory Sessions – and these seven incandescent songs represent some of the most promising rock ‘n’ roll (in the classic sense of that term) material of the last decade or so.
Songs like “Christian Eyes”, “All I Want”, “Black Metal” and “Something in the Air” uncannily channel the likes of John Lennon, Gram Parsons, Alex Chilton, Todd Rundgren et al through the razor-sharp perspective of a 21 year old American singer-songwriter.
We managed to get in touch with Max and he kindly responded to our queries.
How does a 21 year old get into someone like Gram Parsons who died 20 years before you were born?
I’m fascinated by the story and myth of Gram Parsons. I originally got into his solo work through Ryan Adams. And then I started listening to The Flying Burrito Brothers and his work with The Byrds.
PoP is on a quest to discover the best contemporary bands out there trading in classic pop-rock, power-pop and garage-rock and we aim to please ourselves as often as humanly possible. The Singles viz. Vincent Frederick (guitar/lead vocals) and Nicky Veltman (drums/back-up vocals) are the real deal! This LA based duo have just released Look How Fast A Heart Can Break and it is a winner. It’s fair to say that they don’t sound like any one band directly but there’s certainly a healthy dollop of Big Star, The Replacements, T. Rex and more, in their musical agenda. Best part is that it gets hearts pounding and adrenaline rushing for all the best reasons. Check ’em out!
Regular PoP visitors will be keenly aware of my aversion towards ‘pop-punk’ in modern rock parlance. But of course, there is still a place for punk-rock in 2014 for any band who is clever enough to not be limited by ‘genre’ but instead is able to use punk as an attitude to approach music making. Case in point – Toronto outfit PUP, who consists of Stefan on vox / guitar, Zack on drums, Steve on guitar and Nestor on bass and simply classify their music as ‘loud’!
If like me you are besotted with classic pop and love the music of The Beatles, The Beach Boys, The Byrds, ELO and XTC, then my question to you is – why aren’t you listening to Pugwash? And if this is the first time you have heard of this awesome Irish band, then your timing is impeccable.
A Rose in a Garden of Weeds: A Preamble Through the History of Pugwash (to be released on 23rd September) collects songs from the band’s 1999 origins through the present day and when placed together in one place like this, is probably the closest a classic pop fan will get to heaven in 2014.
It is impossible not to fall in love with perfect pop songs like “Be My Friend Awhile,” “Apples,” “Answers on a Postcard,” “Fall Down”, “It’s Nice to be Nice” and so on and on and on. These 17 tracks constitute some of the finest pop music made since the new millennium and deserves as much attention as possible, if there’s any justice left in this cruel world.
I was lucky enough to catch the band live last year in London and believe me, it’s a wonder to behold. That Rickenbacker sound, those harmonies and infectious tunes will have you singing along in no time, unfamiliarity be damned! So check out the US tour dates below to make sure you don’t miss out on the fun, PoPies!
Check out the video for “It’s Nice to be Nice” below…
Some of the classic pop music was written in the studio, without having been road-tested in live performance. The Beatles and The Beach Boys come easily to mind, of course. Appropriately, Dave Ody (aka Mothboxer) names both bands as principal influences and it’s no surprise that his music reflects the same ethos that his more famous forebears pioneered and mastered during the 60s.
The latest UK indie sensations? Glass Animals have so far released a couple of singles and EPs but it is their excellent debut LP – ZABA – that their tremendous potential is revealed. Again, for me what makes the Oxford quartet distinctive is their ‘classic’ songwriting. Stylistically, the songs might be indie electro-centric but the strong melodies recalls 80s era Depeche Mode and Sting.
For contemporary references, one might think of Bombay Bicycle Club or perhaps Alt-J but the over-arching emphasis on ‘classic’ pop tunes is the clincher for me! I am thoroughly enjoying the eclectic music inflections in the songs like jazz-soul (“Cocoa Hooves”), world music (“Wala Wala”) and straight-up R&B (“Gooey”) – all enveloped with a knowing contemporary indie pop sheen that will have the indie kids grooving in the aisles.
And… thanks to Nick Whitcomb (Light Organ Records), I will have the opportunity to catch Glass Animals live (!) in Vancouver. More info here! Hopefully, someone brings them to Singapore soon as well!
Hailing from Bueno Aires, Argentina, Baby Scream has been flying the power pop flag for the past decade or so, delivering premier Beatlesque goodness that fans of the 90s Pop Underground would have no problem appreciating. The sardonically-titled Greatest Failures compiles some of Baby Scream’s finer moments (“Slut”, “Mars” and “Morning Light” amongst them) and provides a good starting point. Deeper exploration of the Baby Scream discography is available at Bandcamp. Led by vocalist/guitarist Juan Pablo Mazzola – who himself sings with a Lennonesque authority – Baby Scream is a safe haven for the power pop purists out there who are pining for the good ol’ days of the 90s Pop Underground. Check ’em out!
… still there’s more …
Quirky, edgy & poppy – what a great combo for a band! The music of offbeat Montreal-based trio Each Other doesn’t make for easy pigeon-holing although I personally discerned Pavement, XTC, Pixies, Talking Heads et al in their reference points. Which is awesome of course! Debut album coming out in March. In the meantime, check out the music released so far!
As some of you probably know, every day I sift through a mountain of emails (slightly exaggerated but you get the point) from artists, bands, labels and publicists seeking to be featured on the ol’ humble Power of Pop. What does get my attention are references – not the kind you put in a job resume – but more like: what does the music sound like? Then of course, when I click on the streaming link, it bloody well better sound like the bands/artist you referenced. Heh.
So… The Duke of Norfolk. Cool name. And cooler references – the Decemberists, Avett Brothers and Sufjan Stevens. And… I clicked on the streaming link and I was impressed. Country-folk music that is authentic, heart-warming and fun – all excellent characteristics. So check him out, will ya? Hope to get a review up here or at TODAY pretty soon. In the meantime…
12 MONKEYS (1995)
Dir: Terry Gilliam
Starring Bruce Willis, Madeline Stowe, Brad Pitt & Christopher Plummer.
Synopsis: In a future world devastated by disease, a convict is sent back in time to gather information about the man-made virus that wiped out most of the human population on the planet. (IMDB)
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.