Yet another Aussie band with a firm grip of what pop-rock music is all about, Sydney’s Middle Kids hit all the right notes on its eponymous debut EP.
Pop music is more than modern day hipster folk or EDM or millennial neo-soul. It takes a brave artist in 2017 to reach back into pop history to find inspiration for true pop power. Like Lincoln Barr, perhaps.
So much music, so little time – as we are wont to lament. Sometimes that means being a little late on music releases, even in your own backyard. Such is the case with Teashhur, an Australian singer-songwriter based in Singapore.
Whether rock ‘n’ roll is dead or not becomes a moot point when you are enjoying the new music out there. Case in point – Snowdonia from Surfer Blood.
Proper Ornaments is the project of James Hoare (Ultimate Painting, Veronica Falls) and Max Oscarnold (Toy, Pink Flames).
Now this is what we call pop music!
Dream pop merchants Lightcraft maintain their life-affirming joyous indie rock ministrations with a new EP that fulfils all the promise expressed in 2013 album, Colours of Joy.
The best music, in our humble opinion, is able to take the listener out of himself or herself and into that special place where music does what it does best. To create a magical world where the music is complete in itself and does not require anything else to embellish the sheer pleasure, be it aural, sensual or intellectual.
Electro-soul-pop has been the popular ‘genre’ in recent times amongst indie-loving youth. Much of this approach is middling fare and somewhat generic but as with any other hip & cool ‘genre’ – the distinctive mark of an artist is the attention to melodic development.
Anchorage, AK quintet The Modern Savage will release the Unwilling Participants LP, produced, recorded, and mixed by Brooklyn’s James Frazee (Beck, Patti Smith, Sharon Van Etten, Esperanza Spalding), on January 27.
ROCKISDEAD is the album name that got our attention. Especially when the music inside is ROCK! Well, blues-rock if you wanted to be specific. Nothing too radical as the likes of The Black Keys and Deap Vally deliver a similar vibe but it works.
Sunday Morning is a musical project consisting of Bruce Wilson (Vocals) and Stephen Hamm (Keyboards), with a little help from their friends.
Two years, Chrissie Hynde released an unprecedented solo album – Stockholm – but has returned to her original vehicle, Pretenders, for the legendary rock band’s 11th studio album, Alone.
We will admit that this is a sentimental choice for the PoP recommendation for this week but what the hey …
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 …