Advert

Oct 172014
 

BarrBros

There’s quite a fair bit of country music out there that’s popular but sadly, it’s mostly Top 40 mainstream pop fare that never challenges the mind and instead panders to the lowest common denominator. For something more cutting edge in the country music sphere, we need to continue to look at Alt-Country. Thankfully, that aspect of country music is still thriving (creatively, if not commercially) and one prime example can be found in Sleeping Operator, the sophomore effort from the Montreal-based Barr Brothers (viz. Brad Barr, Andrew Barr, Sarah Page, Andres Vial).

It’s always a wondrous experience when an artistically-minded band blends country with rock ‘n’ roll to produce soulful music that leaves the listener satisfied. To these ears, songs like “Wolves”, “Even the Darkness Has Arms” and “Half Crazy” recalls the likes of Steve Earle, The Jayhawks and even early WILCO – a wonderful evocation of Gram Parsons’ Cosmic American Music. The melodies glide effortlessly and the exotic instrumentation complements the same perfectly to send sympathetic listeners into country-folk-pop-rock bliss!

Official Site

Thanks to Nick Whitcomb for the recommendation!

Oct 142014
 

ThomYorkeTMB

Just downloaded the new Thom Yorke album – Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes – via BitTorrent. And it was totally legit. Yorke has, in the recent past, condemned streaming sites for exploiting artists and thus it was interesting to find out that Yorke is using a BitTorrent site to sell his album. The digital album is US$6 and the bundle comes with 8 tracks and one video (of single “A Brain in a Bottle”). The single and video are available for free – as a teaser presumably for the album. Check it out at https://bundles.bittorrent.com/

Continue reading »

Oct 142014
 

BrassBed_PromoImage3bf6c4

Brass Bed is releasing a brand new 7″ with MA’AM Records on November 18th, 2014. The new single, “Be Anything” b/w “Mind The Gap” captures the band live on two inch tape deep in the midst of their tour cycle. Fuzzy guitars, gorgeous tunes and easy vibe recalls Dinosaur Jr., Teenage Fanclub and the 90s Pop Underground. Listen now!

Order now!

Oct 142014
 

Bowie-sue

Last year David Bowie shocked the world with the release of a new single (“Where Are We Now?”)/album (The Next Day) after years of silence and relative inactivity. Well, it didn’t take long for Bowie to return with another new single/album did it? The single is “Sue (Or In a Season of Crime) which was given its world premiere on BBC Radio Six by DJ Guy Garvey, a couple of days ago. Of course, the song is all over the internet now – check it out below.

Continue reading »

Oct 132014
 

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!

Official Site

Oct 102014
 

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’!

Continue reading »

Oct 072014
 

Is there a mini classic pop-rock happening in 2014? Well, you could argue that it has never really gone away when guys like Bob Mould, Guided by Voices, Tom Petty, J Mascis, Johnny Marr, Sloan and the like have continued to make vital music. Never mind the fact that Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack has all but brought classic 70s pop-rock back to the mainstream. AND with ex-MCR frontman Gerard Way releasing a debut solo album that has the ‘emo-punk-pop’ kids in an uproar, then you know for sure that something is going on. In any case, here’s a couple of 70s-era song videos that will demonstrate, I hope, why this is the kind of music that I will always be rocking to!

… still there’s more …

Sep 212014
 

RAGLANS – “White Lightning”

This Irish band has released a fabulous music video for its “White Lightning” single (off new eponymous album). Directed by Finn Keenan, the video contains a couple of inventive visual gags and the song itself is great guitar rock in its own right. At almost 3 minutes, it’s a dose of classic pop-rock that certainly deserves your attention. Check it out!

Raglans available from iTunes.

PoP RECOMMENDS: PUGWASH

 MUSIC  Comments Off
Sep 182014
 
Pic by Ger O'Donnell

Pic by Ger O’Donnell

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.

Pugwash A Rose In A Garden Digi

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…

PoP RECOMMENDS: MOTHBOXER

 MUSIC  Comments Off
Sep 112014
 

MB-sand-and-the-rain-cover

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.

Continue reading »

Jul 052014
 

Night_Full_of_Sharp_Edges

Matt Mocharnuk, the brains behind recording artist Bittersweet Machines is a songwriter with the ability to manipulate the emotions of anyone fortunate enough to listen to his musical creations. I count myself amongst this number – as I have followed Mocharnuk’s creative journey in the last couple of years and with each release, cannot help but be awed by the consistent quality of the songs found on Bittersweet Machines EPs and albums.

New EP – A Night Full of Sharp Edges – is no exception to this rule. Stylistically, Morcharnuk has moved away somewhat from the post-punk revivalist tendencies found on previous releases. The songwriting seems more organic without reliance on any particular ‘genre’. This creative decision has liberated the music to form it’s own conclusions based on the confluence of tunes and lyrics.

What remains the same is the emotional weight of the melodies, the astute use of dynamism, the appropriation of infectious hooks and riffs and ultimately the natural appeal of songs that do not need too much analysis or deep probing in order to divine their joys.

It is an absolute pleasure to move from track to track – songs like “The Longest Minute,” “Is It Enough” and “Screaming Underwater” – embellished simply by acoustic guitar and tasteful keyboards reach out to touch heart and soul, rightfully belonging to the sweet indie Brit rock epoch that birthed bands like Travis, Coldplay and Keane.

Yet another bloody essential release from Bittersweet Machines.

Find out more!

 

PoPTV

 MUSIC  Comments Off
Jul 042014
 

POPTV

Whenever we can, we strive to remind you – kind visitor – what Power of Pop is all about. Sweet pop music, 60s/70s styled is definitely on the agenda. Bring it!

THE CANYON RAYS – “The Sunshine Growers”

Here’s the new single from Californian pop enthusiasts The Canyon Rays as visualized by director Justin Slade McClain. The track will appear on their upcoming West Coast Babes LP later this year.

Listen to/download from Bandcamp

MONOMYTH – “Patsy”

Canadian quartet Monomyth pride themselves as being slightly left of centre as new single “Patsy” and its seriously weirded out video proves. Their debut album, Saturnalia Regalia!, comes out on July 22nd, 2014 on Mint Records!

Listen to/download the Monomyth eponymous EP from Bandcamp.

BLACK MOTH – “Blackbirds Fall”

And ‘classic’ hard rock is always part of POP POWER equation! Britain’s young new heavy rock heroes Black Moth release the first single and video from their forthcoming new album Condemned To Hope coming this fall. Horns up!

Official Site

… still there’s more …

Jul 012014
 

Nineties alt-rock fans will be thrilled by the news that Scottish band Travis return to Singapore on 1st August at the Star Performing Arts Centre. The band released their comeback album – Where You Stand – last year after a five year hiatus and this concert promises to be a highlight of 2014!

Tickets are priced from SGD58 (excludes booking fee) and are available via SISTIC.

Listen to our playlist of a possible Travis setlist. Enjoy…

Event page

PoPTV

 MUSIC  Comments Off
Jun 262014
 

POPTV

If not already apparent, here at PoP, we focus on pop with power. Invariably, that involves bands and artists that take a long hard look into the wide world of music available out there in the space-time continuum in a valiant effort to come up with something new, something unique, something that rocks the listener’s heart and soul. With that in mind, here are some of our YouTube discoveries (not the kind you’re thinking of) and we hope to give them more profile and attention in the weeks and months to come…

ROOK AND THE RAVENS – “The Judge”

Continue reading »

Jun 192014
 

Second EP from these Perth-based smart poppers finds them in the sweet G-spot between British post-punk and American new wave. Simply put – infectious melodies, bouncy rhythms, quirky lyrics and cool vibes overall. Seriously folks, they don’t make pop music like this anymore. This is the kind of pop, Power of Pop was established to drool over!

The title track is a masterwork of tightness and economy, crammed into its 3:31 minutes is more absolutely gorgeous pop (is there a better middle-eight/bridge from anyone else in 2014?) than anything most of the post-punk revivalists will be able to muster in their unreasonably overlong careers (you know who you are!)

Amazingly, the other four tracks do not fall too shy off the pop perfection of the title track. “I Disagree With Myself” is a brilliantly clever pop single that the likes of XTC and Split Enz would be proud to call their own with an irresistible chorus hook to  boot – “I don’t wanna be dumb and bored”. No danger of that!

“Far From the Moment” and “Don’t Look at Me” have similarly mellifluous refrains – sweetness perfected in hooks and riffs that dig deeply into the ear. And of course, opener “Uppers and Downers” is a wonderful study in tone – offbeat, sinister and yet funny at the same time. No mean feat.

The Disappointed – check them out cuz believe me, you will not be!

Official Site

Apr 052014
 

19805cts

NINETEEN EIGHTY

A transitional year for me. I welcomed the new decade as a National Serviceman having enlisted on Boxing Day, 1979. But more importantly, my musical tastes were changing as well, significantly. Sometime in 1978, I had been exposed to punk when a JC friend played to my friends & I, the Sex PistolsAnarchy in the UK LP (banned in Singapore but smuggled in for good measure) and to be honest I was unimpressed. For a pop-rock lover weaned on The Beatles, Deep Purple, Queen, Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin, the Sex Pistols seemed dumb and barbaric!

That said, by 1980 I had begun to cotton on to the post-punk movement and had already started listening to the pioneering new bands of that era, which seemed far removed from the old-school rockers of my relative youth. Fueled by the noises made by rock mags like NME, Sounds & Melody Maker, I had started to abandon the old bands (as irrelevant) and had ‘embraced’ the future of rock. 

Continue reading »

Apr 042014
 

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 …

DISCOVERED @ SPOTIFY

 MUSIC  Comments Off
Jan 082014
 

Stephen Malkmus

2014 means new albums. Listen at Spotify!

STEPHEN MALKMUS & THE JICKSWig Out at Jagbags

Ex-Pavement frontman, Malkmus returns with a brand new solo LP. Idiosyncratic songs with quirky arrangements but never lacking in memorable tunes.

Continue reading »

DISCOVERED @ SPOTIFY

 MUSIC  Comments Off
Dec 062013
 

Supertramp will always be remembered as a crucial influence on my music making in my late teens. Formed around the nucleus of two brilliantly gifted singer-songwriters Roger Hodgson and Rick Davies, this English quintet managed to come up with a successful blend of prog-rock and pop music sensibilities that resulted in two classic LPs in Crime of the Century (1974) and Breakfast in America (1979) as well as a couple of chart hit singles in “Give a Little Bit”, “It’s Raining Again” and “The Logical Song”.

You can listen to the band’s entire discography at Spotify but of course, check out my playlist for the comprehensive introduction to the delights of this iconic band. Enjoy!

…still there’s more…

PoPINIONS

 MUSIC  Comments Off
Oct 142013
 

WHEN DID INDIE POP BECOME A BAD WORD?

I love music of all kinds and generally dislike attempts at pigeon-holing. But of course, when you are trying to write about music it often becomes impossible to talk about ‘genres’. Since 80s “indie pop” has been treated as the artistic superior of pop-rock (which originated in the 70s and included the likes of Styx, ELO and REO Speedwagon – all of which were detested by the snobbish indie pop pundits) with its pioneers including bands like Orange Juice, Aztec Camera, Lloyd Cole & the Commotions, Felt, early Primal Scream and of course, The Smiths. By the late 80s, it was fairly agreed that the defining conventions of “indie pop” was  jangling guitars, a love of ’60s pop, and melodic power pop song structures” and pop historian Jon Savage traced the origins back to the 60s (of course!) and to the eponymous third album of The Velvet Underground.

Continue reading »

DISCOVERED @ SPOTIFY

 MUSIC  Comments Off
Oct 082013
 

… and we’re back! Power pop is the original basis for this webzine’s existence so I thought it’d be appropriate to highlight all you needed to know about the foundations of true-blue original POWER POP. Enjoy…

BADFINGER

Thanks to the Breaking Bad finale, Badfinger is back in vogue. This British band originally consisted of Pete Ham, Ron Griffiths, Mike Gibbins and Tom Evans and were signed by The Beatles to Apple Records in 1968. Badfinger had four consecutive worldwide hits from 1970 to 1971: “Come and Get It” (written and produced by Paul McCartney), “No Matter What”, “Day After Day”, and “Baby Blue” (the song featured in that Breaking Bad finale).

Continue reading »

BLURB-O-RAMA

 MUSIC  Comments Off
Sep 192013
 

BOB

Here we go – your weekly dose of capsule reviews.

COLORWAYS/t

Rock n’ roll will never die! This just might be power trio Colorway‘s manifesto on this eponymous debut. Rollicking numbers like “I’m Still Running” and “Live With Me” get the point across very succinctly. But singer-songwriter F Alex Johnson is also able to shake things up somewhat with the the sweet lullaby “Go Back to Sleep”, the acoustic instrumental “For the Birds” and the luscious ballad “A Temporary Occupation”. Highly recommended.

Continue reading »

Jul 142013
 

img_artistoftheweekbabyalpaca_144456353139.jpg_guides_hero

Chris Kittrell aka Baby Alpaca is yet another Brooklyn artist aiming to make a significant impact on the American and world indie rock worlds. Whatever commercial successes might be ahead of him, this eponymous EP at least demonstrates that Kittrell has a pop-savvy musical head on his shoulders. ‘Classic Rock N Soul’ is how Kittrell chooses to describe his music and yet again, it is refreshing to find a songwriter pulling together the myriad strands of rock and pop references at the disposal of a smart pop artist in 2013.

These four songs will keep rock scholars reaching for their stock lists of influences and inspirations as they attempt to pigeon-hole Baby Alpaca’s agenda into neat little packages. But that is ultimately a futile and frivolous exercise. For me, it’s the manner in which Kittrell manages to take 70s R&B rhythms, 80s power chords, folk harmonies and post-punk melodies to forge reasonably distinctive songs. But even without such anorak-like analysis, it’s a simple pleasure to just enjoy the infectious “On the Roam”, the svelte “Run With You”, the smoky reverb-drenched “Sea of Dreams” and the soul-inflected “Wild Child” for what they are – quality pop songs!

Keep an eye (and ear) out for Baby Alpaca!

Purchase the EP from iTunes. Like Baby Alpaca.

Jun 302013
 

Zallen (aka Mike Jones) has been laboring as an alternative pop artist for 15 years now and I have been awfully privileged to have been one of the few ‘in the know’. Zallen is a pop alchemist – able to take key 60s/70s pop influences and transform them into something personal and unique.

This is obvious from the get-go. The opening track of Zallen’s latest album – “Which Way Up” – manages to splice together the DNAs of 60s psychedelia (Barrett’s Pink Floyd, The Move and Traffic) with 70’s powerpop (Raspberries, Cheap Trick), not to mention a healthy dose of Bowie.

Ah yes, Bowie. This time around, it seems that Zallen has filtered much of the songwriting, arrangements and instrumentation through the lens of the legendary iconoclast. Tracks like “Grime”, “Stolen” and of course, “Bowie The Android Boy” are the clearest examples of this approach, without ever sounding outright derivative.

Indeed, Zallen utilizes Bowie’s penchant for eclecticism to spur him into expansive territory as the clean and uncluttered pop sounds of “Happy Puppy” and “Shy Boy” provide a wonderful contrast to the darker, buzzier compositions that pervade the album.

The CD comes with bonus enhanced portion with video, photos, lyrics and Zallen’s excellent artwork as well.

Official Site