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’!
Here’s a lively soul pop number with a fun video to boot! It’s awesome to see tons of familiar faces from the local music scene in the video as well (but what about moi?). That sense of playfulness is nicely contrasted with Gareth’s (and band’s) sophisticated image – y’know the suits etc. The song itself has a catchy horn(y) motif and chorus (though the song title seems a bit of a mouthful). Am glad to announce that Gareth’s debut EP will be dropping soon and the launch will be held at Barbershop at Timbre on 22nd October. This suave boy is going places so better get in on the bottom floor before take-off. Tickets available from http://garethfernandez.peatix.com/
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!
If you’re reading this and were born in the 90s (I know, unlikely), then hopefully you’d know who Nirvana was and not be caught wearing the above tee merely cos it’s ‘hip and cool’. Thing is, of course, the early 90s saw the last commercially viable rock music before the music scene went pear-shaped in the noughties. In any case, the 90s witnessed the weird going pro as alternative rock became fashionable…. these are my favourite musical memories from that special time…
“Old Fart Music” or “Dad-rock” are two derogatory terms that the music press might use to brand a ‘genre’ or band as past its sell-by date. But this is all nonsense, of course. All rock music is derived from “Dad-rock” as Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy was quoted in Rolling Stone in 2011 —
“When people say dad rock, they actually just mean rock. There are a lot of things today that don’t have anything to do with rock music, so when people hear something that makes them think, ‘This is derived from some sort of continuation of the rock ethos,’ it gets labeled dad rock. And, to me, those people are misguided. I don’t find anything undignified about being a dad or being rocking, you know?”
Indeed, I hate to break it to you, kids, but EVERYBODY grows old. The true artist is someone who still has something to say even when he or she is much older. Every youth culture is based on something that came before so kindly refrain from these ageist pronunciations.
For this bright Saturday morning’s PoPTV, we’ve decided to bring you some of our favourite OFM or Dad-rock for your edification and information. Enjoy…
What will be the next rock trend the new kids on the block will cotton on to? Well, in the last five years the post-punk/new wave of the 80s has been fairly squeezed dry by new bands so perhaps now it’s time to move up a decade. If we look at the early 90s, power pop definitely was popular enough for major labels to sign the likes of Weezer, Jellyfish, Teenage Fanclub, Semisonic, Fastball, Superdrag, The Grays, Wanderlust and the like.
Probably one of the finest ‘pop’ bands to ever write and record music in the rock history. Well, that’s my humble opinion anyways. The band built around the songwriting core of Andy Partridge (vocals, guitar) and Colin Moulding (bass, vocals) and ably supported by Terry Chambers (drums, 1977 – 1983), Barry Andrews (keyboards, 1977 – 1978) and Dave Gregory (1978 – 1998). XTC effectively dissolved in 2005. These ten songs below represent merely the tip of the iceberg of the truly amazing music produced by XTC and hopefully, you will be inspired to find out more…
Country music mixed with rock n’ roll seemed like a logical conclusion as the roots of the latter was intertwined with the weight of inspiration of the former. The Flying Burrito Brothers, led by two former Byrds viz. Gram Parsons and Chris Hillman, lit the touchpaper for the likes of The Eagles and Poco. Not only that, in-between his time with The Byrds and the Flying Burrito Brothers, Parsons provided the Rolling Stones with much know-how for the legendary country-folk-blues classics that followed. In the late 80s/early 90s, Parsons (who passed away from a drug overdose in 1973, aged 27) become the godfather of a new movement which brought elements of punk and alternative rock to Parsons’ self-styled Cosmic American Music.
The Flying Burrito Brothers – Christine’s Tune (Devil in Disguise)
Regular visitors to PoP will be more than acquainted with the fact that Queen is one of my favorite rock bands of all time. Music videos have always played a significant role in Queen’s success and finally almost all of the band’s promotional videos have been compiled and collected into one 2-DVD set for fans to savour. All the videos are restored and shown in 16:9 widescreen and audio has been remixed for DTS 5.1 Surround Sound. Also includes audio commentary from Brian May and Roger Taylor (even snippets of interviews with Freddie Mercury as well).
If you’re a Queen fan, I don’t really need to sell it to you, do I?
I am really looking forward to the Passion Pit gig at the Esplanade Concert Hall on 21st August. if the new album Gossamer is any indication, it’s gonna be one wild party! I spoke to main man writer/singer/producer Michael Angelakos (above) recently and he struck me as a deep-thinking young man deadly serious about his music. So check out this music video of “Constant Conversations”, one of the standout tracks on Gossamer as its freeze-dried re-modeled 70s soul vibe will remove any doubts about what you should be doing on the night of 21st August. See you there!
This literally made my day! A wonderful video from Eytan and the Embassy that involves 18 costume changes – a world record! Eytan begins the video dressed as Buddy Holly and makes appearances as John Lennon, Jim Morrison, Elton John, Lady Gaga, David Bowie, Bruce Springsteen, Kurt Cobain and the Beastie Boys amongst others as he pays tribute to some of his favorite artists. Not only that but the horn-infused bopping Britpop gem that is “Everything Changes” is the perfect soundtrack to match! Enough talk, enjoy…
When I started Power of Pop back in 1998, my favourite ‘genre’ was ‘power pop’. Wiki defines ‘power pop’ as
“…a popular musical genre that draws its inspiration from 1960s British and American pop and rock music. It typically incorporates a combination of musical devices such as strong melodies, crisp vocal harmonies, economical arrangements, and prominent guitar riffs. Instrumental solos are usually kept to a minimum, and blues elements are largely downplayed. Recordings tend to display production values that lean toward compression and a forceful drum beat. Instruments usually include one or more electric guitars, an electric bass guitar, a drum kit, and sometimes electric keyboards or synthesizers. While its cultural impact has waxed and waned over the decades, power pop is among rock’s most enduring subgenres.”
When discussing ‘power pop’, inevitably the song used as a reference point is Big Star‘s “September Gurls”.
It’s easy to discern all the elements of ‘power pop’ that Wiki listed out in this song. Melody, harmony and gleaming guitars all in strong evidence. Of course, Big Star itself had many other kinds of musical styles but ‘power pop’ will always be the ‘genre’ the band will be most closely associated with.
The 90s Pop Underground was definitely influenced by Jellyfish (pictured above). The band formed around the nucleus of Andy Sturmer (Vocals, drums) and Roger Manning Jr (keyboard, vocals) and released two legendary albums (in ‘power pop’ circles, in any case) viz. Bellybutton and Spilt Milk. Sadly, Jellyfish‘s ‘power pop’ was out of synch with what was popular at the time i.e. ‘grunge’ and the band soon broke up after the failure of Spilt Milk. But its legacy was felt strongly for the rest of the decade. Here’s a video of the band playing “Joining a Fan Club” live. Amazing harmonies and dynamics.
In the wake of Jellyfish, many other ‘power pop’ bands also signed with major labels and released excellent albums which failed to register with the ‘grunge’ loving public. This list would include The Grays, Wanderlust, Jason Falkner and Greenberry Woods. A couple of ‘power pop’ indie labels like Not Lame and Big Deal soon surfaced to feed the appetites of the Pop Underground fans but by the early Noughties (despite initial mainstream successes of Fastball and Semisonic, the scene had faded away somewhat.
In the UK and Europe, there were also pockets of ‘power pop’ bands that also drew from 70s punk and 80s post-punk to remain relevant to critics but were essentially holding true to the traditions. Teenage Fanclub and a host of bands from the Scottish indie scene (like BMX Bandits and Captain America/Eugenius) flew the flag strongly for melodic guitar pop that bordered on ‘power pop’. But one UK band that really captured the imagination of the Pop Underground was Silver Sun.
Great melodies with crunching guitar work makes for primo ‘power pop’! However, the same decline that was seen in the USA was basically mirrored in the UK as well for ‘power pop’. So here we are in 2012 and the last decade or so has not been kind to ‘power pop’ and there has not been any significant ‘power pop’ band/artist in a long while. However, if you looked closely at bands like Surfer Blood, Best Coast and Cults, the unmistakable affinity for 60s pop blended with the modern guitar sound may be a subtle re-invention of ‘power pop’ for a entirely new generation of music lovers. I leave you with Singapore’s very own ‘power pop’ masters Typewriter with its instant classic, “That Deepest Blue” and hope that like me you will dream of a ‘power pop’ future…
It has been suggested that it is very difficult to find S-ROCK online. Hardly any videos or even official sites of S-ROCK bands can be found online. I guess that just means that S-ROCK bands are basically not popular, have no commercial appeal or many fans. Or maybe some people do not know how to use the internet…
Self-styled ‘ambient rockers’ Friend Slash Lover debuts its maiden music video of Disasteroid (off their debut EP, As American As Ones and Zeros). The song itself comes across like one long chorus (which is fine cos it’s rather infectious) although it walks the thin ice of overstaying its welcome. The video is a commentary about the end of the world or something like that. Punchy in all the right ways and great use of harmonies. Worth checking out…
Lose It is the second track taken from the Toronto band’s forthcoming debut album, Feel It Break (May 16th), and will be available via digital download and on limited edition numbered 7” vinyl. Austra is the brainchild of Canadian born Katie Stelmanis, who with drummer Maya Postepski and bassist Dorian Wolf have a created a dark, danceable masterpiece suitable for both ritual incantations and clubs; an album hearkening back to the sleazier side of New Wave but still rooted in Stelmanis’ classical and operatic upbringing.
Singer-songwriter Amy Kuney has just released the video for her song, Gasoline Rainbows, which gave its name to the Gasoline Rainbows benefit compilation released in 2010. The song and compilation were put together in the wake of the terrible oil spill that occurred in the Gulf of Mexico a year ago, affecting many states along the coast while having a devastating effect on wildlife. It’s a haunting little piece that leaves the right impression, sad and angry….