PoP RECOMMENDS | THE NEW ROCK N ROLL : GRANDADDY – LAST PLACE

Last time we reviewed a Grandaddy album – Just Like the Fambly Cat – it was 2006 and CDs stores were still a thing. In the intervening 11 years, much has changed in the rock landscape (well, rock is dead, they say) but at least Grandaddy is back to remind us that as far as primo pop-rock music is concerned, nothing has to change!

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ALBUM REVIEW: CLOUD CULT – THE SEEKER

Cloud-Cult-2015

The joy of music discovery is never limited to merely new artists but even artists that have been around for quite a long while. Fact is, this is the first time I’ve even heard of Cloud Cult and the band has been in existence for over two decades! The Seeker is the band’s 10th album in that time and it is probably the ultimate hipster concept album, despite itself.

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THE FLAMING LIPS RETURN TO SINGAPORE ON DECEMBER 1ST!

Flaming Lips SG

The Flaming Lips are coming back to Singapore! Four years ago, the Lips thrilled us with a wildly psychedelic show but omitted to play a single track from my favourite Lips album – The Soft Bulletin. Well, hopefully, the band can remedy this in December at The Coliseum! Tickets go on sale this Monday (20th Oct) 10am at http://tickets.eventclique.com/thegathering.

… still there’s more …

LISTENING BOOTH: ALT-J (∆) – FITZPLEASURE

UK-based band alt-J (∆) released their debut album, An Awesome Wave, in North America today via Canvasback Music. Already the album is a firm favorite here at Power of Pop and now, you can listen to “Fitzpleasure” a superb track that highlights the eclectic nature of the band’s songwriting and production. Cool stuff!

 

FLAMING LIPS/RAVEONETTES – LIVE IN SINGAPORE

Back in the late 90s, I had coined the term “widerscreen rock” to describe cutting edge bands whom I’d felt were producing music that cover a wide variety of genres, adopting an “everything and the kitchen sink” approach. This music was epic in scope, yet to able evoke very personal emotions. In 1999, with the release of The Soft Bulletin – my album of the 90s – I believed that the Flaming Lips was at the vanguard of this “movement” (yeah, alright, it was only in my head but that’s often good enough for me).

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ADMIRAL RADLEY

ADMIRAL RADLEY I Heart California (The Ship)

No disrespect to Earlimart’s Aaron Espinoza and Ariana Murray (who form half of Admiral Radley) but this debut album reminds me so much of my beloved Grandaddy, I’m beginning to wonder how much influence Jason Lytle and Aaron Burtch (ex-Grandaddy and the other half of Admiral Radley) had on its sound and direction. However, upon closer inspection, the vocal duties are shared equally between Lytle and Espinoza, so definitely the Earlimart portion of Admiral Radley contributed their fair share.

Hey, I’m not complaining, as in the absence of any more new Grandaddy recordings, this is more than an able substitute. Highly whimsical and quirky, the songs on this wondrous debut is simultaneously buzzy, weird, hilarious, charming, dynamic and touching. I mean when you get songs like the distorted I’m All Fucked On Beer and the sublimely gorgeous Ghosts of Syllables, you know you’re in for one heck of a ride.

The other highlights include the ELO-channeling G N D N (sounding like an outtake of Sumday), the country-folky soothing Lonesome Co., the melancholic/haunting I Left U Cuz I Luft U and the lovely title track. With last year’s Lytle solo effort and this Admiral Radley album, its almost Grandaddy never left and I for one could not be happier.

I Heart California will be released on 1st July.

Official Site | Myspace

ADMIRAL RADLEY

Here’s a new band to get really excited about. Admiral Radley consists of members of two great alternative rock bands viz. Jason Lytle & Aaron Burtch (Grandaddy) and Aaron Espinoza and Ariana Murray (Earlimart) and the band is issuing its debut album on The Ship label come July 13th.

Listen to I Heart California, the title track of the upcoming album, and you will be assured that this new aggregation will certainly do justice to fans of their parent bands. Four plus minutes of Lytle’s quirky vocals, buzzy guitars and sweet keyboards with Lytle waxing lyrical about his home state. Bliss!

Review to come…

Official Site

SUMMER PEOPLE

SUMMER PEOPLE Good Problems (Red Leader)

You might say that this NYC-based octet is either a incredibly versatile band or they lack focus. Matter of perspective really. The band wildly oscillates from one genre to another with scant regard for the listener’s expectations but mostly within the modern day indie rock genre. With rootsy romps (Two Hearted People), Cure-inflected new wave (Glossy-Eyed), raucous rave-ups (Broken Bones and atmospheric post-punk ballads (Great Northern Diver), Summer People offers a widescreen interpretation of all that passes for indie rock for fans to cherry pick.

Myspace

ANNUALS

ANNUALS Sweet Sister (Banter)

Merely describing Raleigh, North Carolina sextet Annuals as an indie-pop outfit isn’t really much help. To these ears, Annuals is a creative unit which is passionate about creating eclectic, genuine pop-rock music. Therefore, on this new EP, Annuals demonstrate that they are equally at home with lusty country-folk (Flesh and Blood), whimsical rootsy jaunts (Holler and Howl), Latin-flavoured pop candy (Loxstep), world music-informed percussive nuggets (Sweet Sister) and atmospheric, moody pieces (Turncloaking).

Regular PoP visitors will be aware that the genre that I’ve coined for artists like Annuals is “widescreen rock”, which includes the likes of Mercury Rev, the Flaming Lips and the now-defunct Grandaddy. Meaning that these bands paint on a epic canvas and is all-inclusive in the genre-bending exercise they call songwriting. Well, Annuals is a widerscreen rock band, if I ever heard one. Displaying an impressive range of styles, Annuals is a band that surprises with every musical turn. My favourite kind!

Official Site

Myspace