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Jason Panella

Power Pop

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Interesting! Yes, it is much less guitar-oriented, but I think the melodies are actually a lot stronger. It'll be interesting to see how the reviews pan out.

Listening to it for the third or fourth time right now, my opinion about the album's quality stands... but my placing it in the "power pop" thread is something I might ought to reconsider! ::blush::

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Interesting! Yes, it is much less guitar-oriented, but I think the melodies are actually a lot stronger. It'll be interesting to see how the reviews pan out.

Listening to it for the third or fourth time right now, my opinion about the album's quality stands... but my placing it in the "power pop" thread is something I might ought to reconsider! ::blush::

I agree that it's not a Power Pop album. There's some pop, but precious little power, which makes it fairly nondescript for me. Instead of using The Beatles, The Byrds, and Big Star as the template, they now seem to be using the Sting solo catalogue. That's not a good move, in my opinion.

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Do you happen to know if they lose their drummer between the last album and this new one? That seems to be the biggest departure for me, even more than the turned-down guitars... most of these songs seem to employ looped drum beats. Actually, it makes this feel much more like a solo album than a full-band album-- which isn't a bad thing, I don't think, if you take this on its own terms.

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Instead of using The Beatles, The Byrds, and Big Star as the template, they now seem to be using the Sting solo catalogue. That's not a good move, in my opinion.
Ouch. I somewhat agree, although it might be a grower.

Streaming here.

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Ouch. I somewhat agree, although it might be a grower.

Grower, yes. Power pop, no. Boring, sort of.

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And speaking of iconic bands, I just checked the Fannies' new, workman-like blog. Turns out they're starting to record a new album, their ninth, on August 24. My birthday.

That's an awesome birthday present.

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Count me in as one certified power pop junkie. One name I haven't seen mentioned here yet is Brendan Benson. Anyone a fan? I think he's creating some of the best contemporary power pop, absolutely infectious. Gets me singing and dancing a jig, for sure.

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I wish I had seen this thread before. I am also a big power pop fan. I often refer to this genre as being the musical equivalent of candy. I'm not calling it superficial because some have great lyrics, and some are very musically complex. It's just a pure enjoyment, like a sweetness to it I find difficult to describe.

The utmost in power pop for me are the Yellow Pills compilations. There are four volumes, and a bit later, another came out called Yellow Pills: Prefill.

Judging from groups and songs others have mentioned, I recommend checking out the Gilmore Girls soundtrack. I don't care what you think of the show. It's a pretty unique group of songs they selected.

As far as I know, no one has mentioned XTC. I consider much of their music as power pop, particularly their earlier work.

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Exhibit #273,896 on why this music still matters: the debut album from Army Navy, out October 14th. The leader of this band, one Justin Kennedy, used to co-lead a band called The Pinwheels with Ben Gibbard. His voice sounds like Ken Stringfellow or Jon Auer from The Posies. His guitars sound like Teenage Fanclub. It's melodic, whiney nerd rock. It's nothing you haven't heard 273,895 times before. But I'm still a sucker for jangly guitars and multi-tracked harmonies and singalong choruses.

Death Cab for Cutie and the Posies. Exhibit 3,634 why Bellingham, WA rules.

Concerning Pinwheel: I actually heard Pinwheel before I heard Death Cab. They were my gateway to a little side album called Something About Airplanes. Now, if I only had the foresight to pick up their very-limited cassette, my daughter's college might be paid for. Oh, and I have a few Pinwheel tracks floating around my hard drive. They're not worth spending a great deal of time tracking down.

Concerning Army Navy: I found one track floating around the internet and I like what I heard. I'm looking forward to October 14th. Although I have to say power-pop albums released in Fall/Winter are sort of a waste. You don't really get to absorb them in their full glory until the summer comes.

Judging from groups and songs others have mentioned, I recommend checking out the Gilmore Girls soundtrack. I don't care what you think of the show. It's a pretty unique group of songs they selected.

It's not totally power-pop, but the Gilmore Girls soundtrack is outstanding. I've been meaning to order it from Amazon for awhile now. Already owning about half the songs has proved to be a big detriment.

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Concerning Army Navy: I found one track floating around the internet and I like what I heard. I'm looking forward to October 14th. Although I have to say power-pop albums released in Fall/Winter are sort of a waste. You don't really get to absorb them in their full glory until the summer comes.

Both Matthew Sweet's Girlfriend and Urge Overkill's Exit the Dragon, two very fine power pop albums, were released in October. And for that matter, the latter album is the purest definition of an 'autumn' power pop album; it's claustrophobic, cold and makes me want to hide inside and listen to it.

Regarding XTC, they've always been a band that I want to love more than I actually love. Andy Partridge is a great songwriter, but his cynicism and

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Regarding XTC, they've always been a band that I want to love more than I actually love. Andy Partridge is a great songwriter, but his cynicism and

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Are there any other Jason Falkner fans out there? He was the original guitarist for the Jellyfish, and then recorded two albums under his own name in the '90s (he played every instrument, and is an incredibly talented musician). Those two albums, especially his debut Jason Falkner Presents Author Unknown, are some of the best power pop releases in the past 15 years.

Turns out he released another LP last year! I feel like a bad fan. His third official album (after some demos and that Bedtime with the Beatles lullaby disc he recorded) was released in Japan a year ago, with no US release date. Hopefully something soon.

Some of the tracks from the album are up on his MySpace page.

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I don't know half of all the bands mentionned, but know a good bunch all the same (the other half, all things reckoned)...

and I have special favorites:

Dwight Twilley Band - Sincerely

The Bongos - Drums along the Hudson

and also:

Blondie - Plastic Letters (it fits, doesn't it?)

The Flamin' Groovies - Shake Some Action

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Exhibit #273,896 on why this music still matters: the debut album from Army Navy, out October 14th. The leader of this band, one Justin Kennedy, used to co-lead a band called The Pinwheels with Ben Gibbard. His voice sounds like Ken Stringfellow or Jon Auer from The Posies. His guitars sound like Teenage Fanclub. It's melodic, whiney nerd rock. It's nothing you haven't heard 273,895 times before. But I'm still a sucker for jangly guitars and multi-tracked harmonies and singalong choruses.

What makes Army Navy a little better than the other 273,895 is that I feel like they're not going through the motions. Your description is perfect (nasally Stringfellow vocals + total, total Thirteen-era Teenage Fanclub music), and it's worth noting that the band is really energetic and not too glossed up. I guess it helps that drum madman (the Attractions / the Impostors) Pete Thomas plays on all of the tracks.

And the songs are really well-written. They're hook-laden, but not overbearingly so. There are harmonies that don't beat you over the head. The choruses soar. There's lots of guitar jangle, and lots of super-fuzzed rhythm guitar action.

I'm really, really enjoying this album. A shoe-in for my top ten of the year.

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Exhibit #273,896 on why this music still matters: the debut album from Army Navy, out October 14th. The leader of this band, one Justin Kennedy, used to co-lead a band called The Pinwheels with Ben Gibbard. His voice sounds like Ken Stringfellow or Jon Auer from The Posies. His guitars sound like Teenage Fanclub. It's melodic, whiney nerd rock. It's nothing you haven't heard 273,895 times before. But I'm still a sucker for jangly guitars and multi-tracked harmonies and singalong choruses.

What makes Army Navy a little better than the other 273,895 is that I feel like they're not going through the motions. Your description is perfect (nasally Stringfellow vocals + total, total Thirteen-era Teenage Fanclub music), and it's worth noting that the band is really energetic and not too glossed up. I guess it helps that drum madman (the Attractions / the Impostors) Pete Thomas plays on all of the tracks.

And the songs are really well-written. They're hook-laden, but not overbearingly so. There are harmonies that don't beat you over the head. The choruses soar. There's lots of guitar jangle, and lots of super-fuzzed rhythm guitar action.

I'm really, really enjoying this album. A shoe-in for my top ten of the year.

I think its my next selection from emusic once my song credit moves back up. I've really liked the two songs I've heard.

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Anacortes, Washington's The Lonely Forest has a new album in the pipeline -- We Sing the Body Electric (go, Walt Whitman), out April 21st on Burning Building Recordings. I've enjoyed the band's two previous efforts, 2006's Regicide EP and 2007's Nuclear Winter LP, but the new one is a big, bright step in the power pop direction. Lead singer/songwriter John Van Deusen's always had the tunes, but original guitarist Tony Ruland is back in the fold, and he pushes Van Deusen's always memorable melodies in decidedly loud and rocking directions. There are a few psych Elephant 6 flourishes as well. There's nothing particularly new or innovative here, but it sure is fun, and it promises to be on repeat play for the next few days.

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Certain songs just beg to be replayed. This one, called "We Sing In Time," by Anacortes, Washington quartet The Lonely Forest, got replayed about 10 times when I first heard it. It's still good for about three or four plays per day. It's the most infectious song I've heard so far this year. The rest of the album can't quite live up to this power pop gooey sweetness, but the other fourteen songs are worthwhile, too. The album, called We Sing the Body Electric, is out April 21st.

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One word: Telekenisis.

Their (and it's really a one-man band) self-titled (plus an exclamation point for good measure) is mind blowingly awesome, awesome, awesome. 11 songs, 31 minutes and hooks, hooks, hooks. Guitar hooks, bass hooks, drum hooks, vocal hooks, chorus hooks. There is nary a bad song in the bunch. It's just 30 minutes of awesome.

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If people can be sold by 30 second samples, Kyle, then I was sold by the ones on eMusic for Telekinesis!

And speaking of power pop, I'm sure some of you have heard of the seemingly wacky supergroup Tinted Windows (w/ members of Cheap Trick, Fountains of Wayne, Smashing Pumpkins and...Hanson). I wrote a review of their self-titled debut here. Despite what Pitchfork said about it today, it's not a bad album at all.

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If people can be sold by 30 second samples, Kyle, then I was sold by the ones on eMusic for Telekinesis!

And speaking of power pop, I'm sure some of you have heard of the seemingly wacky supergroup Tinted Windows (w/ members of Cheap Trick, Fountains of Wayne, Smashing Pumpkins and...Hanson). I wrote a review of their self-titled debut here. Despite what Pitchfork said about it today, it's not a bad album at all.

I've finally figured it out. Here's how to determine a fairly accurate rating for an album. Take the Pitchfork score, and subtract it from 10.0. The resulting total will be relatively close to the score used by other music-related sites in rating the album. In this case it's a 6.5, which sounds about right. Tinted Windows is perfectly catchy if not particularly noteworthy power pop.

This theory is also known as the 'Fork Inverse Ratio Equation (FIRE), which is what I would do with about 90% of their reviewers.

Edited by Andy Whitman

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Help! I've fallen and I can't get up! Perhaps three weeks ago, while in the middle of the spring paint-a-thon I promised my wife, I started listening to Rain and Paperback Writer over and over. I never know which slippery slope the Beatles will pitch me over. This time, it's an almost unending loop of the Pernice Brothers, the Posies and virtually every band Jason Falkner has ever been in or around.

Edited by mumbleypeg

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I read about this almost 15 years ago: a dorky kid bugged Frank Black with his power pop demos, and Black eventually got into them so much that he got the kid a record deal and produced the album. The kid: Jonny Polonsky. The album: Hi My Name is Jonny. I finally tracked it down and, really, it's a fine, fine album. Very '90s power pop in sound (see Posies / 100% Fun), and it has some really good high point. Honestly, Jonny isn't going to win any vocal contests (he sounds like a very gravelly Jason Falkner), but the hooks on many of the songs are just sugary enough without going over the top.

I know he has another album, but I don't know if I want to look around for that either...might take another 13 years.

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Cotton Mather -- Kontiki

I totally missed this band when they were in their heyday (to the extent that obscure Austin, Texas bands with a serious late-period Beatles obsession have a heyday). At any rate, I know lead singer/songwriter Robert Harrison from his albums as Future Clouds and Radar. And really, this is more of the same -- wildly eclectic psych/power pop, anchored by jangly guitars and multi-tracked John Lennon vocals courtesy of Mr. Harrison, who probably missed his shot at the big bucks by passing on the Beatlemania revival.

But you know what? This is a 5-star album. There are fourteen songs here and fourteen winners, a pitch-perfect Beatles homage bursting with hooks and swooning harmonies. The album came out in 1998, 34 years too late for Ed Sullivan. Oh well. The kids haven't screamed hysterically since John married Yoko, but I'd sure like to holler about the virtues of this album.

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Regarding XTC, they've always been a band that I want to love more than I actually love. Andy Partridge is a great songwriter, but his cynicism and

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