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#21 Jason Panella

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Posted 18 October 2007 - 11:25 AM

QUOTE (Andy Whitman @ Oct 18 2007, 12:00 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Teenage Fanclub? Where do I start? How about with the "Greatest Unheralded/Mislabeled Band Ever" tag? It's not their fault that Bandwagonesque came out at the height of grunge, or that they were mistakenly lumped in with a million other alternative/indie bands. They were nothing of the sort. They were classicist pop lovers, as indebted to The Byrds and Brian Wilson (and obviously Big Star) as could be. Their best album, IMO, and one that nobody seems to have heard, is Grand Prix. But that album has it all -- great songwriting, superb multi-part harmonies, chiming guitars. It's the best album Big Star never made.


TFC are so good it hurts. Grand Prix is as good as you say it is, but Bandwagonesque is a wonderful bargin bin treasure (I see it NEW in some places for $5.99...the fact that people pass it up is a crime). I really love Songs from Northern Britain too, and Man-Made was a great recent release (after the disappointing Howdy!). But three instrumentalist/songwriters that sing lead on their own material and harmonize like crazy...wow, they do what they do really well. I almost drove from Pittsburgh to NYC to see them when they played in the US two years ago (they rarely tour here)...and knowing me, that's a feat, since I'm scared to travel on my own to places I've not been.

There was a web radio program called Power Pop Plus that basically played Andy's list 24/7...it was pretty incredible.

#22 Kyle

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Posted 18 October 2007 - 11:42 AM

I had forgotten about Redd Kross. At one point I had one their albums. I'm not sure what happened to it. I probably sold it. Stupid me. Great power pop from what I remember.

I think the fate of Teenage Fanclub is the same as many power pop bands from the 90's - they got lumped in with grunge. I'm convinced that is what happened to the Posies as well.

#23 Jason Panella

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Posted 18 October 2007 - 11:49 AM

This happened to so many acts that veered from 'rock radio' at the time; no matter what they played, it got lumped in with grunge. Thankfully TFC and the Posies (sort of) are still recording, whereas most grunge bands aren't.

#24 draper

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Posted 18 October 2007 - 01:37 PM

Like many people," I never travel far without a little Big Star".

This brings up a question. What exactly is "power pop"?
When I read the first post I thought yea, Matt Sweet, Cheap Trick, Shoes, ..of course TFC, Fountains of Wayne,etc.

but....

When someone mentions power pop I think of most of the bands mentioned in this thread. What about the fringes? Where does it start and stop?

I have always had a " I know it when I hear it" approach to the subject but I'm thinking, ( bear with me); It is the small group trying to fill space, in the same way that Phil Spector did, while emphasizing and maintaining melody. There is obviously a respect and adherence to song craft a la Brill Building songwriting, with an emphasis on coherence.

Is it a genre that begin with Badfinger and Big Star? I started thinking...ok, Big Star sure, what about Alex Chilton solo? The Replacements?

Chilton solo and the Mats were a step away from melodicism and into something a bit more primal. Is R.E.M disqualified because they are so lyrically obtuse?

I'm asking only because I think of Cheap Trick which has Beatlesque elements, as power pop and Future Clouds and Radar which has power pop elements as Beatlesque. It is entirely possible that I'm splitting hairs here.

Would the Ramones factor into the power pop equation? or are they an influential side note. What about The Raveonettes? they have J&M Chains love of 60's pop and darkness and yet remain somewhat light hearted.

Light hearted isn't really a criteria... I mean there is nothing really light hearted about most of the Girlfriend album. TFC can certainly lay it out very bluntly.


What are the Power Pop Touchstones?

Beatles?
Beach Boys/Brian Wilson?

Where is the dividing line between power pop and rock?

#25 Greg P

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Posted 18 October 2007 - 02:13 PM

QUOTE (mumbleypeg @ Oct 18 2007, 02:37 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Where is the dividing line between power pop and rock

This P.P. formula works for me:
--Traditional guitar, bass and drums dynamic (piano/organ flourishes ok... oh yeah and bells too)
--Electric guitars (of the jangly and chiming variety)
--Lots of Power Chords
--A wide array of Hooks
--Accessible melodies (this is key)
--Verse/ chorus/ verse/ chorus/ bridge/ chorus/ chorus-format
--Sweet Vocal Harmonies
--A certain breezy, melodic sensibility more in tune with what is commonly caled "pop" than the more abrasive sonic approach of "rock"

I amen the Teenage Fanclub praise. Those guys should've been global. Aint That Enough may be the quintessential power pop anthem to my ears. DittoNeil Jung. Cheap Trick appeared at a weird time in music history-- perhaps the wrong time-- but their first few albums were jam-packed with power pop classics.

Is there no love for the Pernice Bros? Also, as someone mentioned, Cotton Mather... even though that veers a little more into the "rock" bin.

Edited by coltrane, 18 October 2007 - 02:19 PM.


#26 Andy Whitman

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Posted 18 October 2007 - 02:30 PM

QUOTE (mumbleypeg @ Oct 18 2007, 02:37 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
What are the Power Pop Touchstones?

Beatles?
Beach Boys/Brian Wilson?

Yep, and one more B band, The Byrds. That chiming/jangly guitar has to come from somewhere, and it might as well come from Roger McGuinn.

#27 TheTrout

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Posted 18 October 2007 - 03:48 PM

It's also specific eras of each of those bands - before they started getting ambitious. It's more like All Summer Long-era Beach Boys, Rubber Soul-era Beatles, and Younger Than Yesterday-era Byrds.

Edited by TheTrout, 18 October 2007 - 05:30 PM.


#28 Jason Panella

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Posted 18 October 2007 - 04:44 PM

Power pop is one of the hardest genres to pinpoint, but also one of the easiest--some stuff you just know as you hear it. I often think of the Beatles "And Your Bird Can Sing" as one of the best prototype power pop tunes: it has hooks overflowing, vocal harmonies, etc...what coltrane mentioned.

I mean, there are always hybrids, but I always tend to classify the ones that lean toward coltrane's list as the power pop artists. For instance, as power poppy as the Ramones were, they still were more punk than P.P. The Smoking Popes and the Thermals I tend to call more power pop, though, since they're more P.P. than punk. Just like Cheap Trick was more power pop than hard rock, or Jellyfish were more power pop than psych rock.

One thing I've always wondered, though, is that many power pop artists always tend to have country elements: Matthew Sweet, Teenage Fanclub, the Posies and--heck--even Big Star drifted toward twang. How to rationalize this? I don't know.

Oh, and as much as I respect R.E.M., I never called them power pop because I never, ever found them to be a 'hook-y' band.

QUOTE (coltrane @ Oct 18 2007, 03:13 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
--Electric guitars (of the jangly and chiming variety)



I would also add that lots of modern power pop has crunchy, fuzzed-out guitar dynamics over the chiming variety. Sweet's "Sick of Myself" is a good example, as is lots of Cheap Trick's earlier material.

#29 Teek

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Posted 18 October 2007 - 05:19 PM

Wow... a power pop discussion!! It seems most of the music I love outside the first wave of classic rock fits rather loosely under the power pop or alt-country banners. I believe The Beatles of 1964-1966 were the proto-power pop band and generally the term "Beatlesque" refers to power pop. As part of a cd swap for Christmas last year, I put together a power pop primer for my part. It's not a history of and it's not all-inclusive, and not every band would strictly be classified as "power pop", but all these songs feel like power pop to me.

Anyone who would like a copy, feel free to PM me.

Disc One

1. The Undertones - Teenage Kicks
2. The Beatles - All My Loving
3. The Who - The Kids Are Alright
4. The Monkees - (I'm Not Your) Steppin' Stone
5. Runt - We Gotta Get You A Woman
6. Badfinger - No Matter What
7. Big Star - September Gurls
8. NRBQ - Ridin' in My Car
9. The Raspberries - Go All The Way
10. Joe Jackson - One More Time
11. Cheap Trick - Surrender
12. The Ramones - I Wanna Be Sedated
13. The Buzzcocks - Ever Fallen in Love?
14. The Clash - 1-2 Crush on You
15. The Jam - Going Underground
16. Eddie and The Hot Rods - Do Anything You Wanna Do
17. The Only Ones - Another Girl, Another Planet
18. Hoodoo Gurus - I Want You Back
19. The Records - Starry Eyes
20. The Knack - Good Girls Don't
21. Aztec Camera - Oblivious
22. Miracle Legion - The Backyard
23. dB's - Love Is For Lovers
24. Rick Springfield - I've Done Everything For You
25. The Rubinoos - I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend

Disc Two

1. The Kinks - Better Things
2. Marshall Crenshaw - Cynical Girl
3. Bodeans - Angels
4. The Plimsouls - A Million Miles Away
5. Tommy Keene - Places That Are Gone
6. The La's - There She Goes
7. The Beat - Let Me Into Your Life
8. Matt Keating - Pull Some Strings
9. Richard X. Heyman - Falling Away
10. Guadalcanal Diary - Pillow Talk
11. The Pursuit of Happiness - New Language
12. Adam Schmitt - Waiting to Shine
13. Scruffy The Cat - My Baby, She's Alright
14. Material Issue - Diane
15. Matthew Sweet - I've Been Waiting
16. The Leatherwoods - How Can I Miss You?
17. P. Hux - Lives Like A KIng
18. The Lemonheads - Into Your Arms
19. Fountains of Wayne - Leave The Biker
20. Guides by Voices - Glad Girls
21. Old 97's - Barrier Reef
22. Buzz Zeemer - Break My Heart
23. Jesse Malin - Wendy
24. The Futureheads - Skip To The End
25. Baby's Coming Back

It might be the cd I've listened to the most in 2007.

#30 Kyle

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Posted 18 October 2007 - 06:10 PM

Nice list Teek. Have you contacted Rhino yet? If not, I see the start of a box set.

Rhino Presents: Power Pop!

#31 Hugues

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Posted 18 October 2007 - 07:57 PM

I always thought the early Who were more Power Pop than the Beach Boys, actually.



#32 Jason Panella

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Posted 18 October 2007 - 09:09 PM

QUOTE (Hugues @ Oct 18 2007, 08:57 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I always thought the early Who were more Power Pop than the Beach Boys, actually.


Amen. The pre-rock opera Who ("Substitute," "Pictures of Lily," etc.) were really proto power pop.

And that's a great list, Teek. I might present my power pop list sometime; I've been working on a list for a while and this might motivate me to finish it.

Anyone have the Nuggets collections floating around? Didn't Rhino release that?



#33 Andy Whitman

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Posted 19 October 2007 - 05:26 PM

QUOTE (Teek @ Oct 18 2007, 06:19 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Wow... a power pop discussion!! It seems most of the music I love outside the first wave of classic rock fits rather loosely under the power pop or alt-country banners. I believe The Beatles of 1964-1966 were the proto-power pop band and generally the term "Beatlesque" refers to power pop. As part of a cd swap for Christmas last year, I put together a power pop primer for my part. It's not a history of and it's not all-inclusive, and not every band would strictly be classified as "power pop", but all these songs feel like power pop to me.

Anyone who would like a copy, feel free to PM me.

Disc One

1. The Undertones - Teenage Kicks
2. The Beatles - All My Loving
3. The Who - The Kids Are Alright
4. The Monkees - (I'm Not Your) Steppin' Stone
5. Runt - We Gotta Get You A Woman
6. Badfinger - No Matter What
7. Big Star - September Gurls
8. NRBQ - Ridin' in My Car
9. The Raspberries - Go All The Way
10. Joe Jackson - One More Time
11. Cheap Trick - Surrender
12. The Ramones - I Wanna Be Sedated
13. The Buzzcocks - Ever Fallen in Love?
14. The Clash - 1-2 Crush on You
15. The Jam - Going Underground
16. Eddie and The Hot Rods - Do Anything You Wanna Do
17. The Only Ones - Another Girl, Another Planet
18. Hoodoo Gurus - I Want You Back
19. The Records - Starry Eyes
20. The Knack - Good Girls Don't
21. Aztec Camera - Oblivious
22. Miracle Legion - The Backyard
23. dB's - Love Is For Lovers
24. Rick Springfield - I've Done Everything For You
25. The Rubinoos - I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend

Disc Two

1. The Kinks - Better Things
2. Marshall Crenshaw - Cynical Girl
3. Bodeans - Angels
4. The Plimsouls - A Million Miles Away
5. Tommy Keene - Places That Are Gone
6. The La's - There She Goes
7. The Beat - Let Me Into Your Life
8. Matt Keating - Pull Some Strings
9. Richard X. Heyman - Falling Away
10. Guadalcanal Diary - Pillow Talk
11. The Pursuit of Happiness - New Language
12. Adam Schmitt - Waiting to Shine
13. Scruffy The Cat - My Baby, She's Alright
14. Material Issue - Diane
15. Matthew Sweet - I've Been Waiting
16. The Leatherwoods - How Can I Miss You?
17. P. Hux - Lives Like A KIng
18. The Lemonheads - Into Your Arms
19. Fountains of Wayne - Leave The Biker
20. Guides by Voices - Glad Girls
21. Old 97's - Barrier Reef
22. Buzz Zeemer - Break My Heart
23. Jesse Malin - Wendy
24. The Futureheads - Skip To The End
25. Baby's Coming Back

It might be the cd I've listened to the most in 2007.

Wow, some longtime favorites there, Teek, that I forgot in my earlier posts, particularly Hoodoo Gurus, Guadalcanal Diary, The La's, and NRBQ. And ah yes, "Teenage Kicks." Here's one of my favorite quotes:

"I just mark with an asterisk those tracks that I want to play on the radio. 1 asterisk means might play, 2 asterisks means should play, and 3 asterisks means must play. Uhm, I try to restrict myself to 3 asterisks, but if I get very enthusiastic I put 4 or even more. The Undertones' "Teenage Kicks" got something like 28 asterisks, but that was just a fit of madness."
-- Legendary BBC DJ John Peel

#34 draper

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Posted 19 October 2007 - 05:42 PM

I thought the Who were Maximum R&B biggrin.gif



#35 Jason Panella

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Posted 21 October 2007 - 06:48 PM

I've been working on a power pop mix CD for almost half a year, and every time I think I have it, it ends up not working out. But--after being inspired by Teek's list--I think I GOT IT. Here it is:

1) the Beatles- "And Your Bird Can Sing"
2) Nick Lowe- "So It Goes"
3) Teenage Fanclub- "Sparky's Dream"
4) Velvet Crush- "Ash and Earth"
5) Big Star- "Back of a Car"
6) Cheap Trick- "Come On, Come On"
7) Elvis Costello & the Attractions- "(What's So Funny About) Peace, Love and Understanding"
8) Gin Blossoms- "Hey Jealousy"
9) the Nerves- "Hanging on the Telephone"
10) Guided by Voices- "Gold Star for Robot Boy"
11) Jellyfish- "the Ghost at Number One"
12) Matthew Sweet- "Sick of Myself"
13) Micheal Penn- "Try"
14) Superdrag- "Sold You an Alibi"
15) the Posies- "Solar Sister"
16) Dave Edmunds- "Girls Talk"
17) Todd Rundgren- "Couldn't I Just Tell You"
18) the Undertones- "Teenage Kicks"
19) Squeeze- "Pulling Mussels (from the Shell)"
20) Flamin' Groovies- "Shake Some Action"
21) the Records- "Starry Eyes"
22) Sloan- "Losing California"
23) Marshall Crenshaw- "Mary Anne"
24) Jason Falkner- "Untitled"

I had to take so many good songs off so it could fit on one CD, from the Lemonheads ("It's All True"), Urge Overkill ("(Now That's) the Barclords"), Superchunk ("Hyper Enough" or "1000 Pounds"...yes, I think Superchunk is technically a power pop band in most ways), the Who ("Substitute"). Still, I got lots of good tunes on. I could probably listen to this CD for years and not get bored.

#36 Jason Panella

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Posted 25 October 2007 - 07:06 AM

To anyone who likes Cheap Trick's first three (or four) albums: check out some of their recent material, especially the self-titled disc from 1997 and 2006's Rockford. Both are really solid power pop albums that move away from the drivel they made during the '80s and most of the '90s.

#37 Nathan Smart

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Posted 30 October 2007 - 12:50 PM

I know I'm going to KILL myself in this, my very first post on this board, but I love power pop a lot and I'm so glad that Andy hipped me to this board so that I can start doing some research on all these bands that I haven't gotten to yet. New Pornographers and Zumpano are probably some of my favorites in this thread - I've still not had a chance to revisit my childhood (I saturated myself with R&B and Hip Hop in the 90s and ignored everything else) so this will be a good time to do that.

But, I'm killing myself because one of my guiltiest of pleasures, I think (and I'm already blushing), can be considered for this thread. It's not something that's going to go down in the history books as anything but fluffy kids music (it's played on Radio Disney for God's sake) but The Click Five fit the description of power pop to a tee. Listen to Pop Princess and tell me that, while your child is growing up and being subjected to awful music from their friends, it doesn't bring a smile to your pop heart ears (I mean, if we're mentioning The Rubinoos, come on).

And now that I've disgraced myself, I'll go back to reading and learning.

#38 Hugues

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Posted 30 October 2007 - 01:48 PM

For this thread Andy said Power Pop was "his true musical love" and it got me thinking about what could be my own, and I think I never really had a "true musical love". Or more exactly, my "true musical love" often seems to be the one I'm getting into for a while. For a while I could have thought my true musical love was folk music. But two months ago, I found myself drowning into the Spector sound. All the stuff this guy made with so many bands and artists, even the most "dumb" one (it's told he tried to be the most dumb possible), just can't cease to captivate and fascinate me. This man actually created a sound of dreams against reality. That may be why he became kinda mad (I think he is).

Spector didn't make Power Pop (I don't think so). But he made a sound, and a sugary music, that is just my current "true musical love".

The thing that shocked me lately (sorry for being off topic, but I keep on my little rant here), is that for the matters that got Spector involved lately, the media introduced the man like "the famous producer of the solo Beatles albums". I hope it's not like that in the US, but in France it's incredible how he's not well-known for all what he did in the sixties!

Needless to say his magnum work concerns the sixties era...

Edited by Hugues, 30 October 2007 - 01:49 PM.


#39 Andy Whitman

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Posted 30 October 2007 - 02:14 PM

QUOTE (Hugues @ Oct 30 2007, 02:48 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
For this thread Andy said Power Pop was "his true musical love" and it got me thinking about what could be my own, and I think I never really had a "true musical love". Or more exactly, my "true musical love" often seems to be the one I'm getting into for a while. For a while I could have thought my true musical love was folk music. But two months ago, I found myself drowning into the Spector sound. All the stuff this guy made with so many bands and artists, even the most "dumb" one (it's told he tried to be the most dumb possible), just can't cease to captivate and fascinate me. This man actually created a sound of dreams against reality. That may be why he became kinda mad (I think he is).

Spector didn't make Power Pop (I don't think so). But he made a sound, and a sugary music, that is just my current "true musical love".

The thing that shocked me lately (sorry for being off topic, but I keep on my little rant here), is that for the matters that got Spector involved lately, the media introduced the man like "the famous producer of the solo Beatles albums". I hope it's not like that in the US, but in France it's incredible how he's not well-known for all what he did in the sixties!

Needless to say his magnum work concerns the sixties era...

I think Spector is primarily known as the "Wall of Sound" producer in the U.S. That certainly encompasses some of those solo Beatles albums, but it also takes in The Ronettes and The Righteous Brothers, even The Ramones. Personally, I'm not a big fan of the sound or the man, but he is undeniably a major force in the music of the 1960s, and a somewhat major force into the 1980s.

Re: "my true musical love," I have to say that I have about eight, maybe ten, true musical loves. Power pop is certainly one of them. So is singer/songwriter folk music. So is Americana/roots/alt-country/country rock/whatever you want to call it when people sing with a twang. So is bluegrass. So is Celtic music[1]. So are blues and jazz, two genres of music I rarely write about here. So is punk. So is classical, which I don't think I've ever written about here. I'd be hard pressed to choose a favorite from that list. Fortunately, I don't have to. I love them all.

[1] Or the traditional music of the British Isles, or music loosely influenced by the traditional music of the British Isles. That's for you, Martin.

#40 draper

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Posted 30 October 2007 - 03:49 PM

Pretty safe to say that at this time Phil Spector is toast.

But..........He learned his craft under Leiber and Stoller. In the history of pop craft he is a milestone. Lot's of instruments, most of them playing unison lines, it was a way to really make the hooks jump out of tiny Am radio speakers. Once multi-tracking became wide spread the approach was unnecessary.

I would say that he didn't transition to stereo well but he did produce All Things Must Pass and Imagine.

He did come up with some pretty cool tricks/arrangements. Multiple drummers, tons of percussion, multiple guitar players. He even used multiple bass players. Had Piano players double the bass line.

He helped Sonny Bono learn his craft. Employed Jack Nitzsche

If Brian Wilson is a touchstone for Power Pop, then nods must be made towards Phil Spector.

I love Phil Spector, for the simple reason that there is something magical in a room full of people making music together and for a while he was really really good at making that happen.

Of course there are the murders and the craziness and well, that part isn't fun at all.