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#1 Jason Panella

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Posted 17 October 2007 - 09:50 AM

I'm a big power pop nut. No matter what new or old artists--of any genre--that I discover and love, I always go back to Cheap Trick, Matthew Sweet, Big Star, Teenage Fanclub, the Posies, Jason Falkner, Marshall Crenshaw and countless others.

And since individual power pop-related threads seem to die off quickly, why not make one place to talk about it?

I'll kick it off with this video of Velvet Crush (with long-time pal Matthew Sweet) performing the great tune "Atmosphere."



#2 Andy Whitman

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Posted 17 October 2007 - 10:16 AM

Power pop is my one true musical love. I venture down all kinds of musical back alleys and dead-end streets, but I always come back to the brightly lit boulevard. That's because there really is nothing better than chiming guitars, a backbeat, and three-minute songs about cars and girls.

Some new(er) power pop bands who continue to breathe life into the old genre:

The Safes
The Sails
Johnny Society
The Broken West
Rock Kills Kid
The Green Pajamas
Mas Rapido
Future Clouds and Radar
The Grip Weeds
The Trolleyvox
Milton and the Devil's Party
Deathray Davies
Cotton Mather
The A-Sides
Zumpano
Allen Clapp
The Orange Peels

#3 Jason Panella

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Posted 17 October 2007 - 11:00 AM

Thanks for the list, Andy--I've heard of most of these bands, but haven't really heard much (of any) of the music. I might check into some of these with my eMusic downloads this month (as well as some of Thom's recent suggestions).

#4 Hugues

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Posted 17 October 2007 - 11:23 AM

QUOTE(Andy Whitman @ Oct 17 2007, 05:16 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Zumpano


That's the former band of Carl Newman (New Pornographers), right? I have one 90's album of them. They sounded a bit like The Zombies, or the Shins.




#5 Ward in SC

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Posted 17 October 2007 - 11:57 AM

QUOTE(Andy Whitman @ Oct 17 2007, 11:16 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
That's because there really is nothing better than chiming guitars, a backbeat, and three-minute songs about cars and girls.



that about sums it up, for me!

My wife and and I will be seeing the fabulous SUPERDRAG reunion show this weekend in Knoxville.
I don't know if they could be considered the "purest" of power pop - I prefer a loose definition,myself - but when asked once what they sounded like I could only mumble something about Paul McCartney fronting Teenage Fanclub.

[an interesting backstory on frontman John Davis and his 'getting right' with God here]


where to start, where to start...I started with their third record In The Valley Of Dying Stars (2000) and it is a gem from start to finish.

#6 Jason Panella

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Posted 17 October 2007 - 12:01 PM

Superdrag reunion? Man, wish I could be there. I got started with A Headtrip in Every Key, which--aside from some tail-end clutter--is pretty stellar ("Sold You an Alibi" is stunning). Davis' solo album is worth getting too.

Let us know how the show goes.

And glad to see some love for Teenage Fanclub. They're easily on of my favorite bands.

#7 Andy Whitman

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Posted 17 October 2007 - 12:45 PM

QUOTE(smooth.death.take.it.slow @ Oct 17 2007, 12:57 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
that about sums it up, for me!

My wife and and I will be seeing the fabulous SUPERDRAG reunion show this weekend in Knoxville.
I don't know if they could be considered the "purest" of power pop - I prefer a loose definition,myself - but when asked once what they sounded like I could only mumble something about Paul McCartney fronting Teenage Fanclub.

[an interesting backstory on frontman John Davis and his 'getting right' with God here]


where to start, where to start...I started with their third record In The Valley Of Dying Stars (2000) and it is a gem from start to finish.

Superdrag is wonderful. I'm glad to hear about the reunion.

I interviewed John Davis a few years back for a now defunct literary journal called The Mars Hill Review. He was one of the more frustrating interviewees I've encountered. I wanted to talk about his music (in this case, his recently released solo album). He wanted to talk about his "road to Nashville" spiritual epiphany involving a blinding light and falling out of a van. Or something like that.

I'm glad the guy knows the Lord. I still liked his music better when he was a heathen in Superdrag.

#8 Jason Panella

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Posted 17 October 2007 - 12:52 PM

QUOTE(Andy Whitman @ Oct 17 2007, 01:45 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I'm glad the guy knows the Lord. I still liked his music better when he was a heathen in Superdrag.


But a Superdrag reunion is a good thing, in a long-term sense. The great, great band Smoking Popes broke up after frontman Josh Caterer came to Christ, but they've since done some reunion stuff and (I think) are recording again. Maybe this could lead to more permanent things for the 'drag?

Edited by Jason Panella, 17 October 2007 - 12:53 PM.


#9 Crow

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Posted 17 October 2007 - 12:57 PM

I've been getting into Sloan (Canadian power-pop band) quite a bit lately. I recently downloaded their best-of collection from Emusic, and their newest album Never Hear the End of It is one of my favorites I've heard in the past year.

#10 Andy Whitman

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Posted 17 October 2007 - 12:59 PM

QUOTE(Hugues @ Oct 17 2007, 12:23 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE(Andy Whitman @ Oct 17 2007, 05:16 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Zumpano


That's the former band of Carl Newman (New Pornographers), right? I have one 90's album of them. They sounded a bit like The Zombies, or the Shins.

It sounds like you have the first album, Look What the Rookie Did. That one was clearly influenced by The Zombies. The second album, Goin' Through Changes, was a love letter to Brian Wilson.

Both were great. But my faltering memory failed to register that both albums are now over ten years old. My how time flies. So my "new(er)" caveat really didn't apply.

I suppose we can throw The New Pornographers (and Carl Newman's solo album The Slow Wonder) into the mix. They're at least of more recent vintage than Zumpano, and, of course, equally wonderful.



#11 Jason Panella

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Posted 17 October 2007 - 01:11 PM

QUOTE(Crow @ Oct 17 2007, 01:57 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I've been getting into Sloan (Canadian power-pop band) quite a bit lately. I recently downloaded their best-of collection from Emusic, and their newest album Never Hear the End of It is one of my favorites I've heard in the past year.


I have one of the most basic eMusic subscriptions, so I've avoided the new Sloan since I was scared to use all of my downloads on one album. It's getting a lot of good press, though--and I'm surprised at how it slipped under the radar. Between the Bridges is one of my Top 20 albums of all time, and I love love love One Chord to Another.


#12 Hugues

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Posted 17 October 2007 - 03:55 PM

QUOTE(Andy Whitman @ Oct 17 2007, 07:59 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
It sounds like you have the first album, Look What the Rookie Did. That one was clearly influenced by The Zombies. The second album, Goin' Through Changes, was a love letter to Brian Wilson.


I actually own Goin' Through Changes (tried to get both, but couldn't get my hand on the first one a few years ago). Anyway, weren't the Zombies a love letter to Brian Wilson themselves? smile.gif (I'm thinking of Odessey & Oracle)

#13 Cunningham

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Posted 17 October 2007 - 07:55 PM

A band I discovered recently and have loved and would fit into this categorization is The Stars. I have their latest two, Set Yourself on Fire and In the Bedroom After the War and I love them.

Edited by solishu, 17 October 2007 - 07:57 PM.


#14 Holy Moly!

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Posted 17 October 2007 - 08:53 PM

QUOTE(solishu @ Oct 17 2007, 08:55 PM) View Post
A band I discovered recently and have loved and would fit into this categorization is The Stars. I have their latest two, Set Yourself on Fire and In the Bedroom After the War and I love them.


Stars (there's no definite article) would not fall into this category. Too pristine and clinical. Too benign.

instead, try WOLF COLONEL.

#15 Jason Panella

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Posted 17 October 2007 - 10:27 PM

QUOTE (Holy Moly! @ Oct 17 2007, 09:53 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Stars (there's no definite article) would not fall into this category. Too pristine and clinical. Too benign.

instead, try WOLF COLONEL.


Yes to both statements, Kevin. I listened to some of Wolf Colonel's pre-name flip-flop stuff on the K site, and it's a power pop blast. Must get. (And Anderson's stuff under his own name is pretty good too.)

#16 Kyle

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Posted 17 October 2007 - 11:27 PM

Boy, if you would have asked me yesterday I would have sworn I listened to a great deal of power pop. It turns out I don't. I listen to a lot of pop, but it lacks in power. There are a few that I do listen to though.

I do enjoy Superdrag. In high school I listened to their first album alot. It's the one with the song, "who sucked out the FEEEEEEELING". I downloaded In the Valley of the Dying Stars awhile back but I never listened to it more than once or twice. It came at exactly the wrong time for me. I downloaded it after getting my first PC, high speed internet, and an emusic account that allowed for unlimited downloads. I went a bit crazy and downloaded too much music. Way more than I could listen to. Superdrag was one of those casulties. Looks like I might have to break it out again.

The Posies are one of my favorites. Although, I think I might like their acoustic stuff best of all. I listen to their live acoustic album more than any other. I feel kind of bad for the Posies. I think the had the unfortunate timing of being a Seattle band formed during the grunge era but weren't grunge yet producers and record labels tried to grunge up their sound. While I enjoy it, Froasting on the Beater tries too hard but there are some gems on it.

Perhaps my favorite power pop band is another Seattle band from the mid- to late-90's: Super Deluxe. Stupid band name, but their two LP's from the era, Famous and Via Satellite are packed with way too many great songs, big hooks, and choruses that you can't get out of your head.

I'm surprised nobody has mentioned Fountains of Wayne yet. I love, love, love "Radiation Vibe", "Survival Car", and "Sick Day". It's too bad they'll be remembered mostly for "Stacy's Mom".

#17 Jason Panella

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Posted 18 October 2007 - 06:23 AM

QUOTE (Kyle @ Oct 18 2007, 12:27 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
The Posies are one of my favorites. Although, I think I might like their acoustic stuff best of all. I listen to their live acoustic album more than any other. I feel kind of bad for the Posies. I think the had the unfortunate timing of being a Seattle band formed during the grunge era but weren't grunge yet producers and record labels tried to grunge up their sound. While I enjoy it, Froasting on the Beater tries too hard but there are some gems on it.


I love the Posies, but they never really had a really spectacular album. Frosting on the Beater is their most consistent (the first half of the album is way awesome), but Dear 23, Amazing Disgrace, Success and Every Kind of Light all have high and low points. They're a band ripe for sweet mix CD action. Thankfully, Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow have really good solo careers (both power pop too).

QUOTE
I'm surprised nobody has mentioned Fountains of Wayne yet. I love, love, love "Radiation Vibe", "Survival Car", and "Sick Day". It's too bad they'll be remembered mostly for "Stacy's Mom".


Their self-titled album doesn't have a bad track, and I'm incredibly fond of Utopia Highway. I can't believe I forgot them either!

#18 Kyle

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Posted 18 October 2007 - 08:57 AM

QUOTE (Jason Panella @ Oct 18 2007, 04:23 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (Kyle @ Oct 18 2007, 12:27 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
The Posies are one of my favorites. Although, I think I might like their acoustic stuff best of all. I listen to their live acoustic album more than any other. I feel kind of bad for the Posies. I think the had the unfortunate timing of being a Seattle band formed during the grunge era but weren't grunge yet producers and record labels tried to grunge up their sound. While I enjoy it, Froasting on the Beater tries too hard but there are some gems on it.


I love the Posies, but they never really had a really spectacular album. Frosting on the Beater is their most consistent (the first half of the album is way awesome), but Dear 23, Amazing Disgrace, Success and Every Kind of Light all have high and low points. They're a band ripe for sweet mix CD action. Thankfully, Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow have really good solo careers (both power pop too).


Yes. I tend to agree. I think Amazing Disgrace is probably my favorite studio album but even then there are a number of missteps. I think their inconsistant output on albums is why their acoustic live album In Case You Didn't Feel Like Plugging In is my overall favorite. It takes all their best best songs and features mostly Auer and Stringfellow's wonderful voices. Did I mention the harmonies? Wow. Those harmonies are something else.

Jon Auer's 2006 album Songs from the Year of Our Demise is one of my favorites from 2006. It's one of those rare albums that feels too long but has no song that I would want to get rid of.

#19 Jason Panella

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Posted 18 October 2007 - 10:20 AM

Stringfellow's Touched is a remarkable CD, too--a nice blend of Muswell Hillbillies-era Kinks, jagged power pop and textured synth action.

And from what I've seen of the tracklist, the Posies' best-of collection looks like a good deal.

#20 Andy Whitman

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Posted 18 October 2007 - 11:00 AM

I agree that The Posies' back catalogue is uneven. But there's a killer Best Of/Greatest Hits compilation there somewhere.

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.

Some other longtime favorites, most of them now long gone:

Gigolo Aunts
Red Kross
Starry Eyed and Laughing
Dwight Twilley Band
The Rubinoos
The Plimsouls
Dave Edmunds
Gin Blossoms
The Bangles (yeah, I know, but listen to their first album, All Over the Place)
Any Trouble
Richard X. Heyman
The Bongos
Human Sexual Response
The Waitresses
Todd Rundgren
Tommy Tutone
Marshall Crenshaw
Robin Laine
Moon Martin