Friday, 21 April 2017

Scott And Rivers - ニマイメ

As a long time Weezer fan, the last few years have provided diminishing returns. I compare them to Cheap Trick in that you wait excitedly for every new album and you are told in advance that it's a real return to form. What you get is actually one or two killer songs accompanied by a load of disappointment.

Rivers Cuomo always seems to provide far more away from the band and the Scott And Rivers follow up to the 2013 debut is stunning. Murphy and Cuomo together offer something very different to their respective bands, Allister and Weezer.

This is J Pop, sung in Japanese and it's outstanding. There's the odd departure into ska and even rap, but largely it's great great pop and in Doo Wop, they have come up with one of the best Power Pop songs of 2017.

Normally, I'd direct to you where you can listen to and find it. However, I got hold of this via Japan from who I know rather than what I know. It is available on i-Tunes Japan here. As soon as I know of more availability I'll tell you. However I can't hold back on telling you how much that I am enjoying the album.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

The Bishop's Daredevil Stunt Club - Don't Buy This Record

Bands have released individual songs throughout the year regularly, particularly in these Bandcamp days. The Bishop's Daredevil Stunt Club took this a few steps further. They decided to record produce and release one new song per month until the latest album was complete.

Each song was made available as a free download and the resultant album is now complete and again available as a Free Download. This may be a fairly unique strategy but the result is a really cohesive offering from the Five Piece Chicago Outfit.

The vibe is Angular Power Pop set somewhere between the late 70's to mid 80's. Miscast has as many words in it as a Bates Motel era Sparks song, Rare Bird has a great Psych Pop keyboard riff that breaks into Funk.

The opener, Have You Met You is a ringer for The Darkness, yet Just Drive could be A Flock Of Seagulls.  Upstairs should be something on the Creation label. Succumb To Your Blues is in BMX Bandits or Postcard territory. What's It To You could be Fiction Factory.

The Woman Who Got Old takes me back to sweaty Northern clubs in the early 90's, great twee pop. The whole album is a pleasure to listen to and very much like the Lemmo album, it's the sort of album that you don't hear these days.

The album is not following any current trends and that makes this even more listenable to me. I get sent a whole lot of stuff and you probably can guess that it follows one of three patterns, lots of it done badly. So when you hear an album that grabs your attention, you should tell everyone, because there aren't too many around. What's more this costs the sum total of 0 pence.

You can listen to and download the album FREE here. The Bishop's Daredevil Stunt Club are also playing at the upcoming IPO Chicago Bash (sic) on 23 April. You can see the full Chicago schedule here.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Buttercup - Battle Of Flowers

Buttercup are back with their first album for seven years and they've been much missed. The trio of Erik Senden, Odie and Joe Reyes are joined by the Navaira brothers of Los Bandeleros fame. Album number seven is everything that the band always promised to be.

For something that was recorded from live studio takes, Battle Of Flowers is surprisingly cohesive, all 12 songs intertwine beautifully and most importantly it rocks, letting up infrequently when the band need to come up for air.

It's not all noise though, there is some great Pop present here on the likes of Vicious Rewind and the wonderful, Don't Go It Alone. These are interludes though, great intervals until the band break out again.

68 Playmate is like Lou Reed fronting a great Psych Band, Let It Drop opens the album in rocktastic form, like a Mitch Easter soundscape, it's great. Gud Girls is even better, the gem on the album. Open On / Shut Off is more of a nod to the Art Rock that they've been noted for in the past.

The problem maybe for Buttercup in the past is that maybe they've been caught between two stools. Are they Jangly, are they art rock? It's also fair to say that San Antonio Texas hasn't been the centre of the musical world, perhaps it should be.

On Battle Of Flowers, Buttercup have not only offered up their best album, but it has purpose. This is a proper album, an album you listen to from start to finish. There will be tracks that stand out, but each listen offers up something different. It may be their best ever, but it is certainly better than most around.

You can listen to and buy the album here.

The Hangabouts - Kits & Cats And Saxon Wives

An album that I've been waiting on for a few months is released on 28 April. This is more of a heads up than a full review. That full review will replace this when I can add a few more tracks for all to listen to.

Following on from 2014's superb Illustrated Bird, comes Kits & Cats And Saxon Wives. I'm fortunate enough to have the full album and it's been on repeat at ASH Towers. Fantastic Psych Pop with the emphasis on Pop.

We know that Michigan is currently the centre of Power Pop and Andy Reed adds another production to his growing admirable list. The Ann Arbor trio expand on what they provided on Illustrated Bird. All three are multi instrumentalists and offer up great harmonies comparable to the likes of The Legal Matters.

The album is available for pre-order and as you order you get the wonderful, Sinking Feeling, which features Molly Felder of Swan Dive as a guest vocalist. I can't praise the album enough, it's poptastic.

You can pre-order the album here.

Lemmo - Outta Line

Michael Lemmo's solo album last year, 3:13, was a fine thing indeed. For someone born in Pennsylvania and living in Los Angeles, the album was surprisingly UK sounding, very Bowie late 70's.

For someone who is a guitar prodigy, that album is strikingly moody and mature. If you have never heard the album, you should head over to the bandcamp page. Lemmo is now his band and the resulting album is here with us.

That late 70's feel has now moved into the 80's. If you are still looking for that Bowie comparison, Outta Line is more Nile Rodgers era. Riffs are angular. Dance Song is the biggest example of this, but London could be Inxs.

The guitar work on his debut isn't lost here, there's a fine solo on Ashley, different than a lot that is around. Philadelphia has a real mid 80's, even C86, feel. The album is at it's best when it rocks out and the back third certainly does that.

Outta Line and 1989 are real up and at 'ems and this showcases Lemmo's talent most. These lead up to the closer, the anthemic Alright. Outta Line is an album that gets better and better as it progresses, it certainly isn't an infuriating front loaded affair.

The production won't be to everyone's taste, it is very mid eighties, but that's no bad thing. I listen to so much poorly done Psych and Americana, that it's refeshing to hear something like this again, particularly when it's so well done. I like this album a lot.

You can listen to and buy the album here.

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Greg Ieronimo - Never Leaving California

It's no exaggeration to say that I've been waiting for this album for three years, ever since that debut mini album Bipolar Love. I hold Greg Ieronimo with the same esteem that I do Jason Falkner and Matthew Sweet. He's better at Pop than Sweet and writes better choruses than Falkner.

April is way too early to talk about albums of the year, but Never Leaving California is up there already, the three years wait has not ended in any disappointment whatsoever. With 14 songs, it's as though he's been ensuring that the wait has been worthwhile.

The 14 songs showcase just how varied his material is. From the Weezer of Wasted, the moodiness of Make It Out to the Psych Pop of High Up Here. Beautiful Disaster is all harmony, it might just get picked up by a boy band.

Ieronimo is at his best when he rocks a bit more though. Rewind is a cracking opener, very Cotton Mather. You Love Me is jaunty Summer Pop, a stormer of a song. reminiscent of a 70's TV Show Theme, Outta Sight is so Fountains Of Wayne. King Terrible is almost Grunge.

I just can't find a chink in the album. It's a splendid affair and in Best Day Of Our Life, we may also have the best song of the year. I can't recommend Never Leaving California enough, every one of the 51 minutes counts.

This is one of those albums that you will be telling everyone about. You'll be willing it on to sell and sell and sell. There's been some fantastic Power Pop releases in the past couple of weeks. This is without doubt the best. Let's not make it one of those albums that we talk about in a decade with an incredulous look that it didn't sell more.

This is why I love Power Pop. You can listen to and buy the album here.

Last Giant - Memory Of The World

Although I'm known for Power Pop, I have a sort of secret life as a lover of all things Prog. To be honest, you'd be surprised how many Power Pop Big Wigs have the same Prog Tendencies, we talk about King Crimson a lot.

Portland Oregon's Last Giant give me the best of both worlds, they border on a sort of Prog Pop and it's wonderful. Their second album, Memory Of The World is a real rockathon, riff heavy, but those riffs thunder.

It really is hard to label them, that Prog is evident on Inventory, but Drastic Plastic is like Stone Sour doing New Wave. There's tons here to appeal to everyone, shades of Southern Rock, Budgie, Man, Bad Company.

In The Calm could be Black Sabbath, Coverz has a fine metal riff, All The Same could be Glam Metal. The album only slows down temporarily on the final track, Saint Paul, but that can't help itself and keeps breaking out.

With all these references, you might expect an album that's all over the place. Surprisingly it isn't in the slightest, it's really cohesive. The band hit a riff and flog it to death and that's what is so enjoyable about the whole thing.

Don't expect to sit still, there'll be a lot of head nodding to this. It reminds me of one of those great 70's Rock albums with hints of 80's Rush without all those bloody keyboards. Memory Of The World is an absolute stomping affair.

You can listen to and buy the album here.