Power Pop

New album: Teen Line || Collecting To Collect

An Australian band that names itself after one of the greatest should-have-been-chartopping power pop singles of all time? Well, if you want to know how high my expectations were for Teen Line’s debut LP, imagine standing on your toes and raising your hand as high as possible. I am pleased to report that this Geelong band featuring members of The Floaties, Vintage Crop, Luke & The Typicals and The Sues do the name justice.

Teen Line’s debut album Collecting To Collect showcases a raw and dynamic blend of power pop’n’roll characterized by lively guitar slinging, energetic drumming, and infectious honesty. The recordings exude a sense of spontaneity, almost like they’re first takes with no need to polish any imperfections. Teen Line doesn’t adhere strictly to a classic power pop blueprint; instead, they knead, pull, and twist the genre in their preferred direction. The result is something hearty and nourishing—not overly sugary or radio-friendly, but refreshingly authentic. Get ready to hit repeat!

Collecting To Collect is out now at Weather Vane Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New EP: Softjaw || Softjaw

A Big Star pin on the jacket of Tanner Duffy (Justus Proffit, Hilary Chilton) made Dustin Lovelis (The Fling) reach out. The shared love of power pop marked the birth of a new Long Beach super group that also includes Vinny Earley (Vaguess, Diode) and Daniel Michicoff (Tijuana Panthers). The name of the band? Softjaw!

The band debuts with a 5-song self-titled EP of nod-your-head and tap-your-feet sunny and nostalgic power pop that channels classic (Beatles, Byrds, Big Star, and Nerves) and more modern (Teenage Fanclub) influences. It’s the kind of EP that can only be the product of shared passion, equity of talent and record collection overlap. I definitely want more of where this came from!

EP out now through Dream Machine Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: The Blackburns || The Blackburns

Joel Tannenbaum (Plow United, The Rentiers) and Nick Palmer (Wax Wav, The Danger-Os) started The Blackburns at some point last year. The creative synergy between the duo, along with additional members Lynna Stancato (vocals and synth) and Abe Koffenberger (guitar) was so strong they have released their full length debut within a year. It is out now courtesy of Sell The Heart Records.

The Blackburns are the kind of band I think will resonate with many of our readers. For starters, this band rocks! What’s more impressive though is their refusal to be confined to any specific subgenre. The album kicks off with Hooks, a glammy radio friendly rocker. It’s followed by Southern Chester County, which to my ears sounds like a modern power pop update of Shoes. Chill City Population You is ’90s alt pop hit material, while Status: Someday embodies the ’00s indie rock vibe. Drama Club sounds like Bob Mould at his catchiest. Listening to this album feels like tuning into a self-sustaining radio station where, instead of changing the channel, you’re eager to learn more about the band. It that applies to you as well, read more about The Blackburns in this interview at Sweet Sweet Music Blog.

Currently, only Hooks is available on Bandcamp. Find the remainder of the record on the streaming service of your choice.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New single: The On And Ons || Looking Out Of A Mirror

French record label Rogue Records once again confirms their growing status as a reliable supplier of cool 45s. The latest single from the Australian garage/power pop-sters The On And Ons is no exception in that respect. Both A-side Looking Out Of A Mirror and B-side Hey What’s Going On?, together less than five minutes long, manage to combine quite a few proven delights and catchy hooks into earworm hits. That’s actually no surprise, because we really liked their LPs Back For More (2021) and Let Ya Hair Down! (2023) too. The band, formed in 2015 by Glen Morris (Screaming Tribesmen), his brother Brian Morris, and Clyde Bramley (Minuteman, Hoodoo Gurus), specializes in jangly guitar melodies combined with psychedelic harmonies, as invented in the 60s. Here they surpass themselves.

Looking Out Of A Mirror b/w Hey What’s Going On? is out now digitally and on 7″ vinyl through Rogue Records. The band expects to release a new full-length album in 2025.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: The Reflectors || Going Out Of Fashion

In defiance of conventional economic theories of supply and demand, power pop is in an extremely good place right now even though mainstream demand for this genre is non-existent and financial prospects are minor at best. And yet, bands like Uni Boys, The Whiffs, The Rubs, and The Speedways are breathing new life into classic ’70s and ’80s power pop driven by either an innate enthusiasm for the genre or simply out of necessity – and I absolutely love them for it. The Reflectors (Los Angeles) belong to this class as well, and prove to be grade A students with their latest album, aptly titled Going Out Of Fashion.

Considering their previous output and the recent surge of strong power pop releases, one would almost take The Reflectors’ excellence for granted, or perhaps to put it aside after you’ve had your first sugary dose. Yet, their latest offering deserves to be received with awe and gratefulness and played on repeat. Going Out Of Fashion isn’t just another album—it’s a testament to this remarkable era for power pop enthusiasts.

The Reflectors have never aimed to be the rawest or fastest among today’s power pop bands. They lean towards an ’80s sound that doesn’t hide but polishes and shines its hooks. While many comparable bands from the ’80s often evolved into mainstream pop rock, losing touch with their original fanbase, The Reflectors opt for a different trajectory. Going Out Of Fashion retains their trademarked smooth sound, while showcasing a newfound edge. The album emerges as an explosive power pop record with sharp late ’70s pop punk undertones, and songs like Critical, Losing My Mind and the title track reflect a spark of intensity that suits the band exceptionally well.

I wasn’t around for the first wave of power pop. But I am thrilled that talented musicians like their The Reflectors continue to create catchy and punchy guitar pop tunes. Going Out Of Fashion is available now via Neon Nile Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Neon Nile || Wanda Records

New album: Mythical Motors || Upside Down World

Robert Pollard döppelganger Matt Addison returns for yet another Mythical Motors record. The number of Mythical Motors albums has long surpassed countable limits on two hands; however, if you include the toes on your feet, you might just manage to tally them up – at least for now.

To suggest that Addison excels in crafting two-minute Guided By Voices-esque tunes would be both an understatement and misrepresentation. Mythical Motors casts a much wider net of influences. Where some would perceive scarcity and constraints, Addison sees opportunity, and his well of inspiration appears inexhaustible. On Upside Down World, Mythical Motors shed all extraneous weight, delivering songs devoid of overthinking or excessive tinkering, ensuring every fleeting moment resonates. In most songs, the lines between verses and choruses often blur, yet each segment carries an infectious quality, propelling the listener forward. And while none of the faders are in red, Upside Down World contains a pleasant amount of rockers.

Upside Down World is a lo-fi underground pop gem of a record. It simmers, it jangles, and it rocks. It is out today on tape at Repeating Cloud Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: The Wesleys || The Wesleys

Today, Montreal’s The Wesleys release their self-titled debut LP on Little Village Records. While the band name signals power pop, and the press release as primary influences mentions “iconic bands like The Clean, Teenage Fanclub, The Pixies, and The Replacements,” to my ears The Wesleys have a sound that originates in the thriving indie scene of the zeroes – this band would not have looked out of place on a bill with The Spinto Band, Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin, Surfer Blood and Throw Me The Statue.

The Wesleys is a fun little record showcasing a talented and creative band. The band’s tagline on Bandcamp is “a lil’ bit of this, a lil’ bit of that,” and they are not wrong. Expect snappy, smooth and bouncy indie tunes designed to get audiences moving, or at the very least provide an upgrade to your fresh music playlist – like I’ve Been Waiting, 25, Great Big Smile and A Lot To Lose.

If you need more reason to feel sympathetic towards this band, consider the backstory behind their name. Wesley was a beloved friend who tragically passed away far too soon, yet played a vital role in shaping the musical upbringing of one of the band’s founding members. What a way to pay homage.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Little Village Records

New album: Daz & The Demons || 8 Songs

Melbourne-native/Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter Daz Cordeux has teamed up with Mackenzie Howe (guitar, vocals), Genevieve Patterson (keys, vocals), Zachary Schellhase (bass) and Spencer Lere (drums) as Daz & The Demons. Together they play a kind of jangly power pop influenced by 60s bubble gum pop and 90s Britpop, of which we can hear eight entertaining, radio ready pieces on their full-length debut album 8 Songs. Expect sun-kissed guitar tunes full of hooks, with charming vocals and appealing melodies – a very suitable soundtrack for a summer road trip.

The self-produced 8 Songs LP, mixed & mastered by Mike Bridavsky, is out now digitally (self-released).

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: The Yum Yums || Poppin’ Up Again

There are bands out there who have to break a sweat convincing listeners with each new album, juggling sky-high expectations and pressures to evolve their sound to please music critics without alienating their fan base. Then there’s The Yum Yums from Norway, whose mere mention of a new record is like finding out your favorite ice cream shop is giving out free samples. You already know it’s going to be a treat, but damn if you aren’t excited anyway!

Enter Poppin’ Up Again, the sixth album and latest serving of sugary goodness from these Scandinavian masters of bubblegum pop punk. To absolutely no one’s surprise, The Yum Yums have stuck to their A/B tested pop punk formula. The band’s reservoir of effervescent charm appears limitless and fueled by a secret stash of bubblegum, sugary drinks, sweet harmonies, and lyrics inspired by clandestine readings of teenage diaries. The 14 songs invite spontaneous sing-alongs, complete with rich harmonies that are not just catchy but quickly become downright addictive.

The Yum Yums make it all too easy to fall in love with their record and forget everything that is going on in your personal life and the world around you. Poppin’ Up Again is a worries melting, existential crisis averting record, a sonic serotonin boosting reminder that, sometimes, music is meant to be enjoyed carefree and with dance moves and out-of tune singalongs that will emberass everyone around you. So, grab your headphones, press play, turn the volume up and embrace that sugar rush. Poppin’ Up Again is streaming now, Screaming Apple and House Of Rock Records have the vinyl release – and yes, that is Natalie Sweet as the lollipop model on the front cover.

Add to wantlist: Discogs

New album: The Phase Problem || The Power of Positive Thinking

The Power of Positive Thinking is the second album by UK-based The Phase Problem, a band that made their debut last year. If you, like me, don’t know the band yet, you may be familiar with the people involved. The Phase Problem is Flav Giorgini (Squirtgun), John Bonnar (Haiver, P*ss Bath, ex-Paws), Alex Keane (Roach Squad, ex-Murderburgers, ex-City Mouse) and Fraser Mudderbang (Wrong Life, Murderburgers, Bike Notes). Oh, and there are some special guest stars making the round on The Power of Positive Thinking as well, including Heather Tabor (Teen Idols), Matt Hart (Nevernew, Squirtgun, Bruce Stuckey (Toxic Reasons), and Vess Ruhtenberg (Toxic Reasons, Zero Boys, Lemonheads). Another pop punk record for the wantlist this week, huh?

But even without all this namedropping you need only one spin of this 33 minutes, 33 seconds record to know whether you’ll like it. This is pop punk made by students and fans of the genre who know what came before (Middle Aged Lobotomy!) and what ingredients are needed to cook up a tasty dish. But they are also at the point that they are unafraid to infuse their own personal touch, like an extravagant guitar solo. The Phase Problem are not at all reinventing the genre, but they play with a flair that I find quite rewarding.

The Power of Positive Thinking is out now through Lavasocks Records (US) and Brassneck Records (UK).

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Lavasock Records

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