Power Pop

New EP: Continental Lovers || Dale Arden Vs The World

Here is another band that knows how to find the sweet spot between powerpop, r’n’r, punk, garage and glam. Continental Lover reside in London (UK) but based on their sound I assumed they were an US band. The band’s new Dale Arden Vs The World EP is a celebration of all things good about r’n’r. It’s catchy, it’s sleazy and it rocks. They even pay tribute to Joan Jett (on St. Joan). My favorite track is the mid-tempo Really Doesn’t Matter. It’s a massive hit. By the way, given the whole Brexit fiasco, how timely awesome is the band’s name?

Above all, the six song Dale Arden Vs The World EP is a sign of things to come. Four of these songs will also be available on 7″ through Snap! Records (Spain) in September and a full-length album should arrive before the end of the year. Can’t Hardly Wait.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New single: Sharp Class || Tales Of A Teenage Mind

Midlands (UK) mod revivalist Sharp Class have opened a time portal to the late ’70s. Would you like to step in, please? On their latest two songs single, Sharp Class pays worship to the altar of The Jam. They absolute nail that sound, and it’s a blast.

Keep an eye on this band. By their sound and looks, these lads clearly know what they are doing. Or as they sing in I’ve Got It Coming: “And I know where I stand // And I like to think I know who I am // What is set in my soul // I’ve sewn onto the sleeve of my coat.”

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New single: Bubblegum Lemonade || Never Have I Ever

The good news: everyone’s favorite twee power poppers Bubblegum Lemonade have come out of pandemic hibernation with a new three song single. The best news: It is the lead-up single to a new full length called Jangleadelica that will be out later this year via Matinée Recordings.

Bubbblegum Lemonade sound in particular good shape on Never Have I Ever and non album cut At The Pool. Extremely infectious, positive mood inducing quality pop from Scotland that should put a smile on your  face if you long for the up tempo midcareer material of Belle And Sebastian.  The digital single is available for streaming in loads of places and out now through Matinée Recordings.

Add to wantlist: Matinée Recordings

New album: Gentlemen Rogues || A History Of Fatalism

Anytime Gentlemen Rogues (Austin, Texas) puts out a new release, they have my eyes and ears. And that even applies when the release technically consists of previously released tracks. This week, the band released A History Of Fatalism, which combines their A History So Repeating and Fatal Music EPs. Both EPs were remixed and remastered, and most importantly: pressed on vinyl for the first time.

It’s a joy to revisit these songs. There is a throwback quality to the guitar-driven powerpop of Gentlemen Rogues. They have that same knack for creating polished yet powerful songs as Bob Mould and Superchunk. And although I wouldn’t call Gentlemen Rogues punk, there clearly is some punk energy to their sound. If you are looking for some quality rockin’ powerpop, pick this one up. You get three bonus tracks with the digital stream (and vinyl download). Of the three I like Fuck And Run the most – a song I at first misheard as Fuck Enron and only later discovered to be a Liz Phair cover. Sigh.

A History Of Fatalism is out now through Snappy Little Numbers and Rocket Heart Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Snappy Little Numbers || Rocket Heart Records

New album: The Sino Hearts || Lightening The Darkness

Last time we checked in with The Sino Hearts they released a compilation with the best tracks of their first two records. For me that offered the best of both worlds, because neither record was perfect but both contained some killer tracks. Now, the Bejing band (who moved to Berlin recently) returns with their third album called Lightening The Darkness. Mark this record as the moment where The Sino Hearts fully live up to the expectations raised by those killer tracks. To be honest, The Sino Hearts exceed my expectations. I’m blown away by how good this record is.

Whereas the band’s previous output was very much Exploding Hearts influenced – never a bad thing, it’s almost like The Sino Hearts finally found a sound of their own. Like a writer finding his or her own voice, The Sino Hearts brand of powerpop/gaarage/rnr/’70s punk is more effective than before, and you won’t find any filler on Lightening The Darkness. It’s hit upon hit. Goodbye Tonight. Passing Shades. Stranglehold On My Heart. Falling Out Of Love. All hits, and those are the first songs on the record! Or what about Commotion Of Love?

Lightening The Darkness is a must have. Out now through Topsy Turvy & Otitis Media.

Add to wantlist: Discogs || Soundflat

New album: The Rubs || Dust

There was an insane amount of interesting releases Friday – which we hopefully get to catch up to soon, but I got distracted when I noticed Joey Rubbish applying a mobile AED to revive the heartbeat of AM radio. And so here I am, taking a fourth consecutive spin of Dust, his latest release under The Rubs moniker. Still not satiated.

It’s been five years since Impossible Dream, and although The Rubs is an one man band, that’s a long time. But clearly Joey Rubbish used the time wisely. Dust is goddamn perfect and clever in all of its powerpop glory. With songs like I Want You, Dana, I Don’t Wanna Wait and What Did I Do, Rubbish proves that pop perfection is not limited to 3-minute songs. And with Hang On To Me, he shows that Thin Lizzy is still very much alive today. Meanwhile, the amount of hooks in these 44 minutes is simply staggering.

If you listen to just one record today, make it this one. Dust is out now through Hozac Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Hozac

New album: Ram Vela & the Easy Targets || Stuck on Yesterday

Please meet Ram Vela (songwriting, lead vocals, guitars) and The Easy Targets – Nathan Snyder (guitars, vocals), Dan Walker (bass, vocals) and Rachel “Spanky” Fuhrer (drums) – who are firing seven exciting new tunes at you from Austin, Texas. Their debut album Stuck on Yesterday is admittedly influenced by the past – 70s power pop / new wave (it’s somewhat reminiscent of Elvis Costello) and 90’s alt-rock / 00s punk rock (Jimmy Eat World, The Get Up Kids, Motion City Soundtrack, etc. ) – but the songs here are more original than the somewhat pessimistic title suggests. Standout track Pick Up Where I Left Off is a catchy hit full of sing-along lyrics, Let’s Start a Band is a relatable anthem for all aspiring young musicians. If upstart bands are as good as Ram Vela & the Easy Targets, the future of rock music looks bright.

Stuck on Yesterday is out now digitally (self-released). Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New single: Martha || Beat Perpetual

As if I needed any more reason to love Durham (UK) indiepoppunks Martha, they recently started covering some of my favorite bands. On their last single, they included a fun cover of an Allo Darlin’s classic (covered in our Monthly Dusted feature). This time, they do Tenement’s Dreaming Out Loud, and it’s another good one that’s stays true to the original.

But what really stands out on their latest 7″ is the Martha original and instant pop punk hit Beat Perpetual. It may very well be the catchiest song I’ve heard lately. Its chorus is massive and glorious and perhaps the poppiest they’ve recorded in their already super melodic discography. Have I told you yet how much I love this band?

Beat Perpetual is out through Dirtnap Records, and available through Green Noise (USA) and Specialist Subject (UK/EU). It’s a must own.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Green Noise || Specialist Subject

New album: Marc Valentine || Future Obscure

Marc Valentine of Last Great Dreamers fame makes his solo debut with Future Obscure. The record has a modern power pop sound (not unlike Ash or Ryan Allen/Extra Arms), but also features cameos of power pop royalty in Wreckless Eric and Matt Dangerfield (The Boys). Valentine lets his pop sensibilities shine on Future Obscure. It’s a super catchy record, likely fueled by the high intake of girl group and doo wop when he was writing the record. “I kind of imagined making an album that might sound something akin to the Ronettes, Springsteen and The Only Ones travelling together in a spaceship,” Valentine explains.

Clearly, Valentine used the pandemic years to cut and mold these ten songs, and Last Train Tonight, Break My Heart Anyway, Swiss Launderette, and Mornington Avenue are massive hits. I’ll never get bored watching powerpop songsmiths at the top of their game.

Future Obscure
is out now via Arcane Wires Records.
Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

Gimme 5! R.E. Seraphin Shares Five Songs That Inspired His Recent Songwriting

With ‘Gimme 5!’ we take a peek into the collections of artists we admire. The premise is simple: artists WE like share five records THEY love.

Right now, Bay Area songwriter R.E. Seraphin has 333 monthly listeners on Spotify. And although I think monodigit numbers are fun and all, I am convinced this number should grow with at least three digits to truly reflect the quality and appeal of Seraphin’s music.

For me, two things stand out in the music of Seraphin. One, he clearly is a talented songwriter. Week In Pop recently dubbed Seraphin as The Bay Area’s Modern Saint Of Power Pop. His discography includes releases by Talkies, Razz, Mean Jolene, Lenz, Glitz, Apache and Impediments. His 2020 debut (Tiny Shapes) under his own name featured many standouts (e.g., listen to the powerpop hit Exploding Head), and his recent Swingshift EP (covered here) provides top notch songwriting, layered instrumentation and cool covers (Television Personalities and Wipers).  If you are new to Seraphin’s music, I recommend checking out Playing House, Big Break or watching the recently released video for Stuck In Reno below.

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