Power Pop

New Album: Danny Carney Chainsaw Symphony || Ten Beer Queer

Two years ago, the debut of Danny Carney’s Chainsaw Symphony was a pleasant surprise for me. Last year’s follow-up clicked less with me, but the new (mini)LP by Carney (formerly of Roll The Tanks) wastes no time in making the wantlist. It is an impressive 8-song LP titled Ten Beer Queer, on which Danny Carney (with the help of Pete Sosa on drums) plays hooky indierock that is easy to digest and effortlessly likeable. Just listen to the opening salvo of Kill Me When You Callback and New Glass Rose. Those songs are huge and just two of the highlights on the record.

But a Danny Carney Chainsaw Symphony record would not be complete without a curveball here and there. In this case, Airport Novels and Guitars Is Illegal give the middle part a quirky feel. The first songs has ’90s altrock fingerprints, the second is catchy hardcore punk. It shows how quality meets diversity on Ten Beer Queer, which is out now through Look Sharp Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New EP: Civil Rats || Your Dummest Friends

Civil Rats (Philadelphia) make a lot of noise for a three piece – Molly plays guitar and sings, Dale plays bass and Isaac drums. It is precisely the kind of noise we appreciate at Add To Wantlist: Highly energetic, scrappy, with a strong sense of melody, and a polar north that can’t make its mind up between punkrock and powerpop. Not unlike Joan Jett, but Faster and Louder. The Your Dummest Friends EP is yet another example of a strong release week, and Civil Rats should be somewhere at the top of your listening pile.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New EP: The Circulators || The Circulators

I am not sure whether I should call the debut  by The Circulators’ (San Francisco) an EP, a mini-album or a full length. What I do know is that these 8 songs, currently only available on tape (through Willow House Records) and Bandcamp, will get pressed on vinyl sooner or later. And when this happens the discs will fly off the shelves.

You see, listening to The Circulators erases any cynicism about the state of rock’n’roll. Seemingly arriving out of nowhere, The Circulators kick your door in and introduce themselves as your new favorite band. If it wasn’t for the liner notes mentioning the band recorded it last Autumn, I’d have guessed it was recorded 45 years ago. This is a hell of a masterclass on how you do old school punk and power pop.

Is it too early to predict this one will top the lists of many EP of the year lists in eleven months or so? I for one am extremely excited, with zero intention to hide it. Turn the volume all the way up and enjoy!

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Juniper || She Steals Candy

New Jersey singer Juniper Shelley made an impression in 2020 – at the age of 15 – with her self-titled debut album. On her new full-length, She Steals Candy, she sounds even more confident, straightforward and convincing. Although a large part of the 16 songs – poppy guitar rock, average length 2:39 – are covers, she delivers the lyrics as if they come straight from her own heart. For example, listen to opening track BANG! (originally from UK band The Sails), Taste The Soup (written by The Muffs’ Kim Shattuck & Lisa Marr) and See You Tonight (inspired by Kiss’ unplugged version) and you know what I mean. While Juniper’s pleasant voice takes center stage, this record is also so strong because of the musical endeavours of an all-star cast* led by her dad (himself a singer-songwriter, guitarist and DJ). This is a fine selection of tunes that you can play at any time.

She Steals Candy is out now digitally, on CD and vinyl LP (self-released). *Featuring performances from Michael Shelley, Steve Goulding, Karen Basset, Barbara Endes, Peter Horvath, Rebecca Turner, Dave Amels, John Perrin, John Lee, Jon Graboff, Ira Kaplan, Jack Bram, Page Burkum (The Cactus Blossoms), Kurt Baker, Jay Sherman-Godfrey, Keith Yaun, Greg Townson, Alex Hall, Joe Katz, April March, Amy Rigby, Dennis Diken, Sam Elwitt, John Hamilton, Megan Reilly, Chris Geddes and Tallulah Buscher.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New compilation: De Cylinders || Chartbusters 1978 To 1982

With new music still in relatively limited supply early in the year, why not take some time to share a (imho) musthave compilation by one of the most exciting bands to come out of the late ’70s/ early ’80s scene in The Netherlands. De Cylinders gained a cult following with their unique and exciting sound – part punkrock, part power power, part new wave, but above all catchy. Last month, Projectile Platters released a compilation that includes De Cylinders’ I Wanna Get Married (1980), We Must Pay (1980, listen below) and Freddy Mercury (1981) singles, as well as unreleased studio recordings from the same period. Fun fact: the first two 7″ were reissued in 2009 by Sing Sing Records and made the band come out of their retirement for a short while, gaining new fans around the globe.

If a mix of Blondie, The Go-Go’s, The Shivvers, The Rezillos, X-Ray Spex and the Good Vibrations roster sounds good on paper, just wait until you hear De Cylinders.  Chartbusters 1972-1982 is a must-have for fans of the band, and a perfect way to introduce yourself to their sound if you’re a newcomer. Pick up your copy today and be prepared to be taken on an unforgettable ride!

Add to wantlist: Discogs

New album: Garlands || Imagine I Was This Tall

Glasgow three-piece Garlands “love big guitars that go POP!” Don’t just take their word for it, listen to the band’s DIY debut full length Imagine I Was This Tall. Garlands cite The Byrds, The Bangles, Matthew Sweet, and Rubber Soul era Beatles among their influences. Surely, the ten songs on the record are full of heart and pop. But although I’d categorize Garlands as an indie pop band, I could see fans of power pop enjoying this record just as much. For a large part this is due to the frenetic drumming of Stef Blair who, on some of these songs, sounds like he hasn’t been informed by his fellow band members yet that Garlands is not in fact a punk rock band. It’s one of many things to like about this band’s sound.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New single: Brower || Where Is The Magic? / The Rainbow and More

Great news: New York glamrockband extraordinaire Brower have joined Wick Records. Their first release for the label is a 7″ containing two absolute throwback ’70s powerpop gems. The press releases is spot on about the A-side: “Like a newly discovered lovechild of Big Star and The Raspberries, Where is the Magic? serves up a sonic smorgasbord of tasty riffs, saccharine melodies, swinging groove and swagger that sounds like it was pulled from a lost session at Ardent.”

On flipside The Rainbow And More, the band members take their time putting all the pieces and elements on the board. Once the song gets moving though, the rewards are massive.

7″ expected to ship this week. This one will be flying from the shelves.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Discogs

New EP: Drain County || Sucked Out

The future of Marquette’s finest power pop punk band Liquid Mike may be up in the clouds, but that doesn’t mean Liquid Mike’s Mike Maple will sit on his hands. Here’s Drain County, a new project he started with David Daignault & Zack Alworden who are both members of Charmer.

Drain County, Charmer and Liquid Mike are three decidely different bands, but sonically it’s fair to say that if you like one, you’ll like all three. Expect guitar driven songs that are as punchy as they are melodic infused with a good dose of melancholy. Good stuff, and based on past experience, this probably marks the first of many posts this year from the prolific Marquette music scene.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New single: Billy Tibbals || Onwards And Upwards

It appears that L.A. based Curation Records uses some sci-fi mechanics or something in that order. The label seems to have a direct connection with the world of ’70s powerpop and glam. How daft that may sound, it’s the most likely explanation for the authentic sound of their roster. We all know (and love) Uni Boys of course, and here’s another artist to fall for: Billy Tibbals. Recorded with Uni Boys drummer Reza Matin, the two song Onward And Upwards/Lucy single is a killer debut. Onwards And Upwards is an instant classic and Lucy is too good to be a b-side.

Welcome to the wantlist, Billy. Pretty sure this won’t be the last time we’ll be seeing you.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

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