Power Pop

New album: Adam Hattaway and the Haunters || Woolston, Texas

A week ago Wurld Series delivered their second LP, with Adam Hattaway as lead guitarist. For fans of his work there’s already more! Adam Hattaway and The Haunters from Christchurch, New Zealand have just released their third full-length album. The “alternative rock and roll” band has a classic setup with two dueling guitars, bass and drums (there’s also an organ popping up), and I think I hear influences from classics by The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan and Teenage Fanclub (I could also call it a mix of power pop, country, soul, R&B and rock). Yet it’s quite an interesting, varied and captivating record, not at least because of the singing style of the front man, who seems to use a different voice for each song, enhanced by the backing vocals of the three other band members. I kept listening to get it all in and when the ten songs were over I started all over again. Standout track Sympathy gives you an idea of what to expect.

Woolston, Texas is out now digitally, on CD and on vinyl LP through Holiday Records. Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Caddy || Detours And Dead Ends Vol. 1

Caddy is the brainchild of Tom Dahl from Norway. Dahl has a knack for writing classic power pop tunes. With Detours And Dead Ends, Vol. 1. for a title, I mistakenly assumed that his new record was a compilation of unreleased odds and ends. The thing is, the record sounds way too good for that. The songs are too well executed, too well written. That’s no surprise once you become aware that all songs on the record are covers of late ’70s, early ’80s powerpop and new wave songs. Not those one hit wonders though, nor bands we all know and love. At Sweet Sweet Music Blog, Dahl explains how he made it a sport finding the best, yet most obscure tracks: “I’ve spent many many MANY hours digging and searching. I loved it. It became a big part of the project. How can I find even more underground and unknown songs?” Now THAT is a project we at Add To Wantlist can get behind! But most importantly, the end result is so much fun. Dahl truly uncovered some great gems, and then covered them to perfection. And, as a bonus, he gives you an excuse to dive into a Youtube rabbit hole looking for the originals. Here are some of them Walking On The Roof by Sgt. Arms, If I call Your Name by Junior Campbell, Best Thing I Ever Did by The Invaders, Violent Days by Screaming Sneakers. Full list of originals on his Facebook page. I don’t think the record is on Bandcamp, but it is on Spotify, listen here. Kool Kat Musik will release Detours And Dead Ends on CD later this spring (April/May).

New EP: Star 99 || My Year In Lists

I am fascinated by band dynamics. The synergy of band members’ creativity, the power struggles, the lack of communication, the passive aggressiveness, they all are elements I can appreciate from an objective perspective. But I have a weak spot for bands that start out of comradery. Take Star 99, a San Jose band comprised of four longtime friends : Saoirse (lead vocals/rhythm guitar & artwork), Cole (lead guitar/backing vocals), Chris (bass), and Jeremy (drums).  Their friendship started in the Bay Area scene where they attended and played shows – their past bands include Great Hart, Matsuri, Bread Club, and Drop In, and Saoirse’s solo project. Currently, they reside in San Jose, where they are all active member of the DIY community. For a time, they even lived under  the same roof in San Jose’s Hot Box house.

I like to think that comradery shines through on Star 99’s debut EP My Year In Lists. The band plays a wholesome form of indiepunk and altpop that feels like a breathe of fresh air. It is a sound that fans of bands like Swearin’, Discount, & Tacocat will fall for.  There is not a weak  song on the six song EP, but the first 4 songs (loose, algae, wyoming and sleep talker) are particularly great. They reflect that bay area attitude where melody and sensitivity are not the antithesis but a  fundamental part of punkrock.

Lead guitarist Cole filled me in with some more details on the band and the EP: “Star 99 is the culmination of years of friendship and our EP is a reflection on love, loss, anxiety, self-healing and personal growth. My Year in Lists’ speaks to each of the band members as a response to uncertainty and neuroticism: As life, whether personal or interpersonal, is subject to ups and downs, ‘My Year in Lists’ represents an attempt to exercise intentionality and self-reflection. Our songs are meditations on dating, on picking up the pieces of broken friendships, and on self-inventory and assessment. ‘My Year in Lists’ is a mantra of introspection and a reminder that while life moves on, that it’s normal for us to occasionally leave a foot locked in the past. Also, ‘My Year in Lists’ is the name of a pretty rad Los Campesinos song.” As for the band name, “Star 99′ is inspired by a local SJ adult film store which closed up recently.” What’s not to like about this band?!

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

‘New’ album: Rexxx || Pure Pleasure II

Shame! Shame! Shame! Here is another “can’t believe I missed this one” posts. Let me introduce you to the latest addition to a long lineage of superb Midwest US powerpop bands: Rexxx.  This band from Milwaukee is made up of members of hardcorepunk band Sex Scenes, dreamy indiepop band Surgeons In Heat, and sleazy rock and roll band King Eye & The Squirts. Rexxx doesn’t sound anything like those bands though. This is punk infused late ’70s/early ’80s powerpop done right. From the killer opener Can’t Help It with its infectious guitar riff to the insanely catchy closer Animal, Rexxx’s debut Pure Pleasure II is twenty minute of rock-‘n’-roll worship that demands to be played at maximum volume. Originally, it was released in February of last year, but for those who missed it back then (guilty!), Big Neck Records will release it May 7th on seductive red vinyl. In all honesty, you don’t need a seductive vinyl color when your songs are this awesome.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Brent Seavers || BS Stands For

Brent Seavers plays in The Decibels, not to be confused with The dB’s. He just released a solo LP called BS Stands For, which, of course is a nod to the dB’s classic album Stands For Decibels. Well played, Brent.

Now that we got that out of the way, let’s talk about BS Stands For, because it’s a record that fans of powerpop should definitely give a spin. Whereas The Decibels play their powerpop at a faster pace and move into classic pop punk territory (and they do that really well!), Seaver opts for a classic powerpop sound on BS Stands For; a sound that is reminiscent of Paul Collins (listen to My Little Girl), The Romantics (I Wrote A Song), and more recently John Paul Keith (Flatline). It’s upbeat, instantly likeable, and just plain fun. BS Stands For is an explicit, yet heartfelt love letter to powerpop just waiting to be picked up and answered by powerpop fans over the planet.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Les Shirley || Forever Is Now

Forever Is Now, the debut album of Montreal trio Les Shirley, has a budget friendly album cover with a hairmetal font. Add in song titles like Easy Target and Pick Up The Phone, and one could mistake this band for a Donnas ripoff. That’s definitely not the case. What do you get? Straightforward catchy pop tunes with a rock and roll edge, and a full guitar sound. Two-thirds of Les Shirley also play in NOBRO, so you may already know that these women have a knack for writing songs that earworm their way through your brain. Les Shirley is a different beast though, sounding somewhere between Wyldlife and Ex-Hex. Do not expect this record to shatter your world in terms of originality or complexity (who cares anyway), but it’s hard to find any fault in songs like sadgirlsclub, Courtney and hit single Fuck It I’m In Love. For radio stations that may object to that last one, Les Shirley even include a radio friendly version (Forget It I’m In Love).

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp 

New EP: Ex Press || Itchy To Move

Drop everything you are doing. Here’s an EP from a new band that absolutely deserves your attention. Don’t worry about your work, you will catch up later, and you will do so fully energized.

Ex Press are Devon Milley & Matthew Fudge, who provide even more evidence that the finest powerpop nowadays comes from Canada. Okay, technically I am not sure whether this counts as powerpop. Ex Press have created their own hybrid of synthpunk, powerpop, new wave and pop punk. On Itchy To Move, Miller & Fudge (not a bad name for a band or a bookstore now that I think of it) are assisted by a strong supporting cast. Most notably, Glassjaw frontman Daryl Palumbo provided keys on the majority of songs and helped recording, mastering and mixing the EP. Palumbo also sings on the lead single Headrest. That single also offers interesting use of horns provided by The Key Group Horns. Watch the video produced by Daniel Fried (TV’s Daniel, Bad Sports, Radioactivity) below. From the high octane opener Mystery to the midpaced moody album closer Act Surprised, it’s hard to really highlight one of the songs. There are no fillers here. Fingers crossed that a physical release is in the works.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

Gimme 5! Jakob Mind Shares 5 Classic Albums That Inspired The One Who Got Away

With ‘Gimme 5!’ we take a peek into the collections of artists we admire. The premise is simple: artists WE like share 5 records THEY love. Previous installments feature Rob Nesbitt (The Suitesixteen), Scott Davis (Virginia Trance), Jacob Lewis (Western Threads), and Chelo (Fievre).

In about four weeks, Jakob Mind (Sweden) will release his solo debut ‘The One Who Got Away’ on Lövely Records. It’s a record we very much look forward to. If you are unfamiliar with Jakob’s music, he plays in Rotten Mind and is a master in hitting that sweet spot between garage, punk and power pop – listen to exhibit A:

Based on the first teaser tracks, The One Who Got Away is a bit more stripped down and may be even more melodic and contagious than the most recent Rotten Mind record. Watch The City Burn already is a frontrunner for my favorite song of the year (watch below, exhibit B). Unsurprisingly, pre-orders for the record are going fast.

We are delighted that Jakob wanted to share 5 records that influence his music. Click on read more to see his list. Jakob added words to explain his picks, and we included a video of his favorite song of each record. Thanks a lot, Jakob!

New single: The Erratix || You Don’t Care

Swedish indie label Beluga Records has a talent for unleashing new powerpop and punk bands onto the airwaves. On April 2nd, they will release the debut single of The Erratix of Minneapolis on pink and black wax. It’s a single three years in the making. You can already available to stream on Bandcamp, and I invite you to do exactly that. It’s a must listen for people who like their power pop energetic with plenty of punk attitude, or their punkrock with plenty of pop sensibilities. The tasteful addition of keys give the songs some extra schwung. The band plans to record their first LP in a couple of months. Definitely one to look out for! FFO: The Cry!, Something Fierce, & The Cute Lepers.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Local Drags || Keep Me Glued

Did I order the new Local Drags record before its officIal release date? You bet! Local Drags is fronted by Lanny Durbin who also plays in Starter Jackets and Attic Salt. The songs of Local Drags expertly fuse the pace, hooks and pop sensibilities of powerpop with the energy and straightforwardness of pop punk. The songs have a ’90s alt pop feel as well, helped by the stripped down, crisp and airy production by Luke McNeil (The Copyrights, Starter Jackets, Hospital Job). It’s a combination that I find hard to resist. Admittedly, I needed some time to warm up to Local Drags’ 2019 debut Shit’s Looking Up! but ended up playing it a lot, with Trash Bones as one of my most played songs that year.

Fast forward two years, and Locals Drags’ second album Keep Me Glued immediately clicks. Perhaps it’s from mere exposure: there is a 99,9% chance that you will like this record if you liked the debut, and vice versa. It’s too soon to tell, but right now I would give a slight nod to Keep Me Glued. It’s all hits. Whereas repetition often is a weakness, Durbin has that special talent to turn it into a strength. He also is a master in building up anticipation to ear worm choruses, and those delayed rewards create such a dopamine inducing listening experience that it becomes addictive. Try to resist the one-two punch of Think Straight and the title track…I failed. Keep Me Glued is the kind of record to make you relax, sit back, and bop your head to that snare drum.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Discogs || Stardumb Records

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