Power Pop

New EP: Licking Rainbows || burp.

You know, there is an incredible amount of new music coming out all the time. And if something is really great, we actually want it in our collection. That is also the idea of this blog: sharing the records that are “wantlist worthy” and linking to where you can buy them. Normally we only write about “available” releases, but sometimes there are exceptions to that rule, simply because the songs are too cool to hide in a hard-to-find corner on the internet. A good example of this is burp., the debut EP by Swiss power trio Licking Rainbows (Livio Arcuri on bass / vocals), Kilian Zompa on guitar, and Tim Poggi on drums). These first 4 original tracks – the result of a year of creation, dedication and collaboration – are influenced by the 60’s sound of The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and Cream, to which is added a bit of modern energy. The band told me that a physical release is unfortunately not planned. So this is one you can’t buy but really should listen to; watch the video below for standout tune I Don’t Lie or check out the full EP on YouTube or Spotify.

New album: Lucas Aaron || Domino

American singer / songwriter / multi-instrumentalist / recording engineer Lucas Aaron loves mid-60s mod and power pop, influences that he mixes in his own work with a more contemporary feel of garage rock and psychedelic folk. If you listen to the 11 original songs – written and performed entirely by himself – on his new (digital) album Domino, all kinds of names come up: King Tuff but more mellow, The Byrds but more rocking, or Bare Wires but more hi-fi. Either way, it’s an entertaining record with the heart in the right place. Listen below.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

Gimme 5! Jake Sprecher (Terry Malts, Smokescreens & Jonathan Richman) Shares His Top 5 Quarantine Albums That Sound Absolutely Nothing Like His New Project The Wind-Ups

Photo by Beth LaBerge

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.

This week’s Gimme 5 features a multitalented artist who plays (or has played)  with Terry Malts, Smokescreens, Beehive and Jonathan Richman of the Modern Lovers. I am talking about Jake Sprecher, who made good use of his Covid induced boredom by purchasing a TASCAM 388 and recording a new solo bedroom-project as The Wind-Ups. The result is Try Not To Think, a 19 minute powerpop masterpiece  disguised as lo-fi garagepunk record. Of his previous bands, Try Not To Think is sonically nearest to the early Terry Malts stuff: just as infectious but louder and slightly slower paced. The songs have that deceptive songwriting quality that can easily be misinterpreted as simplism. In truth, it takes skill to write songs that are this straightforward and yet so memorable. To give you an idea, listen to the two prematurely released tracks off the record: Lockdown and Too Many Bibles. I’ll write a longer review near its June 18 release date – spoiler: there are a lot of killer tracks on this one. [post continues below]

New album: Gebre || Riu Amunt

Gebre is a foursome from Spain including Aleix Ferrús, Adrià González, Dani Cervera and Llorenç Coca. For these four hombres, music has a therapeutic power helping them to deal with the problems and difficulties of modern life. Gebre’s debut full-length (Riu Amunt) sounds far from difficult or troubled though. Gebre plays the kind of guitarpop Teenage Fanclub would play if they lived in a country with better weather. Call it sunshine pop if you will.  Some well timed jangle guitars and high pitched backing woohoos add to that summer feeling (e.g., listen to Me Van Salvar). Plenty of hits on this one! Grab the CD at Barcelona label The Indian Runners.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || The Indian Runners

New album: Danny Carney Chainsaw Symphony || Blizzard of ’82

I was unaware of Blizzard of ’82 until a recent Instagram endorsement by Stateline Records pointed in its direction. It’s the solo debut of Danny Carney, who used to play in Roll The Tanks, but now operates under the moniker Danny Carney Chainsaw Symphony. Hard not to be intrigued by that name, and the same applies to his music. Press play on opening track Maraschino University and you’ll discover that this is not your average record. That song stays under 3 minutes, but it is layered and catchy despite its lack of a clear chorus. It even has a intense sax solo. And that’s just the first song. The second song (VCR) does have a clear chorus that is massive  and absolutely pop oriented, but the song also have the feel of a punkrock tune. Track 3 Glomar Blues somehow moves into ’80s hardrock territory, not unlike the direction A.F.I. took  mid-career. I could go on, but the surprises keep coming and I am not sure if I have the words to explain the sound of Danny Carney Chainsaw Symphony – nor do I want to spoil the record. It’s definitely indie rock, but it very much is its own thing. It’s diverse and eclectic but not incoherent. It’s loaded with hooks. It’s an exiting record to dive into and explore in full. Basically, I have no idea what Danny Carney is up to, but it works and I want more.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Danny Carney Chainsaw Symphony

New album: The Nuclears || Seasides

Leave it to Boston label Rum Bar Records to bring quality rock-‘n’-roll to the masses. I planned on writing about the new Brad Marino record today (Rum Bar does the CD release), but that one is not available in full yet. Luckily, The Nuclears are here to fill that void. The Nuclears are from Brooklyn, and play classic rock-‘n’-roll with a powerpop vibe and both male and female vocals. They sound like a well-oiled machine on Seaside, which should come as no surprise given it’s the band’s fourth full length. It’s hard to find fault with songs like Steer You Wrong and Make The First Move. My favorite track so far is I Just Wanna Have Nothin’ To Do, an anthem about dealing with our daily hassles most us will be able to relate to every now and then.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New single: Weekend Fan! & The Sensitive Lips || Weekend Fan! vs The Sensitive Lips

Fans of authenthic late ’70s, early ’80s powerpop rejoice! Secret Mission Records is frisbeeing a killer split single unto the world from two new Japanese powerpop acts. The A-side is I’m A Failure from Weekend Fan! It’s the band’s first physical release, which is crazy given the confident swagger the band displays. On the flip-side is a hit song by The Sensitive Lips called Nervous. It has that punk edge powerpop bands like Protex perfected. One of those singles that I’m afraid will be hard to obtain. Of the 500 pressed 7″s, only 130 will go to Europe and the US. BTW, make sure to check out the recent releases by the label, including singles by Combat and Ruler & The See-Saw.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Discogs

Gimme 5! Devon Milley Shares The Top 5 Records He And His Ex Press Bandmate Matt Bonded Over During The Pandemic

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.

Ex Press are a new band I’m really exited about. I recently wrote about their first EP Itchy To Move, which Ex Press (Devon Milley & Matthew Fudge) recorded with Glassjaw frontman Daryl Palumbo. If you are unfamiliar with Ex Press, their lead single Headrest is a perfect example of their hybrid of synthpunk, powerpop, new wave and pop punk. Watch the Daniel Fried (TV’s Daniel, Bad Sports, Radioactivity) produced video below.

Given the distinct sound of Ex Press, I was curious about the band’s influences. Devon Milley, who takes charge of vocals, drums & guitar for the band, was so kind to share a Gimme 5! list with the albums he and his bandmate Matthew obsessed over during the pandemic. His list makes me even more excited for the new 3-song Ex Press single they recorded and will release later this year. [Post continues below]

New album: Bamms || Last Chance

Last week I wrote about how Spain is the European hotbed for all things rock-‘n’-roll. In the slipstream of the new records from Anamorados (Barcelona) and Rata Negra (Madrid) we covered, here is Bamms from Hernani – a small city in the Northeastern part of Spain. Unlike the two beforementioned bands who have more punk and pop leanings in their sound, Bamms play classic and sleazy guitar driven rock-‘n’-roll. It’s the kind of music best experienced at maximum volume in a sweaty bar.  Available on black or blue vinyl at Artza Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Discogs

New album: Danny’s Favorites || There Still Punk

Wow. While everyone was struggling in quarantine, Trevor Lake apparently fell into a magic well full of strands of Good Vibrations and Lookout! Records DNA. Recorded last year in his basement with Aaron Mika on drums, Lake writes classic pop punk tunes as they are meant to be. Trust me, listening  to album opener Public Figure should be your #1 priority right now. It is a prime example why you should never stop digging for new music.  What a jam! Originally a 2020 self-release, Tetryon Tapes has now put it out on cassette. Fingers crossed that more Danny’s Favorites is in the works.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

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