The Solicitors and The Tripwires

The Solicitors

The Solicitors “Blank Check”

The latest from Pop Boomerang Records, The Solicitors deliver an exciting full length album (after the impressive EP last year). Influenced by late 70’s and early 80’s pop, it brings to mind the excitement of bands like The Cars, The Knack and The Jam. Formed in Melbourne, Australia by English songwriter Lee Jones and American guitarist Laf Zuccarello, they later added supporting members James Manning and Matt Stirling to the band. The songs go by quickly, the crisp guitar work and catchy riffs are out front on the opener “If You Let Me Hold You” and fans of Kurt Baker or The Wellingtons will love the swirling melody “Pretty Penny.”

Each track continues this formula on the mid-tempo “Help Me Forget” and they crank up things on “I Love Your Love” with its rising chords. “Quicksand” is another gem that is similar to classic Sloan. Plenty of highlights and no filler either, most of the album is high energy until we end on the slow ballad “Goodbye.” Overall this is Highly Recommended. Don’t miss it!

power pop

Amazon | CD Baby

The Tripwires

The Tripwires “Get Young”

This Seattle super group is a veteran combo consisting of John Ramberg(The Minus 5), Jim Sangster(Young Fresh Fellows) his brother Johnny Sangster and Dan Peters(Mudhoney). On this third album the band has a more “organic” sound now on Spain’s FOLC Records label. They drift more toward the style of pub rock that’s more in line with NRBQ or The Minus 5 here on the opening title track. “Early Bright” is a terrific single, and the workman like “You Have A Bell” is another gem with great call-and-respond guitar lines, and the snappy chorus.

The next several songs have a fun bounce and catchy beat, “Owner Operator” is a great example of this. And the wonderful steady “Gratitude” has a jangly riff that runs along side the melody. No duds here either, although the tempos here don’t vary by much. Another winner here, that is sure to please pub rock and power pop fans alike. Highly Recommended!

power pop

Bandcamp Only

Hot Knives and Schnauser

Hot Knives

Hot Knives “Hot Knives”

Lost Classics Dept:  You’ve all heard stories about rock bands that had potential greatness squashed by bad timing (examples: Television, Joy Division, Nick Drake). Well unless you are a collector of rare vinyl records, you’ve never heard of this California band that recorded a late ’60s period folk-rock, power pop album in 1976. They had the talent and pedigree to make it big, with guitarist Tim Lynch, and drummer Danny Mihm (both members of The Flamin’ Groovies), bassist Ed Wilson and the vocals of brother-sister duo Michael and Debra Houpt. They made several excellent singles (produced by Groovies Cyril Jordan) and promptly vanished into nuggets history.

This new re-issue collects all the bands material, and if you enjoy a unearthed musical treasure then give a listen to catchy melody of “Sooner Or Later,” sounding like a power pop version of Jefferson Airplane. The infectious “Take Me Back” is also great, with soaring vocals that earned high praise from Greg Shaw in Bomp! Magazine at the time. The album was a unique mix of sounds and virtuoso guitar work, “You Can Get Anything You Want” is like Clapton playing with The Mamas and Papas! The band was too unfashionable in the era of mid ’70s arena rock to make it, but now you can hear this highly recommended obscurity.

Forced Exposure Records | Amazon

Hot Knives

Schnauser “Protein For Everyone”

Schnauser is the wondrous prog-pop band led by multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Alan Strawbridge (Lucky Bishops), with long time mates, bassist and vocalist Holly McIntosh, keyboardist Duncan Gammon and introducing new drummer Jasper Williams. This album is a surreal journey, with really good keyboard/guitar melodies and those minty fresh harmonies.

Unlike past albums, the cynical, sarcastic streak is toned down in favor of extended jams and stretching the melody lines. “Grey or Blue” brings to mind classic ‘70s prog masters like Genesis or Yes, with its virtuoso keyboard interludes between sunny choruses. The title track is another swirling melody set to a waltz tempo, a dance between light and dark themes. My favorite here is “Split,” with its interplay of jangle rhythm, crisp harmonies reminiscent of XTC. You do wonder at points if the melodies wander about too much, especially on the 16 minute plus “Disposable Outcomes.” In any case, the hummable interludes will have you following along like a trained seal. Overall, a fun prog rock diversion you can sink your teeth into.


The Power Popaholic Interview: Thomas Walsh of Pugwash

Click Play!

This Friday is the last live show for Pugwash in the US. There are wonderful videos out of the tour, so check’em out. And even though I recorded this interview a few days before they arrived, it was a good long conversation with Thomas Walsh, the lead singer-songwriter of the band. In this 20 minute audio interview he talks about everything: How the band got together in Ireland, his love of Jeff Lynne and power pop artists, meeting Brian Wilson, and the Duckworth-Lewis Method. PLUS, info about the all new Pugwash album coming next year!

Paul Collins and Rick Hromadka

Paul Collins

Paul Collins “Feel The Noise”

Like a man possessed, Paul Collins is still having a full fledged comeback that started with The King Of Power Pop. Except now Paul gets closer to his roots on “Feel The Noise.” He cries “I let my guitar do the talking now!” and it blasts away a perfect rock and roll anthem. And “Only Girl” is a little closer to his work with The Beat with its angular fast paced rhythm.

“I Need My Rock n’ Roll” is another hook-filled gem that makes this LP a joy to listen to. Then influences of early rock artists from the 1950’s get more pronounced as the album continues. The structures of each song speak to Collins expertise when it comes to crafting a “hit” single like “Don’t Know How To Treat A Lady” or “Baby I’m In Love With You,” which sounds like an updated Buddy Holly classic. In an acknowledgement to the past influences, we hear a rousing cover of The Four Tops “Reach Out I’ll Be There.” Highly Recommended.


Rick Hromadka

Rick Hromadka “Trippin’ Dinosaurs”

Maple Mars frontman Hromadka has been pretty busy, his last project Ruby Free, a collaboration with his wife was a welcome change of pace. Now he has another project that’s purely solo Hromadka, exploring progressive rock and psyche-pop landscape similar to Jeremy Morris. From the slow fade-in of “Conversation” its part Todd Rundgren, Pink Floyd and Mystery Tour-era Beatles. Fun hooks here along with the free flowing guitar reverb, The solid “It’s All In Your Head” has a little 10cc influence about the life of reality TV stars. “Dreams of a Hippy Summer” is a self explanatory title, and the trippy melodies continue all through the album.

It can get a little monotonous with the long improvisational jams (“Face On”) but the long melodies are what win you over, an excellent example being “Waiting For The Show.” Another gem is the harmonic “There She Goes” with an impressive guitar outro. The album closes out with a six minute opus “Listen I’m Waiting To Sleep” which combines slow and fast melodies across its running time. Fans of The Pillbugs, The Strawberry Alarm Clock, and The Lemon Pipers will find plenty to love here.

CD Baby | Amazon | Kool Kat Musik

Reissues: Star Collector, TV Eyes, Game Theory

Star Collector “Songs For The Whole Family” – Probably the best LP this classic 90’s Atlanta power pop band ever created. Now just a quick download from our friends at Futureman Records. The players are Cord Stone (Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals), Joe Giddings (Lead guitar, Vocals), Dusty Edinger (Drums, Percussion, Vocals) and Michael Brown (Bass, Vocals). This LP was a best-seller at Not Lame in its heyday, and now its quite rare. But you could still shell out a lot of cash for a copy on Amazon if you wanted.

Star Collector “Collected Stars (Live, Demo and Unreleased 1997-1999)” This is a perfect companion to the album above. Its got everything the Star Collector fan would want to complete their music collection. Another bandcamp download from Futureman Records.

TV Eyes “TV Eyes” In 2006, Jason Falkner and Roger Joseph Manning, Jr. of the legendary band Jellyfish and drummer/songwriter Brian Reitzell (Redd Kross and Air) released a new project called “TV Eyes” in Japan exclusively.  It was good move, as this was nothing like Jellyfish but an 80’s electronica dance LP, more like Devo, Gary Numan or Falkner’s solo material. The reaction wasn’t great at the time, I remember a similar outcry to the band Queen when they put out the disco LP Hot Space  years earlier. Overall it turns out it still has excellent songs and was way ahead of the curve for the EDM genre. Thank Omnivore Records and get it at Amazon.

Game Theory “Blaze of Glory”- We are still not over the death of Scott Miller who literally blazed a trail with his first album, Blaze of Glory. It showcased the sound of  power-pop done with a new-wave style and even hinted at the upcoming Paisley Underground movement. This new re-issue contains the entire 12 track album, supplemented with 15 bonus tracks—4 from Alternate Learning and 11 previously unissued tracks from Scott Miller’s archive. Again, thank you Omnivore Records and get it at Amazon.