Plasticsoul and Cotton Mather

Plasticsoul

Plasticsoul “Therapy”

Steven Eric Wilson took his sweet time to deliver Plasticsoul’s follow up to Peacock Swagger. The opener “My Heavy Soul” is the calm before the storm, the title track screams out with Wilson’s trademark heavy riffs. “They All Died Pretty” is another melody thick with layered guitars and “In Her Raincoat” adds layered harmonies to the Cheap Trick meets Big Star-like jangle.

For all the greatness of the best Oasis song Noel Gallagher never wrote “Come Down From Your Raincloud,” it takes a few curious twists. The forgettable bossa nova tune “The Girl of Many Tribes,” and the long “King of Hash” resemble Anton Barbeau’s experimental side. Thankfully the fast paced “Monkey On A Stick” brings things back with shades of Led Zepplin, and the fantastic “Keeping A Light On” and “Biff Bang Pow” take it to the next level. Overall, worth the wait and makes my nominee list for best power pop album of 2017. And hopefully, it won’t take another 8 years to deliver another album like this one. Highly Recommended.

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Cotton Mather

Cotton Mather “Wild Kingdom”

Robert Harrison’s mystical songwriting quest to create 64 songs that correspond with the 64 hexagrams of the 3,000-year-old Chinese book “I Ching” continues from last year’s The Death of Cool. The new LP’s opener “The Cotton Mather Pledge” is unapologetically power pop, with a fantastic guitar riff alongside its fuzzy synth and strutting vocals. The songs all vary in style, like the pop hook of “Hide yourself from me…” in the chorus of “Fighting Through” to the brooding, bass-led “High Society” where the instrumentation reaches a blistering piano crescendo.

Overall no real duds, and plenty of great catchy rock in “Better Than A Hit” and “Girl With A Blue Guitar.”  A few songs make an effort to tell a bigger story, like “King William” with its Lennonesque approach or the slow psyche-pop march of “The Army” deserve multiple spins to stick. And that may be the biggest complaint here, as good as it is – no song stands out or digs into your head immediately. Still, a very highly recommended album.

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The Greek Theatre and The Cool Whips

The Greek Theatre

The Greek Theatre “Broken Circle”

Sweden’s premier West Coast psych-pop outfit is back. If you can stay awake during the seven minute plus instrumental opener “Fat Apple (at About Noon)” you will be treated to the pastoral prog greatness that is “Paper Moon” with sweet laid back harmonies and finely textured melody. The slower “Broken Circle” is a folk influenced gem with layers of banjo, vocals, and bass.

Vocally its part Harpers Bizzare and part Beach Boys, as Sven Fröberg and Frederick Persson weave the songs together into a tapestry of many moods. The title track shreds like Eric Clapton playing on a Free Design album and its another highlight. Fans of prog and folk will enjoy this, but if you are looking to “rock out” I’d pick something else.

Amazon | Kool Kat Musik

The Cool Whips

The Cool Whips “Baddies”

Portland band, The Cool Whips play a very bubble gummy style of power pop. Mainly using guitar and Farfisa, they churn out songs in the late ’60s tradition and Baddies is a perfect companion to their 2014 album Goodies. The first track is the slow tempo “My Old Man is A Drag” and it’s a psychedelic teenage rant that’s actually timeless.

The bubble gum is quite sticky with “The Peppermint Tree” and “There Must Have Been Sugar In It,” like a lost 1910 Fruitgum Company track. Then they shift a bit with “Field of Flowers” and the lead vocalist sounds like Elvis Costello here, so it’s a nice change of pace. Other highlights include the bouncy “Time Will Tell” and “Inside Outside.” This band serves its niche well, so check it out.

Power Popaholic Fest 2017: Day 2


More music and fun on our second night at Power Popaholic Fest. We had Somerdale start things with selections from their top ten album Shake it Maggie. Then straight from Chicago came The Bishop’s Daredevil Stunt Club, playing an electric mix of rock, psyche, and pop. We also welcomed the return of Jana Peri, who played at our very first festival six years ago. We ended things with The Rockinghams playing classic garage rock covers. Thank you all for attending! Our 2017 Fest page will be updated with tons of photos later this week.

Power Popaholic Fest 2017: Day 1


A great time was had by all on our first night at Power Popaholic Fest. We had The James Rocket blast off to start things followed by the awesome combo of Slyboots, they started with a version of Cheap Trick’s “Tonight It’s You” that had the crowd jumping! The Successful Failures followed and impressed everyone too! We then introduced a new band; The Great Fraud, and people were dancing late into the night! One more night to go!

James AM Downes and Onesie

James AM Downes

James AM Downes “Prison Font”

The opener “Bait My Soul” is a sweetly descriptive pop confection, about a girl “with “fuck off” lips and a face so sweet” who gets away with a good hook accented by handclaps. “Not Thinking It Over” is another gem with a jangling rhythm and strong catchy chorus.

The title track has a familiar sounding guitar rhythm (recalling Lennon’s “Mind Games”) but Downes fragile tenor here resembles Mick Hucknall (Simply Red). The strong lyrics and the descending chords in the chorus push the song into “hit” territory. The remaining tracks don’t reach as high, but don’t disappoint either. Overall, James simply has the raw talent that deserves recognition. An impressive debut.

CD Baby | Amazon


Onesie

Onesie “Leos Consume”

Onesie is the musical moniker for Brooklyn-based songwriter Ben Haberland. Stitching together vivid, hooky guitar pop anthems from scraps of Brit pop, punk, and rock, it rocks nicely on its debut Leos Consume. Opening with the terrific gem “Karaoke Killers” full of guitar blasting, hand clapping, hooky goodness. “Credit Score Of 666” has a wicked riff leading the hushed lyric very much like a lost Smash Mouth classic.

And the band doesn’t stick to one style which in this case is a benefit, as it skillfully jumps across genres. “Daytime King” is a little Red Hot Chili Peppers meets Gin Blossoms, and the jangling gem “Hotelekinesis” is sure to encourage dancing. “Husbands in Finance” allows some neat psychedelic instrumentation with its wah-wah guitar lead and climbing bassline.  In fact, it’s impossible to find a bad song here — written with a gusto that even “Ballad Of The Boomerang” struts from its jangly twee roots to a Collective Soul-like power pop. And the frequent guitar breaks just make me love this album more.  A real treat for lovers of melodic rock, it’s both highly recommended and on my list for top ten album of 2017. Don’t miss this one!

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