Gretchen’s Wheel and Todd O’Keefe

Gretchen's Wheels

Gretchen’s Wheel “Sad Scientist”

Gretchen’s Wheel is the creative outlet for singer/songwriter Lindsay Murray. Her past albums while polished and pleasing just lacked a power pop focus. Sad Scientist changes all that, as Lindsay has gotten out the “big guns” Fernando Perdomo and Andy Reed onboard to help, along with other respected musicians (Donny Brown, Nick Bertling) to really make this album shine. “Better In The Dark” is a masterful melody suited perfectly to Lindsay’s willowy vocal giving it a unique cadence and feel similar to early Christine McVie.

“Left Turn” is a clever lyrical play on the songwriting process, with some great riffs by Mr. Perdomo. “Surviving” is one of a few mid-tempo ballads that really pack an emotional punch. “Blank Slate” is another keeper, a catchy ear-worm that is custom-made for Lindsay’s vocal style, and the somber “Out of Your Hands,” speaks about the transience of life; “make the most of your time while you can.” Overall a fantastic album and highly recommended.

Amazon

Todd O'Keefe

Todd O’Keefe “Uptown”

This album is the definition of “one that floats under the radar,” as singer/songwriter Todd O’Keefe is a respected session musician for Jeff Beck, Ray Davies, and The Posies. But power pop fans will know him from his work as bassist for The 88, and The Green And Yellow TV. Todd’s first solo album, Uptown shows the power of a simple melody and acoustic guitar. Influences are varied from John Lennon, Bob Dylan to Paul Simon.

“The Man On The Mountain” is Guthrie-like folk tune done with a harmonica flourish and gusto. The solid “My Hometown” is a heartfelt ballad that hits all the right buttons, with its feeling of isolation. Related to that is the bouncy “The Day She Said Goodbye,” it’s such a good song, the type Wyatt Funderburke would layer and polish. But here it’s just a brilliantly stripped bare melody. “Highwayman” is a Simonesque ballad about a bandit in who dies unexpectedly. “Laughing Gas For The Idle Class” is an obvious Dylan protest similar to “Subterranean Homesick Blues.” Each song is short and sweet, and each melody stands firm without any embellishment. And maybe that’s what is missing here. If only a few tunes here were fuller productions… As it stands, it’s still ripe for multiple listens and very highly recommended.

Amazon

Power Pop for sale! Come on Down! Paul Collins Concert coming soon!

Power POp for sale

The Power Popaholic Sell-A-Thon

If you are near Massapequa Long Island tomorrow, there is a big music expo going on at American Legion Massapequa NY Post 1066 at 66 Veterans Blvd, Massapequa, New York 11758. I will be selling a big pile of my music collection. This stuff has been accumulating for over 10 years now and I’m ready to give it to you for pennies on the dollar. Many CDs will be $2 each and some $4 each. I will also be selling a few very rare items, like my Squeeze Box Set and Cheap Trick Box Set.

And many other vendors will be there, lot of records and other goodies will be for sale. So come on down!

The Paul Collins – Rockinghams Concert

Coming up next month….

Friday Freebies: The Well Wishers, Vegas With Randolph, The Skullers and I Prefer Guitars

Long-time power pop favorite The Well Wishers (aka Jeff Shelton) give us an album of covers. Many are album tracks and not the big popular hits, which makes this collection even more compelling. Shelton covers Tom Petty, Sloan, ABBA, Bowie and more. Also it’s a totally FREE download.


Vegas With Randolph flies the friendly skies with this eminently catchy boarding pass of a song that happily charts a sweet flight path for these Washington, D.C. popsters. While it isn’t free, it’s only a buck and this is a quality single that deserves to be heard!

The Skullers are a new band from New Jersey that are looking for a little exposure. The debut single “Can We Do That Again” is a sharp bit of guitar pop that certainly is worthy of a FREE download. Learn more about these guys at The Skullers.com

The band I Prefer Guitars is a bit of a mystery. I can’t find any bio information except that this band may be from Hamburg, Stockholm or Warsaw. The music is pretty straight forward modern guitar pop. And it’s also a FREE download, so why not check it out?

The John Sally Ride and The Creation

“The John Sally Ride“

The John Sally Ride “A New Set of Downs”

John Dunbar teams up with Sal Maida (Milk & Cookies) and drummer Sal Nunziato to form this solid trio. Anchored by Maida’s great bass line, Dunbar makes the best of the opener “One of These Days You’ll Have One of Those Days,” a very Kinks-like composition with kazoo and guitar flourishes. The steady rhythm of “I Didn’t Know I Was Saying Goodbye” is another gem about an unexpected break-up.

Dunbar gets stuff off his chest with “Your Closest Friends,” a rant that mentions “If you met them now for the first time you’d hate their guts.”  And easily the catchiest tune is the single we heard last month “Not Taking Credit.” Another big highlight is “The Girl You Won’t Leave Your Wife For,” with its dense melody and harmonies in the chorus. Not everything here hits the mark, but this is easily Dunbar’s most accessible work. Highly Recommended.

Amazon

“The Creation“

The Creation “Action Painting”

Back the days during the height of the Mod rock movement 1963 -1968, a handful of bands lead the way and their influences have persisted across the decades of rock and roll. The biggest bands at the time were The Who, The Small Faces, and The Kinks but a band that arguably belonged in that strata was The Creation. Produced by Shel Talmy (The Who) the band traveled in the same circles and hit it big in 1966 with “Making Time” and “Painter Man.”

The band line-up never stayed consistent, as their rotating membership contributed to the eventual breakup in 1968. But the band’s short life was profoundly influential on many artists following them including Paul Weller, Led Zeppelin, The Sex Pistol and many others. Read my full review of the new “Action Painting” CD Box set on http://www.50thirdand3rd.com

Amazon

Songs that are shakin’ not stirred. Coming soon!

Andrew Curry of Curry Cuts is always willing to produce excellent compilations and tributes. This new one is no exception. Songs. Bond Songs: The Music of 007 is the latest Curry Cuts release, and it pays tribute to that great Bond music, with some of today’s best indie pop artists – including members of Drive-By Truckers, The New Pornographers, Fountains of Wayne, and Bowling For Soup – offering updated interpretations of every Bond theme ever. Lannie Flowers does the “007 Theme” so how cool is that! But he needs your help! Contribute to the album today!

Get the detailed track list on the Kickstarter page, and check out Lisa Mychols sample track “The Man With the Golden Gun.”