John Brodeur “Little Hopes”
The culmination of several years of work, Brodeur moves beyond Tiger Pop, to a more mature sound. Brodeur starts with the minimalist hand claps “Be Careful,” but quickly rocks out the confident guitars on “One Man Army.” The next few songs have a modern sound, like Matt Pond meets Arcade Fire, or Liam Finn. Both “Neil Young” and “Oh My” have a touch of roots rhythm and the echoing vocals here are similar to Mark Oliver Everett (Eels), but the album really picks up steam mid way through.
“Favorite Feeling” has a great bass riff and fast paced chorus, then “Old Wounds” is an amazing confessional tune full of great composition. But my favorite song here is “You Kill Me,” a slowly building power pop gem with layered chords and an killer hook in the chorus. Then”Spit It Out” gives us another fantastic guitar gem about “happy endings all around.” Trust me, you’ll want to play this LP over and over. Don’t miss it.
Dana Countryman “Pop! The Incredible, Fantastic Retro Pop World of Dana Countryman”
Countryman is one of those musical chameleons like Vinnie Zummo, who can play several different genres with ease. He’s done a ton of commercial TV work including a song that appeared in South Park. This album is a smorgasbord of pop styles, starting with “Every Night” and “Thrill Me” its a glossy mix of The Carpenters combined with The Buckinghams. Crisp harmonies are part of “Tricia’s Song,” a achingly good romantic ballad. “I Still Get Shy” is like a long lost Neil Sedaka tune, and “Peanut Buttery Gumdrop Girl” recalls the bubblegum era pretty accurately.
Countryman also has guest musicians including Dee Long (Klaatu) and Wally Reddington III(The Explorers Club) to name a few. Then he explores some 80’s AOR soul and even manages to throw in a country tune in (“Throw My Heart In The Garbage Can”). So its pretty safe to say fans of retro pop will enjoy this.