Detroit Autos and Ben Kenobi

Autos Detroit

Autos Detroit “Second Best”

The Autos Detroit are a band from Barcelona, Spain with a love of American styled classic rock, and they deliver some impressive music. In the tradition of some great power pop, “Step On” is an understated opener with a strong lead vocal by Pedro Pasamontes, and its got some nice chord progressions and backing harmonies. “Just Before You Go” gathers more hooks than a fishing tackle box, and a terrific middle eight. The band also does quirky Anglo-pop on “Sunny Day” kind of like Ray Davies or the heavier psychedelic jam “Deception.”

Occasionally the vocals get very rough, like on “Moonglow,” where the grizzled lead is balanced by some nice group harmony. Added highlights include the Badfinger-ish “Lonesome” and “All Will Be Fine,” but honestly there isn’t a bad track here and its all sung in English with barely an accent. Considering Spain is a hotbed of great power pop artists, its no surprise I find a winner here. Highly Recommended.

Bandcamp only

Ben Kenobi

Ben Kenobi “Women of Crenshaw”

Ben Kenobi is no Jedi Master, but he sure knows his way around a catchy guitar pop tune. He led the punk pop band Benzene in South Korea and moved to California in 2008. Eventually, he got around to collecting his songs into a solo album in 2015. Titled Women of Crenshaw, the songs range from folk to pop with influences from Dylan to The Beatles, but vocally he reminds me of Evan Dando (The Lemonheads.)

Opening with a guitar instrumental “Django Unchained” it is a bit hypnotic with a frenetic overlapping melody and rhythm. “Staring At the Star” is an introspective ballad about life in L.A. that resonates (kind of Ben Folds-like), and “Aspirin” is thinking out loud what to do with expired painkillers. Ben considers creative burnout on “Maple Leaves Don’t Fly” and does another instrumental this time in classical acoustic guitar on “Ben’s National Anthem.” We actually get a power pop song on “Ballad of McFly Jr.” And this year Kenobi has a new single out “Bury Me Down” and its closer to dance pop, bookended by more great instrumental work. Definitely, check it out or the force will not be with you (sorry.)