Vacation time!

Dear fellow power popaholics, I am taking a summer break this week. After that get ready for the upcoming Power Popaholic Fest!

If you are planning to attend please visit our Facebook Event Page, and let us know you are coming. Even better you can get advanced tickets at The Rock Shop for the 9/11, 9/12 dates. No advanced tickets will be at Bar Matchless on 9/19.

oh and if you’d like you can also get The Power Popaholic Original Soundtrack Vol.4


September
is coming fast, and I will have reviews for a massive pile of new music… Kurt Baker, Marshall Crenshaw, Tommy Keene, Ben Folds, The Nines and Pugwash all have albums coming out in the next few weeks.

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Pop4 and Wade Jackson

Pop4

Pop4 “Summer”

An amazing collaboration by a group of power pop superstars, the Pop4 brings together Andrea Perry, Scott McPherson (Liar’s Club), KC Bowman (Corner Laughers), and Kirk Adams (Vanilla). These artists clearly love the joys of 1970s pop and while the retro influences are present, it doesn’t feel like a gimmick because the music is well written and genuine. With 16 gems, this is a real treat.

Starting with “I Will Become Love,” a vocal choir followed by the pastoral “Beautiful,” led by Perry is very reminiscent of the late Karen Carpenter. “Blow Wind Blow” has a such groovy vibe I almost expected more cowbell here, and the sunny standout “Einstein and Sunshine” is clearly a nod to ELO’s “Mr. Blue Sky.” Perry’s angelic “Don’t You Be Like That” and “I’m So Jealous” are very much in the ballpark with KC Bowman’s alter-ego band The Agony Aunts. “Jaded” is a clear homage to Harry Nilsson, while “Julianne Irish” is done in a whimsical vaudevillian style like Andy Partridge. I could keep going but you get it already. Its another nominee for best LP of 2015, if not one of the most fun albums ever. Summer is almost over, so pick it up from the band’s website.

Pop4 website

 

Wade Jackson

Wade Jackson “Whiskey Alpha Delta Echo”

Although heavily influenced by Americana and alt. country, Australian Wade Jackson’s first track “Dark Mirror” has more of a Byrdsian jangle and Californian mood. The modern “Valentine’s Day” has an echoing alt. pop style, but comparisons to Big Star really come out on  “Catch My Eye”, “Coming Back” and “Carolina.”  “Coming Back” is also very comparable to The Autumn Defense with a hypnotic chorus and solid harmonies. While the approach is consistent, it begins to get a little predictable after a while – however this is definitely an album that delivers quite a few favorites for my playlist.

Bandcamp

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Secret Friend and Jeff Litman

Secret Friend

Secret Friend “Sleeper”

Secret Friend is the nom de plume of Thailand-based songwriter and recording artist Steven Fox. His music has been impressive before, but here he’s inspired by his native Thailand and the Peruvian rain forests to create a transcendental concept album. A virtual who’s who of power pop greatness contribute vocals to this album. “Blue Sky” is a pastoral dream with Kelly Jones crystalline vocal drawing you in, and its bass synths contrasting with the atmospheric dance rhythms. The experimental percussive effects highlights “Something’s Happening” with Linus of Hollywood effortlessly channeling Glenn Tilbrook and Stevie Wonder.

The lyrics are simple, often repeating and concentrate more on rhythmic patterns than melody. “Anyday Now” has some neat electronica mixed with a strumming guitar as Steve Eggers (The Nines) sings along. “I Don’t Know You” sung by Wyatt Funderburk, is a soothing synth melody similar to ELO in parts, but it too veers off into dreamland. Willie Wisely is given the most vocal duties on a trio of songs, notably “And Ever” with its ethereal vibe. Another standout is “Nobody Listens” sung by Bradley Dean Whyte it slowly builds layer by layer to its catchy chorus. And Steven does contribute a few of his instrumentals in the mix. Unlike straight pop, the songs continue well past the 4 minute mark, and have elements of prog rock, electronica and world music mixed in. One of the most magical albums I’ve heard this year so far, so it is highly recommend.

Get it on Bandcamp.


Jeff Litman

Jeff Litman “Primetime” EP

Its been ten years and Jeff Litman’s transformation from fresh face to street-worn music veteran is near complete with his latest EP. “That’s On You” starts with a ’80s piano that becomes a wicked melody that builds to the swaggering chorus, like if Hall and Oats were played by Elvis Costello. “Debutante” follows that with the same vibe, with a catchy guitar riff driving the song about the cynical cycle of the celebrity musician.

“Nothing” is a lighter mid-tempo composition reminding you not to sweat the small stuff and the bouncy title track once again brings to mind Mr. Costello. The mood changes on the last two tracks, but the epic “Don’t Slow Down” feels like the most personal statement Jeff’s made since his debut. Overall this tight EP boasts no filler and its all killer. Highly Recommended.

Amazon

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Ryan Hamilton “Hell Of A Day”

Ryan Hamilton “Hell Of A Day.”

Texas singer Ryan Hamilton(Smile Smile, People On Vacation) played the Austin’s SXSW Festival in 2010 and met up with Jaret Reddick (Bowling For Soup) and their friendship led to a lot of songwriting and finally a (self-funded) solo album. And it’s a rare thing that an artist can appeal across generations with a timeless power pop sound, but Ryan does it with flair similar to Wyatt Funderburk or Fountains of Wayne. Its also no surprise that this album was produced by Linus of Hollywood.

First, the sing-along chorus of “Be Kind Rewind” is apologetically sunny and bursts forth with horns in the chorus, every bit an anthem to empowerment because “we can do whatever we like.” But the real single follows, as “Karaoke With No Crowd” is an ultra-catchy gem that will leave you singing along and things continue to roll from there. The troubled boyfriend is the protagonist for most songs, as “Letter Verb” and “Respond To My Email” are defiant responses to rejection, as well as great melodies. Another rocking tune is the riff packed “Medicine” that pulls out all the stops and “Records and Needles” is a love letter to classic rock, mentioning luminaries like The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Tom Petty and The Rolling Stones.

“Freak Flag” is a sequel of sorts to “Karaoke” where you need to celebrate your individuality, and forget the brainwashing of pop culture’s poisonous influence. Its not just that each song here is an ear-worm, but the message is important and really resonates after a few listens. Add to that a great cover of REO Speedwagon’s “Take It On The Run” and you’ve got an album that easily becomes a nominee to our 2015 top ten list.

Amazon

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Twitch: Entertainment Site for Gamers, eSports, and Musicians

Integration with Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS4, PC, laptops, and mobile iOS and Android platforms has Twitch.tv as the site of choice for gamers. The site is a hub for live-streaming and video for primarily video games and eSports, but Twitch is expanding into areas that include music and community or special events. 

The largest part of this site is probably eSports, which can attribute its explosive growth in a great way to live streaming, of which Twitch has played an important part. eSports and Twitch have a mutually beneficial relationship; one that will continue now the site is part of Amazon. This backing has given Twitch the confidence and resources to expand from game presenting, live streaming from big gaming conventions, gaming talk shows, and video games in general into other areas like music, poker, and special events. 

Twitch Expands to Music 

Twitch is making expansions in music oriented content now as well. This began with the streamed performance of Video Games Live in July 2013 at the San Diego Comic-Con and the live performance broadcast of Steve Aoki, the electronic dance music DJ, from a nightclub in Ibiza in July of 2014. As of the beginning of 2015 an official category for music streams has been introduced on Twitch, also becoming the official live streaming partner of the Ultra Music Festival in Miami.

Another music initiative is the Twitch Music Library that includes a library of songs that are pre-cleared for broadcasters to use live and with VODs (past broadcasts or highlights) on Twitch. The collection in the library includes at least 500 songs that broadcasters can actually use in their streams for free. This is a clear initiative to connect artists looking for exposure to their music with Twitch.tv broadcasters seeking music to use in their video streams.

The music is provided by burgeoning and established labels and artists. Many of the early adopters of the Twitch music scene are fans of Electronic Dance Music (EDM), but Twitch is looking to adopt other genres like hip-hop, metal, and alternative. Slospeak, a label that represents the San Francisco based band known as Talkie falls into the latter genre. Though the music produced by the band defies some traditional labels, it seems to fall into the alternative rock category with influences of power pop and 90s alternative. Power pop has been characterized as a mixture of hard rock and melodic pop music, having distinctive harmony singing, strong melodic lines, unforgettable guitar riffs, and lyrics about girls and boys in love. Many people believe The Beatles were the source point musically for the characteristics present in the genre. Talkie has all the makings of a power pop band with a knack for writing heartfelt anthems about life, love, and loss, defying classifications for what a rock band should sound like, so perhaps it won’t be long before Twitch becomes a portal for this specific genre.

Twitch Expands to Poker 

Poker on Twitch is a gaming genre that is gaining momentum, in part due to players like Jason “JCarver” Somerville pushing live streaming of online poker games. As a result of the popularity he gained from using the platform, other players are now creating their own channels on Twitch as well. Mark Kennedy, an Australian poker professional, is just one of the many players who are now on Twitch. Kennedy recently became a Player Ambassador for the online poker giant Full Tilt Poker, with his own channel streaming on Twitch in addition to having his channel hosted on Twitch site Full Tilt Live on Saturday afternoons UK time. Kennedy in the role of intermediary between player/fan and Full Tilt Poker is an example of how a company can create a direct link to its consumer to create a better product. 

Twitch Expands to other Entertainment Possibilities 

In addition to these music offerings, Twitch has a promotional program for unique content events as well. They are reaching out to more and more people in the entertainment world, specifically the music and television industries, to find and provide new and exciting content experiences on the site. As mentioned earlier, Twitch has partnered with Ultra to stream live concerts from one of the biggest Electronic Music festivals in the world directly on Twitch.

They are also working with HBO and USA to broadcast shows called Silicon Valley and Mr. Robot from the respective television networks. The new promotion is called Twitch Specials and is expected to draw unique content events like show premiers and music festivals for Twitch viewers. In fact, the company hopes to encourage artists to not only produce tracks live for a dedicated Music category, but they also hope viewers and musicians will review the work of other artists on these streams.

Though Twitch is a currently a gamer oriented site, the non-gaming music activities and events are expected to fit seamlessly into the culture.

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