Power Popaholic Fest 2015: a look back

London Egg and The Grip Weeds Kurt Reil share the stage for the finale of Power Popaholic Fest on 9/12/15

Its taken some time to gather all the photos and films from our first three-day event. I can say I’ve had a great time and anyone who attended enjoyed the music. Both venues worked out fine and all the artists had a blast too. We even had filmmaker Justin Fielding from The Power Pop Movie attending our final night and filming the entire concert. You can see film footage from the Rock Shop and a huge photo gallery on the Power Popaholic Fest 2015 page. We also have a photo gallery of our night at Bar Matchless on the Son of Power Popaholic Fest 2015 page. And of course, our Soundtracks page have also been updated if you’d like to listen.

Now we start planning for next year’s Fest! If you are a band that’s interested and available this summer, contact me and I’ll add you to our list for 2016.

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Larry O. Dean and The Sunchymes

Larry O. Dean

Larry O. Dean “Good Grief”

Larry O. Dean (The Injured Parties) certainly has a dry acerbic wit and with the help of some friends, including Bobby Sutliff (The Windbreakers) and producer Chris Stamey (dB’s) he makes Good Grief an insightful listen. “Didn’t See It Coming” goes through the ups and downs of Dean’s travels through California. Easy tempo and a nice piano-guitar combo make this one a keeper, where the guitar-based “Happy Accident” is a fun trip through the discovery process.

The guitar protest song “Mad In The USA” is fast paced critique of today’s modern culture where you “eat low carb diets with energy drinks / take a bunch of pills to help us think.” “Do Not Follow” is another protest tune, similarly “Don’t Climb The Mountain” warns about goals and motivations (“Better you have a target, even if you miss”). Fans of Neil Young, Chis Stamey, and REM will identify and enjoy this album. Give it a try.


The Sunchymes

The Sunchymes “Present…”

Aaron Hemmington just continues to dazzle with his brand of psychedelic sunshine pop. The layered harmonies are all over “I’ll Call You Up Today,” and the composition “Time Will Tell” owe more to Curt Boettcher’s Millennium, than Beatles or Beach Boy influences.

Several previously released singles (“Mr. Buckstone” and “Through My Eyes”) are added to fill the LP up, but the new music is just as compelling with special standouts; “Lady Gracious” and the trippy “Pictures in Your Mind.” A few songs feel a bit long and repetitive, but the technique is still mesmerizing to listen to. Fans of the bands mentioned above should check it out, and anyone who enjoys retro-styled power pop will love it.


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The Junior League and Seth Timbs

The Junior League

The Junior League “Also Rans”

Joe Adragna (aka The Junior League) continues to produce excellent music year after year and this new album is no exception. The Junior League has more of a retro-sound to start with Also Rans, as the title track is a shimmering janglefest that’s a little like a jam between The Zombies and REM. And although there is lots of great power pop, its got plenty of stylistic variety.

The sound of producer Scott McCaughey’s (Minus 5) influence is pronounced on the mid-tempo gem “The Stars In Our Eyes.” Then the catchy “Before You Go” has a great hook that doesn’t let go and it leads to the sweet “Please (I Need You To Go)” with its bouncy tempo. We then shift to a modern expansive sound on “On/Off” including a synth piano added by Sloan’s Jay Ferguson, and this approach follows through on the slower “Broken and Mine.” Joe goes light (“Disappearing Act”) and heavy (“If its You”) and you’ll find not a single note of filler. Highly Recommended. Also Rans comes with a 5 song bonus disc and is scheduled for CD release on October 2, exclusively at Kool Kat Musik.

Kool Kat Musik | Amazon

Seth Timbs

Seth Timbs “New Personal Record”

Seth Timbs (Fluid Ounces) has been quietly releasing albums of melodic magic over the last several years, and his latest “New Personal Record” is a testament to his resiliency. “Give Up On Your Dreams” is a brilliant piano melody that stands alongside the great Harry Nilsson’s work. On the rollicking “Uneasy Street” he pounds away on the keys and the strutting melody of “Fill It Up” shows Timbs at his most energetic.

“Cliche” is a piano bar ballad about the worn-out musician who was once a “hot prospect,” but the slow building drama of “Far Away From Here” is a brilliant heartbreak song of a wanted man sending his love away to shield her from the law. The guitar solo here is very moving and makes this one of my favorite on the album.

Seth doesn’t stay in the dumps too long, as “Ugly” is an awkward come-on that turns into a joyful dance, and a statement of self confidence. We end with the Flamenco tempo of “The Thing About Time” and I’m glad to offer this album to you as highly recommended.
Bonus supplement:  I’ve contributed to the 50thirdand3rd blog with an overview of Seth Timbs and Fluid Ounces entire career.


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Kurt Baker and The Nines

Kurt Baker

Kurt Baker “Play It Cool”

Proving to be one of the most productive artists today Kurt Baker is like the Energizer bunny (going and going) quickly moving from his collaboration with The Connection on The New Trocaderos, and he’s back with his favorite producer Wyatt Funderburk on a new high energy album.

It all starts with “Sends Me To Mars” setting a manic pace; its written by Kip Brown (The Wild Hearts) and it fits the Kurt/Connection/Trocaderos style like a glove. “Enough’s Enough” is more straight Kurt Baker style, catchy as hell and deserves multiple repeat listens. The tempo is still speeding when we get to “I Got You” and “Just A Little Bit.” Kurt’s restlessness comes through on his party theme “Monday Night.” The NFL may want to buy this one (my tip, Kurt)!

“Can’t Say No” is like a marriage between Elvis Costello and Green Day, and finally we get a slower (mid-tempo) love song on “Talk Is Talk” with a wonderful Beatlesque chord progression. “Back For Good” has what I hear as a Funderburk-influenced love song with yearning lyrics and a magical middle eight. There are a few songs that tread the same ground, but overall this is another home run for Kurt. Makes my top ten list (was there any doubt?) for 2015.


The Nines

The Nines “Night Surfer and the Cassette Kids”

The Nines are back with a rougher, tougher sound and the keyboard is no longer up front. Steve Eggers is still at the core of this Toronto band with the help of Bill Majoros (the Foreign Films). “It’s All in the Head” opens with deep garage rock riffs, and siren effects creating a rough car chase theme. “Just Another Party” has echoes of early XTC, Adam Ant, B-52s and the ’80s dance rock movement, and its great fun. Steve’s melodic composition skill comes out on “Never Take You For Granted” with it’s killer hook in the chorus.

The best impression is with the driving riff attack on “Wasted,” my favorite here – and very much a power pop classic. The tone slows a bit on “Sweet Tangerine” but picks up with the infectious “She Knows It’s Free,” again with the guitar riff in charge here. “Cathy” is another gem that is the best XTC song you never heard. Attempts to go darker, like on “Jimmy’s Girl” set a mood with descending riffs or synths, but don’t compare as well to the earlier tracks. Fans of early ’80’s sound will love it and its definitely highly recommended.

CD Baby | Amazon

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Jeff Lynne’s ELO “Alone In The Universe” coming very soon!

Jee Lynne, ELO

Although the news has been floating on the internet for a few weeks, I’m still excited that Jeff has decided to put out a new LP. Note with all the past legal fights over the name “Electric Light Orchestra,” it was decided to put Jeff’s name first (in case you thought Eric Troyer was the creative force behind ELO). “When I Was A Boy” is the first single and certainly sounds like the band(Jeff) we know and love.
Alone In The Universe is due out Nov. 13 but you can pre-order it from Amazon now.

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