The Foreign Films and The Tonighters

The Record Collector

The Foreign Films “The Record Collector”

Commanded by Bill Majoros and assisted by a collection of musicians like Steve Eggers (The Nines), Carl Jennings, and the late Wim Oudijk to name a few, The Record Collector is an expansive box set.

Like Robert Harrison’s (Cotton Mather) recent I-Ching song cycle, the music is varied in style and touches several themes. There are six sides to the entire project and many songs can be heard on Bandcamp. The vinyl version includes 3 records and a 12 page booklet with a short story “Emily Blue and The Star on The Moon.” The songs all relate to the story of a lonely star-struck girl and her adventures.

Starting With “Shadow in The Light” it builds to a solid chorus, with lots of energy, but then we hit the ELO-like epic “The Sun Will Shine Again” as it slowly wraps around you with its harmonies and guitar solos, it feel like an album finale in “Let It Be” fashion, not a second song. “Junior Astronomer’s Club” has a swirling psyche-pop feel, Majors vocals are soft and brimming with earnestness. The harmonies are extraordinary, for example on “Cinematic Kiss (in Dreams).”

At points the psychedelics approach Pink Floyd proportions like on “Emily Blue,” and “Emily’s Dream Sequence” but its the power pop gems here that will ring your bell. Some great ones early on are “Broken Dreams,” and “Lucky Streak.” There are a few outlier pop songs like “Land of 1000 Goodbyes” with guest Kori Pop delivering with her silken vocals. Kori and Bill make a great duet on “State of The Art.” There are elements of Bowie-like glam, folk-pop, and blues sprinkled throughout, but with 31 tracks it’s a lot to take in. As a passion project, this succeeds because Majoros puts a lot of craftsmanship into each musical phrase and the overall story. A concept album can be like a large meal, you take in each morsel and savor it. Highly Recommended.

Amazon breaks this into 2 albums: Junior Astronomers Club & The Record Collector

 

The Tonighters “Kathleen Rose” EP

A new UK band from Newcastle that has a great power pop sound. Check out the opener “Kathleen Rose” and the acoustic “Flower.” Lead singer Billy G does a crackerjack job. I can’t wait to hear more — someone sign this guy to a label! Listen and hope downloads are coming soon.

The Power Popaholic Interview: The Posies

The Posies

The Posies are celebrating 30 years of making music in 2018, and will be re-releasing our classic 1990s albums Dear 23, Frosting on the Beater and Amazing Disgrace and all are double CD/double LP sets. The CDs contain the original album and a full CD (and more) of bonus tracks, most of which have never been released — not even on the out-of-print box set At Least At Last. Check it out here: The Posies Pledge Campaign

 

 
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They Might Be Giants and Daniel McGeever

They Might Be Giants

They Might Be Giants “I Like Fun”

Over the course of their 30-plus year career, prolific pop experimentalists John Flansburgh and John Linnell have always been a little obsessed with death and the macabre, but on I Like Fun, it’s an overt theme – and every track touches it. Starting with “Let’s Get This Over With” a piano rhythm and pounding bass drum, sets up the bouncy lyric ”Even when you’re out of work/you still have a job to do.” It then jumps into the big single “I Left My Body” which is classic TMBG (the album was even recorded in the same Manhattan location as their classic 1990 LP Flood,) with its harmonies and catchy melody.

The band can still rock out “An Insult To The Fact Checkers” and the power pop of “The Bright Side” proves the guitar riffs still belongs on a TMBG album. But there is plenty of weirdness here, from the classical piano stylings of “Mrs. Bluebeard” to the nerdy dance pop “Push Back The Hands.” And while some of it sounds gimmicky (“The Greatest”) there are more than enough memorable songs like the “Last Wave,” a final statement on the subject; “We die alone, we die afraid… and the grave is the loneliest place.” In another artists hands, this album could sound like a funeral dirge, but with the Johns you get a lively party.

Amazon

Daniel McGeever

Daniel McGeever “Cross The Water”

McGeever is a pop singer/songwriter who builds perfect dramatic song structures using classic tools of the trade: guitar and piano. The opener “Julia” builds a mid-tempo love song that recalls Elton John or Paul McCartney with a chorus brimming with sweet harmonies. The emotional appeal of McGeever’s music also reminds me of Graham Gouldman or Gilbert O’ Sullivan. The album starts out hopeful, “Life’s A Game” has McGeever belt out the chorus, and it leads to the wistful “Wedding Day,” with its nostalgic feel.

On tracks like “Return” the piano takes on a slight baroque quality, but as the album continues the compositions are more classical folk like “For Violet.” Most of the album is love balladry, but the best romantic gem here is “Our Love Will Remain” and McGeever’s double-tracked harmonies are especially good. “It’s Not Over All Yet” finishes our story with a six-minute epic Billy Joel meets David Gates flourish, dramatically stating “in the face of adversity there is always a little hope.” A great romantic album that stands up to multiple listens, and highly recommended.

Amazon

Música en España: Ramirez Exposure, Mama, Hank Idory

2017 was also a very busy year “across the pond” in Spain – which is a very strong market for power pop artists and continues to produce great music in English and Spanish. A big thanks goes out to Rock Indiana label in Madrid. and Pretty Olivia Records in El Altet, Alicante. Here are some of my favorites… excelente música para ti.

Ramirez Exposure

Ramirez Exposure “Young Is The New Old”

Valencia-based artist Víctor Ramírez has an impressive musical resume. After having supported Jacco Gardner on tour in Spain last year, he enlisted Ken Stringfellow (Posies, Big Star) and Marc Jonson to produce his solo album, even covering Jonson’s “Suddenly Sunshine.“ Opening with the spacey, bouncy pop of “Hazel Love” it shows amazing melodic skill with a light touch. The joyful “Sweetheart” is a mid-tempo gem with a tight composition and “The Heartbreak Kid,” named after a favorite movie is about listening to your subconscious to make bold life choices. You definitely hear a subtle Brian Wilson influence across each song. And the song quality is maintained from beginning to end. This is another album that easily could’ve made my top albums list for 2017.

Amazon


Mama

Mama “Toque De Queda”

José María Granados is a veteran power pop musician and Mama is one of Spain’s most venerable bands. Translated to “Touch of Delay,” delivers a superb collection of power pop in Spanish, from the opening strums of “Uno Mas” it bounces along, and the big single “Acto De Fe” (Act of Faith) is super catchy even if you don’t know the language. Songs are mostly 3-minute bursts of irresistible choruses and energetic guitars. Many great tunes here. Highly Recommended.

Amazon

Hank Idory

Hank Idory “Hank Idory”

Also from Valencia is another artist, Hank Idory with more of a chamber pop approach; smooth vocals mixed with soft harmonies that recall bands of the sunshine pop era like The Millennium or The Association mixed with a crisp modern production style. The meticulous arrangements will win over power pop fans even if you don’t understand the language, like the gentle “Lo mejor de mí” or gorgeous ascending bridge of “El tiempo siempre miente.”  Only rarely veering into the conventional, its clean Rickenbacker chords and chiming harmonies make this my favorite Spanish language release of 2017.  Highly Recommended.

Amazon

Reissues and Freebie Friday: The Pozers, Imp of Perverse, Zeus Springsteen

Daisy House

Reissues: The Pozers “Embrace Your Addiction”

With their 5th CD release, The trio known as The Pozers (Jim Richey, Kenny Swann, Jeff Hamm) serve up some brand new “addictions” for your listening pleasure.The albums overall theme is on memories (specifically 1987) and musical influences are straightforward; starting with “The Time and Place” it slowly morphs from harpsichord into a rich combination of guitars and Beatlesque harmonies. Then “Cindy See” is a very Fountains of Wayne styled gem to honor an obsession with supermodel Cindy Crawford.

Richey’s poignant fuzz guitar “Lucky Face” emphasizes “We get no guarantees (I guarantee that)” and the Beatles style is especially strong on “When Intellects Collide,” and then it changes slightly for the breezy gem “Sunshine (Smiling Face)” with some horns added to the raw vocals. Many songs densely packed, with sharp wit between each drum fill and chugging riff. The band’s arena rock indulgences come out toward the end, but this is still one of best Pozer’s albums out there.

Amazon | CD Baby

Freebies!

Imp of Perverse is a Texas band with a mellow psyche-pop style full of sleepy low vocals. Check out “Misunderstanding.” A FREE download too.

Zeus Springsteen is just hoping “The Boss” sues them, but this solid alt. rock band has some serious arena rock chops. The Vermont-area trio is made up of David Evan (lead vocals, drums), Chris Farnsworth (lead guitars) and Josh Shedaker (bass) and they have a little glam influence too, just check out “Your Funeral” and “Rental” Oh yeah and it’s a FREE download.