Freebie Friday: Travis Bretzer, Hector & The Leaves, Ricky Demetro

Edmonton indie pop songsmith Travis Bretzer is a jack of all trades musician, singer-songwriter who plays all of the instruments. The album’s first single “Are You Ever Gonna Change?” is a jangling power pop gem and the romantic “Peace, Love and Harmony” shows off his sunshine pop tendencies. “Up in Morning” is like a lost Mike Nesmith tune! One of the best FREE albums you’ll hear this year.  Time for me to investigate his back catalog. Also available in CD form on CDBaby.

Hector and The Leaves return with a bedroom pop treat. Tom Hector delivers the opener “Watching The World” in a hushed whisper. It stays quiet with acoustic guitar and his songwriting has improved tremendously from previous releases, “Call You Up” is a catchy gem that fans of Elliot Smith will eat up. Several songs sound like demos, but they are compelling. Music for those late nights with a mug of mint tea.

Way back at Power Popaholic Fest 3, Ricky Demetro was the lead singer in The Rhino House Band. Sadly, the band broke up and Ricky has the moved to Japan. Fortunately, he still likes to make music — this is more of a personal album, with no commercial aspirations as he does some experimental pop here. Oh yeah, and it’s a FREE download.

Lo Tom and Any Version Of Me

Andy Oliveri and the Mountaineers

Lo Tom “Lo Tom”

David Bazan and his Seattle band Pedro The Lion teamed up with members of Starflyer 59 to form the supergroup, Lo Tom. It’s Bazan and friends TW Walsh, Jason Martin and drummer Trey Many. The low-pressure setting delivers a memorable, well crafted LP, starting with the driving “Covered Wagon” led by the smooth dual guitar rhythms of Walsh and Martin.

Like indie rocker Robert Pollard(Guided By Voices,) Bazan’s melodies stick with repeated plays and the guitar work of Walsh and Martin are refreshingly effective. Missing are Bazan’s religious overtones and songs like “Overboard” and “Bad Luck Charm” are more abstract in the messages sent. “Find The Shrine” mines an AC/DC styled riff throughout the song, but the album’s second half runs out of steam. Worth checking out even if you’re not a big Pedro fan.

Amazon

Any Version Of Me

Any Version Of Me “VI (Side One)”

Parisian Guillaume Lepine is back with his retro flavored British pop on VI (Side One). “New Year” opens with a Kinks-styled dance hall tune and continues to stay in the late 60’s era and recreates the sound flawlessly. He goes back to Beatlesque well on “Two Days” which borrows liberally from “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da.”

The sunshine pop of “Some Saturday Morning” is another highlight with its Beach Boys styled harmonies and layered keyboards move seamlessly into the slide guitar of “Four Walls.”  Then it goes psychedelic with “Little Girl Lost” and acid-dripped riffs of “Thanks Ronnie.” It’s like finding a lost bin of old nuggets and the music is considerably better produced than previous AVOM releases. Best of all, this is a FREE download, with the promise of Side Two coming later this year. For fans of 60’s rock and pop, this is highly recommended.

Friday Freebies: Robyn Gibson, Ed Ryan, KC Bowman and Vista Blue

Bob of The Pops Vol.2 – The Juniper lead singer Robyn Gibson did such an impressive job with Vol.1, he decided to make more covers. Vol.2 was recorded from January to May, 2017 at the sofa studio in Leicester and at the Junipers’ studio, while the band weren’t watching. FREE download everyone, so sing along to The Monkees “The Girl That I Knew Somewhere”

Ed Ryan decided to give us a bonus track from his well-reviewed Roadmap album. It’s a new recording of a song he wrote with his old band The Rudies. Enjoy the crashing drums and quick riffs!

KC Bowman (Gigolo Aunts, Corner Laughers) is an undisputed pop talent that we hear from all too infrequently. It’s been ages since he’s done a solo album, but he delivers us two excellent pop singles here I am happy to share. Keep your eyes and ears open for more! KC – if you are reading, we would love a new full-length album, please.


Vista Blue is back with a selection of covers that’s sure to warm a power pop fans heart. From Big Star’s classic “Thirteen” to a rocking garage version of Depeche Mode “Dreaming Of Me.”

Compilation Fridays: More bands! More music!

Power Popaholic Fest is coming on June 16, 17 (next week) at Bar Matchless in Brooklyn, NY. Each year we have a soundtrack made with songs by some performers and like-minded artists. Your purchase helps fund the continuation of this long-running music festival dedicated to power pop artists. This year’s soundtrack features Somerdale, The Successful Failures, Lisa Mychols, Lannie Flowers, Cirrone, The Brittanicas, Jose Estragos and The Pop-Coop. Note: Limited time! Some tracks will only be available during the month of June.

Another compilation that we promote regularly is the Coop Communique, championed by artist/writer Dw Dunphy. This is the third and most impressive volume yet. With an array of favorites including Josh Fix (!!), The Ravines, Greek Theatre, Son of Skooshny, Brandon Schott, Andy Klingensmith, Vegas With Randolph and much more. Best of all its a FREE download!  Between Dunphy and Ice Cream Man, you can fill up the old music player on my phone really fast!

Memorial Day EPs: The Smart Folk, Wishing Rock, The Morning Line, Angelo Celli

Yeah The Smart Folk are another brand of 60s-inspired mod, pop and indie-rock, the six songs tell stories of traveling, identity and the uniqueness of Australian leisure time. This has plenty of summer jangly, melodic guitar and is perfect for a lazy, sunny afternoon.

Wishing Rock is a hard rock band from Baltimore. “17 Seconds” is bright start, even if the vocals are a bit muddled. The band mellows out on latter tracks like “Piscataway.” Hey, and its a FREE download – so enjoy.

The Morning Line brings a chunky West Coast rock to the table. The lead vocalist  Peter Craft reminds me of Ed Roland (Collective Soul.) “Anybody Else” and “All Mine” are very catchy jangle-pop gems — so check it out and yes it’s also a FREE download.

Angelo Celli (Bracket) has some simple acoustic guitar songs here, but like most of Celli’s tunes they are good. Really like those multi-tracked vocal melodies and another FREE download for your Memorial Day BBQ.