The Breakup Society "Nobody Likes a Winner"

Breakup Society lead singer Ed Masley sings about something we all have thought about. The fear of a life wasted as a “failure” and an obsession with celebrity envy. Sounding a lot like the Vandalias meets Michael Shelley, “Nobody Likes a Winner” stretches the theme around 14 songs. And most of the tunes are upbeat with great power pop hooks and layers of harmonies. The title track opens with the energy of a classic Replacements song. This is followed by a real nice standout “How Failure Saved Me From Myself,” which emerges as a repeatable dirge that shows how we are defined by our failures even more than our success. The anthemic “Strictly Biological Heart” has pleasing orchestral touches that compliment the hopeful lyrics. The “13th Angry Man” doles out some Cheap Trick meets Elvis Costello energy about an angry guy who blames everyone for his lifes troubles, including a suffering wife. Some of the songs aren’t always that memorable, and some editing may have made this album a little better. Thankfully, there are plenty of gems here, like “By a Thread” a tale of a high school reunion and eternal optimism. Included is my favorite track, “I Didn’t Mean to Wreck Your Day” – with a killer hook and amazingly clean arrangement. This is definitely worthy of your ipod list.

The Breakup Society site | My Space | Kool Kat Musik

Listen to “This Little Tragedy”

The Resonars "Nonetheless Blue"

Since we’re in the psychedelic pop section, we might as well mention another great band with the field. The Tucson, AZ based Resonars are singer/songwriter Matt Rendon and friends, who can fashion a perfect psyche-pop tune with ease and authenticity. It opens with the title track, a perfect British Invasion-era pop/rock (circa 1964-1966) nugget with a decidedly more garage-y feel than most. The tracks “Your Concern” and “Places You Have Been” deliver Mod styled power pop complete with jangling guitar and harmonies similar to the early Who. “Games OF Fear” is a good hybrid of The Monkees and The Dave Clark Five. This is easily the strongest Resonars album, as the song writing has gotten stronger and the musicianship is perfect. Every song is under three minutes and catchy as hell, no fillers here either. It’s very hard to highlight a single song here, but “Sinking is Slow” mixes the right amount of rock, harmonies similar to The Choir (a proto version of the Raspberries). Great stuff here, as the other songs on the albums second half (“No Problem At All” and “Soar Snippet”) gets more garage sound, and owe more to The Kinks/Pretty Things than the “Sgt. Pepper-isms” present in The Pillbugs CD I reviewed last week. Things get downright acid on “Three Times Around” and if you’re like me, you’ll get this album and turn on the lava lamp. Dude, it’s like so groovy!

My Space | Not Lame | Kool Kat Musik | E-Music | Get Hip Records

Listen to “Three Times Around”

Readymade Breakup "Isn’t that what it’s for?"

New Jersey bandmates, Readymade Breakup have a sharp polished sound that should propel the group to the top of indie rock stardom. Opening with “Starting to End” – it does a great job with a soaring melody and tight guitar arrangements, that sets the tone for the entire album. The sincerity and unapologetic approach to three minute indie pop and rock is evident with “Line of Sight” complete with great harmonies and catchy riffs that you can sing along to. “Without You” is a great single here, possessing both the raw energy and guitar mastery that typified bands like Tonic, Gigolo Aunts and The Tories. Even the ballads here shine, like “Invincible” which starts soft and breaks into a hard riffed chorus. “The Funeral” has a smooth hook and lead singer Paul Rosevear’s voice almost resembles Glenn Tilbrook during points. Each song seems crafted to stick as well, as they continue to encourage repeat listens. A great example of this is the power mid-tempo song “Say Yes.” Toward the end of the album, it gets a bit overdramatic on a few songs like, “Ruin” and “Note to Self,” but the songs are not at all bad. If you had to describe this band in one word it would be “intensity” and that kind of passion for music should be appreciated by power pop fans worldwide. Keep up the good work, guys.

The Band’s Site | My Space | CD Baby | Kool Kat Musik | Not Lame

Canadians "A Sky with No Stars"

A group of Italian power poppers named their band “Canadians.” Brilliant! Although not so search engine friendly, Canadians debut album has lots of great guitar jangle, humming synths and pounding beats. Alot like Death Cab for Cutie with an Italian accent, it’s sweet indie power pop with a West Coast influence. The high quality production comes through as well. The big Beach Boys-influenced single here is “Summer Teenage Girl” and you can download it for FREE. The sound marries the classic 60s influences with big indie stadium anthems that usually are reserved for bands like Oasis. “Find our 60s” is a song that perfectly finds that sweet spot and has a bit of a Teenage Fanclub guitar-filled chorus. The songs lyrics are a tribute to those great bands that influenced power pop as well. Singer Duccio Simbeni’s accent and voice sometimes gets lost in the wall of sound here. Notable is the indie epic “Last Revenge of The Nerds” – it carries a melody along, similar to the groups Field Music or the Shins, but with a long echoing chorus and ringing guitars. Every so often an acoustic guitar peeks through on a song like “The North Side of Summer” with force. The album is very consistent in delivering good quality songs. Even a little twee multi-tracking vocal flourish and synth help keep this release memorable. If you miss the classic Supergrass sound from “We’re in it for the Money” era you’ll appreciate the bombast this album provides. For emusic subscribers, here’s another no brainer.

The Canadians Main Site | My Space | E Music

Listen to “Love Story On The Moon”

Listen to “Good News”

Listen to “Summer Teenage Girl”

"Songs from the Bigtop" Various Artists

Hurry! Hurry! Step right up and be the first on your block to listen to Devon Reed’s soundtrack to “Songs from The Bigtop.” Not only does he produce a major film, ladies and gentlemen, but he wrote all the songs on the album to be performed by some of today’s greatest indie and power pop artists. Featuring songs performed by Doug Martsch (Built To Spill), Matthew Sweet, The Clientele, The Marbles (Robert Schneider of Apples in Stereo), Tullycraft, and more. Reed wrote each song custom based on the sound of each artist, and it’s sounds pretty good. Most of the album is full of lush ballads that speak wistfully of Devon’s love of circus life. Highlights include Michael Leviton’s “I Only want Sky” and Matthew Sweet’s “Wild” as mid tempo pop songs with just the right touch. Like a good box of chocolates, sweet suprises are to be found, for example the excellent “I Just Can’t Keep Up” by The Owls. A few tunes here didn’t thrill me, but that’s to be expected on a compiled soundtrack of artists with such unique styles. The link that ties it all together is Devon Reed’s songs, and the album evokes warmth and a hint of melancholy. Hopefully the film itself is as well crafted as the soundtrack. It’s only available on itunes. And who doesn’t love the circus?

Devon Reed Main Site | IMDB profile on the movie | Itunes

Listen to Michael Leviton’s “I Only Want The Sky”

Listen to Damien Jurado’s “Ashes”