Merry Christmas from Power Popaholic!

Scott McCaughey delivers a sack load of great Christmas music with his group, The Minus 5, a rotating line-up of musician friends. Tons of guest stars; Ben Gibbard (Death Cab for Cutie), Peter Buck, Mike Mills, The Posies, Colin Meloy (The Decemberists), Chuck Prophet, M. Ward, Tammy Ealom (Dressy Bessy), to name a few.

Looking for something a little less traditional? Justin & The Cosmics gives us a Christmas doo-wop that reminded me of Zappa meeting up with Mojo Nixon for an egg nog.

One of my favorites, Spirit Kid has a song about the jolly fellow in red. This isn’t new, but it is still a FREE download.

Pop Etc. is a young band (formerly The Morning Benders) originally from Berkeley, California, later based in Brooklyn, New York. They have a great sound, perfect harmonies and best of all this EP is a FREE download

Comedy legend/banjo player Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers deliver this funny holiday single “Strangest Christmas Yet.” I sure hope it replaces this worn out tune I constantly hear at the shopping mall.


Holiday Gift Guide: Cheap Trick and The Searchers

Cheap Trick

Cheap Trick “Christmas Christmas”

Like an Energizer bunny, Cheap Trick has been firing on all cylinders this year with a new album and now it’s first ever Christmas album! Needless to say, this one is a real holiday gem with a combination of new and old songs. Robin Zander can belt it out unlike anyone else on  “I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day.”

As with most things CT, you get ringing guitars and a full production. A good mix of slower numbers (“Please Come Home For Christmas”) balance out the hard rocking crowd-pleasers (“Run Run Rudolph”). The only missteps are an odd remake of The Kinks “Father Christmas,” (the slower tempo just doesn’t work) and “Our Father Of Life” which sounded like filler. Otherwise a great soundtrack for your holiday.


The Searchers

The Searchers “Another Night: The Sire Recordings 1979-1981”

During the British Invasion, there was another Liverpool band topping the charts not named The Beatles. The Searchers had 11 Top 40 hits between 1963 and 1966 in the UK, with “Needles And Pins,” “Sweets For My Sweet,” “Don’t Throw Our Love Away”  and the US hit “Love Potion No. 9.” By the end of the decade, they toured Europe but never faded away. The band continued to develop musically, change personnel and eventually signed with Sire Records in 1979 for a revival. This was a rare case of an “oldies” band re-tooling to a new generation successfully.

“Hearts in Her Eyes,” (written by The Records’ Will Birch and John Wicks) was a vibrant new sound that still maintained the Searchers trademark harmonies. The band showcased this sound on the Sire recordings, as they covered many great bands (Big Star, Duck Deluxe, Tom Petty) and originals. “Feeling Fine,” is a lost link between those Merseybeat days and 80’s power pop, with its jangling chords, harmonies and catchy as hell chorus. Fans of supergroup Rockpile (with Dave Edmunds and Nick Lowe) will really enjoy this collection, as the guitar work and even vocals make The Searchers very comparable. The music has no filler either, as most of the songs have a timeless quality with little of the cliched overproduction from the era. Fans of 80’s power pop will love this and its highly recommended. Thanks for the Christmas gift, Omnivore Records!


Holiday Music Bonanza: The Weeklings, Michael Carpenter, Vista Blue, and more!

The first Rockin’ Christmas tune from The Weeklings is a mix of The Beatles “Revolution” and “Winter Wonderland”

Power pop favorite from the land down under, Michael Carpenter delivers a real gem here about “Another” Christmas song!

Vista Blue is back with another punk-pop Christmas. Fans of The Ramones will love this, especially Gimme! (Garfield’s Christmas Theme) and its a big FREE download for your stocking!

More gifts! Futureman Records has a FREE holiday sampler with great artists like Chris Richards and The Subtractions, The Hangabouts, Nick Bertling and many more.

The Pengwins also have a free gift for you, courtesy of SpyderPop Records – it’s Christmas Again!
Remington Super 60 is a indie-pop project from Fredrikstad Norway, founded by composer & producer Christoffer Schou. This shares a title with Mr. Carpenter’s song but is very different. Think, warm fireplace and hot cocoa!

Ho Ho Holiday Singles: Loop Line, Bill DeMain, Cotton Mather, Nicole Atkins

Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah!

Loop Line is back with a holiday song, but it can’t decide if its a Beach or Christmas tune. I guess its both… get the FREE download while it lasts.

​​Robert Harrison (Cotton Mather) teams up with one of my favorite voices in pop, singer Nicole Atkins for “Faded” a wonderfully written ballad. It is part of the new EP ‘Cotton Mather with Nicole Atkins, arriving on December 30th. Get this FREE download now!

New Zealand DIY pop dude Stefan Reyners also has a holiday single. A nice simple statement

While not a Christmas tune, this was way too good not to share. Bill DeMain delivers the goods with an orchestral cover of The Beach Boys “Wendy” for an upcoming album.

Ho Ho Holiday Singles: Seth Timbs, Steve Eggers, and Michael Carpenter

Each year a number of artists release Christmas singles. We already featured one set last week. I will continue to showcase new holiday tunes this week in between my final reviews for 2016. A best of the year list will ready shortly into the new year.

Seth Timbs enjoys a “Bellyful”

Steve Eggers (The Nines) has been so busy (and we love it) but still found time to drop off this Christmas song released on the Japanese label This Time Recordings.

One of my favorite artists down under, Michael Carpenter has just “One More Christmas” to sing about.