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.



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.


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.


Danny de la Matyr and Luke Fitzpatrick

Danny de la Matyr

Danny de la Matyr “Crybaby”

Dallas native Danny De La Matyr has been widely praised last year. Jody Stephens (Big Star) said “Crybaby is a beautiful record. Danny’s voice is soft but emotive, in part because of his sweet melodies.” Danny has mentioned his favorite artists are Paul McCartney, XTC, Todd Rundgren and his LP made quite a few “best-of” lists, so I sought it out.

Crybaby starts with the Big Star-ish mid-tempo “Drift Away” and the acoustic “Waterslide” which makes good use of Danny’s hushed vocals. But the slow building gem “How Can It Be?” is very similar to Paul Bertolino’s 70’s influenced style. The jangling guitars and echoing “Lines” bring to mind Dwight Twilley at his melodic best. Other gems include the Beatlesque “Skeleton Key” and the brilliant key track “Misfire” which is one of the better songs I’ve heard this year. The anthemic “Fade To Grey” has an Elton John feeling to it. The rocking guitar also comes out on “Rippin’ my Soul Out,” overall a great album that also could’ve made my list last year. Highly recommended.


Luke Fitzpatrick

Luke Fitzpatrick “Sun Songs”

Sydney based songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Fitzpatrick is a power pop fan who draws inspirations from The Beach Boys, Phil Spector, and Todd Rundgren. Each song is 2 minutes or under, done in a DIY bedroom pop style, as “Through” layers vocals, piano and hook-filled riffs. The lyrics are as simple as any from the golden era of rock and roll as heard on “Don’t Forget About Me.” Fitzpatrick has a method of establishing a simple verse-chorus couplet that burns into your brain, like the catchy “Tell Them.”

The limitations of this style are apparent midway through, as the tempo and rhythms of the songs tend to blend together, and it sometimes feels more like a demo or sketch, for example, “Chance is Gone” just begs for a fuller production. Still, this is a fun set of music sure to impress power pop fans looking for melodic ear candy. Oh yeah, this is also a FREE download, so no excuses!


David Bash’s Top 125 Album list

It’s that time of year again! I post this list to benefit people who are not on Facebook. For the newbies here, David Bash is the CEO of IPO (International Pop Overthrow) music festival and generally a grand poobah of Power Pop opinion. So I’m proud to say we both picked the same #1 album of the year, Sitcom Neighbor’s Shag! All of my top 30 are in here, plus a ton of music I did not get to review. If you’d like to see other categories, like top re-issues – you’ll need to contact David through Facebook. And if you’d like to see another good power pop end-of-year list, check out the blogs that actively support power pop, for example, Absolute Power Pop, Power Pop Square, Power Pop Station (also, picked Shag at #1) and Power Pop News. So let’s begin.

Top 125 Albums

  1. Sitcom Neighbor-Shag (Gravity Works)
  2. Mark & The Clouds-Cumulus (Mega Dodo)
  3. The Flywheels-I’m For The Flowers (MLM)
  4. Brent Cash-The New High (Marina)
  5. Dent May-Across The Multiverse (Carpark)
  6. Wesley Fuller-Inner City Dream (1965)
  7. Derrick Anderson-A World of My Own (Omnivore)
  8. The Galileo 7-Tear Your Minds Wide Open (Damaged Goods)*
  9. The Belmondos-Good Mistakes (Self Released)
  10. Ruby Free-Shades (SodaStar)
  11. The Stanleys-The Stanleys (Pop Detective/Off The Hip/Rock Indiana)
  12. Mothboxer-The Secret Art of Saying Nothing (Self Released)
  13. Sex Clark Five-Ghost Brigade (Russia)
  14. Justin Levinson-Yes Man (Self Released)
  15. The Nines-Colour Radio (T.A.S. Gold)
  16. Cheap Trick-Cheap Trick Christmas (Big Machine)
  17. Groovy Movies-Groovy Movies (Hidden Volume)*
  18. The John Sally Ride-A New Set of Downs (Kool Kat)
  19. Sidewalk Society-Strange Roads: The Songs of Rolled Gold (Fruits De Mer)
  20. El Goodo-By Order of The Moose (Strangetown)
  21. The Sexies-The Sexies (Self Released)
  22. Chris Price-Stop Talking (Omnivore)
  23. Chris Lund-Great Event Syndrome (Self Released)
  24. Pugwash-Silver Lake (Lojinx)
  25. Eyelids-Or (Jealous Butcher)
  26. Burgess Meredith-A Dimension of Sound (Self Released)
  27. Corin Ashley-Broken Biscuits (Murray Hill)
  28. Paul Bertolino-Toy Box (No Label)
  29. Richard X. Heyman-Incognito (Turn-Up)
  30. Wiretree-Towards The Sky (Self Released)
  31. Third of Never-Austerity (Jam)
  32. Michael Roberts-Suspended In This Space (Digitalis)
  33. The Brass Buttons-Seven Seasons (Rock Indiana)
  34. Once & Future Band-Once & Future Band (Castle Face)
  35. Gail George-Bloom (Self Released)
  36. Richard Turgeon-In Between The Spaces (Kool Kat)
  37. Robyn Hitchcock-Robyn Hitchcock (Yep Roc)
  38. The New Pornographers-Whiteout Conditions (Collected Works)
  39. The Sighs-Wait On Another Day (OMAD)
  40. Balduin-Bohemian Garden (Sunstone)*
  41. Serpent Power-Electric Looneyland (Skeleton Key)
  42. Duncan Reid & The Big Heads-Bombs Away (Self Released)
  43. Brenyama-Euphoria Love (JEM)
  44. Squeeze-The Knowledge (Love)
  45. Daniel Wylie’s Cosmic Rough Riders-Scenery For Dreamers (Self Released)
  46. The Kik-Stad En Land (Excelsior)
  47. The Charlatans-Different Days (Self Released)
  48. Alain Pire Experience-Songs From The 13th Floor (Self-Released)
  49. Plasticsoul-Therapy (Big Stir)
  50. The Lunar Laugh-Mama’s Boy (You Are The Cosmos)
  51. Jane Bordeaux-Ma She’Hashoov (Self Released)
  52. The Virtues-Oh Dear (Zip)
  53. The Wellingtons-End of The Summer (Off The Hip)
  54. Gospelbeach-Another Summer of Love (Alive!)
  55. Nick Heyward-Woodland Echoes (Universal/Sony)
  56. Pseudonym-Pack of Lies (Kool Kat)
  57. Ride-Weather Diaries (Wichita)
  58. Greg Ieronimo-Never Leaving California (Self-Released)
  59. Liam Gallagher-As You Were (Warner )
  60. The On & Ons-Welcome Aboard (Citadel)
  61. The Kik-Hertaalt! (Excelsior)
  62. Dan Auerbach-Waiting On A Song (Easy Eye Sound)
  63. Dana Countrymen-The Joy of Pop (Sterling Swan)
  64. Fastball-Step Into The Light (Self Released)
  65. The Blood Rush Hour-Who Folds First (Nicola)
  66. Ameoba Teen-Selection Box Vol. 1 (Magic Circle)
  67. Cotton Mather-Wild Kingdom (Star Apple Kingdom)
  68. Simon Felton-Topsy Turvy (Pink Hedgehog)
  69. The Len Price 3-Kentish Longtails (JLM)
  70. Pop Co Op-Four State Solution (Silent Burglar)
  71. Temples-Volcano (Fat Possum)
  72. The Naturals-We Are The Naturals (Popboomerang)
  73. Real Estate-In Mind (Domino)
  74. Strangers In A Strange Land-Strangers In A Strange Land (Self Released)
  75. The Singles-Sweet Tooth (Self Released)
  76. Cait Brennan-Third (Omnivore)
  77. Smart Patrol-Overage Underachievers (Off The Hip)
  78. The Connection-Just For Fun! (Rum Bar)
  79. The Tearaways-Esq. (AMR)
  80. King Washington-Potential (The End)
  81. Neil Finn-Out of Silence (Universal)
  82. Gloria-In Excelsis Stereo (Howlin’ Banana)
  83. The Simple Carnival-Smitten (Sundrift)
  84. Propeller-Don’t Ever Let This Let You Down (Moving Wall)
  85. The Hangabouts-Kits & Cats and Saxon Wise (Futureman)
  86. The Mylars-Melody Records (Melody)
  87. Phil Angotti-Such Stories (Cavdog)
  88. Karla Kane-King’s Daughters Home For Incurables (MLM)
  89. Punch Punch Kick-Punch Punch Kick (Lollipop)
  90. The Shins-Heartworms (Columbia)
  91. Mark Crozer and The Rels-Sunny Side Down (Planting Seeds)
  92. Game Theory-Supercalifragile (KCM)
  93. Suzy & Los Quattro-Faster & Louder! (Rock Indiana)
  94. Honeychain-Crushed (Self Released)
  95. The Safes-Tasty Waves (Hidden Volume)*
  96. Celsi, Bragg & Maitland-The Road To Glasgow (Steel Derrick)
  97. Sparks-Hippopotamus (P&C)
  98. Flamin’ Groovies-Fantastic Plastic (Burger)
  99. Charles Jenkins & The Zhivagos-The Last Polaroid
  100. Hornal-The Game Begins With The Lights Out (Self-Released)
  101. Todd O’Keefe-Uptown (Self Released)
  102. Freezing Hands-II (Hidden Volume)
  103. Fernando Perdomo-The Golden Hour (Forward Motion)
  104. Gentle Brent-Just Dandy (Jigsaw)
  105. Shake Some Action!-Crash Through Or Crash (Satellite)
  106. The Men-Sunburst (TMI)
  107. Stevie Moore/Jason Falkner-Make It Be (Bar None)
  108. Chris Church-Limitations of Source Tape (Spyderpop)
  109. Cheap Trick-We’re All Alright! (Big Machine)
  110. The Viewers-Universal Sky (Self Released)
  111. The Maharajas-You Can’t Beat Youth (Low Impact)*
  112. Judy Dyble/Andy Lewis-Summer Dancing (Acid Jazz)
  113. The Forty Nineteens-Good Fortune (Kool Kat)
  114. The Baron Four-Silvaticus (Get Hip)
  115. Autos Detroit-Second Best (Self Released)
  116. The Wheels-The Year of The Monkey (Warner Chapell)
  117. Leisure McCorkle-5000 Light Years Beyond The Speed of Sound (Nappystar Chocolate)
  118. Blair Packham-Unpopular Pop (Self Released)
  119. Kris Rodgers-Losing The Frequency (Rum Bar)
  120. The Deep Six-Introducing The Deep Six (Heavy Soul)
  121. Ryan Hamilton & The Traitors-The Devil’s In The Detail (Fanny Pack)
  122. Gordy Garris-Never Give Up (Self Released)
  123. The Yellow Melodies-Life (The Beautiful Music)
  124. The Clientele-Music For The Age of Miracles-Merge
  125. Magic Bus-Phillip The Egg (Back To The Garden)

Top 10 EPs

  1. Cliff Hillis-Many Happy Returns (Tallboy)
  2. Irene Pena-Trying Not To Smile (Self Released)
  3. Borgh-Stars, Bars & Vintage Guitars (Self Released)
  4. Thrift Store Halo-Pop Rocket (Hi-Beam)
  5. The Seasongs-Dias Y Noches (Clifford)*
  6. Jamie & Steve-Subtextural (Loaded Goat)
  7. E Joseph and The Sparrows-Glorygram Vol. Three (Mantaray)
  8. Dave Rave & The Governors-The Indicator (RaeBeat)
  9. Christine B Phelan-Mind Games (Self Released)
  10. The Hingles-No Matter What (HAK-P)

Power Popaholic Top 30 for 2017

Another banner year for great music if you avoided the mainstream music press.  It’s pretty easy to guess my list based on the numbered reviews, and we did have two “tens” in the group this year. Other albums fell or rose in rank based on multiple listens after my review, a good example of this is Chris Price’s LP that just haunted me for weeks (despite the fact that few tunes are traditionally considered “power pop”). There were also more high-quality albums out there this year, so I expanded my list to 30. Here are the top power pop albums of 2017:

  1. Sitcom Neighbor “Shag”
  2. Derrick Anderson “A World Of My Own”
  3. Pugwash “Silverlake”
  4. Fastball “Step Into Light”
  5. Scott Gagner “Pins & Needles”
  6. Plasticsoul “Therapy”
  7. Wesley Fuller “Inner City Dream”
  8. Liam Gallagher “As You Were”
  9. Fernando Perdomo “The Golden Hour”
  10. The Wellingtons “End of The Summer”
  11. The Nines “Colour Radio (American Transistor)”
  12. Chris Price “Stop Talking”
  13. Bill DeMain “Transatlantic Romantic”
  14. Hornal ”The Game Begins with the Lights Out”
  15. Ruby Free “Shades”
  16. Greg Ieronimo “Never Leaving California”
  17. Burgess Meredith “A Dimension of Sound”
  18. Onesie “Leos Consume”
  19. The Relationship “Clara Obscura”
  20. Corin Ashley “Broken Biscuits”
  21. Cotton Mather “Wild Kingdom”
  22. The Blood Rush Hour “Who Folds First”
  23. Propeller “Don’t Ever Let This Let You Down”
  24. The Mylars “Melody Records”
  25. Cheap Trick “We’re All Alright!”
  26. Chris Lund “Great Event Syndrome”
  27. The Naturals “We Are The Naturals”
  28. The Galileo 7 “Tear Your Minds Wide Open!”
  29. Mothboxer ”The Secret Art of Saying Nothing”
  30. Captain Wilberforce “Black Sky Thinking”

Top EPs of 2017

  1. Cirrone “Kings For A Night” EP
  2. V-Sparks “New Sensation” EP
  3. The Red Button “Now It’s All This!”
  4. Stay “Always Here” EP
  5. TimeWhy?s “Autumn of Love” EP


Lucille Furs and The Mylars

NOTE: There is still a huge pile of music to review as the year ends, and as usual, I have fallen behind, so likely I will continue to review 2017 releases well into January. The top 25 list will be coming out approximately the first weekend of the new year.


Lucille Furs “Lucille Furs”

Chicago band Lucille Furs is a pure retro 60’s band in the mold of The Strawberry Alarm Clock, New Colony Six and The Left Banke. “The Fawn of The Teal Deer” is very much like a Zombies tune, with its harpsichord melody and strong charting chorus, and while the initial sound and style are familiar, the band’s compositions are original and unique.

The subtle “Pink Noise” is another highlight that jumps out with tight harmonies and a strong bassline. Things mellow a bit with “Sunset Moon,” its layered melody chased by a Spanish guitar counter rhythm, but the band is at its most baroque on the psyche-pop gem “Our Lady Of Perpetual Frustration.”  Then the style shifts a bit on “Alabaster Crayon” sounding like an early Three Dog Night hit. Additional standouts include the Kinksian “Please, Give Her This Letter” with a swirling coda, and the final track “Between Us Two/ I Saw You,” chock full of 12-string guitar riffs. Overall a wonderful little retro discovery and Highly Recommended.


The Mylars

The Mylars “Melody Records”

The Mylars are a super-charged rock and roll outfit founded by vocalist/guitarist Danny Roselle (ex-Crash Moderns) and long-time collaborator, vocalist/bassist Quig. The Mylars clearly have the musical chops and crisp production to get some major label attention. The band has many influences and crosses the line from pub rockers to arena rockers often, so fans of The Goo Goo Dolls or The Gin Blossoms might enjoy them too.

“Forever Done” has the crunch and infectious choral melodies that gets your attention right away.  It all clicks with the solid swaggering riff of “What Do You Got To Lose,” along with the anthemic songwriting on “Shine” make it another great single. The bombastic layered guitars lay it on nice and thick for an updated cover of The Cars “Let’s Go,” and I didn’t miss the synths one bit. The chugging rhythm of “Betty, Buddy & Me” reminded me of Fountains of Wayne a little, and since you’ve got two main singer/songwriters the music never gets predictable or stale. While most of the music is straight melodic rock and roll, the ending “Home To You” is a pure power pop gem with handclaps and a great hook in the chorus. No filler here, all killer and it slips into my top ten consideration for 2017 albums of the year.