A shout out and Diamond Hands

The amount of music I missed this year is staggering, and its been sensory overload with lists from my fellow bloggers. A big thank you goes out to my fellow active music critics in the power pop community who made year-end lists; Absolute Powerpop, Pop That Goes Crunch, Pop Fair, Power Pop Station, Alan Haber’s Pure Pop Radio and of course, IPO’s David Bash. Note the albums that appear in all of our lists, these are the gems you should get first. My goal is to check out and review some of the higher ranked LPs that I missed or just didn’t review in 2016, until the 2017 releases pour in.

 

 

The Unswept

Diamond  Hands “Diamond Hands”

By far it seems one of the biggest releases I missed was this debut album from the band “Diamond Hands.” This L.A. band is the duo of Jon Flynn and Joel Wall and they have an uncanny knack for melody and retro-influenced instrumentation all under 3 minutes. “Not The Same” brings the jangle and hook to the front and the follow up “Maybe Tomorrow” is even better with its Beatlesque chorus and tight harmonies. They break out the cowbell for the Raspberries-like “See You Again,” even though lyrically its very basic. So many highlights here, “Just Another Day” brings back the Rickenbacker and the rolling piano on “Come Home” is like RAM-era McCartney. No filler – all killer here. It would’ve been wedged into my top ten and its a FREE download, so no excuses – get it now!

Amazon | Bandcamp

Happy New Year!

Wishing you all a good 2017, it occurred to me that I didn’t make any mention of the fact that this review blog has been going strong for over 10 years.

Thanks to the artists, PR agencies, and record labels for cooperating in making my reviews available and visible over the years. I look forward to more music and another 10 years. As long as there is power pop there will always be Powerpopaholic.

The Best Power Pop Albums of 2016

This was a good year for music, a tough year to sort out – I have definitely heard a generation gap with artists this year. So much so I came up with two lists, the first was power pop specific (with the usual retro-influences)…

Top 25 Power Pop Albums of 2016

  1. The Legal Matters “Conrad”
  2. David Brookings and The Average Lookings
  3. Radio Days “Back In The Day”
  4. Ken Sharp “New Mourning”
  5. Nick Piunti “Trust Your Instincts”
  6. The March Divide “Saturdays”
  7. TUNS “TUNS”
  8. Somerdale “Shake It Maggie”
  9. Seth Swirsky “Circles and Squares”
  10. Teenage Fanclub “Here”
  11. Ryan Allen “Basement Punk”
  12. The Explorers Club “Together”
  13. The Posies “Solid States”
  14. The Nines “Alejandro’s Visions”
  15. Eytan Mirsky “Funny Money”
  16. The Monkees “Good Times”
  17. Greg Pope “Guiding Star”
  18. The Well Wishers “Comes and Goes”
  19. Emitt Rhodes “Rainbow Ends”
  20. Trolley “Caught In the Darkness”
  21. The Weeklings “Studio 2”
  22. Adam Levy “Naubinway”
  23. The Twilight Hours “Black Beauty”
  24. Watts “Black Heart of Rock and Roll”
  25. Starling Electric “Electric Company”

Note: honorable mentions to all the others I’ve reviewed this year. If I rated you a “7” or higher – you rocked, and I wish you continued musical success in 2017.

Best artist compilation (single album) released in 2016

  1. The Anderson Council “Assorted Colours”
  2. S.L.D. (Sounds Like Digging) “Indigo Grey”
  3. Andy Reed “Introduction To Andy Reed”

Best Box Set of 2016

  1. NRBQ “High Noon”
  2. International Pop Overthrow Vol. 19
  3. Big Star “Complete Third”

Best 10 EPs of 2016

  1. Cliff Hillis “Make Love Not War”
  2. The Top Boost “Turn Around”
  3. Donny Brown “Donny Brown” (* note: technically released late in 2015, reviewed in Jan.)
  4. Cartoon Spirits “Crustacean”
  5. The Above “There Is A Reason”
  6. Son of Skooshny “Confection”
  7. Colorworks “Dream of Mangos”
  8. The Kickstand Band “Summer Dream”
  9. Hemmingbirds “Half A Second”
  10. Animal Daydream “Citrus

One cannot live by indie power pop alone, and the alternative/indie rock genre has seen its audience changing.  I hear the base elements of power pop in these bands (melody, hooks, guitars) so you could’ve thrown many of these into my main list (although I only reviewed Joyce Manor, The Lemon TwigsMrs. Magician and Weezer.) But I kept them separate this year, if you are looking for more of a “melodic rock” sound. In fact, many music critics consider this mainstream “power pop.”

Top 20 alternative/indie rock albums of 2016

  1. CRX – “New Skin”
  2. Nada Surf “You Know Who You Are”
  3. Green Day “Revolution Radio”
  4. Joyce Manor “Cody”
  5. Spirit Club “Slouch”
  6. Public Access TV “Never Enough”
  7. Crying “Beyond the Fleeting Gales”
  8. Plates of Cake “Becoming Double”
  9. Mrs. Magician “Bermuda”
  10. Palace Winter “Waiting For The World To Turn”
  11. The Lemon Twigs “Do Hollywood”
  12. Weezer “White Album”
  13. Bob Mould “Patch The Sky”
  14. Whitney “Light Upon The Lake”
  15. Elephant Stone “Ship of Fools”
  16. The Pack A.D. “Positive Thinking”
  17. Car Seat Headrest “Teens Of Denial”
  18. Pavo Pavo “Young Narrator in The Breakers”
  19. Cheap Trick “Bang Zoom Crazy… Hello”
  20. Dodgy “What Are We Fighting For”