Brent Cash and Dana Countryman

Brent Cash

Brent Cash “The New High”

Brent Cash has been very carefully releasing finely crafted pop albums every ten years or so. On his third album, The New High Brent goes for a very sophisticated softness, on the title track it recalls Van Dyke Parks or Burt Bacharach with its orchestral strings. The great piano melody “Out for Blood” brings to mind a classic Todd Rundgren ballad, and its my favorite here. The lighter “The Wrong Thing” and “Dim Light” break up the heaviness of the earlier tracks. “The Way You Were” has a bit of McCartney mixed into its Wilsonesque melancholy.

While this is all beautiful pop, it has a downbeat and serious theme.”I’m Looking Up” is another gem with swirling chord combinations and harmonies and “Edge Of Autumn” flirts with ELO’s classical style. Highly Recommend.



Dana Countryman “Girlville”

Songwriter/Producer Dana Countryman has written and recorded three albums of his particular brand of “retro-pop” but now he’s taken his high-gloss template to girl groups of the early ’60s. Using a variety of vocalists he sets the mood perfectly with Lisa Mychols, Molly Felder, Kathy Hettel, Tricia Countryman, Julie Johnson Sand, Andrea Perry, Kelly Harland, and Lisa Jenio.

Some brilliant songwriting is found among the gems here, “I’ve Run All Out Of Tears (To Cry Over You)” gets the spirit and its catchy chorus stays with you. In the best tradition of these ballads, all songs are strictly from the girl’s point-of-view.  It also hits the bubble-gum style of “How Do You Know When You Love A Boy?” and “Bom Sh’Bom Sh’Bom.” Audiophiles will have a ball picking up each Brill Building cue and reference. However, with 19 tracks it could have used a bit of editing – my guess is Dana was having too much fun here. Fans of the early girl-band era must get this one.


Friday Vids and stuff: Brent Cash, The Kickstand Band, Public Access TV, Genuine Fakes

Brent Cash returns with a new album called “The New High” and its a rich melodic piece of pop. Album review coming Monday!

The Kickstand Band “Stay Inside” Music Video is here, one of my favorite summer tunes, just in time for winter.

Public Access TV‘s “Evil Disco” shows one of the younger power pop bands that debuted last year.

The Genuine Fakes really love Guns N’ Roses, Can’t you tell?

Freebies: The White Oranges, Surf Cassette, The John Sally Ride

The White Oranges

Indie-Rock trio from Saginaw, Michigan produced by Andy Reed, so you know it will sound great. The opener “Everybody” is a catchy longer rocker, those 5 minutes rush right by. These tunes are long but good. Fans of Weezer will love this too. Get it now!

Surf Cassette

Nice throwback to the grungey-pop of ’90s with this band from Milan Italy. Unfortunately “Lust For Life” can’t compare to the Iggy Pop classic. Skip to “Mess In My Head” and “Maybe I’m Not Sober” for fuzz guitar bliss.

The John Sally Ride

The brilliant pairing of John Dunbar and Sal Maida (Milk & Cookies) with drummer Sal Nunziato. I love this amazingly tight single and B-side that is a preview of the upcoming LP “A New Set Of Downs” Get it now!

The Jigsaw Seen and Thorcraft Cobra

The Jigsaw Seen

The Jigsaw Seen “For The Discriminating Completist”

For The Jigsaw Seen, this career-spanning retrospective encompasses tracks originally released over their entire career that was previously unavailable. Out of the gate is the fuzz guitar version of Sinatra’s “The Best Is Yet To Come,” sure to please. The catchy gem “Celebrity Interview” has a great riff in the chorus, and the dense instrumentation on a cover of the Bee Gees “Melody Fair” make these songs stick in your head.

While not everything is a gem, there are enough unique melodies here, from the psyche-pop of “When You’re Pretty” to the twisted guitar lead on Henry Mancini’s “Baby Elephant Walk” to make this a “must hear” collection. Highly Recommended.

Amazon | KoolKat Musik

Thorcraft Cobra

Thorcraft Cobra “The Distance”

Despite the colorful name (after a vintage amp), this band is the songwriting duo Billy Zimmer (Brown Eyed Susans) and Tammy Glover (Sparks). No surprise here, the songwriting is excellent and the openers “Carolina” and “Uncoupling” have a mellow start but build to pop perfection with great chords.

“Killing Time” is comparable to a next-generation Fleetwood Mac song, and “No One Believes Her” has a great classic rock energy. It takes a bit more patience for the four-minute-plus songs like “Fade To White” and “It’s OK” but they are infused with a sincerity and thoughtfulness many other artists lack. Check these guys out and you won’t regret it.


Owen Sartori and John Holk & The Sequins

Owen Sartori

Owen Sartori “Nobody Gives A Damn”

Nine years ago I reviewed Owen Sartori’s debut Another Beautiful Day In The Cube, and completely missed his follow up. Luckily, Owen has kept busy working as a music producer – and his sophomore LP still holds all the emotion and catchiness of his earlier work. After a moody instrumental intro, we get the Jellyfish-like “Cool” full of pop culture references and a great hook in the chorus.

The dramatic ballads “Banking On It” and “All Of This Rain” recall Ben Folds (without the keyboards) with plenty of punch. Another gem shines out with “Digging On You” as the joyful melody sticks in your head. The more aggressive rockers like the title track and “Let It Go” feel a bit forced here, but overall this a neat little album that deserves to be heard.

Amazon | CD Baby

John Holk

John Holk & The Sequins “Where You Going”

Another band coming back is John Holk & The Sequins. It’s rare that a country artist finds a review here, but Holk’s brand of country jangle pop and power pop keeps me coming back. “Walkin Talkin” is an irresistible opener with its fast tempo and harmonies. “First Man Fall” is a sweet ballad with guitar effects rounding out the atmosphere. The title track and “She Don’t Remember” are pure pop midtempo charmers that sound like a different band altogether. “See” gets absolutely psychedelic with Isabel Mervak’s vocal harmonies floating above the fuzz guitars.

But eventually, the country sound creeps back on “Firelight” and the honky tonk “Another Glass of Wine.” Like Wilco or The Jayhawks, Holk shows lots of range, and the band can effortlessly cross between the genres. While this can be jarring for some, the music is consistently excellent and it makes the variety work. Highly Recommended.