Kai Danzberg “Pop-Up Radio”
We first heard about German musician Kai Danzberg last year on an EP, but he’s been very busy since then. You gotta appreciate a guy who wears his power pop influences on his sleeve, or in this case his entire body. It all starts with the faux Jellyfish opener “Welcome To The Show” with references The Beatles, Jellyfish, Queen, The Bee Gees and Pink Floyd(?). It uses every audio cue you could think of, a chiming piano, layered effects, and all that instrumentation is impressive. The piano coda leads into the sunny “Yes We Can” which is the kind of harmonic pop similar to The Sonic Executive Sessions or Paul Steel. The chorus pleads and delivers a full-on sugar rush.
The entire album follows this style, highlights include the “You’re The One,” “How Can You” and the earnest gem “Too Late.” But the pop sweetness wears off by the album’s mid-point. There are lots of compelling musical elements, however not everything here has a hook and often the atmosphere and production overshadow the song compositions. Fortunately, there is enough to make this a highly recommended listen. Fans of the above-referenced bands will appreciate it, and if you’re a Michael Jackson fan you’ll definitely want to check out his recent Unacceptable EP. Oh yeah, Kai has also made this a FREE download – so dig in!
Third of Never “Austerity”
A New Jersey power pop band with the emphasis on “power” is made up of Jon Dawson, CJ Grogan, Vince Grogan, and Mike Polilli with Kurt Reil (The Grip Weeds) and John Bundrick (The Who) lending a hand. The pounding drums and thick riffs of “Kidnapped Information” showcase the bands crackling energy that will really appeal to fans of The Who or Blue Oyster Cult. “Dig The View” is another great song meant to be played loud.
The atmospheric hard rock of “Run Silent, Run Deep” is another winner, and even the lead vocals resemble Roger Daltry. The band keeps the pedal to the floor, although the tempo finally slows on “18 Strings,” a song with some great percussive effects and texture. And we finally hear those harmonies on the closer “Shanty Town.” This would’ve made my top 30 if I heard it earlier this year. Highly Recommended.