The Alarms and The Lisa Mychols 3

The Alarms

The Alarms “Real Tough Love”

The Alarms are a perfect example of modern power pop mixing the classic garage sound of The Seeds with the melodic shine of Oasis. We’ve heard from lead singer and guitarist Robert Gay before, but here the talent is exponentially multiplied across ten deeply impressive cuts.“The Axe” is a rousing start-off, like an American version of Supergrass its dense wall of guitars drives the track along with its echoing beat. “Break It Easy” is a marching ballad, with a driving bass and slow organ, very much like The Doors, but Robert’s vocal is what carries this one.

He does an even better job on “The Only One.” This a gorgeous ballad in the tradition of George Harrison, and it lingers long after it ends. The mood shifts on the nugget “May My Heart Be Cast Into Stone” originally done by The Toys in 1966. This is a great “lost” song that gets revealed by The Alarms chiming guitars and clean harmonies. Another gem “Avalon” is very much like a classic Zombies rock anthem, and then the garage rocker “Famous Kids” keeps the party going. The title track reminds me of The Godfathers, a combination of punk and 60’s psyche-pop. Robert honors the past, but is firmly rooted in the present. The Alarms have been going off in my head, telling me this is one LP that you can’t ignore.

Bandcamp | Itunes

Lisa Mychols 3

The Lisa Mychols 3 “The Lisa Mychols 3″ EP

Lisa was one of the highlights of Power Popaholic Fest and she played music from this EP as her set. “Getting rid of that old confusion,” Lisa intones on “Back To The Truth” with her bandmates Ricky Tubb (drums) and Tom Richards (guitar). There is no confusion on my part, Lisa wants to rock harder again. And that lead single is a great example, with its killer hook.

And she continues on “Ready For Action” and “The Fool” where a full force driving riff dominates those songs. The harmonies are still there, and Lisa’s lovely vocal is still the focal point for these songs, but Richards guitar is given much more weight and prominence than past Mychols projects. Fans should seek this out and I hope Lisa continues to amaze us with her new trio on future projects.

CD Baby | Amazon

 

Michael Carpenter, The Pengwins and Jack Skuller

While I rarely highlight singles, a lot of them have reached my inbox lately.  I wanted to share and even though I didn’t “rate” them, they are most worthy of your attention:

Martin Carr

Michael Carpenter “Too Late/I’ve Been Lovin’ You”

A long-time favorite of this blog, Michael Carpenter has returned to the studio, and he’s taken a break from the covers and delivered some original compositions. “Too Late” is blues-rocker that has a strong pop melody and “I’ve Been Lovin’ You” is a dense guitar chorus that makes most Carpenter songs a joy to listen to.

Bandcamp

The Pengwins

The Pengwins “Vol.2″

The legacy of The Pengwins continues to drip out in exclusive box-set singles like last years “Vol.1: Naive/Life After High School”.  This year we have Vol.2 “If U Want 2/Look Around” and its a wonderful new combo. “If U Want 2″ was newly recorded and is the real gem here, with echoes of The Shoes and The Beatles it was even recorded in Abbey Road studios.

Lannie Flowers sounds great as always, the second side “Look Around” was originally recorded in the late ’70s and has more of a Cheap Trick vibe. If you order direct from SpyderPop Records, you get a special cardboard box, 7″ single with a bonus CD of the songs, plus guitar picks, photos, and other goodies.

CD Baby

Jack Skuller

Jack Skuller “Can You See Me | Hard To Want”

Jack Skuller is a young modern musician called by some “the anti-Bieber,” or “a mini Jack White.” Skuller cites his influences as Little Walter, Buddy Holly and Elvis Costello. This year he was the recipient of the Holly Prize, an award made possible by the Songwriters Hall of Fame and Songmasters as a tribute to the legacy of Buddy Holly, a Hall of Fame inductee. One listen to the single, and I was impressed. Check it out.

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RIP: The last ride of Paul Revere.

Paul Revere, leader of Paul Revere and the Raiders passed away Saturday 10/4 at his home in Idaho. He was 76.

As one of the most popular bands of the 1960s, Paul Revere and The Raiders were second only to The Beatles and The Rolling Stones during their glory years (1966-1969) with a boatload of memorable singles like “Kicks,” “Hungry” and “Indian Reservation.” Dick Clark introduced them to the country on American Bandstand, a gesture Revere never forgot. The band continued to tour the oldies circuit, and as you can see and hear from the video I posted, he had a magnetic personality and a great sense of humor. The band even appeared on The Batman TV show at the time. He will be sorely missed.

International Pop Overthrow “Vol. 17″

IPO

One great thing about David Bash’s IPO collection is that he has soldiered on (online comps be damned!), continuing to bring fresh power pop to the masses through CD format only. In the past few years he’s slowly opened up the scope of his collection, so you get some indie pop, pysche-pop, and other sub-genres represented. I’m happy to say Power Popaholic has reviewed many of these artists already, so I have my favorites but I’ll always get several new discoveries that I can pass along.

Each of the three discs has truly wondrous music that is curated by David, a dedicated music expert (something I can’t say about all those programmed, target-marketed radio stations). You’ll also find some weird stuff, like Sue Hedges “Liars ’n Lovers” which is like Lady GaGa lite, or the prog droning of Split Sofa‘s “10,000 Light Years From The Sun.”As we have three discs to go through, I’ll highlight my favorites:

Disc 1: The Bobbleheads are one of my favorite bands this year, so it’s great that they start things off with “Turn The Radio On” and also Greg Ieronimo’s cool “Roller Coaster Ride.” Kylie Hughes love letter to California pop “Calipopicana” is another keeper as is Secret Friend’s bouncy “Starting Today.” New discovery Chris Smith made a good impression with “No One Has To Know” and Northern Sugar’s “Ride” has a late 90’s Brit-pop feel.

Disc 2: A good example of something different is Alex Jules “The Key” where pop craft and composition are more important than guitar riffs. Another highlight is the mod-influenced, modern sounding “What More Can I Do” from Monogroove and the orchestral sweep of The Sharp Things “Flesh and Bone” which has a hint of classic Procol Harum. It’s also great to hear French power popper Tommy Lorente’s “Mirabelle” and the beautiful harmonies by The Tripping Souls’ “Place That I Love.”

Disc 3: As with past sets, this disc is a bit more inconsistent. Both Peter Fedofsky and B-Side give us Beach Boys influenced tunes, and Phonograph gives us the memorable “She Knows It.” The reliable Lisa Mychols 3 is “Ready For Action” and the rocking Beyond Veronica does a great job on “Crazy Girl.” I noticed a few older tunes here (Dave Birks “Speed Queen Mystery Date” is from 2012 and The Tor Guides “Dynamo” is from 2013) but they’re deserving anyway. A real buried gem here is The Newds “Go Getter,” with a hummable chorus that will stick in your head. Overall, like past IPO comps this one has a great mix of songs and most of them are highly recommended listening.

Pop Geek Heaven | Amazon

Ashbury Keys and Jigsaw Seen

Martin Carr

Ashbury Keys “Do You Know Who You Are” EP

The Texas trio, Ashbury Keys has taken a page from British bands like Coldplay and U2 giving the title track “Do You Know Who You Are” a rich, stadium sized sound. The EP then goes through a logical sequence of events; get the girl, lose the girl (because your a terrible guy) and wallow in self pity. “Hey Girl” is a pleasing melody and character study about a girl “posting her photos while cruising around” with a rich guitar rhythm in the chorus.

“Terrible Guy” is a interesting rocker, with lyrics mentioning all the vices he has and “Goodbye” is a power ballad that continues our story where he repeats the apologies to end up with a “Lonely Sunday.” This final ballad starts slow and builds up to a bombastic approach (again the comparison to early U2 works here). While the concept here doesn’t exactly break new ground, the guitar work is impressive as always. The Ashbury Keys continue to be a band to keep your eye on.

CD Baby | Amazon

Martin Carr

Jigsaw Seen “Old Man Reverb”

Veteran LA indie band Jigsaw Seen returns with an excellent new LP.  On the opening track “Let There Be Reverb,”  guitarist Jonathan Lea lets the guitar hook lead and singer Dennis Davison helps guide us along. The influences are from classic bands of the early 70’s blended with their own distinct sound. The next track “Idiots with Guitars” is truly Jigsaw Seen at its finest, like late-era Hollies combining the melody with a sophisticated bridge.

“Understand” is another single with terrific composition and execution. “We Women” is a fast-paced rocker with the fuzz guitar riff and blazing solo between the main verses. The psyche-pop “Madame Whirligig” uses the mellotron to good dreamy effect, and it blends into “Hercules and Sylvia” with orchestral interludes similar to The Moody Blues. The songs are both familiar sounding and highly creative, with a few curves thrown in (like the semi-Western theme “Abide”). Highly Recommended.


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