We Are Catchers and The Yorktown Lads

TWe Are Catchers

We Are Catchers “We Are Catchers”

If the Beach Boys grew up a stone’s throw from Liverpool they might have sounded like We Are Catchers. The smooth echoing piano leads the opener “Water Edge” as lead vocalist Peter Jackson’s melody captivates. Next, “Tap Tap Tap” and “If You Decide” employ the Phil Spector Wall-of-Sound technique very effectively.

The Coral’s Bill Ryder-Jones gives Jackson an assist on several tracks, and when things slow down on “Over The Hill” its just mesmerizing with those harmonies and bass guitar. Nothing here is that innovative, but when the old techniques are done with this much care, it makes it all worth it.

power pop


Yorktown Lads

Yorktown Lads “$200” EP

During the kickstarter campaign for The Yorktown Lads debut LP “any patrons that donated $200 got a ‘reward’ of a special song in their honor. First is a song about Tall Boy Records entrepreneur “Anna Borg,” really a catchy gem and all the lyrics were based on her Facebook profile!

“Ping Pong” highlights the band’s soft vocal harmonies and “Carpet Kit” is a dead ringer for a Fountains of Wayne song. “Best Side Of Me” was written by Howard Herrick (Minster Hill) and has a great jangle vibe. Listening to this really has me excited to review the upcoming debut. Bandcamp Only and highly recommended.

power pop

Thursday Freebies: Quiz Kids, Smile Factory, The Rationales, Cosmos Tape Factory and Declan Snowden

Before all the holiday singles hit your inbox,  I wanted to share some great FREE bandcamp music with you — enjoy!

Brooklyn, New York, based musicians Jason Korenkiewicz and Lisa Klimkiewicz (both of Boy Genius) are joined by Northampton, Massachusetts’ Jason Bourgeois (Bourgeois Heroes) to form the trio called Quiz Kids. This EP gives you great catchy DIY bedroom pop “I Want You To Know” is a  great example.

Smile Factory is the collaboration of Torbjorn Petersson (guitars and vocals), Bill Shaouy (keyboards), Lee Wiggins (drums), Zeus Henderson (bass), and the celestial choir of angels Keith Klingensmith, Brandi Ediss and Karen Basset. Love that Swedish power pop!

Boston band The Rationales have been doing some charitable music, an LP to help Animal Rescue of Boston contains a cover of Mary Lou Lord’s “Some Jingle Jangle Morning.”  They are also releasing this single as part of the Keep Safe Boston campaign benefiting Planned Parenthood. Check it out!

Cosmos Tape Factory (Stu Kidd and Joe Kane) give us this hilarious single about a lobster dude who can’t wipe his butt! Yeah, this one isn’t free but its so much fun I had to add it. You’ll be humming this one all night!

Declan Snowden is a Dublin-based singer/songwriter hailing from Galway. This stunningly good EP was recorded at the famous Westland Studios in Dublin and its a treat for those who love classic pop. “Getting My Hopes Up”  and “Believe In Me” are a brilliant singles. Tell’em you heard it here first. 

Beware Fashionable Women and Wrenn

Beware Fashionable Women

Beware Fashionable Women “Bird Park”

Beware Fashionable Women is the musical outlet of Barak Shpiez, who writes, records, and plays every note on the new album “Bird Park.” This sophomore release has a bit more indie rocker feel to it, starting with a freestyle guitar riff on the opener “How To Induce Animals.” The bigger guitar sound is also featured on “New Mexico.” Recently Shpiez has worked with Rivers Cuomo (Weezer) and this track shows off that influence.

Stylistically the album gets more sophisticated as we move forward, “When The World Begins Again” has a really good chorus with a descending chord structure. “Some Mirrors Look Better Than Others” is another memorable song that reminded me of the band Field Music. However the best song here is the rich anthem “The Devil’s Smile” with just enough guitar crunch and light airy harmonies throughout. Highly Recommended.

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CD Baby | Amazon


Wrenn “Hi”

Wrenn is a female vocalist from Athens, Georgia who self-funded this LP with Kickstarter.  I wasn’t sure what to make of of the spacey opener “The Day Atlas Dropped The Ball,” that goes goofy with jazz horns. Wrenn’s vocal plays off the keys, brass and occasional acoustic guitar. “Laundromat” is a sparse arrangement that shows off her melodic and soulful vocal. Think Adele-lite meets McCartney’s first solo album.

“Summer Wind” has a smoldering arrangement with its brass and piano details. The quirky “Almond Eyes” keeps things from getting to serious with its fun reggae beat that creeps up on you. Some vocal experimentation on “Wild Card” is the type of thing that keeps you listening, and the melodic tune “Lucy Boy” is the big payoff. It’s a highlight, almost a show tune and worth the wait. I look forward to more from Wrenn.

power pop

CD Baby | Amazon

Latvian Radio and Red Jacket Mine

Latvian Radio

Latvian Radio “For Love and Spite”

After a decent start on their debut, this New York band  takes a big leap forward on For Love and Spite. Upbeat from the start “To Find You There” sets the easy going pace, with its jangling guitar strum and organ chords. Next “On Display” is a great single with a catchy melody, beat and killer bridge, its one of my favorites here. The seamless composition follows on the wintery themed “North of The Keys” that will appeal to fans of REM, The Shins, and Brendan Benson.

The guitar is joined by hand claps and synth on the infectious title track, another memorable gem. Then “Growing Pains” adds a little Kinks-styled rock influence (a bit like “Father Christmas”) with the oldster lecturing you to “Wake Up Kid!” The tempo does ease up toward the albums end with “Stand Clear of the Closing Doors” about being left behind as life passes by. Overall a terrific album without a wasted track. Congrats to singer/songwriter Patric Westoo, and his band for giving us an early holiday present.

power pop

CD Baby | Amazon

Red Jacket Mine

Red Jacket Mine “Pure Delight” EP

Seattle singer/songwriter Lincoln Barr returns with his soul infused power pop, a direct follow up to last year’s Someone Elses Cake. Produced and assisted again by Johnny Sangster from The Tripwires, this EP features Barr’s pub rock influences on the toe tapping title track. Barr then gives us some soul-pop on “I Want You To Worship Me” and goes gospel on “Crow,” a duet with Nashville songwriter Shane Tutmarc.  The bouncing piano of “Nearly Marjorie” is very much in the mold of NRBQ and the soft rock of “AM” certainly give us a variety of styles. It all ends on the fun blues riff “Get Paid” about the common musicians lament. Very much a sweet diversion from all that hard charging power pop, this sonically cleans your palette nicely.

power pop