Talkie and Tokyo Police Club


Talkie “Hablas”

San Francisco-based rock band, Talkie makes it their case on debut LP Hablas. The band has a very catchy formula for the opening song “Mountain;” just start with Beatles “Dear Prudence,” then add equal amounts of Beck, Beach Boys, and a dash of the Stones. The easy going strum of “Sunny” is another ear-worm that has a very 1970s California feel. The brothers Brad and Matt Hagmann can certainly sing those rich harmonies on this 16 track album.

The theme throughout the album is heartbreak and self worth, on “Ricky” its about leaving the comfort zone of High School and going off to college; “I can hear it in your voice, you’re scared” the lead vocal sings. Even gaining a little self confidence is tough on “Kronenberg” and “Queen of Espana” with its light bass and drum rhythms. The album coasts on several light experimental folk pop songs till we get to the fuzz guitar gem “Rollercoaster.” Another standout is the slow grower “Get By” that builds to a satisfying cacophony. If you let this one grow on you, you’ll definitely find some sweet tracks.


Tokyo Police Club

Tokyo Police Club “Melon Collie and the Infinite Radness (Part 1)” EP

Canadian based Tokyo Police Club have long been a bright shiny example of radio-ready mainstream power pop, with a series of catchy guitar anthems reliably embedded into each album. The band is getting cheeky with its too-hip title “Melon Collie and the Infinite Radness (Part 1)” an obvious dig on the Smashing Pumpkins. And like most TPC albums we have a winning dancable rock tune opening things up with “Not My Girl,” next the passable “PCH” is a descriptive song that leans a little more on the synths and drums than guitars.
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Edward Rogers and Gleeson

Edward Rogers

Edward Rogers “Glass Marbles”
UK-born, NYC-based singer-songwriter, Edward Rogers is like the Dylan-esque elder statesman of rock on his sixth solo album.  Fans of Ray Davies, Graham Parker, The Zombies and Lou Reed will appreciate his approach. Rogers is joined by an all-star cast: James Mastro (Bongos), Sal Maida (Milk N’ Cookies), Dennis Diken (The Smithereens), John Ford (Strawbs), Pete Kennedy (The Kennedys), Dave Schramm (Schramms), Konrad Meissner (Silos), and returning producer Don Piper.

The 19 tracks are a bit overwhelming at once, but I found several gems here. Starting with the upbeat “The World Of Mystery” its a classic rock poem delivered with conviction. “The Letter” has smooth psychedelic bluesy riffs that sinks in, “Bright Star” has a little Bowie baked into its DNA, and both “Broken Wishes on Display,” and “I’m Your Everyday Man” recall the early Kinks classics about the working class. Another amazing instrumental performance in “Burn N Play” is buried in here too. But my favorite is the Byrdsian jangle of “Looking for Stone Angles” and its wonderful guitar rhythms. I did find many of the folk songs sprinkled throughout the album very depressing (i.e. “The End Moments.”)  It takes a little work to get at the good songs, so please be patient with this well crafted album.



Gleeson “Curse My Lucky Stars”
When Gleeson II released in 2013 I was really impressed with the band’s melodic skill and versatility. Ty Chandler and his crew have grown larger, with major roles for Phillip McEachern (vocals, keyboards) and new vocalist Elyse Estrada. It starts with a very slow fade in on “Lazy Bones” leading to the sweeping piano melody, thick choral harmonies, and violins. “What’s Going On” is a quick sing-along piano tune, and “Troll Day” is a catchy rock gem that compares well with Gleeson’s best. The Lennonesque “Lollygagged” is a bittersweet piano gem and “With My Motive Gone” is very much like the Minus Five with a strong chorus, and buzzing guitar ending.

The albums mid point shifts 180 degrees to literally “Something New” featuring Estrada’s lovely voice against strings. Then after an instrumental marching band song(?) it churns out one heavy grunge song and a few wimpy ballads. “The Size of Empty” is a bright spot here with a strong duet between the leads and a terrific guitar crescendo. The shifts in tone (and style) will be too much for some, but I recommend this album for the excellent first half. Also, Estrada needs her own album to highlight that angelic voice.




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Jangle Band and Martin Gordon

Jangle Band

The Jangle Band “Edge of A Dream”

In the triumvirate of power pop influences (Beatles, Byrds, Beach Boys) not enough love goes out to the pioneers of jangle-pop The Byrds; and its creators Roger McGuinn and Gene Clark. The musical style is so distinct, that few can master its 12 string Rickenbacker magic effectively (i.e. Jeremy Morris.) This is where The Jangle Band excels as they deliver shimmering melodies and raga-infused jams. The band starts with the songs of Jeff Baker and Ian Freeman, both veterans of Perth Australia’s pop movement. They are joined by power pop favorite Joe Algeri  (Jack & The Beanstalk, The Britannicas, The JAC) and his mates Mark ‘Sid’ Eaton and Dave Wallace.

Opening with “282” its more of Beatle-y beginning with a nice trumpet solo after the chorus. “Love You Too” has those familiar jangling chords and layered harmonies that can take you back to 1968. Algeri gets into the act with “Kill The Lovers” adding a great hook in a song about renewing a relationships spark. The Barker/Freeman songs have a tinge of sadness, especially “Perth” where the singer is frustrated that he’ll “never leave this town,” and feeling “out of time.” Another gem “Another Light” reassures the girl that he’ll remain faithful. Overall this entertaining set will appeal to jangle pop fans, others may want to pick and choose a few select tracks,  but without a doubt The Jangle Band lives up to its name.

Pretty Olivia Records

Martin Gordon

Martin Gordon “Gilbert Gordon & Sullivan”

Martin Gordon (Sparks) is likely the only person who could take the 138 year old musical opera H.M.S. Pinafore by Arthur Sullivan and W. S. Gilbert and turn it into a rock n’ roll album, other than maybe Todd Rundgren. Gilbert imbued his play with mirth and silliness, and Gordon gamely runs with it. As the video for “Modern Major-General” shows, there is a Monty Pythonesque approach to the singing and Martin’s Rickenbacker is also up to the challenge.

With selections ranging from the well-known (‘‘When I Was a Lad”, “Lord High Executioner”) to the more obscure songs (“Go Away Madam”), Gordon delivers this labor of love in a way that makes it extremely fun to listen to, and dare I say it sing along to. So grab your libretto, sailors hat and a good set of headphones! It’s also available in a glossy limited edition package. The full album will be available May 2nd.


Didn’t get those lyrics? Here’s a lyrical video.

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Anton Barbeau and Andy Reed

Edward Rogers

Anton Barbeau “Magic Act”

Sacramento, Calif. born singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Anton Barbeau is one of those artists who never neatly fit in a single category over his 20 year career, but always knew how to craft a catchy melody. With “Magic Act” he continues to mix unconventional sound textures, weird lyrics and bubble gum rock to great effect – like if David Bowie, Andy Partridge and Adrian Belew had a baby together.

“High Noon” is a great example of minimal melody with a nice hook. But this gem is just a prelude for Anton’s weirdness on “Flying Spider” where “there is no rhyme, only reason.” In most cases his music falls in between the commercially palatable and the Rundgren-meets-Zappa stream of lyric on “Milk Churn In The Morning.” There are plenty of song worthy of repeat listens: “City By The Sea,” “Sit Your Leggy Down,” the psychedelic jingle “Black Lemon Sauce,” and “Swindon.” Like most of Barbeau’s catalog its definitely worth exploring.


Andy Reed

Andy Reed “An Introduction to Andy Reed”

Andy Reed is a singer/songwriter/producer from Bay City, MI. who’s been involved in many successful music projects (The Legal Matters, American Underdog) and after an initial EP release, Relay Vol.1 last year, the floodgates have opened on Andy’s catalog. An Introduction To  Andy Reed is perfect for those who want to wade deeper into his material.

A perfect cover of Jay Ferguson’s 70s hit “Thunder Island” leads to the sweet perfection of “Dreaming of The West Coast.” Andy slips into pop balladry mode on “Love Is Gone” and then shifts into the strong harmonic pop of “World Of Make Believe,” with its Jellyfish-like melody. His crisp tenor vocals, overdubs and solitary strum fill out most of the songs here. Highlights include “The Show Goes On,” the Elvis Costello styled “Crimes Of Paris” and vaudevillian tune “Always On The Run.” Fans of Wyatt Funderburk and Brandon Schott will definitely want this music. And if you wish to dive further into Reed-land, check out last year’s 22 track Oddities and Entities, a classic compilation of his past work.

Amazon | GetHip (vinyl)

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Radio Days and Pezband

Radio Days

Radio Days “Back in The Day”

Italy’s Radio Days have paired themselves down to a trio and are going back to their roots on “Back In The Day.” In doing so the band moves away from the strict formulaic approach and decided to rock out, capturing an energy that is more like The Beatles on steroids with the opener “Why Don’t You Love Me Anymore?” The next several tracks are catchy and highly addictive, especially the double-time “You Won’t Fool Me Twice.” The title track follows a template closer to The Raspberries and makes its point, looking to the past for those tasty hooks.

The oddity here “Your Words” is a light pop tune with a reggae beat, but the band is quick to return to those chiming guitar chords and each track after is a solid gem. From the ballad ” You Bring Me Down” to the powerful backbeat of “Subway Station Girl,” Radio Days delivers the goods and never falls into a predicable rut, adding garage elements on “Smash This Party” and ending with another Beatlesque love song “Betta” which echoes a little of the Fab’s “Do You Want To Know A Secret?” My only pet peeve here is the compressed sound quality in the studio mix. Overall a great album that makes my top ten list for 2016. Ciao!

Bandcamp | CD Baby | Amazon


Pezband “Women & Politics” EP

Chicago’s Pezband was one of the better known power pop bands in the late ’70s, following the path of their bretheren Cheap Trick and The Raspberries. But by 1980 after three albums and two live EPs, interest from their label vaporized and the group disbanded. The next year guitarist Mimi Betinis and drummer Mick Rain were energized and ready to to give Pezband another shot. Joined by original band member John Pazdan, the trio headed to Los Angeles to record “Women & Politics.” Unfortunately in the era of post-Knack backlash, the EP was shelved. Until now.

“Office Girl” has the angular guitars and beat that’s typical of the pre-new wave era. “Waiting In Line” is closer to a classic Pezband single, with its distinctive vocal interplay and jangling rhythm. “Fab Girlfriends” is another gem, with some excellent guitar shedding between the chorus and ending. “Russian Tanks” is a cold war era tune that compares well with The Clash and Public Image Limited. This is a vinyl release and a highly recommended one.

Frodis Records | Amazon

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