The Greenhornes "East Grand Blues"


Before Brenden Benson became everyone’s favorite Raconteur, he produced this with The Greenhornes. The Greenhornes are influenced by the best of the 60’s (Byrds, Zombies, Animals, Yardbirds, Beatles) but still let plenty of their own style come through. Benson opens up their sound by adding subtle layers of psychedelia to some tracks and changing up pacing and structure to keep it lively. This EP is a nice little gem that swings from Beatlesque pop to garage rock, however it’s only 5 songs.. My favorite pick on this disc is the melodic “I’m Going Away” – a great Merseybeat styled tune. You can download this from iTunes or buy it at Amazon. Guys I’m waiting for more – maybe a full LP’s worth of songs next time (a greatest hits LP doesn’t count).

The Lemonheads "The Lemonheads"


It’s been a long ten years since The Lemonheads last CD “Car Button Cloth” – and fortunately Evan Dando brings the old sound back. With Bill Stevenson on drums and Karl Alvarez on bass – the Lemonheads manage to keep their old melodic rock sound intact and if you close your eyes it’s 1997 all over again. The songs are about equal quality to thier last album – but it doesn’t come close to the classic “It’s a shame about Ray.” On the song “No Backbone,” Dando sings “It’s become routine…” and the album sounds a bit routine to me. This will CD will definitely please the Lemonhead fans – but it won’t convert anyone else. The song “Pittsburgh” is my fave here – it’s got that great jangle and heavy drum beat. You can download this on emusic right here. or get it on amazon.com

Emitt Rhodes and the Merry-Go-Round


At the zenith of the Beatles popularity, the Merry-Go-Round was riding the stylistic coat tails of the Fab Four. Emmit Rhodes and the group are shown here in perfect Sgt. Pepper’s style on a variety show singing “Listen Listen.” It also looks like they stole the wardrobe of Paul Revere and The Raiders. The Beatles had inspired numerous imitators of thier style, but the Merry-Go-Round did it with class and folk-rock overtones. Don Knotts introduces them, and it looks to me like the group is lip syncing to a recording (likely a very common practice on TV in 1967).

Occassionally I will trot out a lost classic video like this one, but I wanted to let you all know there is a blog out there that’s got alot of these classic music videos from YouTube called Side Three – he finds the cool power pop videos so you don’t have to…

Bigwheel "Identity Parade"


Scott Rhodes and Khoi Huynh are Bigwheel, a cool band that kinda sounds like Richard X. Heyman playing for The Barenaked Ladies. The vocal interplay between Rhodes and Huynh also reminds me of The Rembrandts. It also helps that the album was produced by power pop legend Chris Von Sneidern. Lots of the songs are beat and guitar driven melodies that unfold with each chorus. Recommended tracks are the very BNL-like “Over My Head” and the Heyman-like “Anna Lydia”. However the best track to me is the hilarious “I Hate my Band” – it sounds like a rant by some disgruntled rocker forced to play pop he hates, but he loves the fan attention too much to quit. This 2005 album is available on emusic. Some years ago, Bigwheel had a much talked about release “Rugby Train” – it came out in ’99 and you can get that on emusic too. Both albums are great examples of tight song structure and harmonies.

International Pop Overthrow is almost here!


Every year since 2000, I’ve seen at least one or two shows whenever International Pop Overthrow music festival came to New York City. Well it’s almost here again. This November 9-14th and 16-19th you will get an opportunity to see several power pop bands at once at a single venue. Click here to see the band listing. If you are in the NYC area – you really can’t go wrong when you see these shows. First of all, admission is around $10 – an amazing value! Second, while some of these bands are not well known, most of them deliver pretty good music. You could “discover” a new favorite artist here. And lastly, you support Power Pop artists directly – you can usually buy CDs after the show, and even chat with band members between sets if you’re lucky. IPO is also great place to also meet other fans with similar musical tastes. Thanks to Dave Bash, who’s efforts have kept this thing alive and growing for all these years. So mark out your calendars now.

I would like to give a big public thank you to my fellow blogger, Steve at Absolute Power Pop for pointing the way from his blog to mine. There is so much good music out there – and another opinion is always welcome.