Groundswell "Supersweet"


Groundswell are a Melbourne based band with a knack for brilliant, hook-filled, guitar-led power pop. The music is best compared to The Lolas with style and sound. Earlier last month I featured a video, and recently I got the CD. All twelve songs are pretty darn good with the chiming guitars on both highlights “Katrina” and the awesome “Sunday Feeling” which has a definite Teenage Fanclub vibe, and the best song on the disc. The rest of the songs are of similar quality, with buoyant melodies matched with top-notch production. The mid-tempos ballad “Beautiful” and “Black and Blue” have some interesting lyrics and have a bit of an ELO-vibe, then we continue with the sugary goodness of “Backdown” and the excellent Beatlesque “Get In The Groove.” Even at a higher import price this Aussie sweet is worth it. As Bruce would say “extremely, highly recommened!” On sale at KoolKat Music or NotLame.com

Danny Scherr "Richmond Special"


A new release out now is the debut CD from Danny Scherr, a San Francisco based singer/songwriter. Danny has a good guitar heavy sound, similar to The Rembrandts and Tal Bachman. The album has several good melodic tunes like, “Love Again” reminds me of the Grass Roots in their prime. “Don’t know why” and “fade me in” mines the same elegant guitar balladry similar to Toad the Wet Sprocket. The other ballads here aren’t as strong but Scherr does a better job with the rockers in my opinion. “Always Goes That Way” is an excellent single and worth making it to your playlist. You can visit Danny’s site to hear some samples. Or you can visit NotLame.com or CDBaby to get this album. In any case this is a good album worth picking up.

A Blast from the Past (1980’s)


This video is titled “Return to Comboland” — A personal look at North Carolina’s most influential (and secret) music legacy. Produced and Directed by Steve Boyle. This is a sample of some of the archived music videos Steve created from 1981 to 1984.

Artists featured are: the Accelerators, Arrogance, the dB’s, Doc Holliday, the Fabulous Knobs, Glass Moon, Luky Owens & Revolver, PKM, The Spongetones and the X-Teens.

It seems like a million years ago, but some of these bands helped fuel the power pop revival in the eighties and I’ve been hooked ever since.

Sparklehorse "Dreamt for Light Years in the Belly of a Mountain"


Where did the Elephant Six collective move to? You could find the spirit a bit in the latest Sparklehorse CD “Dreamt for Light Years in the Belly of a Mountain” It begins with a song that sounds like John Lennon’s “Dear Prudence” called “Don’t take my sunshine away” this track is layered with distored vocals and white noise and then the album veers into darker terriory closer to the Eels. The album was completed over a period of five years, while singer Mark Linkous was going through a difficult rehab. It takes a few listens to get into this but it is a good introspective album – kind of Eels by way of Guided By Voices. By mid album we really don’t have an uptempo tune until “Ghosts in the Sky” and the strongest tune of the album “It’s Not So Hard,”a drum-pounding love fest any GBV fan will cling to. Unfortunately the title track is ten minutes long and WILL put you to sleep faster than a Ben Stien lecture. Not as brilliant, as Pitchfork would have you believe. Overall, if you’re willing to be patient, you will be rewarded. This album is available on amazon.com

Shake Some Action "Shake Some Action"


Some bands are formed through a labor of love for the genre. James Hall has taken his love and turned it into a damn good pop band in Seattle. Rich jangley guitars and melodic chorus, with a bit more muscle than your average pop band. But trying to catagorize Shake Some Action is not so easy. They have a great Byrdsian guitar sound with a bit of ’90s styled song structure. Kinda like Midnight Oil meets The Byrds. “Damaged” and “Couldn’t Help Yourself” are great examples of this. Even better is the track “Without You” – a really catchy tune with a little beatle-y background chorus. It reminds me alot of Kenny Howes approach to power pop. So you see these guys are special. The track “Someone else’s friend” pulls out all the jangle stops and almost sounds like a Jason Falkner track! The album really delivers the goods. It’s worth adding to your listening list — just visit the band’s site to get the CD and go here to listen to some sound samples. You can also buy this album at CD Baby