From the opening track “Tomorrow’s Maybe” Simon Morel wastes no time with a great power pop guitar track. The Australian based Simon Morel has produced a real gem of an album. “As time goes by” is excellent song, and my favorite here – sounds like a a great lost Glen Tilbrook track. No filler is found here – and with a bit of backing from power pop fave Michael Carpenter, this is sure to be a repeat listener. However a few of the ballads, like “No comin’ round” and “Saving Grace” although well made – don’t have the hook power of the more energetic tracks like “Sadness is a small town” which have a bit of a Smithereens echo. The exception here is the pleasant country-sounding song “Place for us” which recalls the best of Toad The Wet Sprocket and The Jayhawks. I really would’ve liked Record#2 to have a tiny bit more grittiness, but this still a excellent album worthy of purchase.
Much like their previous two releases, The Green Hills of Earth and The Red Tandy EP, Kiss The Crystal Flake continues the Mother Hips tradition of laid back pysch-pop, that shines with it’s crisp production, California-styled hook filled songs. On “Time We Had”, the third track off the album is an excellent example of this. The Brian Wislonesque vocal melodies, during the chorus is especially nice. “White Headphones” and “Time-Sick Son of a Grizzy Bear” brings us to a slower almost classic Rolling Stones sound, with a glimmer of psychedelic guitar riffs. The Mother Hips best moments come on “No Name Darrell” in my opinion (hear the track on MySpace). The lead singer matches the melodies of his guitar with his vocals to create an enjoyable melodic collision of classic R&B sound with pop catchiness. I’ve been a fan of The Mother Hips for several years after I heard “Life in the City” from Green Hills of Earth album. The genuine pop hooks and quality of music from this band has continued to grow and improve over the years. You would have a very hard time believing that the same band produced this album and 1995’s Back to The Grotto – they are so different. Kiss The Crystal Flake is an awesome album that contains many songs with catchy mouthwatering hooks and innovative guitar work that will appeal to power pop fans and it’s widely available.
Listen to “Time We Had”
Listen to “TGIM”
Listen to “Not So Independent”
The Glasgow trio Fratellis have summoned forth the old spirit of T-Rex, The Clash and Oasis to give you a smashing debut album. Loud beats with great gobs of melodic hookery is what Brit-pop bands are all about. “Chelsea Dagger” is the catchiest single I’ve heard in years and perfect for your next wild party. The bouncy guitar of “Henrietta” is rock and roll meant for dancing. The theme for most of the songs are basically celebrations of wild times out on the town. The high energy song “Flathead” was picked in the latest ipod commercials. Fratellis has often been compared in the press to The Arctic Monkeys. But unlike the Monkey’s overhyped pop-punk, Fratellis has the talent to back up the cheekiness. “Ole Black n’ Blue Eyes” and “Whistle For The Choir” are good mid-tempo tunes that help tone down the energy of this pub-perfect album. Grab a pint and settle down with Fratellis, you won’t be sorry. On a major label here so you can get it almost anywhere. Visit the band’s site to hear “Flathead” and MySpace to hear more.
See The Fratellis perform “Chelsea Dagger”
The name conjures up nothing more than a 70’s sitcom dad with bright polyester leisure suits. But Mr. Brady sounds like a mix of Godley & Creme and UK power pop band Modesty Blaise. Rather than taking care of of six growing kids, Mr. Brady is an Aussie trying to get his name out here in the states. His songs aren’t quick little pop numbers, but ambitious songs that expand on some nice chord progressions. His EP “She’s Relatively Sexy” has 5 songs that display his quirky pop talents. The vocals could be a bit stronger but, you definitely see a major talent developing here. And for those power popaholics who liked the latest Cloud Eleven, you’ll enjoy this. His CD is self produced (he’s looking for a label here, folks) and available only through his site. A full length album is in the works so stay tuned! He may even do a version of “The Brady Bunch” theme song (just kidding)! To get the CD visit Mr. Brady’s site and to hear some samples and a video or two.
Listen to “Prime Time Princess”
Visit Mr. Brady’s Myspace Page for more samples.