Groundswell "Stand Up" Video


I am hearing much about this great Melbourne band — with it’s clean production and cheerful sound. Lots of great horn flourishes and Beatlesque moments. So far, all the samples I have heard, including this video are excellent. If you can’t wait for the band to reach the USA, spend the bucks and get it at NotLame.com

Kelley Stoltz "Below the Branches"


Sometimes the lines between indie pop and power pop are blurred. Here is an excellent example. Kelley Stoltz, a indie pop favorite has moved into melodic pastures that Beck could only dream of. “Below the Branches” is a great mix of both the modern indie milieu and power pop roots. The entire album has a a Brian Wilson meets The Flaming Lips vibe and it is glorious. The song ” Ever thought of coming back” is heavy on the Beach Boys piano with a great hook. A bit of Kelley’s vocal approach is similar to Ray Davies earnest wail, but with a bit more muscle and less snarl. The album then settles in a mellow groove, with “Summer’s Easy Feeling,” but comes right back to life with a very Kinks-like “Memory Collector.” In fact, the second half of the album lingers in Kinks territory. This is a great CD – not to be missed, by you Power Pop fans out there. Get it at amazon.com

Vanilla "Vanilla"


With the holidays over, I was considering a top ten list for 2006. Then I looked at a bunch other blogs that did a much better job of it, so I figured most of the heavy lifting here was done.

Okay, one of the best albums this year came from a band called “Vanilla.” Yep. That’s the name. Fortunately, the music is not so vanilla, but a great mix of jangley AM radio rock flavors. If you liked the Beatles, Squeeze, Tom Petty and Cheap Trick, you’ll love this flavorful scoop. Alright, enough with the ice cream metaphors. “Bangalore” is a be true-to-your-school styled guitar tune, about outsourcing. “Black Sunday” is overflowing with XTC-isms and truly inspiring. “Liar’s Club” has a early Alan Parson’s Project meets Bread vibe. “Valentine” is another great tune that bounces along a Beatlesque beat. It’s a great CD done by a group of like-minded power poppers, Jayson Jarmon from Liar’s Club, Scott McPherson of Tiny Volcano and Haste and Dana Sims of Jet City Fix. Just get it already! For sale at NotLame.com and Itunes.

Blue Cartoon "September Songs"


Change is a good thing sometimes. Blue Cartoon began life as a Spongtones-like jangle power pop band. Several years later, it has slowly become a classic adult oriented pop band. yes, this is a good thing. Blue Cartoon has taken the jangle and added some maturity to the lyrics. Great melodys continues to flow “She’s A God” to the Squeeze-like “Perfect Day”. Great chord changes in each song remind me of some classic Rembrandts songs. Gone are the bouncy bits of Boyce & Hart syle that were on earlier CDs and it is replaced with an more relaxed strumming and croon similar to The Jayhawks. A great example of this is “It’s Okay” – a pleasing combination of easy listening and folk, and rock. They still pay attention to song details and do a great job here. My biggest problem is the mixing of the vocals here. On some songs they fade a bit too much into the background. The lead singer David Loren literally blends in with the guitars on “Where I wanna be.” Hello? You can pick this CD up at CD Baby. You can also stream some album samples.

Adam Daniel "The Adam Daniel Frequency"


I recently discovered Adam Daniel last week. I heard 2 albums – “4-track demos: The Adam Daniel Frequency” and “4-track demos: Where You Are EP” – and from reading his bio, he made a brilliant debut in 1999 witht he album “Blue Pop.” The AD Frequency” has a varied collection of songs, ranging from power pop to adult contemporary tunes. “It’s Automatic” is a cool little pop number that has a great bouncy melody and reminds me a bit of Doug Powell and Chris Von Sneidern. The remaing tracks are equally good. “Supernova” has a great Sloan-like quality that deserves to be on your ipod playlist. However, with the track “Where You Are” things get very jazzy, slow and moody. The next few songs almost sounds like another artist. The newest EP named after that track follows with adult pop similar to blue period Elvis Costello. I don’t feel Daniel pulls as well with the ballads, except in a great song “Star Dust 2002” which has excellent piano melody and rivals the early Bee Gees for pure emotion. You can purchase all these songs on itunes. I was also able to go on Amazon and order “Blue Pop” for a very good price as well.