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.

The Mellowmen "Tomorrow’s Sound Today"


The Mellowmen are a Swedish outfit that does great mid sixties Beatlesque pop. In fact, the title should be called “Yesterday’s Sound Today” – that said the group does great stuff and is comparable to The Winnerys. “You better leave now” is an awesome sunny pop hit single if there ever was one. My only problem with them is the non-beatlesque songs tend to be a little too much of a 60’s novelty act like “The 1910 Fruitgum Company”. You can listen to the new stuff at myspace. You can pick this album up at Miles of Music. If you need a quicker Mellowmen fix then you can always get their last album from e-music Get Out Of Shape With The Mellowmen. It is a great download. Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, Yeahhhh!

The Scissor Sisters Controversy

 


Yes, this isn’t Power Pop, but the controversy surrounding this group is fueling a fire on blogs everywhere. I need to add my two cents as well. Taking inspiration from cabaret and burlesque via Roxy Music, Bee Gees and Elton John, Scissor Sisters new album “Ta-Dah” is instantly catchy and pure lighthearted funk. Some of the members of the band are openly gay, but this isn’t the contoversy.

Jake Shears, the lead singer of Scissor Sisters, mentioned to members of the NARM [the National Association of Recording Merchandisers] that prices for CDs were too high. This honest comment about the industry has brought a virtual ban of the CD from over 1,000 Retail outlets, including Fye, Sam Goody, Strawberries, Wherehouse, Specs and Coconuts. Read all about it here. This is a perfect example of how the mainstream music industry kills the messenger – rather than fix the problem. Does this remind you of how they handled Napster? Kurt has the right idea here.

New Artists to try out…

Alot of new music has been flooding my ipod and as I prepare a fresh batch of reviews I wanted to highlight some emerging artists I think power pop fans may like:

The Tacticians
Some nice retro style garagey guitars help make this band sound a bit Tommy Keene-ish. I reccomend listening to “London’s Alight”. Waiting for an album’s worth of material to come out, but so far not a bad start. Visit their site here or listen to them from the myspace page they’ve set up.

Courtney Jaye
Move over Jewel. Here is something really special. A really nice voice – think a mix between Paula Kelly and Sheryl Crow. Playing steady alt. country riffs and sparse drums – she will break out big soon. So far only a EP is for sale. Hear it now and tell your friends, yeah I heard her when she wasn’t a megastar! She also does an awesome Stevie Nicks imitation! Listen on her website or the myspace page

The Lava Province – Strangeway
A solo project from Laurens Vernot. He has an early Marillion pop vibe meets Robert Pollard. The music has a cool hypnotic quality I can’t really describe. This music also reminds me alot of Bob Mould’s poppier stuff – I recommend you listen to “Back here again” and “Let it Go” from his my space page

COMING SOON: Almost here — October 17 is the release of L.E.O.’s new album, “Alpacas Orgling” and the hype is building to stratospheric levels for this. From what I heard as far as samples this is as good as or even better than Roger Manning Jr.’s album. Because power pop greatness doesn’t come very often – check out the pre-order page at Not Lame and give it a listen. You won’t be sorry.