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

Honeydogs "Amygdala"

This was a great album that came out a month or two ago, and I felt it deserved a review. The Honeydogs are lead by the amazing Adam Levy, who is crafting better songs everyday. One of the first reviews here at Powerpopaholic was “10,000 Years” – the last Honeydogs album. Overall the tone of the new album is a little less thematic than the last, but they haven’t lost any of the craft and skill that made it successful. On “Amygdala” we are treated to smart lyrics, and wonderful melodies. “Rattling My Tin Cup” is a great tune that has a hook that won’t let go of you. “Devil’s Advocate” is another keeper here, with those great ringing guitars. There are more introspective tunes on this one, “Heads or Tails” being a good example. The XTC and Beatles refererences are gone. I saw this album on a few “best of” year end lists. I feel The Honeydogs have completely matured here, and I expect continued greatness from them. Pick this album up from Not Lame or Amazon.com. if you never heard the last album, you can hear it streaming on their site! This an excellent example of the Honeydogs power pop style.

Plunkett "14 Days"

Happy New Year! Here is a new indie pop group that you may like. Plunkett is Ian and Lara Plunkett. Most of the album is a very calm, Cat Stevens-like group of ballads. If you like Matt Pond or Midlake, with a bit of Turin Brakes, this album will fit you like a glove. Ian’s voice is very reminicent to early Peter Gabriel although much stronger. Things pick up with the power-poppy “Give in Give Out” and also the song “Even if I want to,” excellent single that I recommend you listen to first. The excellent guitar work is evident and the song “Breathe” deserves repeat listens. They also have a great site with the tracks streaming. These guys are unsigned and truly talented. Pick up their album on their site here. and enjoy!