Bubblegum Lemonade

Sometimes I marvel at who isn’t signed and just floating out there on the myspace network. Here is a guy from Glasgow, UK who’s music would fit in with Rainbow Quartz Records. Sounding alot like Outrageous Cherry mixed with the Jesus and Mary Chain. Bubblegum Lemonade is a nice 60’s influenced treat for your ears. If you love that Byrdsian twelve string jangle you’ll appreciate this. There is no album yet, so download the samples here at his myspace page.

Thanks alot to the boys at Indie MP3 blog for finding this for me. The indie blog has some great stuff most power pop fans from the USA would like but never get to hear, so check’em out!

You Am I "Convicts"

The Aussie band You Am I has continued to do a great job of producing melodic garage rock on a grand scale. The latest album “Convicts” continues the tradition. Sounding alot like the Replacements these guys have the goods. “Thank God I’ve Hit Bottom” is a slice of punk heaven and the album continues it’s loud rolling drums and blistering guitar riffs with “It ain’t funny how we don’t talk anymore.” My biggest complaint here is that the album continues in high gear for over nine tracks, without a slower tune to balance it out. In fact, the ferocity of the tunes come closer to AC/DC meets The Who, by the time we get to “Constance George.” We do get two mid-tempo tunes at the end “Explaining Cricket” and “I’m a Mess” that recall the wit and pop savvy of The Kinks. Overall, another Tim Rogers classic to add to your collection. Visit the band’s site to hear some streaming goodness. Get this one at Amazon.com

The Hard Left "The Avant-Garde Sounds of The Hard Left"

Here is a really cool band from Minneapolis. Sounding like a rowdy, uber-macho version of the Barenaked Ladies, The Hard Left have a really good album on it’s hands. The opener, “Who’s she gonna turn to” is like a lost Smithereens tune. “Take it out on me” is a great song that really hits the aggressive Smithereens vibe. The rest of the album stays loud and fast – sometimes loses a bit of focus by the end, when they jam out a bit too much and start to morph into Southern Culture on The Skids on the songs “Lost Not Found” and “Sad, Soft and Sleepy”. Not that there is anything wrong with that – but guys, can I get a ballad in here to break things up? Utimately this is a really good EP consiting of eight hard rockin’ tracks. It’s even better if you’ve overdosed on caffine. You can listen to the whole thing streaming on the band’s site. You can buy it at NotLame.com and KoolKat Music

Tilly and The Wall "Bottoms of the Barells"

Formed in 2001, Tilly and the Wall are an outgrowth of a Conor “Bright Eyes” Obert project. They sound alot like Of Montreal with a combo of boy/girl harmonies and hand claps. “Bad Education” is a highlight here. With a flamenco melody and heavy tap stomping, it sounds great. Occassionally the melodies remind me of a mix not unlike Banarama meets Kate Bush on a few tunes. The ballads here are very dark lyrically “Love Song” being a perfect example. This is an album that needs to be heard more than one time for the pop tunes to stick. “Sing Along Songs” is another tap-happy tune. With “Black and Blue” there is a feeling of triumph and joy in this song. If you remember the 1989 band Red Box and the album “The Circle and the Square” – well I was totally reminded of this. (Good luck finding that out-of-print gem, you can hear a sample of it here). Sometimes, the foot-stomping gets a little played out and this brand of indie pop may not be for everyone, but not much else comes out of Omaha. Visit the band’s website or the myspace page. On sale at Amazon.com

The Oohs "Llamalamp"

The Oohs are a group of veteran musicians who do a great job putting together MOR-styled power pop. They borrow liberally from The Beatles, Todd Rundgren, and the Beach Boys to come up with original songs. The whole Llama theme is a bit like Andrew Gold’s “The Fraternal Order of the All,” although the songs don’t really follow a strict “concept album” sequence. The song “Pretty” is a great Beatlesque teaser that literally pulls riffs and melodies from several Beatle songs. This opening gives way to a varied group of different styled rock tunes. “I will love” is an excellent Utopia-styled song complete with a cascading chorus. Occasionally, the band tends to veer in to a Vegas-styled lounge act in the song “More than meets the eye.” Another great song, and my favorite is “To Be in Love” – it rivals the best of Doug Powell’s work. Just about all the songs on Llamalamp are good, but something is missing on a few tunes. Brian Curtis does the heavy lifting here (singing, songwriting, engineering), but my biggest complaint here is the mixing. Some vocals sound like they are recorded in a tunnel. Other vocal performances just don’t work as well as others (i.e. “What have you done with my girl” could have been better). That takes nothing away from awesome songwriting and musicianship here. If you like power pop you won’t let this album pass you by. You can get this album at notlame.com, cdbaby or itunes