Tag: Power Pop

1978, Music

Another Music in a Different Kitchen (1978) by Buzzcocks

Full disclosure: I don’t like the Buzzcocks. Until hearing this debut, I’d only ever heard A Different Kind of Tension and that record likely biased me towards this one and its importance.

1993, Music

On the Mouth (1993) by Superchunk

By reputation, I always thought No Pocky for Kitty was the Superchunk album to listen to. Then I listened to it and, though I appreciated why people like it, I didn’t love. I see the RYM rating is higher for this one. I think I know why. I mean, maybe I know why.

1997, Music

So Much for the Afterglow (1997) by Everclear

I don’t know this band save for “Wonderful” so I cannot tell you whether the Beach Boys-esque opening to the title track is a giant left turn or not. If it is, that’s brave of them. But, for those of us who do not know this band, it’s the wrong note to start the album. …

1997, Music

Tone Soul Evolution (1997) by The Apples in Stereo

I am not very familiar with Elephant 6 but, to the extent that I am, I am familiar with weird, idiosyncratic indie pop bands, with a big emphasis on the “indie.” I assumed that Apples in Stereo would be along the same lines as the other Elephant 6 bands but, at least based upon this …

1992, Music

Generation Terrorists (1992) by Manic Street Preachers

What do we do with a record like this? It’s called Generation Terrorists but sounds like it was produced by Mutt Lange or Bob Rock or someone like that. (Well, the production is maybe not that bad.) We have the bizarre amalgam of 80s hard rock (or “cock rock” as some call it) with extremely …

1991, Music

No Pocky for Kitty (1991) by Superchunk

This is a set of solid songs that are uptempo and pleasantly loud. I get why this band was a big deal back then because, to my knowledge, this kind of straight-ahead abrasive power pop/pop punk was a relative rarity. But it’s not really my thing. It’s too one note for me, as much as …

1996, Music

Bob Mould aka Hubcap (1996)

This is a reasonably strong set of songs by Mould, occasionally supported by the kind of attitude towards noise that Husker Du used so well at their peak. But the the diversity that made Husker Du great isn’t really present, nor is the contrast between their two songwriters. It’s like listening to half the band, …

1982, Music

The Gift (1982) by The Jam

The Jam go from ripping off post punk (particularly PIL and Gang of Four) and David Bowie (and the Beatles!) to ripping off soul. I don’t know Northern Soul, so I don’t know if this is derivative of that, but you can hear echoes of southern (American) soul as well as the usual Jam influences. …

1979, Music

Setting Sons (1979) by The Jam

This is apparently an abandoned concept album. That wasn’t very apparent to me, before I read that somewhere online, but that could just be because I’m not paying attention. The songs are strong again and the sonic palette is ever expanding (compared to their previous albums). This is very well done but remains just not …

1978, Music

All The Mod Cons (1978) by The Jam

This is, by all accounts, The Jam’s masterpiece. It’s clear the songwriting has improved by leaps and bounds, especially from their second record. The music has also developed: most of the raggedness is gone and the musical ideas are more complicated, and this is quite clearly the missing link between The Kinks (and The Who) …

1977, Music

This is the Modern World (1977) by The Jam

I don’t think you need to know the background story to know this album is a significant step backwards from the debut: the songs are weaker, the attitude is reigned in on a number of songs, the reverence for the past is growing. If this is still punk music (and it is, at least I …

2012, Movies

Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me (2012, Drew DeNicola, Olivia Mori)

This is a thorough and engaging documentary about the seminal power pop band Big Star. It’s definitely on the fawning side, but it’s idiosyncrasies as a film, and the willingness for the interviewees to discuss the negative aspects of the idols’ personalities, make for a more engaging film than you might suspect. It also works …

1981, Music

Stands for Decibels (1981) by the dBs

This is kooky power pop record with so many weird detours that it’s borderline new wave. Individual verses and choruses (and, occasionally, whole songs) sound like they belong to a typical power pop group, but then there’s a weird effect, or weird, unpredictable time change or left turn. It’s no wonder it wasn’t a big …

2015, Music

The 2015 Wolfe Island Music Festival August 7-8, 2015

The annual pilgrimage to WIMF got off to a bit of an uneven start but ended up being one of the better festivals I have attended over the last half decade or so. On Friday night, we arrived to catch the end of Daniel Romano’s rather sedate country set. Romano had been to WIMF a …

2007, Movies

Amazing Journey: The Story of the Who (2007, Paul Crowder, Murray Lerner, Parris Patton)

This is a fawning, awkward fluff piece of one of the greatest bands to come out of the British Invasion. I love the Who – there was probably a time in my life when they were my favourite band – but this film feels like the Official Version, something vetted by Daltrey and Townshend so …

1970, Music

Live at Leeds (1970) by the Who

Is this the greatest live album of all time? I never used to care about live albums. I never used to care about live music. Music used to live in my bedroom and I had no idea that there was some other side to it. Frankly I didn’t understand why people went to concerts. The …

2012, Music

The Sound of the Life of the Mind (2012) by Ben Folds Five

It’s kind of absurd to come at such an established performer for the first time through his latest record, but then it wasn’t on purpose. I didn’t try to do this. It’s just how it happened. Folds has a strong knack of melody and his lyrics are well above-average. But I got to say that …

1996, Music

Pinkerton by Weezer (1996 DGM)

One of the myths of my generation is that this is some kind of lost treasure. Because it wasn’t played on the radio upon its release like the debut was, and it didn’t sell as many copies as their very catchy debut, that it is somehow a ‘forgotten classic.’ Of course that’s not true, because …

1994, Music

Weezer (1994 Geffen)

It’s pretty much impossible to judge this in any kind of “objective” light nearly 20 years later. If you’re of my generation (i.e. born between ’75 and ’85) chances are you have heard 60%-70% of the songs on Weezer’s debut a million times, courtesy of your friends and the radio. This album is basically ubiquitous. …

2012, Music

And I Thank You (2012, I don’t give a shit what label its out on) by the Elwins

Sometimes I encounter a band where I can’t even bring myself to give them their deserved three listens. Such a band is the Elwins (supposedly very highly buzzed about, but I wouldn’t know, it’s not like I googled them or anything). It must make other musicians crazy to see a band like this get buzz.  …

1979, Music

Armed Forces by Elvis Costello & the Attractions (Columbia 1979)

It’s slightly overproduced but this actually sort of makes it fit in with what was going on in the world. Costello is more biting here (and more cohesive) which appeals to me. It lets me forgive some of the more bizarre flourishes. Like the past one, it feels like a step forward and a step …

1977, Music

This Year’s Model by Elvis Costello (Columbia 1978)

Rawer than the debut, which is nice. Perhaps a little more cohesive as well. Though it is better sounding I’m not sure the songs are quite as strong: it’s a trade-off, something got better and something got not quite as good. I guess that’s where I’m leaving it. 8/10

1977, Music

My Aim is True by Elvis Costello (Columbia 1977)

It’s unfortunate I guess that early Costello is constantly connected with punk, if only because of his lyrics (which are rather more biting than most ’70s pop rock lyrics). The music is decidedly not punk: it’s pure pub rock; one of the most overrated underground movements in rock music history I say. But that’s not …