Power-pop is a lost art, in a certain sense. It’s been adopted by the masses and overused by lazy writers like myself. But, The Shut-Ups aren’t here to establish themselves as torch-bearers, they’ve been writing new-wave inflected pop tunes since the early 00s…longer than most people’s awareness of power pop as a genre. The riffs are huge, balanced by soft vocal turns and keyboard lines that wiggle in and out of the mix. It’s carefree pop music for the masses, if only the masses would take a moment to listen. They’ve just completed their fifth album, Just Another Generation, an album centered around the theme of time; it drops on April 13th.
There’s something so pure about the perfectly executed pop ditty that I find it hard to turn such tracks off, just like the Hurry tune below. There’s nothing heavy about it, and in fact, it seems the volume on distortion is perfectly balanced by the usage of acoustic guitar. Cascading guitar lines work their way throughout, cut in half by these rad little vocal harmonies; it’s like listening the greatness of Nada Surf being played with a youthful vibrance. The band’s new album, Every Little Thought, will be released on February 23rd via Lame-O Records.
Just a few weeks ago I dropped the B-Side to the latest single from I Was a King, and now we’re here to tell you to check out the A-Side. While the band’s penchant for power-pop definitely shines through, particularly with Frode’s vocal delivery…there are hints at a slightly heavier vibe. Their beautifully distorted chords seem just a step lower, deeper, bringing in almost a brooding feel to the melodic sound; it sort of matches the opening moments of the “Run.” No one does it better in my opinion than this band, so I’m looking forward to their completed LP, which is said to drop next year!
While Frode was working with the No Ones, I Was a King was momentarily on hold. But, just this last week they’ve rekindled my love affair with this short little blast of power-pop. It comes with the promise of another glorious single (I’m betting), but just pressing play below will have you marveling at what a punch the band can pack in 1.5 minutes. They still know their way around the perfect melodic vocal turn; I couldn’t be more excited to hear more from them going forward. This tune comes out on the new single on November 10th, with promise of a full-length to come later next year!
Admittedly, we don’t cover a lot of tracks in the foreign tongue, even though both RayRay and I can speak Spanish. So I thought I’d toss out this Futuro Terror album stream that I’ve really been enjoying. It’s got these great power riffs, like quick arena rock, and the vocal inflections remind me of Austin’s own Sweet Talk. Honestly, I don’t even think you need to completely understand the lyrics to enjoy these tunes; you can just treat the voice as an added instrument. This is for fans of Marked Men and their various spin-offs…enjoy your shot of energy! Buy the band’s Precipicio LP fro BCore Discs.
Yesterday Emotional Response dropped a bunch of new release info, like Razz and, well, Sob Stories. The group’s debut EP should be regarded as the standard in how to kick out power-pop nowadays. This short little EP is filled with huge riffs built for loud speakers, vocal hooks that tug on the heartstrings of listeners and a bit of swagger that makes you wanna be cool. I’m partial to “You’ll Only Hurt,” but pretty sure that I could stream these six songs all day long. What do you think? You dig it, order the EP from Emotional Response while supplies last!
There’s a blend of power-pop that possibly walks a closer line to punk rock than to the traditional boundary, but I can’t help if that’s what I love! Today we’ve got a new single from The Hipshakes. It’s a quick jolt of infectious rock n’ roll, rushing towards the track’s finish from the minute it kicks off. The chorus and the backing “ahhs” just stick in your head, the way the best pop does. Oh, and just to show you how versed in the cool the band is, they even throw in a touch of horns to the mix. This is the A-Side to the band’s new 7″ for Nerve Centre Records.
Australian power-pop anyone? If you know me, you knew I’d jam this one with that tag-line alone. Luckily for Wesley Fuller he seems to have the chops to pull it off with his latest hit. This is what pop music has always sounded like; it’s filled with crisp guitar chords and banging drums built around the song’s hook. Fuller’s got a pretty pristine voice too, allowing him to cut through your ears with insatiable sugar; I mean that little keyboard solo and that semi-New Pornographers nod? Look for his debut album Inner City Dream to drop on September 22nd via 1965 Records.
What’s old is new again, amiright? Lucky for us, Manufactured Recordings are reissuing some greats from classic power-pop, and boy are we lucky. You’ve got Aussie act Manikins reissuing From Broadway to Blazes; you have Jersey’s The Modulators tossing out Tomorrow’s Coming; and, you’ll get a collection from Smart Remarks, titled Foreign Fields 1982-1984. I don’t have a favorite of the three, as they all sound great…you pop fans will want these releases. They’ll hit stores on February 17th!
While this track may have already gotten tons of Internet love yesterday, it’s just too good for me to pass up. Middle Children are an Indiana outfit, apparently intent on just bringing in huge hooks of the guitar sort. The driving energy of this particular track is immediately apparent, with a slight hint of attitude coming through the vocals. It all adds towards a power-pop fans delight, rolling lyrics to match the emphatic drum beats. Wasn’t sure where power-pop had gone this year, but it looks like it’s alive and well here. Look for the group’s Earth Angel on March 3rd from Lets Pretend Records.