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Shoes: Tomorrow Night (1978)

Shoes: Tomorrow Night (1978)

In that great alphabet of power pop kicked off by the Beatles and which includes Badfinger, Big Star, Cheap Trick and so on, the Shoes out of Zion, Illinois are perhaps the least known today. That doesn't mean they are forgotten or won't be rediscovered however: the Elektra bio which came with their major label debut Present Tense noted that...

The Searchers: Love's Melody (1980)

The Searchers: Love's Melody (1980)

Despite the durability of Gerry and the Pacemakers' Ferry Cross the Mersey, there is little question that the most successful group out of Liverpool in the Sixties -- aside from that other one -- was the Searchers. In the wake of the Beatles there were a dozen or so bands who rode into the charts -- Gerry, The Big Three, Billy J Kramer and...

ROGER GUINN, BACK FROM RIO (1991): The return flyte

ROGER GUINN, BACK FROM RIO (1991): The return flyte

When Jim McGuinn changed his name to Roger in ’67 during a period of chaos without and within for The Byrds, there were those who thought it was an elaborate hoax. Jim had taken off to Rio and been replaced by his lookalike brother, said Paul-is-Dead paranoids and conspiracy theorists. Hence the wry in-joke title on his album Back...

MATTHEW SWEET INTERVIEWED (1993): It should be a more Sweet world

MATTHEW SWEET INTERVIEWED (1993): It should be a more Sweet world

Matthew Sweet comes with a double handicap: the unthreatening “Matthew” and then . . . “Sweet” Hmm, very soft, very sweet. It isn’t a promising start and he made life doubly difficult by calling his last album Girlfriend and putting a lovely furwrapped, teenage Tuesday Weld on the cover. Wow, Matthew...

Matthew Sweet: Girlfriend (1991)

Matthew Sweet: Girlfriend (1991)

Bitter irony is how Matthew Sweet's small but devoted following might describe his recent profile and measure of success: this gifted singer-songwriter, power-pop rocker and fine interpreter of a lyric is currently gathering kudos for the Under the Covers albums he has been doing with former Bangle Susanna Hoffs. Yes, it's good to know he's...

POWER POP: God's gift to guitars

POWER POP: God's gift to guitars

The perfect pop gig, no doubt about it. A tidy 40 minutes of three minute songs accompanied by lots of bouncing up and down -- then off. And back for a four-song encore. By my reckoning, that's the playing time of two sides of vinyl and an encore of EP dimensions. Perfect. And this was pop -- power pop more correctly – and...

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 The Young Veins: Take a Vacation! (One Haven/Southbound)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 The Young Veins: Take a Vacation! (One Haven/Southbound)

Here's my theory about The Young Veins, for what it's worth: they are aliens who crashed landed secretly in California behind a music store, got on the computer late at night and Googled "pop music". Disturbed by the cops they grabbed some band names and songs at random, fled with some instruments and have subsequently launched...

BADFINGER (1968-73): The shop-soiled Apple band

BADFINGER (1968-73): The shop-soiled Apple band

There are two stories every young musician should read, the first is obvious. The Beatles story is full of magic and coincidence; McCartney's meeting with a drunk Lennon, Harrison getting in by playing Raunchy to them while on a bus, the Hamburg days and the death of Stu Sutcliffe, the firing of Pete Best and Ringo entering just before...

THE JAM and TOM PETTY in '79: Two bands separated by a common language

THE JAM and TOM PETTY in '79: Two bands separated by a common language

At the fag-end of the Seventies, the sound of the Sex Pistols explosion in Britain had faded and in the place of furious punk anger came the more intellectual and cooler sound of post-punk: bands like Magazine, Wire and Joy Division. Across the Atlantic the Ramones' flat-tack energy was faltering and the names to note were Talking...

THE BARGAIN BUY: The Who; Who Are You and The Kids Are Alright (Polydor)

THE BARGAIN BUY: The Who; Who Are You and The Kids Are Alright (Polydor)

The Who -- with as few living members as the former Beatles -- continue to tour and record, and while we wouldn't deny their current firepower, it is worth noting that the explosive energy of their early years was when they really excelled. From the late Sixties onward Pete Townshend started to over-analyse in a way that perhaps blunted the...

Holmes: Stop Go (Yellow Eye)

Holmes: Stop Go (Yellow Eye)

Okay, this album came out in 2007 -- which is of course an eon ago in the world of of pop -- but Elsewhere has an unashamed affection for power pop, and this album seems to have just been given distribution on New Zealand so . . . Holmes is a US indie band but really the work of producer Roy Shakked who made his name remixing tracks by Sarah...

The Baseball Project: High and Inside Vol. 2 (YepRoc/Southbound)

The Baseball Project: High and Inside Vol. 2 (YepRoc/Southbound)

A power pop supergroup of sorts -- Steve Wynn (Dream Syndicate, Gutterball), Scott McCaughey (Fresh Young Fellows, REM), Peter Buck (REM) and Linda Pitmon (Golden Smog) -- here continue their passion for baseball after their similarly conceived debut project Frozen Ropes and Dying Quails. You probably don't need to know too much about the...

Papercuts: Fading Parade (Sub Pop)

Papercuts: Fading Parade (Sub Pop)

Although San Francisco's Jason Robert Quever – who is for most purposes Papercuts – opens this fourth album with the drilling indie.pop of Do You Really Wanna Know and the dreamy Do What You Will, which puts them in the lineage running from the power pop of Shoes in the late Seventies through the shoegaze dreamscapes of...

Peter Bjorn and John: Gimme Some (Cooking Vinyl)

Peter Bjorn and John: Gimme Some (Cooking Vinyl)

By giving themselves three thumbs up on the cover of this, their sixth album, Sweden's pop-friendly outfit are doubtless hoping for some similar critical consensus for their return to a more power pop sound after the rather more interesting but failed experiment of the darker Living Thing two years ago. Nothing here will rattle rafters or...

Gruff Rhys: Hotel Shampoo (Ovni)

Gruff Rhys: Hotel Shampoo (Ovni)

The singer for Wales' Super Furry Animals here delivers his third album and the reference points are pure Sixties melodic pop (the Vogues, Buckinghams, early Lennon-McCartney, the Beach Boys) and the LA singer-songwriters of the early Seventies (all those various Taylors, Dan Fogelberg etc). And a little mariachi trumpet. This makes for a...

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