The seventh installment of the second season of The Big Show is another really, really big show — another 30 rockin’ pop tunes streaming your way for more than 90 minutes. Here are some of the highlights, focusing particularly on lesser-known acts that deserve much wider attention:
Susan James is a Southern California-based purveyor of fine acoustic folk mixed generously with tasty baroque pop flavorings. Her recently released album, Sea Glass, is destined to make my year-end list as it features song-after-song of perfectly updated West Coast pop stylings. Show 7 features “Calico Valley,” whose jaunty tone and melodic string arrangement nicely compliment James’ gorgeous vocals as she sings about environmental mismanagement. You can get Sea Glass right here.
Trip Wire was featured previously in these pages. The San Francisco-based band’s recently released long-player, Get In & Get Out, is rock and roll as it should be, mixing elements of Power Pop, Garage Rock, and 90’s-style alternative rock. Their Bandcamp page quite aptly describes the band’s overall approach: “Our songs are short and catchy and we encourage you to listen and then move on to the next one as we do not jam.” Show 7 features one of the catchiest, and best, tracks on Get In & Get Out, the punchy “1973,” which will have you grooving to it immediately. Get it here.
Cameron Lew is the bass player, and one of the singers, in The Yorktown Lads, featured in these pages earlier this year. His debut solo album, welp, is in the finest of DIY traditions — recorded in his bedroom, featuring Lew playing a bevy of different instruments and utilizing the services of “some cheap AKG Condensor” and a “really crappy mic from the 80s.” You wouldn’t know it, though. The LP sounds quite good — I hear a lot of not-so-well recorded music, and this is not that — and serves as a nice platform for Lew to explore various melodic rock styles. Show 7 features the lead track, “Adieu,” a cool and breezy bit of late-60s-influenced pop. Get it here.
The Pacific Northwest is becoming quite a hotbed of melodic rock ‘n’ roll. Strangely Alright, hailing from the Seattle area, is the latest to push great tunes across my virtual desk. Although the band’s new single, “I See The Sun,” is in the next show, an earlier track, “If I Don’t Laugh I’m Only Going To Cry,” better fit the basic groove of Show 7. “If I Don’t Laugh” builds from humble acoustic origins into an epic wall of sound, while featuring a memorable sing-a-long chorus and Regan Lane’s strong, glam-influenced vocal. You can check out the band’s body of work here.
Show 7 also features music by perennial favorites of these pages, including The Connection, Andy Reed, Sloan, The Ramones, Teenage Fanclub, and The Go-Betweens. It also features two sets of songs from the early days of “alternative” music.
As always, the entire tracklist is below the embed. Crank up the volume, and check out Pop That Goes Crunch radio, streaming the finest in melodic rock n’ roll 24/7.
1. Hidden Pictures, “California Plates”
2. Stereo Tiger, “Runaway”
3. The Connection, “Treat You So Bad”
4. Shark Tape, “Long Time Coming”
5. Trip Wire, “1973”
6. The Jeanies, “Amilee”
7. Cameron Lew, “Adieu”
8. Andy Reed, “Darlin’, You Don’t Know”
9. Strangely Alright, “If I Don’t Laugh I’m Only Going To Cry”
10. The Reivers, “Sound And The Fury”
11. The Primitons, “All My Friends”
12. Full Fathom Five, “A Little Hope”
13. The Jangle Band, “This Soul Is Not For Sale”
14. Your Gracious Host, “If You Ever Have Your Doubts”
15. Sloan, “Carried Away”
16. Soft Picasso, “Blue-Eyed Boy”
17. Susan James, “Calico Valley”
18. The Autumn Defense, “Estate Remains”
19. Braddock Station Garrison, “Johnny Stone Stole My Girlfriend”
20. The Big Believe, “Creatures”
21. LazyEye, “Katie Jones”
22. The Ramones, “Danny Says”
23. Teenage Fanclub, “Everything Flows” (Acoustic)
24. The Go-Betweens, “Surfing Magazines”
25. The Fad, “The Now Sound”
26. The Lads, “Neighborhood Kids”
27. New Hearts, “Just Another Teenage Anthem”
28. The Beau Brummels, “Laugh, Laugh”
29. The Nashville Ramblers, “The Trains”
30. Material Issue, “I’d Wait A Million Years.”