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Seven Decades Of Melodic Rock & Roll

Timeless Music From Kurt Baker and Cleaners From Venus

Kurt Baker, Play It Cool

Kurt Baker, Play It CoolKurt Baker is a hit machine. He has the uncanny ability to record song-after-song filled with hooks, sing-along choruses and memorable melodies. You can call it Power Pop, if you want. Back in the day, though, Baker’s sound was just called “rock ‘n’ roll.” Whatever the label, his new long-player, Play It Cool, hardly disappoints. It delivers twelve rockin’ pop nuggets that should keep you movin’ and groovin’ over the coming cold months of winter.

The festivities start with “Sends Me To Mars,” a riff rocking garage stomper. Then, “Enough’s Enough” finds itself in more familiar Baker territory, with big vocals, hooks galore and some tasty keyboard parts. It’s a chart-topper . . . somewhere:

The next track, the breakneck “I Got You” will get you boppin’ along like its 1979. “Just a Little Bit” slows things down, but just a little bit. The basic riff of “Can’t Say No” sound-checks Joe Jackson’s “I’m The Man” as it tells the tale of a busted relationship that just won’t go away:

Play It Cool remains throughout quite indebted to the history of the rock ‘n’ roll form, but without residing in lifeless suspension at some wax museum. “Talk Is Talk” is a cool mid-60s rockin’ pop song, complete with 12-string guitar and vintage electric piano. “Prime Targets” might have been playing on “new wave” radio back in ’82, with its space age analog synth parts taking center stage. “Back For Good” time travels further to the glory days of AM radio with sweet harmonies and an easy-going chorus. The LP comes to a close with “I Can’t Wait,” which is probably playing right now in a bar near you. This is timeless music for today’s people. 

Play It Cool is, well, just cool. It’s also one of the finest slices of rock ‘n’ roll released the year. Get it via Bandcamp, either digitally or on disc from those stellar purveyors of real rock ‘n’ roll at Rum Bar Records.

Cleaners From Venus, Rose Of The Lanes

Cleaners From Venus, Rose Of the Lanes: Martin Newell returns with another fabulous collection of low-key pop and psych tunes recorded entirely on a Tascam DP-006 Pocketstudio with the assistance of Audacity freeware. As noted by the folks at Soft Bodies Records, the company that released Rose of the Lanes, these are “songs of immense distinction.” They’re stripped down and seemingly effortless. They are, however, constructed with great care, and Newell’s writing continues to be marked by a keen attention to detail. These are songs that make you take notice immediately.

The title track sets the tone for the fourteen that follow. Its consisted largely of a simple strummed acoustic guitar, a muted lead guitar, and rather uncomplicated drumming and percussion. Its nothing fancy at all. Its melody, however, conveys a beautiful, swaying melancholy that doesn’t easily let go:

“Little French Blue” is more muscular, with a slightly fuzzy electric guitar sitting in the middle to  compliment Newell’s urgent vocals. “Isn’t She The Biz” practically defines simplicity. Its hook is so basic — “isn’t she the biz/isn’t she the buzz” — that it seems like its been done thousands of times previously. It hasn’t, though. Its pure Newell, and completely original:

“Queen Khartoum” adds a bit of exoticism and a slow, burning lead guitar to the mix. “Third Summer of Love” bounces around amid slashing 80’s “alt rock” guitars, while asking the question “what if those hippies had been right all along?” “Lazy Elaine” is positively “old timey.”

But its the more “pop” songs that ultimately carry the day on Rose of the Lanes. The jangling “Liverpool Judy” is another slice of pop perfection, with yet another simple chorus — “Liverpool Judy/Liverpool Jude/you were the only one for me” — that thoroughly resonates. The even more jangling “Billy Liar” plays homage to the novel and film of the same name. The brooding “Denmark Street” places the listener on the historic London street famous for its publishing houses, recording studios and music shops, but threatened by continuing “redevelopment.”

Rose of the Lanes is, simply, a wonderful record of rich textures and engaging melodies hiding behind a casual facade. It’s a thoughtful record that is rooted in the great pop craft of the best of the past fifty years of English rock, and a shoo-in for my “Best Of” list this year. Get it via Bandcamp.

Mark Helm’s Lost And Found Classic

Mark Helm -- everything;s ok

Mark Helm released his one solo album, everything’s ok, in 2001. Reviews were great. “Elegant…more hooks than a fly fisherman’s vest,” declared the Washington Post. An “orch-pop noir gem,” gushed Gary “Pig” Gold.

Years passed. The road of life took its unexpected twists and turns. Helm ultimately found his way to Nashville, and to a career as an English professor. Music seemed to be a part of the increasingly distant past.

Helm, however, dusted off everything’s ok in July 2015, and reissued the long-player on Bandcamp, along with a generous (and growing) collection of odds and ends. This is a work of broad eclecticism. Its sounds run the gamut from guitar-propelled Power Pop to quiet orchestration to acoustic folk to “alt rock” to baroque pop. Its themes capture life’s ups and downs, the good, the bad, the in-between and the indifferent. It is at once a deeply personal work, but it nevertheless conveys universal truths and familiar emotions. Its “handmade” quality is reminiscent of Cotton Mather’s Kontiki, in execution and in the way Helm expertly melds disparate pop and rock elements into a cohesive whole whose overall quality exceeds the combined virtues of its various parts.

everything’s ok begins with “So Faraway,” its spare instrumentation and harmonies imparting a hymnal quality to this brief tale of loss. Next, the rocking “Galaxy Of Cars” rips the hooks right off of that fly fisherman’s vest, and delivers a chorus that will unconsciously ring around in your head all day long:

“What Holds The World Together” emerges from a dream and sits in delicate suspension, broken only by a brief baroque interlude. “[T]his is a very obvious nod to ‘strawberry fields’/’penny lane,” Helm says in the notes that accompany the reissue. The acoustic “Haircut” would feel quite at home on Big Star’s Third. “Week Of Days” begins with a blast of distorted guitar. Then, a muscular sound takes over and nicely compliments the song’s themes of romantic ambiguity and mystery. “Airplanes and Radiosignals” is a quiet rumination about crossed signals and how, sometimes, its “hard to tell what’s real, what’s ridiculous.” That everything’s ok is an ambitious, challenging and ultimately quite stunning work is evidenced by the beautiful, orchestral piece, “Sweet Dreams Baby,” which appears about three-quarters of the way in:

The digital reissue of everything’s ok is rounded out by a collection of ten bonus tracks, including a nice, digital four-track acoustic recording of “God Only Knows,” and Helm’s covers of Gene Clark’s “American Dreamer” and ELO’s “Strange Magic,” both of which appeared originally on tribute LPs released by Not Lame Recordings.

everthing’s ok is a great “lost and found” record, rising unannounced to enliven the second half of the year. This is music that can be enjoyed equally on a dark and lonely night, or on the brightest and sunniest of days. Its also a steal — 26 tracks for a mere $5. Run, don’t walk, to Bandcamp and get it. Or, you can simply click right here.

Late Summer Roundup, Volume 3

The calendar, and the weather, says it’s still summer. So here’s the third installment of my roundup of some of the finest tuneage to find its way to my digital desk over the past few months. This time, the focus is on the more rocking end of the spectrum.

Mono In Stereo

Mono In Stereo, Long For Yesterday: Back in the summer of 1984, I combed the traffic-clogged streets of Los Angeles working as a car messenger. College radio was my constant companion. The Minutemen, Husker Du and The Replacements ruled the airwaves, and brought order to those mean streets.

Those days have long since left the rear-view mirror. However, Mono In Stereo, a four-piece band out of Rockford, Illinois, has managed to capture the Spirit of ’84, and has sprinkled it brilliantly over twelve quite fine tunes that run the gamut from blistering punk rock assaults, to pounding anthems that shout their way out of the speakers, to mid-tempo reflections on the past, the present and the future, to Americana-tinged Power Pop, and more. The band calls its approach “Midwest Punk,” and cites its influences as ranging from “Springsteen to Mould, Earle to Costello.” It’s an apt description.

The band lays its cards on the table in the opening track, the rousing “Late Night Confessor” which tips a hat to The Dead Boys’ “Sonic Reducer,” before veering off in its own direction. The pounding title track will have you yelling out its chorus in no time. “What We Sang” is a paean to doing what you love, knowing that others out there certainly feel the same way:

The mid-tempo, “Woke Up In Haight,” has the band showing off a more expansive sound aided, in part, by some sneaky piano supplied by the seemingly ubiquitous Kris “Fingers” Rogers. “Bakersfield” is an eminently catchy Power Pop romp with a country backbone. The closing track, “Another Man’s Time,” is a quiet rumination on crime, punishment, family and mistaken identity:

Long For Yesterday is overflowing with hook-filled, guitar-based rock ‘n’ roll that knows no real boundaries. That’s how the best did it back in ’84, and that’s how Mono In Stereo’s influences do it as well. You can get this timeless music via Bandcamp. You will be glad you did.

Travel Lanes

Travel Lanes, Let’s Begin To Start Again: This four-piece band out of Philadelphia also digs deep into the history of American rock ‘n’ roll, spiking its catchy tunes with liberal doses of R&B swagger, Americana and seeming bar band sloppiness. Travel Lanes, however, is no amateur act. Accomplished playing is instead the order of the day, lifting Let’s Begin toward the head of the class.

Low, crunching guitars and Frank Brown’s menacing vocals let the listener know immediately that the field trip at issue in the opening track, “Class Trip,” might not be the kind of happy event normally associated with elementary school. The next track, “In The World,” lightens the festivities considerably, with its memories of a “summer so sublime.” “Little Out Of Love” sports a mellow, melodic vibe with 70s’s country undertones. “100th I Told You So” is melodic rockin’ pop at its finest. It would climb the charts in alternate universe:

The band returns to darker themes on a couple of slower, largely acoustic Americana tracks,”The Year” — the one where “everything fell apart”– and on the “Death,” both of which are standouts. Hope is not entirely lost, however, as the band quickly serves up the sweet, upbeat “Cream Soda.”

If there are any bum notes, or boring filler, anywhere on Let’s Begin To Start Again, these ears were unable to detect them. Get this highly recommended longplayer from the good folks at Kool Kat Musik.


Late Summer Round-Up, Volume 2

This second edition of my late summer round-ups discusses two releases steeped in the Southern California sound of the past, but which are far from being mere retro projects.

William DukeWilliam Duke, The Dark Beautiful Sun: Duke’s second solo outing is aptly titled as it frequently combines, or moves effortlessly between, beauty and sadness, melancholy and joy and darkness and light over the course of eleven finely honed tracks. The overall sound evokes the Laurel Canyon scene of the late-60s and early 70s, with elements of country, folk, and psychedelia playing off against Duke’s higher register lead vocals and the gorgeous harmonies that wind their way through many of the songs. Identifying an artist’s actual influences is always a somewhat subjective endeavor but, undoubtedly, the work of at least some of the artists mentioned in the article linked above played a role in the creation and shaping of The Dark Beautiful Sun.

Duke begins the album with a two hook-filled tracks, both of which are marked by instantly catchy guitar riffs. The riff in the opener, “The Golden Ring,” veers back and forth in a manner that will stick in your head unconsciously for days. The title track takes a subtler approach, its basic riff giving way to a mellower vibe supported by endlessly creamy harmonies:

“Many Years Away” is, mostly, a mild, Western-tinged stomper about loss and regret, with its two pieces separated by a minute-long break featuring a rather pretty guitar solo. “Just Lookin’ For Some Sleep” jangles endlessly, and quite beautifully. Duke’s bright vocals give his cover of Gordon Lightfoot’s Vietnam-war era song, “Summer Side Of Life,” even more tension than the original as it contrasts “green fields” and “young girls everywhere” with “young men   . . . goin’ off to fight.” “Your Laughter Fills The Room” tackles the pain of still vivid memories as Duke sings in the chorus “there’s a storm that’s coming soon/as your laughter fills the room/and our dear friends they can’t seem turn away.” The album fades away with the quietly soaring instrumental, “1977.”

While the Dark Beautiful Sun is certainly rooted in particular place and time, it nevertheless feels quite contemporary. You can get this timeless collection of terrific pop songs either digitally, on CD or on vinyl via Bandcamp, and I highly recommend that you check it out immediately.


High Desert Fires

High Desert Fires, Light Is The Revelation. High Desert Fires is a six-piece band hailing from Topanga Canyon in Los Angeles County. Their debut EP, Light Is The Revelation, was recorded in mono and mixed to analog tape. Leader Chris Traynor describes the work as a “spiritual” inspired by the Southern California landscape, particularly the chaparral that dot its hillsides.

The lead track, Azrael, blows in (literally) with desert wind and imparts a comforting vibe over four-and-a-half minutes. The next track, “Fernwoods,” is an early-70’s-styled track, with strings, horns and pitch perfect male-female harmonies:

“High Desert Fires” starts as a quiet rumination. It ends as a mid-tempo R&B instrumental. “Shemahazi” exists suspended in a hazy, drifting dreamscape. “Metaphysical Fight Song” is marked by muscular choir-like vocals and a symphonic backing track. The final track, “Dead Sparrows,” grafts grand orchestration onto a pop song about the cycle of life.

Light Is The Revelation makes its case in barely twenty minutes, and succeeds over-and-over-again. That’s hardly enough, however. The EP leaves you wanting a whole lot “more,” which means that the band has done its job quite well. You can get it on iTunes.

The First Of The Late Summer Round-Ups

Sometimes, great music comes flies by at a fast and furious pace, and its hard to keep up. A whole lot of releases worthy of good press have flown across my digital desk over the past several months. Let’s start the discussion by focusing on two that fall into the less aggressive part of the rockin’ pop spectrum.

Gordon Weiss

Gordon Weiss, Its About Time: Weiss’ second long-player finds him frequently exploring the difference between perception and reality, and themes of personal, professional and artistic in-authenticity in our increasingly connected world. He does so to great effect.

In “Saccharin, Aspartame, Splenda, You & Me,” artificial posturing sours a relationship, causing Weiss to sing plaintively toward its close, “I want you to be true via being true/By being you…and me/And me and you.” In “The Great Imitator,” Weiss assays the artistically derivative in the service of entertainment, asking an eternal question in rather direct terms: “is decent derivative worse than original shit?”

Perhaps the best example of Weiss’ ruminations on the fake and and the false is “I’m Your Fan,” where the rather obsessive narrator claims early on that he is merely a “collector, not a stalker.” But he wonders later why he is unable to establish a connection with his idol even though he “friended you on Facebook” and had a backstage handshake after a concert once upon a time. Weiss’ urgent vocals threaten to take “Fan” into the realm of the creepy, but he pulls back just enough to stay on this side of disturbing even as he pleads by the end “please listen to my demo/I’m your fan”:

The largely acoustic orientation of Its About Time — acoustic guitar and piano sit at the center of most of the tracks — supplies a perfect backdrop for Weiss’ often caustic lyrics. All is not negative, however, as the album closes with the ultimately hopeful, “My Love Still Grows,” with its soaring background vocals and simple statement of purpose — “there isn’t any reason, good or bad, but my love still grows.” Its About Time is an album whose charms grow with each listen. Jeff Cannata’s sharp recording and mixing also make Time a delight to hear with a good pair of headphones. Get it via Bandcamp.


Caddy -- The Better End

Caddy, The Better EndTom Dahl does 95% of the playing and singing on this quite fine release, which finds him in a decidedly Teenage Fanclub state of mind. As such, Dahl serves up rather liberal doses of layered, often jangling and chiming guitars, entrancing mid-tempo rhythms, swirling harmonies, beguiling tempo shifts and sunny, relaxed vibes straight out of early-70s Southern California. He does, however, throw in a substantial number of unexpected twists and turns to keep The Better End from becoming a paint-by-numbers facsimile.

“Beautiful Strange” sways by breezily, and quite beautifully, with a deliberate beat and swaying, rhythmic undertone before launching into a distorted guitar conclusion. Just when you think “Something About Carina” is about to hit “Norman 3” head-on, Dahl makes a quick left turn, adds a sweet chorus and cool guitar solo and takes the song to a different part of town. The main riff in the lazy “Here It Comes Again” is straight out of a lullaby, and plays off nicely against the increasingly intense percussion. The more upbeat “Into The Sun” and “Wherever You Go” sound check classic Power Pop. The latter even features a sax solo that would have been at home on any number of lite rock releases in the 70’s. “Saint-Cyr-Sur-Mer” transports the listener to a sunny, late afternoon at the French seaside town of its title.

Dahl has crafted the perfect accompaniment to a day at the beach, a drive up the coast with the sunroof open or the top down, or a day sitting around doing nothing other than drinking lemonade or cocktails. The Better End is simply a beautiful record from start to finish, and a candidate for album-of-the-year. You can download it here, get it on disk (with bonus tracks) from Kool Kat Musik, or on vinyl from Sugarbush Records. A sample can be heard below:


The Big Show, Season 2, Show #8

The Big Show

The eighth installment of the second season of The Big Show features a  Southern California, summertime feel. The accompanying photo on the left was taken recently at sunset behind Lifeguard Station No. 30 at La Jolla Shores in San Diego, California.

William Duke kicks off Show No. 8 with the title track from his wonderful long-player, The Dark Beautiful Sun. Drink in the tasty harmonies alternating perfectly with the song’s memorable guitar riff. We’ll be hearing more from Duke in coming shows.

One Like Son follow “The Dark Beautiful Sun” with some late-summer reverie, “Summer Days,” which appears on their excellent, recently released LP, Classic.

Caddy checks in with the first of two tracks from The Better End, one of the finest albums of the year. “Beautiful Strange,” the third song in the show, is a shoo-in for my year-end list of the best songs of the year.

The sunny vibes continue with Summer Fiction doing “On And On” from this year’s Himalaya long-player. Trip Wire and Susan James, featured in Show No. 7, contribute two fine tracks, “330 Days Of Sunshine” and “Truth or Consequences,” respectively.

Gordon Weiss and Identical Suns round out the episode’s recently released music, with “I’m Your Fan” and “Baby I’m Down.”

Make sure to listen to the end of the show. Andy Reed and Brandon Schott do a beautiful acoustic version of the Big Star classic, “Ballad Of El Goodo,” that you most certainly need to hear.

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.

The Big Show, Season 2, Show #8 by Pop That Goes Crunch on Mixcloud


1.  William Duke, “The Dark Beautiful Sun”

2.  One Like Son, “Summer Days”

3.  Caddy, “Beautiful Strange”

4.  Summer Fiction, “On And On”

5.  The Autumn Defense, “Winterlight”

6.  Susan James, “Truth Or Consequence”

7.  Identical Suns, “Baby I’m Down”

8.  Bill Simpson, “It’s Been A Long Time”

9.  Cosmic Rough Riders, “Annie”

10. Matthew Shacallis, “Where Were You”

11. Caddy, “Chasing Clouds”

12. Trip Wire, “330 Days Of Sunshine”

13. The Bopp, “Paisley Underground”

14. Gretchen’s Wheel, “The Fourth Wall”

15. The Greek Theatre, “Even You Will Find A Home My Friend”

16. Lightships, “Sweetness In Her Spark”

17. The New Mendicants, “High On The Skyline”

18. Nada Surf, “Whose Authority”

19. Michael Oliver & The Sacred Band, “Neverlast”

20. Gordon Weiss, “I’m Your Fan”

21. Ice Cream Hands, “Embarrassment Head”

22. Andy Reed and Brandon Schott, “The Ballad Of El Goodo”

The New Trocaderos Deliver Non-Stop Thrills And Chills

thrillsThis blog has championed the six previously released tracks by The New Trocaderos, the “supergroup” consisting of Brad Marino and Geoff Palmer of The Connection, and Kurt Baker. They scored a track on my list of the best 30 songs of 2014, and nabbed a spot on my list of the best EPs of 2014. I also had the opportunity recently to discuss the band and its future, with Michael Chaney, who primarily pens the lyrics, hooks and melodies that form the bases of the blistering, melodic, real rock ‘n’ roll The Trocs record.

The Trocs just dropped their debut longplayer called Thrills & Chills, which, as advertised, delivers thrill-after-thrill-after-thrill — along with liberal doses of chills — spread over the course of twelve Chaney originals that alternate between glee, pathos, self-deprecation, anger, lust, passion, disinterest, and humor  — sometimes swirling around in the same song. The sound this time is expanded greatly, with the addition of the occasional horn and harmonica, and inclusion of some of the finest backing vocals put down in quite some time courtesy of Palmyra Delran, Kim Shattuck and Line Cecile Dahlmann. Kris “Fingers” Rogers, who played on last year’s EP, returns to deliver tasty some keyboard lines, while The Connection’s Rick Orcutt pounds the drums with controlled abandoned.

The festivities begin with a bang on the loud and unrestrained “What The Hell Did I Do,” with Marino assuming the voice of a misbegotten fellow finding himself tracked by the police after a particularly blurry lost weekend. Next up, “I’m So Bad” proudly flashes its influence, as Marino  swaggers that “I drink a lot more booze than Keith” amid slinky slide guitar fills and a pounding, mid-tempo R&B beat. Close your eyes and “I’m So Bad” might as well be a lost track from Exile On Main Street.

Thrills & Chills changes focus by the third track, “Crazy Little Fool,” with Palmer supplying sweet lead vocals over a decidedly British invasion vibe:

Things get even more interesting on “Love Anymore,” a bit of updated doo-wop with Baker contributing lead vocals that Chaney describes as being in an “Elvis style, ala ‘Good Luck Charm.'” Throw in some swaying call and response backing vocals, and understated, melodic piano by Rogers, and you have an unexpected stroke of genius. “Love Anymore” also sports one of the great lines of the year, when Baker sings “You’re getting calls from a whole lot of men, and one of them’s older than Roger McGuinn”:

Thrills & Chills shows that Chaney can write, and The New Trocaderos can sing and play, in virtually any style that is part of the basic rock idiom — blues, country, rockabilly, jangle pop, power pop, doo-wop, punk rock, garage rock, etc., etc., etc. Put it all together and you get timeless rock ‘n’ roll for the modern world. Marino, Palmer and Baker also make their own each of the songs they sing, with their distinctive vocals and lead guitar playing placing indelible personal stamps onto Chaney’s fine compositions. Thrills & Chills is year-end Top 10 stuff.

You can get Thrills & Chills right here. When you do — and there is no excuse not to get it immediately — turn it up way past 11, and sing along at the top of your lungs. Great happiness will ensue. Guaranteed.

The Ice Cream Man Does It Again

Ice Cream Man -- Got It LickedOver at Pop That Goes Crunch Radio, we proudly broadcast to the planet the Ice Cream Man Power Pop And More show. Each week, Wayne Ford spins a delectable mix of some of the finest Power Pop, New Wave, Northern Soul, Ska, Garage Rock and Mod sounds ever put to wax, tape, disk and 1’s and 0’s. Last September, Wayne assembled a gigantic, free download of some the highlights of the first year of his show. We featured it right here.

Last week, however, Wayne topped himself by dropping a ginormous collection of — hold your breath on this one — 109 tracks that you can download for absolutely free, legally and with no strings attached. This bit of sonic generosity is likely unprecedented in human history. The good folks over at Futureman Records are hosting it right here for your downloading delight.

Many of the tracks on the compilation are by artists that are perennials on this blog, and over at Pop That Goes Crunch radio, including The Hangabouts, Propeller, Gretchen’s Wheel, Muscle Souls, Eric Barao (doing my number 1 song of 2013), Phil Ajjarapu, Chris Richards & The Subtractions, Nick Piunti, Trip Wire, and Watts. But, with 109 tracks in all, you can do a deep dive (or two or three) and discover a whole lot of new artists for further exploration over the wide variety of genres that Wayne features regularly on his show.

Got It Licked is easily the compilation of the year. Nothing can possibly come close in sheer breadth, quality and rocking bliss. You would be remiss not to let your fingers and mouse do the walking over to the Futureman page and download 109 songs for zilch.

Need further prompting? Check out Daniel Wylie’s Cosmic Rough Riders doing “Another Wasted Day,” as it appears on Got It Licked:

The Big Show, Season 2, Show #7

The Big Show

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. “If I Don’t Laugh I’m Only Going To Cry” 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.

The Big Show, Season 2, Show #7 by Pop That Goes Crunch on Mixcloud


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.”

The Big Show, Season 2, Show 6


The sixth installment of the second season of The Big Show is a really big show — 30 tracks covering a wide range of sounds and textures.

New music in this episode is supplied by Stereo Tiger, Propeller, Murder ShoesVegas With Randolph, Braddock Station Garrison, Palmyra Delran & Bubble Gun, Tommy Sistak, Jay Gonzalez and Shmohawk.

We also hear from perennial favorites, Teenage Fanclub, Grip Weeds, Shoes, and Michael Carpenter.

Timmy Sean checks in with a country-inspired track from his Songs Of The Week extravaganza. With that in mind, we also hear from Lucinda Williams and Dwight Yoakam.  Rounding it all out is Mel Torme doing one of the coolest bits of 60’s swing every put to wax.

The entire 30-song 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.

The Big Show, Season 2, Show #6 by Pop That Goes Crunch on Mixcloud


1.  Stereo Tiger, “Open Your Eyes”

2.  Murder Shoes, “Under The Sea”

3.  Propeller, “Can’t Fight These Things”

4.  Vegas With Randolph, “Jacob”

5.  Los Breakdowns, “UK Youth”

6.  Braddock Station Garrison, “Forgotten Teenage Dream”

7.  Stephen Lawrenson, “Words To Say”

8.  Mystery Flowers, “Land Of The King”

9.  The Junipers, “And In My Dreams”

10. Southern Boutique, Joanna

11. The Autumn Defense, “Canyon Arrow”

12. Squeeze, “Up The Junction” (Live At The BBC)

13. Love Axe, “Baby To Bed”

14. Palmyra Delran and Bubble Gun, “No Time Like Never”

15. Sloan, “Take It Upon Yourself”

16. The Yetis, “Little Surfer Girl”

17. Splitsville, “I’ll Never Fall In Love Again”

18. Mel Torme, “Comin’ Home Baby”

19. Teenage Fanclub, “Mellow Doubt”

20. Michael Carpenter, “Neil Jung”

21. Grip Weeds, “Down To The Wire”

22. Shoes, “Tomorrow Night”

23. Groovy Uncle, “Barefoot In The Car Park”

24. Tommy Sistak, “Just Like Before”

25. Donny Brown, “Bitter Rival”

26. Jay Gonzalez, “Light Side Of The Leaves”

27. Timmy Sean, “Western Rodeo”

28. Shmohawk, “Grass Is Looking Green”

29. Lucinda Williams, “Metal Firecracker”

30. Dwight Yoakam, “Claudette”

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