Pop That Goes Crunch!

Seven Decades Of Melodic Rock & Roll

The Big Show #9: Good Rockin’ Today

Vintage StereoThis edition of the Big Show spins cool rockin’ pop songs old and new.

A “mini theme” of music history, nostalgia and looking to the future emerges in the second set. The Paul and John chime in with “Long Way Back,” a look at a punk rock summer from days gone by. Sunrise Highway defy aging by continuing to make music as time goes by in “Foreverland.” The Barracudas check in with their classic celebration of the music of the mid-60’s with “(I Wish It Could Be) 1965 Again.”

Show #9 also features a rare, acoustic version of Teenage Fanclub’s “Don’t Look Back,” Matthew Sweet covering the single best Paul McCartney solo song, Martin Luther Lennon’s wonderfully titled “Armageddon Surfer Girl, Rock On,” the Go-Betweens doing “Surfing Magazines,” and a whole lot more.

So, why not give it a spin, and check out the main mix at Pop That Goes Crunch radio, streaming 24/7.

The complete track list appears after the embed.

The Big Show #9: Good Rockin' Today by Pop That Goes Crunch on Mixcloud

Track List:

1.  The Lyres, “Help You Ann”

2.  Martin Luther Lennon, “Armageddon Surfer Girl, Rock On”

3.  Nushu, “Precious To Me”

4.  The Paul and John, “Long Way Back”

5.  Sunrise Highway, “Foreverland”

6.  The Barracudas, “(I Wish It Could Be) 1965 Again”

7.  Orgone Box, “Judy Over The Rainbow”

8.  Future Clouds & Radar, “Hurricane Judy”

9.  The Bopp, “Why Didn’t You?”

10. Teenage Fanclub, “Don’t Look Back” (acoustic version)

11. Matthew Sweet, “Every Night”

12. Keith Klingensmith and the TM Collective, “Hairshirt”

13. The Grays, “Very Best Years”

14. Agony Aunts, “Family Drugs”

15. The Bon Mots, “Galahad”

16. The Bye Bye Blackbirds, “Elizabeth Park”

17. Kelley Stoltz, “Are You My Love”

18. The Newds, “Mr. Happy Sunshine”

19. The Go-Betweens, “Surfing Magazines”

20. Michael Oliver & The Sacred Band, “Tell Me What You’re Dreaming”

Three EPs You Should Buy

EPs are all over the map. Some are short, worthwhile bursts of creativity. Some are afterthoughts and throw-aways. Some are collections of odds and ends with varying degrees of interest. Some find the artist sitting in a holding pattern.

Here are three recently released EPs that are quite worthy of your attention and, perhaps more importantly, your hard-earned cash.

Cliff Hillis, Song Machine: This seven-song EP was inspired by a weekly songwriting group to which Hillis belongs. Each of the songs is intricately drawn, and Hillis has a keen ability to add touches of drama, detail and personal observation to his compositions. Clever phrasing abounds on Song Machine, but Hillis is also able to take a step back and apply restraint and a light touch when necessary.

I’ve written previously about the opening track, “Dashboard,” and called it one of the twenty coolest songs released so far this year. Its understated drama commands your undivided attention immediately upon releasing its opening lines over a simple, strummed acoustic guitar, rumbling bass and drum: “Put your feet up on the dashboard, I don’t mind/we can talk but if not, then that’s just fine.” The tension builds until a piano kicks off a 40 second instrumental closing just as the evening drive comes to an end:

 

“Dashboard” is hard to follow, but the remainder of Song Machine keeps up quite nicely.

“Turn On A Dime” could be a typical pop love song, but it’s not. Yeah, she might be able to “stand with Marilyn Monroe” when all made up and with everything else in place, “but the you that I love best, has your hair all in a mess/and overalls, or nothing on at all. “Just One More” rounds out its jangling guitars with a swinging, late-60s Bacharach-like vibe. “Could You Be The Enemy” fairly rocks and will keep your head bouncing for its duration. “Goodnight Sunlight” closes the collection by cleverly playing its theme of emotional storm and sorrow against a quiet and warm acoustic arrangement in front of Hillis’ sumptuous vocal.

Song Machine is beautifully written, performed and recorded throughout its all-too-brief time with the listener. Run, don’t walk, to wherever you purchase fine music and get yourself a copy.

* * * * * * * * * *

The Persian Leaps, Drive, Drive, Delay: The Persian Leaps is a self-described “noise pop” band from Saint Paul, Minnesota that sprinkles its melodic pop exercises with well-placed fuzz guitar sounds and, well, noise. The result is a wonderful five-song EP drenched in late-80s and early-90s indie-rock stylings. That does not make it retro. It makes it compelling.

The lead single, “Pretty Boy,” does a nice job of pounding itself relentlessly into your consciousness for two-minutes-and-change. You likely won’t be able to get this one out of your head for quite some time:

The opening track, “Fire Starter,” seems like it’s all guitars, even though it not. That’s a very good thing. “(Goodbye To) South Carolina” adds a subtle chiming guitar to its full mix of pretty guitar noise. Guitars also carry the day on the mid-tempo “Truth = Consequences.” In a collection of otherwise two-minute plus songs that pass at the speed of light, the nearly five-minute closing track, “Permission,” is practically epic. It has a hypnotic, soaring quality that needs all that time to say its peace.

Drive, Drive, Delay is one of the best guitar records I have heard in quite some time. It drops on September 12. You will be able to get it right here, and you most certainly should do so.

* * * * * * * * * *

The 286, EP:  This is full-fledged symphonic pop-rock in the intentionally ELO vein, with violins and cellos complimenting the basic bass-guitars-drum approach. EP is a mini-EP, with three songs and a separate “radio edit” of its centerpiece, “Let The Rain Fall Down,” a gorgeous song driven by the string instruments:

 

“Miracle On 286th Street” is a three-and-a-half minute instrumental that nicely conveys a sense of movement. “Little Louisa” is an old-school stomping rocker punctuated by those violins and cellos:

 

EP comes and goes in about twelve minutes, which makes it a perfect interlude when time is pressed.

The Big Show #8: Good Rockin’ Today

The Big Show #8

This edition of The Big Show continues in the theme-less vein. It begins with three recently released tracks. “Haunted” by Sugar Stems sprinkles its Power Pop with a slight garage rock stomp. “(I’m) Telescoping” by The Hazey Janes has an irresistible swingin’ mid-60’s groove. “Call Me Out” by Chris Richards & The Subtractions will ring around in your ears for hours on end, and features some gorgeous harmonizing. “New” music is also represented by “Try Girl” by The Click Beetles and “The King Of The Sixties” by The Cleaners From Venus.

Tracks from a couple of long-players reviewed on these pages in recent months get a spin. “Warm Sun” by Gen Pop is about hope rising above the gloom. “Change The World” by Toxic Melons is a swirling piece of almost-orchestral pop featuring a great vocal by Linus of Hollywood.

The Clash did not do a whole lot of songs that fit the format of Pop That Goes Crunch radio, but “Stay Free,” from their much-maligned second record, Give ‘Em Enough Rope, is as close to Power Pop that they ever ventured. Its featured in a set with a couple of its contemporary songs from back in the early days of Punk Rock and New Wave: “To Be Someone” by The Jam and “Everywhere That I’m Not” by Translator.

So, why not give it a spin, and check out the main mix at Pop That Goes Crunch radio, streaming 24/7.

The complete track list appears after the embed.

Big Show #8: Another Themeless Day by Pop That Goes Crunch on Mixcloud

 

Track List

1.  Sugar Stems, “Haunted”

2.  The Hazey Janes, “(I’m) Telescoping”

3.  Chris Richards & The Subtractions, “Call Me Out”

4.  Gen Pop, “Warm Sun”

5.  Toxic Melons, “Change The World”

6.  Tiny Volcano, “Loaded Gun”

7.  The Beach Boys, “Girl Don’t Tell Me”

8.  Greater California, “Five Senses”

9.  The Clientele, “Winter On Victoria Street”

10. The Clash, “Stay Free”

11. The Jam, “To Be Someone”

12. Translator, “Everywhere That I’m Not”

13. The Late Show, “Hey Sue”

14. The Click Beetles, “Try Girl”

15. Phenomenal Cat, “Letters Home From Nazi-Occupied France”

16. The Windbreakers, “Time Machine”

17. Daniel Wylie, “Make Love To The World”

18. Cliff Hillis, “Just One More”

19. Cotton Mather, “Camp Hill Rail Operator (Acoustic)

20. The Cleaners From Venus, “The King of The Sixties”

 

The Big Show #7: Going Themeless

The Big Show #7The next several installments of The Big Show are “themeless.” They simply present 20 hand-selected rockin’ pop songs (new, old and in-between) for your music discovery and distinct listening pleasure.

Show #7 kicks off with an alternate and slightly more rocking version of one of favorite songs by The Grip Weeds – “Rainy Day #3″ — “pre-titled” as “Rainy Day #1 & 2.”

New music checks in with a wonderful track by the reconstituted Cleaners From Venus and a rather fun song by newcomer Joe Sullivan, whose long-player (produced and engineered by the great Andy Reed) can be purchased for a mere seven clams from Futureman Records.

Show #7 also includes Teenage Fanclub and the Pernice Brothers doing songs that rank among my favorites by two of the Greatest Bands of All-Time: “Your Love Is The Place Where I Come From” and “The Weakest Shade Of Blue,” respectively. The festivities conclude with The Zombies doing one of the Greatest Records Ever Made, “This Will Be Our Year.” Superlatives abound.

So, give it a listen, and tune in frequently to the main mix at Pop That Goes Crunch radio, streaming 24/7.

The complete tracklist appears below the embed.

The Big Show #7: Just 20 Cool Rockin' Pop Songs by Pop That Goes Crunch on Mixcloud

 

Tracklist:

1.  The Grip Weeds, “Rainy Day #1 and 2″

2.  20/20, “Yellow Pills”

3.  Grant Lee Buffalo, “The Shining Hour”

4.  The Cleaners From Venus, “Cling To Me”

5.  Ballard, “I Know That You’re Watching Me”

6.  The Who, “So Sad About Us”

7.  And The Professors, “Turn Of The Century Recycling Blues”

8.  The Sharp Things, “Flowers For My Girl”

9.  Husker Du, “Could You Be The One”

10. Redd Kross, “Sick Love”

11. Velvet Crush, “Time Wraps Around You”

12. The Jayhawks, “Waiting For The Sun”

13. The Byrds, “Its All Over Now, Baby Blue”

14. Joe Sullivan, “Rock Star Boyfriend”

15. The Maureens, “Outta Sight”

16. Pernice Brothers, “Weakest Shade Of Blue”

17. Teenage Fanclub, “Your Love Is The Place Where I Come From”

18. The Green Tambourine Band, “I’m Free”

19. The Orange Peels, “Grey Holiday”

20. The Zombies, “This Will Be Our Year”

 

 

The Big Show No. 6: 20 Of The Coolest Songs So Far This Year

The Big ShowThis edition of The Big Show spins 20 of the coolest songs released so far this year. Well, technically, one was released in mid-December 2013, but its a 2014 song nevertheless.

Most of the songs played from “20 of the coolest” have been discussed on these pages previously. They were great when I first heard them, and they’re still great. The complete tracklist appears below the embed, but I’ll first say a few words about the songs about which I have not previously written.

honeychain, “I’m On Fire”: This particularly rockin’ version of the Dwight Twilley classic begins the festivities propelled by slashing guitars, a non-stop, pounding beat and Hillary Burton’s cool vocals. It can be found on the quite tasty Dwight Twilley Band tribute album released recently by Zero Hour Records.

The Britannicas, “Got A Hold On Me”: The recently released High Tea by this truly international band is one of the best long-players of the year. True to its title, “Got A Hold On Me” is the kind of song that finds its way into your head when you first wake up in the morning. Its a relentlessly catchy piece of jangle pop marked perfectly by the interplay between Herb Eimerman’s lead vocals and the supporting harmonizing.

The Above, “Do You Have A Healthy Mind?”: The band’s recently released Waterbury Street LP is a wonderful romp through everything good and scared in the Nuggets box set. “Healthy Mind” is stomping and melodic garage rock circa 1964, complete with lyrics like “have you taken your medicine lately/I can’t comprehend you, baby.” Yeah, its stridently retro. And timeless.

The Paul & John, “Inner Sunset”:  The title track from the duo’s recent release is the feel-good song of the year. It also undoubtedly will place high on my list of the best of the year, as will the album. “Don’t let the darkness drag you down” and “let your inner sunset shine.” Words to live by.

Cliff Hillis, “Dashboard”: This is an immediately captivating song. Its three-and-a-half minutes of understated drama, and makes the case for Hillis as being one of the very best songwriters anywhere. “Put your feet up on the dashboard, I don’t mind/we can talk but if not, then that’s just fine,” it starts, setting the tone brilliantly for everything that follows.

Linus Of Hollywood, “Biography”: This is an understated piece of acoustic pop about memories lingering long after love vanishes and the protagonists go their separate ways. The key lyric delivers universal truth: “You can’t write me out of your biography/you can’t take me out of your memory.”

* * * * *

That’s just 6 of 20 of the coolest songs released so far this year. You hear the show in its entirety by clicking below. The complete track list follows.

The Big Show #6: 20 Of The Coolest Songs So Far This Year by Pop That Goes Crunch on Mixcloud


Track List

1.  honeychain, “I’m On Fire”

2.  The New Trocaderos, “The Kids”

3.  The Jellybricks, “About The Weekend”

4.  Sunrise Highway, “Windows”

5.  The Crush, “Around”

6.  The Britannicas, “Got A Hold On Me”

7.  phonograph, “Don’t Bring Me Down”

8.  The Above, “Do You Have A Healthy Mind?”

9.  The Legal Matters, “The Legend Of Walter Wright”

10. Nick Piunti, “Believe It”

11. The Paul & John, “Inner Sunset”

12. The Corner Laughers, “Midsommar”

13. Trip Wire, “Stay”

14. Propeller, “You Remind Me Of You”

15. Cliff Hillis, “Dashboard”

16. Linus of Hollywood, “Biography”

17. Phil Ajjarapu, “Sing Along Until You Feel Better”

18. Greg Ieronimo, “Roller Coaster Ride”

19. Dropkick, “Halfway Round Again”

20. Attic Lights, “Known Outsider”

 

The Big Show #5: Back To The 70s

Ramones -- Rocket To Russi

This edition of The Big Show time travels back to the 1970s with seventy minutes rockin’ pop, New Wave and old school Punk Rock for your listening pleasure.

It starts with the first song I ever heard by The Ramones, “Sheena Is A Punk Rocker” from their third long-player, Rocket To Russia. As I mention on the show, I was eleven years old when their first LP was released, and eleven-year olds did not have access to anything like that in 1975. By 1977, however, things had started to change and, aided by the utter derision of an old-school music appreciation teacher that told her classes that they should not under any circumstances listen to that demon music called “punk rock,” I was primed to move beyond the mainstream.

“Back To The 70s” also includes one of my all-time favorite songs, “Teenage Kick” by The Undertones, a track from The Buzzcocks’ Singles Going Steady (probably the single best compilation ever put together) a set of less-well-known Power Pop from the late-70s by The Secrets* (the asterisk is intentional), Gary Charlson and The Names, as well as the original version of “Hangin’ On The Telephone,” a classic track by Nick Lowe, The Kursaal Flyers riffing off The Who, and a whole lot more.

“The Big Show” airs on Pop That Goes Crunch radio on Wednesdays at 6 pm Pacific, Fridays at 11 am Pacific and Saturdays at 11 am Pacific. The shows are usually uploaded to Mixcloud on Sunday mornings.

The show can be heard below. The complete tracklist appears below the embed.

The Big Show #5 -- Back To The 70s by Pop That Goes Crunch on Mixcloud

 

Tracklist:

1.  The Ramones, “Sheena Is A Punk Rocker

2.  The Pranks, “I Don’t Wanna Lose That Feeling”

3.  The Flashcubes, “Its You Tonight”

4.  The Rezillos, “Top Of The Pops”

5,  The Undertones, “Teenage Kicks”

6.  The Jags, “Back Of My Hand (I’ve Got Your Number”)

7.  The Secrets*, “It’s Your Heart Tonight”

8.  Gary Charlson, “Real Life Saver”

9.  The Names, “Why Can’t It Be”

10 The Buzzcocks, “I Don’t Mind”

11. The Fans, “You Don’t Live Here Anymore”

12. Eddie & The Hot Rods, “Do Anything You Wanna Do”

13. Bram Tchaikovsky, “Girl Of My Dreams”

14. The Beckies, “Midnight And You”

15. Shoes, “Tomorrow Night”

16. Off Broadway, “Stay In Time”

17. The Nerves, “Hangin’ On The Telephone”

18. The Beat, “Walking Out On Love”

19. Gary Valentine, “The First One”

20. Nick Lowe, “Mary Provost”

21. The Kursaal Flyers, “Television Generation”

22. The Moderns, “Ready For The 80s”

The Big Show #4: Women Who Rock

Bonnie "Guitar" Buckingham

The Big Show #3 was called “Girls, Girls, Girls!”  This week’s edition is “Women Who Rock,” a show devoted entirely to songs fronted by — and sometimes consisting entirely of — women.

Some of the sets are “themed.”

There is a set of quintessentially American rockin’ pop songs fronted by females.

There is a set of quintessentially British rockin’ pop songs fronted by females.

There is a set of “sass,” starting with two old-school put-down tracks (Blondie’s “Rip Her To Shreds” and Holly & The Italians‘ “Tell That Girl To Shut-Up”) and concluding with a more recent sassy song of empowerment (The Dollyrots’ “Because I’m Awesome”).

There is a set of “Bay Area” songs, one by a band out of France (The Leeds), one by a band out of Australia (Jane vs. The World) and one by a Bay Area-based band (The Corner Laughers).

It all ends with a bit of West Coast Pop about summer, and dreaming of summer, by Laurie Biagini.

You can hear it below by clicking on the photo of a pioneering rockin’ woman, Bonnie “Guitar” Buckingham, which also appears at the top of this page. The complete track list follows.

The Big Show #4: Women Who Rock by Pop That Goes Crunch on Mixcloud

 

Track List:

1.  The Masticators, “Pop Sound”

2.  The Go-Go’s, “Skidmarks On My Heart”

3.  The Bangs, “Getting Out Of Hand”

4.  The Primitives, “Crash”

5.  Lush, “Ladykillers”

6.  Spacemaid, “Taxi”

7.  The Launderettes, “Red River”

8.  The Pandoras, “In And Out Of My Life (In A Day)”

9.  honeychain, “Lucky One”

10. Blondie, “Rip Her To Shreds”

11.  Holly & The Italians, “Tell That Girl To Shut-Up”

12. The Dollyrots, “Because I’m Awesome”

13. The Shivers, “Teen Line”

14. The Zippers, “He’s A Rebel”

15. The Leeds, “Anything”

16. Jane vs. The World, “The Subterraneans”

17. The Corner Laughers, “Transamerica Pyramid”

18. Kostars, “Red Umbrella”

19. Sam Phillips, “Same Rain”

20. Laurie Biagini, “Run To The Sun”

 

The Big Show #3: Girls, Girls, Girls!

Girls, Girls GirlsThe theme of The Big Show #3 its “Girls, Girls, Girls!” — a collection of songs in the vaunted rockin’ pop tradition of writing and recording songs about that special, or not-so-special, someone out there. All of the songs have the name of a “girl” in the title — Caroline, Emily, Melanie, Allison, Mary Anne etc. There is even a song about Emma Stone

On tap in this edition are songs by The Go-Betweens, The Liars Club, The Nines, Jupiter Affect, The Well Wishers, Kurt Baker, The Connection, a Phenomenal Cats/Legal Matters doubleheader, and much, much more.

The Big Show #3 is posted at Mixcloud, but you can hear it directly in this post by clicking on the picture, below. The complete track list appears directly below that:

The Big Show #3 -- Girls, Girls, Girls! by Pop That Goes Crunch on Mixcloud

 

Track List:

1.  The Go-Betweens, “Caroline and I”

2.  Josh Rouse, “Carolina”

3.  Splitsville, “Caroline Knows”

4.  Pink Floyd, “See Emily Play”

5.  Liar’s Club, “Emily”

6.  The Records, “That Girl Is Emily”

7.  Cosmic Rough Riders, “Melanie”

8.  The Nines, “Melenie”

9.  Material Issue, “Valerie Loves Me”

10. The New Mendicants, “Cruel Annette”

11. The Three O’Clock, “Marjorie Tells Me”

12. Jupiter Affect, “Druscilla I Dig Your Scene”

13. The Well Wishers, “Allison”

14. The Lemonheads, “Alison’s Starting To Happen”

15. The Phenomenal Cats, “Mary Anne With The Shaky Hands”

16. The Legal Matters, “Mary Anne”

17. The Spongetones, “(My Girl) Maryanne”

18. Kurt Baker, “Emma Stone”

19. The Connection, “Melinda”

 

 

The Big Show #2: Summer Songs

 

Sunrise HighwayWith the calendar switching recently over to summer, the time seemed ripe to do a show devoted entirely to summer songs.

The Big Show #2 includes twenty such songs, and progresses from songs anticipating summer’s imminent arrival, to songs proclaiming the simple joys of summer to songs caught in summer rain to songs announcing the end of summer.

It concludes with Sunrise Highway singing about “The Endless Summer.”

“Summer Songs” is posted at Mixcloud, but you can hear it directly in this post by clicking on the picture, below. The complete track list appears directly below that:

The Big Show #2: Summer Songs by Pop That Goes Crunch on Mixcloud

 

Track List:

1.  Attic Lights, “Summer’s Coming Back”

2.  Michael Carpenter and King’s Road: “Summertime”

3.  Seth Swirsky, “Summer In Her Hair”

4.  War, “Summer”

5.  The Red Button, “On A Summer Day”

6.  Wyatt Funderburk, “Summer”

7.  The Britannicas, “(Talkin’ ‘Bout) Summer”

8.  Twenty Cent Crush, “Summer (You Know My Name)”

9.  Propeller, “Summer Songs”

10. Vegas With Randolph, “Summertime”

11. The Sunchymes, “On A Summer Ride”

12. The Daintees, “Roll On Summertime”

13. Weekend, “Summerdays”

14. Wilco, “Summer Teeth”

15. The Crush, “Summer Rain”

16. Shoes, “The Summer Rain”

17. Stephen Lawrenson, “Summer & Lightning”

18. Scott Brookman, “Summer’s Two Weeks Notice”

19. The Valley Downs, “The Last Days Of Summer”

20. Sunrise Highway, “Endless Summer”

 

The Crush Deliver Powerpop Fun For Your Summer

The Crush

The Crush is a rocking indie pop band from Seattle. I featured them previously in a round-up of songs added recently to Pop That Goes Crunch radio.

Their new EP, Future Blimps, quite fittingly dropped on the first day of Summer. It consists of five hook-filled tracks alternating between somewhat stomping garage rock and jangling Power Pop. There is nothing fancy here, just eighteen minutes of bass-guitar-drums rock and roll that flies by in an instant. Its your perfect warm weather accompaniment.

Future Blimps kicks off with a stomper, “Never Gonna Stop,” that immediately announces Kira Wilson as a vocalist with whom to reckon quite seriously. Her pipes are sassy, self-assured and powerful throughout the EP, and wind seamlessly through its many riffs and rhythms:

The next track, “Around” is sinewy, head-swaying jangle pop. “Better and Better” takes us back to the garage and serves up four-minutes plus of blues-rock riffing ripped from the 60s.

The jangle makes a comeback on “Its Love,” where the guitars vie for sonic supremacy with Wilson’s varying vocal stylings:

The EP concludes its all-too-brief stay with “Nothing To Lose,” a bit of classic 70s-styled Power Pop:

Future Blimps is not intended to set the world on fire with innovation, but that’s perfectly fine. Its just fun rock and roll, and the hooks come at you full blast. Its quite a steal, at only $3. The band even cites The Nerves as one of their influences, and you can’t beat that.

 

 

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