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Seven Decades Of Melodic Rock & Roll

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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.

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”

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.”

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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.


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 #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:

 

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”

 

Easter Sunday Round-Up Of New Tunes

Flora Fauna

Easter Sunday brings a basket full of sweet new treats spinning in rotation at Pop That Goes Crunch radio. Although the first song has a winter theme, you’ll ultimately see a lot of “sun” in this week’s round-up.

Fauna Flora, “The Arms of Winter”: Fauna Flora is the new project of Steve Ward, formerly of Cherry Twister. Its self-titled debut album is relentlessly beautiful collection of soft and loud(er) pop songs, with occasional strings and anchored by Ward’s consistently rich and expressive vocals. “The Arms Of Winter” is a bit of glorious chamber pop:

Sunrise Highway, “Windows”: I wrote a short piece on their cool bit of sand and surf jangle pop, “Endless Summer,” at the end of last summer. “Windows,” the title track from a soon-to-be-released long-player, is cut from a similar cloth with its laid back, jangly guitars and gorgeous West Coast pop harmonies. Here’s a preview:

Sunshine On Mars, “Lower Your Standards”: This virtual band-by-file sharing — an “ill -advised cross-country music collaboration of 3 Facebook friends,” as they say — does covers, and nothing else. Two of its previous digital downloads — “Feelin’ So Good (S.K.O.O.B.Y. D.O.O)” and “Sugar, Sugar” — give you a good idea of the sensibility at play here. This is not music that takes itself too seriously, or even seriously at all. Their brand spanking new cover of Slow Runner’s “Lower Your Standards” ups the bubblegum quotient substantially over the original. That’s a good thing, trust me:

Sunday Sun, “Sunday Morning”: This one comes right out of the gate as unabashed bubblegum, and continues dishing out sweet gobs of sticky goo for the next two-and-a-half-minutes. That, of course, makes it quite delectable. Make sure you brush your teeth after this one:

Ballard, “Take Good Care”: Darren Riley, recording as Ballard, says this one resulted from a challenge “to write and record an Everly Brothers-inspired song in a couple of hours.” That’s a good description of this decidedly old school stomper, complete with pounding drums, slightly twangy guitar and a simple sing-along chorus. There is nothing at all complicated here, just good old-fashioned rock ‘n roll:

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So there you have five new tracks to savor this Sunday. Listen, support the artists and check out Pop That Goes Crunch radio, where the playlist has grown to 1,000 songs.

 

Five Track Draw: Endless Summer

Endless SummerToday I am starting a new regular feature called “Five Track Draw.” It will focus on five melodic rock tracks that made it to my attention recently by “happenstance,” either through an internet radio service, algorithm or social media, or practically anywhere else as long as I did not purposefully cue them on a listening device.

The focus of this feature will be primarily on lesser known artists, or lesser known tracks by better known artists. The tracks may be new or old (or somewhere in between) because even old music is “new” if you haven’t heard it.

This first installment comes via internet radio. Each has a lighter feel, with The Beach Boys looming as the primary influence as summer fades increasingly further into the rear-view mirror.

Sunrise Highway, “Endless Summer”: This could easily be a Beach Boys sound-a-like, but grafting its seamless, endless harmonies onto jangly twelve-string guitars lifts this song far from the realm of the mere copycats:

Bryan Estepa, “Western Tale”: Its six-minute length is usually a red flag for me since songs should remain the three-minute range. But this is actually a couple of songs rolled into one, and moves along at a brisk pace with its soaring harmonies and production and background vocals supplied by Michael Carpenter, about whom I have written previously. The first line of the chorus — “And if the tide is high, baby move over, and over and over” — can stick in your head for days:

Adrian Whitehead, “Cailtlin’s 60’s Pop Song”: The title does not lie. This is indeed a 60s pop song anchored by piano, harmony and analog-styled production from days gone by. That makes this song about a girl “so beautiful . . . from above” very pretty without sounding like a museum piece:

Linus Of Hollywood, “Heavenly”: This one amps up the 60s sunshine pop vibe (as much as sunshine pop can be amped up) by adding a driving beat to the mix by the time the chorus kicks in. Otherwise, you get big doses of swirling multi-voiced harmonies, strings, keyboards and upper register lead vocals:

Frank Bango, “Summerdress”: Who needs autumn sweaters and winter coats when you can sing giddily for a few minutes about pretty girls in summer dresses? Bango’s circa-1978 Elvis Costello-esque vocals work nicely over the organs and strings on the most relentlessly upbeat song of this post:

You can’t go wrong with either of these sweet sounds of summer as we head through autumn.

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