Pop That Goes Crunch!

Seven Decades Of Melodic Rock & Roll

Archive for the tag “Bill Lloyd”

Christmas Without Cancer: Great Tunes, Even Better Cause

Christmas Without Cancer

Dan Pavelich wears many hats. He’s a singer, guitarist, journalist and cartoonist. He runs the indie label, Vandalay Records. He’s previously released three sets of holiday fundraiser CDs under the Hi-Fi Christmas Party banner.

This year, Pavelich has put together a collection of original (and sometimes exclusive) power popping Christmas tunes called Christmas Without Cancer. He explained the rationale behind the collection on an Indiegogo crowdfunding page earlier this year:

Only a few months ago, we lost a cousin to cancer. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the first time cancer has struck our family. My wife, daughter & I have also seen several friends diagnosed, though, thankfully, they received the miraculous recoveries that so many pray for every day . . .

As I have often done in the past, I have turned to my fellow musicians for help. Surely, I thought, we could raise some money, raise awareness and raise some holiday spirits, too. A holiday CD called ‘Christmas Without Cancer’ is how I hope to do this. Everyone involved has generously donated their music, looking for nothing in return, beyond being a part of the healing, answers and hope that so many families are in need of. 100% of the proceeds from the sales of the CD are going to The American Cancer Society.

I proudly contributed to the funding of the CD, and the results are superb. Several of the artists involved — The Grip Weeds, Michael Carpenter, Lisa Mychols, Brandon Schott — have been discussed many times previously on this blog.

I have yet to hear a “bad” Lisa Mychols song. Her contribution here, “In Love With Love,” is a bittersweet mid-tempo rocker about long-distance yearning during the holidays that sounds anything but maudlin thanks to Mychols’ bright and shiny vocals and the track’s chiming guitars:

Carpenter delivers a previously released track, the joyful “Wake Me Up When Its Christmas Time.” I mention it here, in part, because it features a glockenspiel, which has become almost de riguer to be mentioned on this blog of late. It also has a cool and breezy feel, perfect for listening while wrapping gifts:

The “fun” and the “breezy” is perennial on this collection, anyway. Who can possibly resist bopping to the beat of Frank Royster applying his cool vocals to the Power-Pop-meets-bachleor-pad romp, “Christmas Is Fun”?:

Pavelich, himself, checks in with his own project, The Click Beetles, on the equally joyful “So Glad Its Christmas”:

The disk also delivers a “California Christmas” and a “Kenosha Christmas.” Its penultimate track, Bill Lloyd’s acoustic “Day After Christmas,” about “cleaning up and throwing out the messes you’ve made”– you know, turkey bones, beer bottles, miscreant friends — is, at bottom, all about hope and new beginnings.

And that’s the purpose behind the disk — hope, new beginnings and, of course, healing. So go right here or here, and get fifteen stellar pop songs for a mere $12. They will fill your house with Christmas cheer while you help to fight cancer. You can’t beat that.

In the meantime, check out full versions of some of the other cool tracks in the collection:

Brandon Schott’sWinter In The Sun“.

Mimi Betinis’A Christmas Song“.

Sgt. Popgrass’If I’m Not Home For Christmas“.

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Skrang: An Excellent Tribute To Bobby Sutliff

Skrang: Sounds Like Bobby Sutliff

The Windbreakers were a Mississippi-based band, comprised primarily of Bobby Sutliff and Tim Lee, that released a half-dozen records in the 80s and 90s in the kind of Byrds/Big Star jangle pop/psychedelic amalgam that R.E.M. rode to great success. Although similar success eluded The Windbreakers, Sutliff and Lee are gifted composers and superb guitar players. One of the best examples of their craft is the simply gorgeous, then-new song they recorded as the title track to the band’s 2002 compilation, Time Machine: 

Outside of The Windbreakers, Sutliff and Lee have both done about a half-dozen other records each, and have appeared on various compilations and tribute records as performers, songwriters and producers. In June 2012, however, Sutliff was involved in a serious automobile accident near his home in Powell, Ohio. Lee wrote:

At the time, the prognosis was guarded, albeit not particularly promising. But Bobby survived his multiple injuries, and after a month or so of sedation, he slowly began making progress. Eventually, the pace picked up, and his condition continued to improve at an amazing speed. Before long, he was back home and closing in on 100 percent recovery.

But Sutliff’s un-paid medical bills were enormous. Lee thus organized ab bunch of friends to make a tribute record of Sutliff’s songs, an perform a concert in Atlanta, to raise money to defray the expenses. The resulting record, Skrang — a term coined by Sutliff to describe “the sound of an open chord on an electric guitar” — is likely one of the best things you will hear this year. It features performances by long-time purveyors of melodic rock and Power Pop, and not a single bum performance over 18 tracks.

Velvet Crush and Matthew Sweet get the set off to a rollicking start with the ringing “Second Choice.” John Stirrat, best known for his work as Wilco’s bass player, gives “Girl From Washington” a particularly tender feel in front of Lee’s stellar 6 & 12 sting guitar work. Matt Piucci, an original member of Rain Parade who later recorded with Lee in Gone Fishin’, enlists some of his old bandmates for a fuzzy, psychedelic take on “That Stupid Idea.” The Anderson Council play down their more typical Syd Barretisms on “Griffin Bay,” and turn out one of the best, most rocking tracks on the set. Its much more Grip Weeds than “See Emily Play.” Bill Lloyd goes it alone and gives “Same Way Tomorrow,” a slightly updated, smoother take on the Sutliff solo track from 1987. Michael Carpenter, one of my current favorites, lends his typically terrific vocals to “Long Red Bottle Of Wine,” widens the sound and manages to improve on the original:

I could probably write something effusive about each of the 18 tracks on this set. Its just that good. The first-rate quality of Sutliff’s compositions shine through on each of the tracks. Even though some of the performances purposefully veer into territory that is somewhat different than the original version of the songs, the collection has an overall cohesive quality to it that makes listening from start-to-finish a joy. It’s available for $12 from Paisley Pop, and well worth every dime. All proceeds, of course, benefit Sutliff.

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