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Seven Decades Of Melodic Rock & Roll

Archive for the tag “Chris Richards”

The Legal Matters Deliver Perfect Harmony

The Legal Matters

Some albums grab you immediately and refuse to let go. You wake up, and one of its songs is in your mind. You’re at work, and another one is seemingly in your ear. You’re making dinner, and yet another one is bouncing around relentlessly in your head. And so on, and so on and so on.

The self-titled debut by The Legal Matters is one of those records. The Legal Matters is a “rockin’ pop project containing equal parts Chris Richards, Andy Reed and Keith Klingensmith,” each of whom has been discussed many times previously on these pages. Given that life’s too short to write about bad music (or even mediocre music, for that matter), it is hardly surprising that I would at least “like” this “rocking’ pop” effort.

That, however, is quite an understatement. The whole of this combination is greater than the sum of its three “equal parts.” The Legal Matters is the best long-player I have heard so far this year. It is hard to imagine anything coming out in the second-half of the year to eclipse it.

The opening track, “Rite Of Spring,” sets the tone for the album in its first few seconds. A simple keyboard riff over strummed guitars bathes the revelry about the perfect girl in undeniable warmth and sweetness. You can feel the sunshine on your skin by the time the million-dollar three-part harmonies kick in at about the one-minute mark:

Gorgeous harmonies are all over this record. Richards, Reed and Klingensmith are superb singers on their own. This record makes the case, though, that they should be singing together until they can sing no more. Check out, in particular, how the harmonies sung during the chorus add a sense of hope to the longing that otherwise characterizes “Have You Changed Your Mind?”

Indeed, several songs on the album adroitly play the bitter against the sweet. “So Long Sunny Days” hides its own sense of longing and melancholy in three-minutes of absolutely perfect melodies. “Mary Anne” is probably the prettiest song about a life full of regret that you will hear this year.

None of this means that the Legal Matters can’t “rock” when they want. But they do it without trying to beat you over the head. “The Legend Of Walter Wright” — a man who was “remarkably clean and mildly polite” — may be the best song in the collection. It will have you reflexively increasing the volume on the car stereo whenever it comes on as you drive around town:

 

Delivering “only” ten songs over thirty-five minutes, The Legal Matters recalls a time when the space limitations of vinyl meant that truly great artists only waxed their best ideas. There is no fluff here, and not a moment of time is wasted from start to finish.

So, run, don’t walk, to wherever you go to buy the finest music, and get The Legal Matters as soon as you can.

New Music Sunday: Almost Spring Edition

The Legal Matters

I’ve recently added a bunch of additional tracks to Pop That Goes Crunch radio, both new and old. Here is some of the best “new” music added over the past week, kicking off with a bit of Springtime:

The Legal Matters, “Rite Of Spring”: The Legal Matters is a “rockin’ pop project containing equal parts Chris Richards, Andy Reed and Keith Klingensmith,” each of whom is well-represented on this site and on the radio station. “Rite Of Spring” is our first taste of a long-player scheduled for a summer release. You need go no further than this to hear the best vocal harmonies of the year, set amid jangly guitars, subtle keyboards and some way cool jingle bells:

The JAC, “Love Dumb”: Joe Algeri and crew deliver a bit of perfectly propulsive Power Pop ahead of an upcoming LP. This one will have you singing along before completing your first listen:

The Sunchymes, “Mr. Buckstone”: “Checking The Weather” from 2012’s Let Your Free Flag Fly is quite a popular track on the radio station. This new slice of West Coast Pop wraps a tale of fib-telling boor in a rather pretty package, resplendent with shiny harmonies, “ba-ba-bas” and sweet mellotron flourishes:

The Zags, “Tattoo”:  This is bright and shiny Power Pop in the grandest early-70s tradition with subtle glam and garage rock undercurrents. You’ll also start singing along to this one long before its over:

Loop Line, “All I’m Waiting For”: Loop Line is two guys — one living in the U.S., the other in Japan — who created a 21-track record via file sharing. They describe their sound as “a combination of 60’s pop and 90’s indie rock, with as many vocal harmonies as each song can possibly hold.” That’s an apt description — their just released long-player, Tides, sports what seems like a thousand harmonies. “All I’m Waiting For” must have several hundred itself:

Each of these songs, along with nine-hundred others, are spinning 24/7 on Pop That Goes Crunch radio. Why not check it out?

 

From The Stacks: An Indie Pop Playlist

Stacks of Records

I have written previously that my single most used iOs “app” is Groove which, among other things, creates playlists automatically based on artist attributes in the Last.fm database. It also creates playlists based on genre “tags” appearing in that database.

One “tag” that appeared the other day on my device was “indie pop.” I gave it whirl. The results were quite good, so I took twelve of the tracks and uploaded a new playlist to the 8 Tracks site. It is embedded below, and can be heard in full, and in sequence, by clicking on the arrow in the embedded image. At 37 minutes in length, it would fit nicely on a 12-inch platter of vinyl.

What will you hear on “From The Stacks”?

There are several artists discussed previously on this site. Scott Brookman kicks off the set with “Karen,” a bit of Pet Sounds-inspired pop from his 2000 long-player, For Those Who Like Pop. 

Wondermints contribute one of their lesser-known tracks, the jaunty Zombies-inspired “Sting O’ Luv,” from the long-unavailable Bali.

One of my favorite bands, The Sharp Things, check in with the subtly soulful, “The Devil In You Sings,” from an earlier LP, A Movable Feast

The Well Wishers deliver straight-up jangly Powerpop with “Heroes.”

The Corner Laughers close the set with the ukelele-driven sunshine pop of “Chicken Bingo,” which starts with one of my all-time favorite couplets: “they asked us where we came from, we said San Francisco/they asked again, we said outer space.” You can get that one here.

Along the way, the set list includes a track by the late, great Elliot Smith and a country-inspired ditty by Hippodrome, sung by Chris Richards, who also has been discussed several times previously on this site.

Here it is:

Complete set list:

1.  “Karen” — Scott Brookman

2.  “Forever” — The Hit Parade

3.  “Sting O’ Luv” — Wondermints

4.  “Don’t Turn Your Back (Open Your Eyes)” — The Afternoons

5.  “Miles Away” — Sparkwood

6.  “Heroes” — The Well Wishers

7.  “See You In The Morning” — Kontiki Suite

8.  “The Devil In You Sings” — The Sharp Things

9.  “Smash Up” — Greenberry Woods

10. “Strung Out Again” — Elliott Smith

11.  “Caroline” — Hippodrome

12. “Chicken Bingo” — The Corner Laughers

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