Pop That Goes Crunch!

Seven Decades Of Melodic Rock & Roll

Archive for the tag “Elliott Smith”

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

An American Underdog And Brandon Schott Leave Us Wanting Much More

The A/B EPAlways leave them wanting more.”

That venerable quote perfectly describes the “joint” EP just released by An American Underdog (basically, Andy Reed) and Brandon Schott. The four-song teaser, titled simply The A/B EP, originated online through the artists’ shared admiration of ELO, Elliott Smith and Harry Nilsson.

A virtual collaboration ensued as Reed and Schott contributed to each others’ songs from more than 2,000 miles away. Despite the technology baked into the four tracks, each song nevertheless displays all of the handmade, artisanal qualities of the analog age evident on Reed’s and Schott’s prior efforts, such as this one and this one. The A/B EP delivers four tasty morsels of pure pop goodness to savor until Reed and Schott release their next full-length products.

The digital version of the collection kicks off with Schott’s “Henry,” a joyous romp through three-and-a-half minutes of swirling keyboards, ukeleles, kazoo, glockenspiel and lots of well-placed “la la’s.” What’s not to love?:

Reed’s more wistful “The Show Goes On” follows. Its the perfect vehicle for his gorgeous vocals:

Reed’s “Good Girl” comes next. It’s the emotional center of the collection, as the tension builds steadily throughout the track to a rocking, almost operatic conclusion:

A darker, contemplative mood also marks Schott’s “Verdugo Park (Part 2),” which closes the digital collection. A lot will be written about the many influences at play on this EP, and on the full-length records both artists subsequently release. This one caused me instantly to think of The Zombies’ Odessey & Oracle, particularly (and most fittingly), “Beechwood Park”:

* * * * *

The A/B EP is a stunning preview of what’s to come soon enough from Reed and Schott. You can download it for $4 or get it on vinyl for $7, right here. You certainly will want more — much, much more.

 

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