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Seven Decades Of Melodic Rock & Roll

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The Most Heard Tracks On Pop That Goes Crunch Radio — January 2017

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Pop That Goes Crunch Radio plays the best of seven decades of melodically-based rock ‘n’ roll. You can tune-in by clicking the “Listen Live” headphones wherever you seem them on this site. We can also be heard on the Tunein and StreamLicensing apps.

The tracks that garnered the most listens in January 2017 are a nice snapshot of what we play commercial-free, 24/7:

1.  Andy Reed, “I Love A Long Goodbye” (Relay Vol. 1, 2015)

2.  Aerial, “Japanese Dancer” (Why Don’t They Teach Heartbreak At School?, 2014)

3.  David Brookings And The Average Lookings, “The Basement Room” (S/T, 2016)

4.  Pernice Brothers, “Weakest Shade Of Blue” (Yours, Mine & Ours, 2003)

5.  The Autumn Defense, “Winterlight” (S/T, 2007)

6.  Chris Richards and the Subtractions, “Thirteen” (That Covers That Vol. 1, 2012)

7.  Dave Caruso, “Champion” (Cardboard Vegas Roundabout, 2014)

8.  The Idea, “Private World” (Pop Matters (Various Artists), 1995)

9.  Wondermints, “Out Of Mind” (Mind If We Make Love To You, 2002)

10. And The Professors, “Turn Of The Century Recycling Blues” (Our Postmortem, 2013)

Thanks for listening.

Instincts Pay Off For Nick Piunti

piuntiGuest Review By Dave Caruso

With the hook-filled and infectious Trust Your Instincts, Detroit-area Power Pop veteran Nick Piunti has made his best album so far.  This is not hyperbole.  There are many reasons why so many music reviewers and bloggers are making such a big deal about it.

Make no mistake, Trust Your Instincts has all the hallmarks of a great Nick Piunti album (and they’re all great).  Fans will recognize his edgy, guitar-based band arrangements, his signature wordplay (see “As Far As I Throw”), his themes of loss and longing and the familiar pop influences which pervade the grooves.

Nick has been writing and recording since the early days of his first band Dwarf (1972 – 1986).  More recently, he released a handful of albums with his band, The Respectables (2005-2010).  But with each new solo release (2013 – today), Nick’s songwriting has grown incrementally tighter and more commercial and his artistry has continued to mature.  This is especially noticeable in the finer details, like his well-crafted bridge sections, and his meta last line of “Stay Where You Are:” “I think I’m gonna fade out.”

Piunti has never sounded more confident.  His vocals and harmonies (see “One Hit Wonder”) are his strongest yet. The album mix is gorgeous.

His world-class band (primarily Nick on vocals and guitars, Donny Brown on drums, Andy Reed on bass & synth, Ryan Allen on additional guitars) is firing on all cylinders and in harmony with one another.  Nick has clearly trusted each player with more freedom within the song arrangements.  At every opportunity, they conspire to lob sneaky little molotov cocktails of melodic catchiness at your ear canals, setting off chain reactions in stereo.  (See “Blame in Vain.”)

On Mr. Piunti’s previous album, the lack of keyboards threatened to limit the amount variety of depth in the arrangements.  But with his latest endeavor, there’s more color and texture in the guitar chords bass parts and stereophonic effects than ever before, making the overall sound fuller and more interesting without the need for synth layering.  Just listen to “Stay Where You Are” and “This Ain’t the Movies” for proof:

 

 

No opportunity for a musical hook is wasted and yet, thanks in no small part to the steady and tasteful drumming, there’s still plenty of space for the music to breathe.  “Vaguely Familiar” demonstrates this perfectly.  I also like the way the ending chord doesn’t resolve.

 

One thing is certain about Trust Your Instincts. Nick has learned to listen to his own advice.

Trust Your Instincts by Nick Piunti is available at iTunes, Amazon.com, Bandcamp and more.

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Dave Caruso is a melodic pop indie songwriter, singer and multi-instrumentalist from Detroit, Michigan.  His influences include: Elvis Costello, Neil Finn, Elton John, Del Amitri, Ben Folds, The Beach Boys and The Beatles.

Power Pop Delights From Somerdale

maggieSomerdale’s Shake It Maggie is the “sleeper” of the year. You might consider it, upon an initial listen on two, to be serviceable, poppy rock ‘n’ roll inching its way slowly toward AM radio success circa 1978 only to be halted, like so many others in its day, by the steamroller of disco in its commercial heyday.

This assessment would only be half right, however. Shake It Maggie is poppy rock ‘n’ roll, by design. But listen it to it a few times. There is nothing at all serviceable about it. Instead, Shake It Maggie delivers ten stellar tracks, and a reprise of the opener, that will easily propel it into my year-end Top 10.

Somerdale announces its intentions immediately on said opening track, “Take It From The Top,” which is two minutes of lovingly constructed bubblegum about blowing a chance at radio success because they’re “shakin’ like power pop, so out of style its cool.” “Waiting For You,” the next track, probably was playing on AM radio, somewhere, back in ’78.

The band cites Sloan as an influence, and this is readily apparent. Check out, for example, the chorus of “The News,” and you’ll see what I mean:

 

“She’s Leaving California” might be dismissed by some as garden-variety “hard rock.” Listen carefully, however. It’s actually the kind of song Patrick Pentland has penned, and sung, many times to great effect in Sloan:

 

Whenever I hear “Bigger Than The Universe,” I picture kids busing it to the beach singing along at the top of their lungs in unison. “The Coolest Kid In The Room” is updated, old school Power Pop of the kind The Shazam used to do so brilliantly, filled as it is with exuberance and sharp vocals. It also has cool hand-claps:

 

The word that comes most to mind to describe Shake It Maggie is “delightful.” And I mean that in the best sense. It brings endless smiles, even on the more serious tracks. Sometimes, can you really ask for anything more?

Get it digitally from Bandcamp for a mere seven clams, or on disk from the fine folks at Kool Kat Musik.

 

 

New Podcast: The Mixtape Show

mixtape“The Big Show” is our signature show now focusing on new (and “newish”) music. It airs every other week on Pop That Goes Crunch Radio.

We recently premiered a new weekly show, “The Mixtape Show,” whose premise is simple: 90 minutes of familiar favorites that sound great together with a single interruption at about the mid-point to flip the tape over and get you caught up on what you just heard. A description of each of the shows running on Pop That Goes Crunch Radio, including the times of broadcast, can be found here.

The inaugural episode is now up on Mixcloud. It can be heard by clicking below. The complete tracklist is found beneath the embed. Check back for new shows, weekly.

Tracklist:

1.  Cotton Mather — “My Before And After

2.  DM3 — “Foolish”

3.  Guided By Voices — “Motor Away”

4.  The Jayhawks — “Waiting For The Sun”

5.  Sloan — “Undewhelmed (Original Hear & Now version)”

6.  Jellyfish — “Too Much, Too Little, Too Late”

7.  And The Professors — “We Are”

8.  Lannie Flowers — “Come On Girl”

9.  Kurt Baker — “Emma Stone”

10. Myracle Brah — “Love Is”

11. The Grip Weeds — “Love’s Lost On You”

12. Pernice Brothers — “Subject Drop”

13. Golden Smog — “V”

14. Shoes — “She Satisfies”

15. The Jellybricks — “Not So Old”

16. Cliff Hillis — “Keep The Blue Skies”

17. The Posies — “Suddenly Mary (Demo Version)”

18. The Autumn Defense — “Canyon Arrow”

19. Material Issue — “A Very Good Idea”

20. Phil Ajjarapu — “Sing Along Until You Feel Better”

21. The Red Button — “Cruel Girl”

22. Old 97’s — “Driver 8”

23. Hoodoo Gurus — “I Want You Back”

24. Matthew Sweet — “Girlfriend”

25. Chris Richards and the Subtractions — “Don’t Do Anything Tonight”

25. The Greenberry Woods — “Smash-Up”

The Big Show #30

bigshowOur signature hosted rockin’ pop show returned recently after a long hiatus, placing its focus squarely on new (and “newish”) music, a lot of which undoubtedly will make our year-end “best of” lists.

This installment runs the gamut with contributions from long-established artists (Teenage Fanclub, Cotton Mather, The Anderson Council) to recent faves of this site and Pop That Goes Crunch Radio (Nick Piunti, Ryan Allen and His Extra Arms, The Legal Matters) to lesser known artists releasing interesting melodically driven music (Swanning, Starry Eyed Cadet, Ette). Kurt Baker makes an appearance fronting the closing track by Bullet Proof Lovers, whose seven-track self-titled album gets a full-court press from those purveyors of real rock ‘n’ roll at Rum Bar Records beginning October 7, 2016.

The full track list appears after the embed.

Tracklist:

1.  Ryan Allen and His Extra Arms —  “Alex Whiz”

2.  Nick Piunti — “One Hit Wonder”

3.  Somerdale — “She’s Leaving California”

4.  The Persian Leaps — “See Me Unaware”

5.  The Person & The People — “I’ve Seen This Place”

6.  The Kickstand Band — “Stay Inside”

7.  Cotton Mather — “Candy Lilac”

8.  The Anderson Council — “Girl On The Northern Line”

9.  Hurry — “When I’m With You”

10. Andy Klingensmith — “Madeline”

11. The Junipers — Esmeranda

12. Teenage Fanclub — “The Darkest Part Of The Night”

13. The Legal Matters — “Don’t Look Back”

14. The Homewreckers — “In America”

15. Rob Clarke and The Wootones — “End of The End”

16. Erik Voeks — “She Loved Her Jangle Pop”

17. Cheap Star — “Into Your Arms”

18. Fast Cars — “Do You Really Want More”

19. Fernando Perdomo — Stay With The Friends

20. The Sons Of Mod — “I Think You’ve Heard It Enough By Now

21. The Above — “Just Can’t Forget About That Girl”

22. The Monos — “Pop Heart”

23. Starry Eyed Cadet — “Worlds Collide”

24. Swanning — “Swanning”

25. Ette — “Attack Of The Glam Soul Cheerleaders Parts 1 and 2”

26. Bullet Proof Lovers — “She’s Gonna Leave”

We’re Giving Away 3 Copies Of Nick Piunti’s New Release!

piuntiNick Piunti is on a roll.

His 2013 release, 13 In My Head was one of the best long-players of 2013. The title track landed at No. 3 on our list of the best songs of 2013. His 2015 release, Beyond The Static was our third favorite long-player of last year.

Piunti’s 2016 long-player, Trust Your Instincts, hits the retail outlets on September 9. It may be his best effort yet: ten tracks featuring his increasingly sharp and incisive writing, tough and shiny guitar riffing, and the best damned vocals in the entire rockin’ pop world. Even better, Piunti is expertly assisted by some of our other faves: Donny Brown on drums, percussion and backing vocals; Andy Reed on bass and synth; and Ryan Allen on guitars, backing vocals and percussion. In reality, this is classic rock ‘n’ roll with big hooks and expert production. It is also a candidate for album of the year.

Even much better, you can win a free copy of the CD! That’s right, we are giving away three copies of Trust Your Instincts, courtesy of the fine folks at JEM Records.

Here is what you need to do:

Send an e-mail to popgoescrunch@gmail.com by 3:00 p.m. Pacific time on September 8, and answer two questions.

1. Why do you like Nick’s music?

2. What is your favorite ice cream flavor?

Be creative. The best three submissions win. We’ll announce the winners on the morning of September 9.

In the meantime, you can stream the first two tracks from Trust Your Instincts, in full.

Here’s the title track, in all of its Power Pop glory:

 

And, on “One Hit Wonder,” Piunti pens a tale of a music industry shooting star that nevertheless has universal applicability:

 

Enough chit chat for now. Get e-mailing!

Power Popsicle Brain Freeze Take 4

File Aug 27, 3 39 20 PMHere’s our discussion of five more essential tracks from the 139 track download available from the fine folks at Futureman Records, via our very good friend, the Ice Cream Man. You can get it right here, absolutely free. And, you don’t even need to give them an e-mail address. So, commence downloading. You have nothing to lose.

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Vista Blue, “Davey Got Drafted”: Vista Blue produces hook-laden rockin’ pop out of Nashville and Cincinnati. Their influences include The Ramones, Fountains of Wayne and Weezer, which tells you everything you need to know about the sound of this pounding earworm about the sorrow and the ecstasy that ensues when one pal gets the chance to make it to the big leagues, but the other does not. Baseball and Power Pop? You can’t beat that:

 

Braddock Station Garrison, “Forgotten Teenage Dream”: This bit of old school Power Pop by this D.C.-based band has spinning in regular rotation on Pop That Goes Crunch radio for the past year, and for good reason. Its got almost everything we love most: tasty, clean guitars, strong lead and background vocals, and a tinge of Americana:

 

Building Rockets, “Inverted Jenny”: The sound of Building Rockets is described as “a little like The Pixies and Wilco covering Fountains of Wayne songs while ‘Abbey Road’ plays in the background.” “Inverted Jenny” is head-boppin’ rockin’ pop featuring a perfect, slightly deranged surf guitar solo, kind of like the Pixies made semi-famous:

 

David Brookings and The Average Lookings, “The Basement Room”: “The Basement Room” might be the single best track on the entire Power Popsicle Brain Freeze collection. Brookings’ sharp vocals, the melodic interplay of the guitars, the propulsive yet not overpowering percussion give “The Basement Room” a great sense of movement that sounds best while speeding down the highway:

 

The Lost Boys, “December Forever”: The Lost Boys produce melodic indie pop in Southampton, England with a decided British feel. “December Forever” builds tension through the entirety of its short stay on your listening device, concluding with a virtual wall of sound:

 

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The twenty songs discussed over the pas four posts make for a fine hour-long playlist. We are not done yet. Check back soon for additional highly recommended tracks from Power Popsicle Brain Freeze.

The Ice Cream Man Scores A Hat Trick

a0153222958_16Pop That Goes Crunch radio has now streamed more than 100 editions of the Ice Cream Man Power Pop And More Show, on which Wayne Ford spins a beguiling mix of Power Pop, New Wave, Punk Rock, Mod, Ska, Garage Rock, Northern Soul, etc., etc., etc.  The show airs three times a week — Thursday at 7 pm Pacific, Friday at 1 pm Pacific, and Saturday at 8 am Pacific.

Wayne has just released his third annual, 100% free and 100% legal compilation downloads. This one, cleverly titled Power Popsicle Brain Freeze, delivers a whopping 139 tracks. That is nearly seven hours of music! You can get it from the Futureman Records site on Bandcamp, and they won’t take your money even if you were so inclined to offer it. Get it right here, no risk at all.

So, where to start?

Well, your humble servant is here to help, with the first in a series of posts on some of the finest spins on Power Popsicle Brain Freeze. We’ve happily added many tracks from the download to Pop That Goes Crunch Radio. The scientific word for the actual number is “oodles.”

So, without further chit chat, let’s start digging. The focus will be on artists and bands that have not been discussed previously on this site, and the order is pertinent to nothing in particular.

The Stoplight Roses, A Bomb Goes Off. The Stoplight Roses hail from Atlanta, Georgia, and take their name from the Nick Lowe tune of the same title. A Bomb Goes Off lays out a bit of personal history, and nicely encapsulates the band’s overall mix of vintage Power Pop, Garage Rock and Alt-Country. Its also one of the finest songs of the year:

Arvidson & Butterflies, Tired Of Running. Roger Arvidson and crew hail from Gothenberg, Sweden. Their self-titled debut is a must buy for jangle-holics who also like the occasional stomper. The relentlessly uptempo Tired Of Running jangles with them best of them, and features some nice harmonizing to boot:

Butch Young, Persephone. Butch Young’s long-player, Mercury Man, achieved a rare feat on Pop That Goes Crunch Radio — we added the entire album. Young spends his time in and around the pop-psych genre. “Peresphone,” one of the standouts on Mercury Man, finds him in decidedly Beatle-y territory, without succumbing to cliche:

Solarflairs, Stereo Alley. Solarflairs is a Power Pop-inspired band from Memphis, Tennessee. They have two tracks on Power Popsicle Brain Freeze. We’re partial to the sharp guitar that propels Stereo Alley, which would feel quite at home on a mid-late 80’s indie pop playlist:

Ed Ryan, Everything’s Gonna Be Alright: Ryan’s recently-released long-player, Roadmap, is a rocker with nonstop hooks. You know, a characteristic of almost all rock ‘n’ roll back in the day. That makes it timeless, not timed out. Everything starts with a sharp guitar riff, which gives way to a classic, fulsome Power Pop sound:

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So, there’s five stellar tracks to get you started with Power Pop Brain Freeze. Check back soon for five more.

New Perfect Harmony From The Legal Matters

artworks-000173869094-rrhrps-t500x500We’ve been very, very busy with real life these past six months.

But, we’re back with some exciting news.

The Legal Matters dominated our year-end lists for 2014, capturing the top slot on our album chart, and the number 3 slot on our singles chart. For good measure, band member Andy Reed grabbed the top slot on our list of the best EPs of 2015.

The band’s new album, Conrad, is being released by the very cool Omnivore Recordings, on October 28. However, a free “preview,” of sorts — an “intro” — is available for free at the Noise Trade marketplace. It is highly recommended that you check it out. Immediately.

What will you get?

First, there is a track from the new long-player, “Anything,” which features all of the elements that propelled the self-titled debut to the top of our 2014 album list: strong, bittersweet, lead vocals by Chris Richards, perfect swirling group harmonies, and clean, often jangling guitars. By the time a slide guitar kicks in at the 2:27 mark, you have all the makings of an instant classic.

You will also get a previously unreleased version of the sublime Teenage Fanclub track, “Don’t Look Back,” which is the best kind of cover. It remains generally true to the original vision, but the band spikes its version with loads-and-loads of harmony at which the original only hinted.

The “intro” is rounded out by two tracks from the 2014 release.

“The Legend Of Walter Wright” is the aforementioned Number 3 song of 2014. “We Were Enemies” is one of the more dramatic tracks from the previous long-player, as it alternates effortlessly between low-key acoustic sorrow and pounding, pulsing storm.

Now, stop reading this, get over to Noise Trade, and download  The Legal Matters: An Intro immediately. Another link is right here.

Then, wake up real early on October 28 and get the long-player. You can’t go wrong. It is simply not possible.

The “Signature Sound” On Pop That Goes Crunch Radio

51Mo7M-Z1xLAt its new home, Pop That Goes Crunch Radio now has more than 2,600 tracks spinning in regular rotation. We are still adding them as fast as we can.

We have culled that mighty playlist into a 300+ track playblock that we call “The Signature Sound.” This playblock, featuring the hand selected “best of the best” from our library, will run every Monday, Wednesday and Friday afternoon from 3 pm Pacific (6 pm Eastern) to 5 pm Pacific (8 pm Eastern).

The playblock features favorites by well-known artists such as Teenage Fanclub, Sloan, The Pernice Brothers, The Go-Betweens, Cotton Mather, The Jam, Blondie, Elvis Costello, Big Star, The Kinks and, of course, The Beatles, but also includes many tracks from artists that made our year-end “best of lists” over the past three years. The 2015 lists can be found here and here. If you have only two hours to devote to the radio in any given week, this is the place to spend them. Guaranteed.

Not convinced? Well, here is one of the finest tracks gracing the “Signature Sound” playblock:

Happy listening!

 

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