Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Power Pop 1999-? New Centurians

Power Pop 1999-? New Centurians
As the 90's began to wrap up, power pop was once again relegated to the cult section of major labels minds. Many small labels jumped at the chance to fill the void, and one such label was Not Lame Records.
Shake Some Action: The History of Power Pop
Not Lame Records started out at the tail end of the 90's power pop revival, as acts were being dropped and/or ignored by major labels. In 1994, Bruce Brodeen took his modest savings and low interest credit cards and began his one-man shop. The Rooks, Dwight Twilley, The Posies, The Shazam, Michael Carpenter and more all turned to Not Lame Records. Now they're putting together a 300 page book and companion CD, entitled: Shake Some Action: The History Of Power Pop.

I bring up Not Lame Records, because if it weren't for these small labels that love music (PopLama, Volcano, Rcam, Koch, PeMa, etc.) then the power pop genre would've stayed down a little longer, and acts like Matthew Sweet, Teenage Fanclub, and The Posies would've probably given up already.

2005 brings us to possibly another power pop revival in the works. Following the chart success of Fountains of Wayne, there are more bands then ever making this music, and several key contributors are releasing albums again.
Matthew Sweet - In Reverse
Matthew Sweet never stopped, but his last three albums (In Reverse, Kimi Ga Suki, Living Things) all signal a return. Teenage Fanclub just released a new one (Man-Made) last week to favorable reviews, and The Posies (yes!) have an album slated for release (Every Kind of Light) June 22nd, and recently (May 5, 2005) Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow made an appearance on KEXP playing tracks from the new album. A.C. Newman (Zumpano) is back in both The New Pornographers and with great solo work.

Meanwhile, as I mentioned earlier, Brendan Benson is back (The Alternative to Love) and finally getting airplay and some ink, after his previous masterpiece (Lapalco, 2002) mostly fell on deaf ears.

Sloan - A Sides Win
Today marks a few more important signals in the revival. A great Sloan retrospective (A Sides Win) was released today, with a DVD documentary and video performances. It also features a couple new tracks (including "All Used Up".) Spoon's new album, Gimme Fiction, has a pure power pop gem on it ("Sister Jack") that might just eventually be their breakout hit. And Weezer's new album, Make Believe, is more power pop then anything they've ever released.

Something's in the air, and it sounds great to my ears.

PS - now perhaps Jellyfish should break out their funny hats and have another go at it?

Power Pop Covers

Power Pop 1966-1978 - Pioneers
Power Pop 1980-1989 - Charts & Excess
Power Pop 1990-1999 - 90s Flourish


drake leLane said...

Power Pop 1999-? New Centurians

* "Super Tuesday" - The Shazam
* "Red Dragon Tattoo" - Fountains Of Wayne
* "What Matters" - Matthew Sweet
* "Author Unknown" - Jason Falkner
* "Snub" - The Andersons!
* "What In The World" - Richard X. Heyman
* "Walking In A Straight Line" - The Mayflies USA
* "Ride" - The Wondermints
* "Don't Die" - Ken Stringfellow
* "The Laws Have Changed" - The New Pornographers
* "Going Under" - Oranger
* "I'm Shakin'" - Rooney
* "Bristol Sisters" - The Figgs
* "I Need Direction" - Teenage Fanclub
* "I Resign" - The Bigger Lovers
* "Here It Comes" - Michael Carpenter
* "Sight Unseen" - The Grip Weeds
* "Chane Of A Lifetime" - Dwight Twilley
* "Tell Me Something I Don't Know" - The Thrills
* "On The Table" - A.C. Newman
* "Hang On My Shoulder" - Pepper's Ghost
* "Allysson's Gone" - Super Deluxe
* "Spit It Out" - Brendan Benson
* "My Best Friend" - Weezer
* "All Used Up" - Sloan
* "Sister Jack" - Spoon

Jack Graham said...

Stumbled on this googling Power Pop chords. Loved it immediately. Was a little surprised the New Pornographers didnt get bigger mention. In any case, check out my blog, and more specifically, my criminally underproduced power-pop band the Jumping Bomb Girls (at myspace.com/jumpingbombgirls): we're recording a record in Cleveland this July and I am to make it the greatest power-pop record of the 00s.

I'd absolutely love to hear what you think of us. Troll through some of my old blog entries for stuff about power-pop

drake leLane said...

There's a lot of bands I'd like to have in the list, but I'm limited (well, not actually that limited) to artists in the Rhapsody music service.

Have you got a label for your band yet? Not Lame Records is the power pop label to be on if your searching for a good small label for your band, as they can reach like-minded listeners pretty quickly.

I haven't had a chance to listen to your band yet (don't want to wake the baby) but I will listen and report back if I get the chance.

The New Pornographers didn't get as much ink because while I love their music more then most I mentioned, I don't consider them 'pure' power pop. The fact their included at all is because they sort of dance circles around the genre with their songs. And thus, they'll never top Sloan as Canada's best Power Pop band, who are still the kings. Oh, why not...the hell with you Rush fans, I'm calling them the best Canadian rock group ever!

Jack Graham said...

You're right, the NP do skirt a lot of genres: I guess they're power pop in the way ABBA is...and isn't. Such chewy melodies. Sometimes I listen to them and it's almost intimidating.

Same with Fountains of Wayne, though I guess they're more strict adherents to the genre.

I've already emailed majordomo Bruce at Not Lame (a fellow Sox fan!!!) but have yet to hear back.

Would love to hear what you think if you get a second. I always enjoy and highly value opinions from fellow archivists.

Anonymous said...

Jon Brion's Meaningless(2001) is a nice little power pop album, if you haven't heard it.