Power Pop 101

The Rubs could make even the Shoes and the Rubinoos blush with their new album Impossible Dream. Of the 12 songs, the first two include the word “Girl” in their titles, and four others are named for specific girls, “Judy,” “Amy,” “Ruby” and “Emily”. The third track is called “Too Young For Me” and the last is “I Wanted You Tonight”. Not to mention the naked lady on the cover. And they must have taken the tapes back in a time machine to 1978 to do the mix. Over all just a really fun listen, but this title track is sublime.

Spring cleaning

Seems to have been a dearth of interesting new releases in the past couple weeks. The timing’s been good given our recent overseas visitors and some late spring colds. Perhaps also a bit of fatigue and “Should I Stay or Should I Go” mentality setting in with the blog entering its third month. But at last this sweet little EP from Stutter Steps has come along to sweep out all the cobwebs and whip me back into shape. The group is led by Ben Harrison, who’s day job is performing arts curator at the Andy Warhol museum in Pittsburgh. Harrison channels Drella musically not so much with a direct Velvet Underground reference, but something more in line with their latter-day standard bearers. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette likens Stutter Steps to Luna, the Go-Betweens and the Feelies. Not bad comparisons but somehow I’m getting more Beat Happening. Rhythmic, slightly fuzzy guitars with clear lead riffs, simple drumming and baritoney vocals. Nice record to pick yourself up with.

Our little Girlpool is growing up

The new Girlpool album Powerplant has really grown on me after a couple listens, reflecting a more mature and complex sound than on their previous work. Before the World Was Big sounded so young, in the not-necessarily-bad way of Moldy Peaches, with the vocals harmonizing but still sounding like rival siblings calling out for attention from the back seat. Cleo and Harmony meld into one voice on the new album, making a richer sound that is much more pleasant on the ears. And the detuned guitars throughout somewhat remind me of Pile’s most recent masterpiece. I look forward to listening to them age gracefully.

So Many Wizards

No clever title for this post. A band name that great doesn’t need any dressing up by me. Some great tunes on their new album Heavy Vision, all along the spectrum from garage rock to dream pop (if there is such a thing). These guys were part of the scene at L.A.’s The Smell, which I never really delved into that much. On their Facebook page, the band say they like Deerhunter, The Feelies, Marine Girls and Jay Reatard, which is a pretty awesome combination and not a bad description of their music at all. I also hear shades of War on Drugs and Real Estate. After “Modern Way”, check out “Sic Boys” and “Before She Runs”.