Friday, July 25, 2014

Best Of PowerPopSquare Mix Tape (2010 - 2014)

It's time for a first recapitulation of PowerPopSquare: More than four years - and a whole lot of good music. That was fun. 

To celebrate this I made my personal Best Of PowerPopSquare Mix Tape (2010 - 2014). Hope you enjoy it!


Guster - New record

Another crowd funding campaign is on: the new record of Guster.
Read all about it HERE!

Here's the message from the band:

Hello from Guster! 

We’re so proud to announce that our new album is finished and set for a release early next year. Like presidential elections and the World Cup, these things only seem to happen every four years. Which is why we’ve stacked this here website with ways for you to get involved with our band – from pre-ordering the album to some seriously interactive Guster Fantasy Camp stuff. Take a look.
When you pick up a new Live Album (Parachute, Lost & Gone Forever, and KIT are all live on cd now), pre-order the new album, or decide to get involved in any of the creative ways we’ve come up with – you’re making it possible for our band to make music, shoot videos, tour the world, and ultimately put out our first independent album since 1997 (!)
So that’s why some things are pricier than what you’ve come to expect from Guster. It’s totally cool to pick up our albums when they’re properly released for a bit less, but this is an opportunity for you to show us some love, knowing we’ll send it right back. Everyone who orders anything at all via Pledge gets added to our All Access Pass list where you get first access to tracks, album commentaries, videos, tour dates, etc. and you’ll be eligible to win some of the completely ridiculous prizes we’re giving away… such as:

- The Guster Concert Ticket Passport (2 tickets for you to every Guster headlining show in 2015)
- Assistant Guitar Tech for the day at a Guster concert near you
- Autographed vinyl test pressing of the new record
- 1 of every merch item in the Guster web store
- Never-again Guster bobble heads
- Two painted union suits from the “Do You Love Me” video
- Entire Guster studio album catalog transferred to cassette with a handwritten track list
- Autographed Taylor GS mini acoustic guitar

So please dig in, discover Ryan’s cd-of-the-month club, order a bloody bongo head necklace from Brian, ride bikes around NYC with Luke, or go surfing with Adam. There are more ideas forthcoming too, so check back often to see what we come up with. This was a fun album to make and getting involved with you guys for the release is something we plan to have a lot of fun with too.


The first song is called "Long Night":

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Taylor Locke - Time Stands Still

Taylor Locke, known from Rooney and Taylor Locke & The Roughs is working on his first straight solo record. Presumably it will be called Time Stands Still

There's no release date yet, but it may be not far away. Songs that were already at soundcloud for a limited time are Time Stands Still, No Dice, Running Away From Love and Call Me Kuchu.

Watch this space for more information about the record.


Thursday, July 17, 2014

Vacationer - Relief

If you're still looking for the perfect summer-record, I think I can help you there: Vacationer - a group from Philadelphia - just released their second album Relief 
Vacationer are Kenny Vasoli, Matthew Young and Grant Wheeler.

Relief is not just the title of the record - it's the record's proposition.
From start to finish the album is the musical image of vacation, palm trees, wide sand beach and blue sky (the cover fits quite well).
Vasoli says: “Whether through love, exploration or relaxing, we all strive for relief. It’s just a quick flip-of-the-switch away, and think it’s good to be reminded of that.

Relief is available digital, on CD any beautiful translucent blue vinyl at or directly from the band HERE.

Make sure you listen to: Onward & Upward, The Wild Life, Paradise Waiting, In The Grass and Heavenly

Official website:

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Pelle Carlberg

Sometimes I stumble upon songs and records I forgot about for a long time - and I rediscover them. A few days ago it hit me with Pelle Carlberg. And it hit me with a high impact.

Pelle Carlberg was born in Uppsala / Sweden in 1969. He played in bands since 1985, mostly known is Edson

After the last record of Edson in 2003 he released 3 full solo records and 2 EPs from 2005 to 2008.
For a start I recommend his solo debut "Eveything.Now!". 
Carlberg combines catchy and intimate pop with sharp lyrics. Someone (not sure, where I read it) said about him: "He sounds like Belle & Sebastian, but writes like Morrissey". I think that fits on one hand quite well and on the other hand it's quite a compliment. 

Cover artwork for the first record "Everything.Now!"

  • Go to Hell, Miss Rydell EP (2005)
  • Riverbank EP (2005) 
  • Everything. Now! (2005) 
  • In a Nutshell (2007) 
  • The Lilac Time (2008) 
Closing remarks:
Pelle Carlberg's "Riverbank" music video can also be seen in the video game titled "The Darkness". During gameplay, interacting with the TVs will allow you to watch this music video, which constantly loops on the "alternative" channel. 
And that's how I discovered him. I don't think this happened to me with any artist. So thank you, "The Darkness".

Official Website:

The Britannicas - High Tea

The Britannicas are Herb Eimerman (USA), Magnus Karlsson (Sweden) and Joe Algeri (Australia). They are separated by thousands of miles of ocean but they use modern technology to make old-school pop music.
High Tea is their second album. And if you like 60s pop music it may be perfect for you.

Recommended tracks: Got A Hold On Me, Come on Boys, A Shag And A Cup o’ Tea, Talkin' 'bout Summer

The songs of "High Tea" can be previewed & bought at

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Here Comes The Reign Again: The Second British Invasion - Update

If you have a look at the right side of this blog, you'll find a complete index of artists I wrote about in the last four years. A great deal of these musicians came together on Here Comes The Reign Again: The Second British Invasion. I am lost for words...

...well, not completely: Here Comes The Reign Again is a compilation by Andrew Curry. It's his second project, his first was Drink a Toast to Innocence.

Here is the campaign:

Find all information and updates also at the Facebook page of Here Comes The Reign Again.

Track listing:
  • Life In A Northern Town – Chris Collingwood
  • Do You Really Want To Hurt Me – Rachael Yamagata
  • Save A Prayer – David Mead
  • Dancing With Myself – Taylor Locke
  • Promises, Promises – Freedy Johnston
  • Life’s What You Make It – The Nines
  • Everybody Wants To Rule The World – Mike Viola
  • Relax – Mike Doughty
  • Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This) – Tracy Bonham
  • Goody Two Shoes – Jim Boggia & Pete Donnelly
  • Something About You – Kelly Jones
  • Every Time You Go Away – Linus Of Hollywood
  • Digging Your Scene – Ken Stringfellow
  • Don't You Want Me – Chris Price
  • They Don’t Know – Graham Alexander
  • Tainted Love – Eric Barao
  • Only You – The Wellingtons
  • Cruel Summer – People On Vacation
  • Tenderness – TeamMate
  • Our House – The Corner Laughers
  • West End Girls – Secret Friend
  • Don’t You (Forget About Me) – Bleu
  • Freedom – The Davenports
  • Wouldn’t It Be Good – Cliff Hillis
  • Kids In America – Big-Box Store
  • True – Minky Starshine
  • No One Is To Blame – Eytan Mirsky & Alyson Greenfield
  • Things Can Only Get Better (kickstarter-only bonus track) – An American Underdog
Short biographies from some of the artists:

Taylor Locke

Taylor Locke co-founded the LA rock band Rooney in 1999, and was signed to Geffen Records in 2002. After 3 albums and a decade of international touring, he shifted his focus to his own group, Taylor Locke & the Roughs . After 2 albums with that group, he has gone completely solo and is about to release his solo debut, "Time Stands Still".

Eric Barao

Eric Barao is a singer-songwriter from Massachusetts and co-founder (with guitarist/songwriter Jeff Caglarcan) of the powerpop/rock band The Cautions. In 2001, The Cautions released a critically-acclaimed debut EP, and had risen to top 10 finalists in the AMA New Music Awards, a national contest sponsored by Dick Clark, Coca-Cola, CMJ and The American Music Awards. In 2005, they released their full-length follow-up album Proceed With...The Cautions, and continued to perform throughout the Northeast. Eric currently performs with a lineup of veteran musicians from the Boston/Providence area, including Matt Boynton, Carlene Barous, Matt Lydon and Matt Gillooly.

Eric has recorded music for radio and television, and film soundtracks including the indie film Turbocharged and the critically acclaimed new documentary, Raising Matty Christian. He also contributed music to the film Balls of Fury, starring Christopher Walken.

His 2013 self-titled release, co-produced by powerpop icon Bleu, appeared on multiple year-end "Best Of" lists. Check it out here:

Tracy Bonham

A native of Eugene, Oregon, Tracy Bonham began singing at age five, playing the violin at nine and piano at age 14. On her 1996 debut, The Burdens of Being Upright, Tracy established herself as a brash rocker with ironic nods to the emerging music of punk girl bands. With blunt, direct observations on love and loss, the album went gold and earned the singer Grammy nominations for Best Alternative Music Performance and Best Female Vocalist.

"Mother Mother", her first single, not only became a nationwide anthem, but also was a #1 hit on the Billboard Modern Rock charts, earning Tracy an MTV Video Music Awards nomination in the process. From the late 1990s to the mid 2000s, Tracy steadily recorded and performed both individually and with numerous groups, appearing with everyone from Blue Man Group and Aerosmith to Ron Sexsmith and Juliana Hatfield. Following 2005's Blink the Brightest and the 2006 EP In the City + In the Woods, the singer took some time to focus on other things, before re-emerging with the deeply personal Masts of Manhattan in 2010.

Ken Stringfellow

Ken Stringfellow is most widely known as a founding member of The Posies, as well as for his long-standing work in studio and on stage with REM, Big Star, and much more. Producer of acclaimed albums by Damien Jurado, the Long Winters, etc, Ken has also released four solo albums, all of which received high marks from Pitchfork, Mojo, and other gold standard indie media. His latest release, Danzig in the Moonlight came out in 2012.
"An artist worthy of respect and a listen from any true fan of classic pop....uniformly flawless" - Pitchfork

"Stringfellow is one of the most underrated songwriters of our generation" - Billboard Magazine

"Stringfellow's clear, composed croon forgives all sins" - Rolling Stone

"Lush pop perfection" - Mojo

David Mead

After signing to RCA in 1998, David Mead released a pair of critically-acclaimed records, The Luxury of Time and Mine and Yours. Honing a songwriting gift that embraces elements of Broadway, The Beatles, Prog and New Wave, Mead has since continued to release albums (Indiana, Wherever You Are, Tangerine, Almost and Always) full of “infectious melodies” (The Guardian) sung in a voice “honeyed and compelling” (Entertainment Weekly) while touring relentlessly over five continents, sharing the stage with the likes of Fountains of Wayne, Joe Jackson and Shelby Lynne.

His music has enjoyed exposure in television and film, as well as praise from some unexpected admirers: “David Mead is one of my favorite singer-songwriters,” said John Mayer, and Taylor Swift recently covered his song “Nashville” in concert. In 2011, Mead’s fans rallied around him and raised over $20,000 to fund the recording of his new album, Dudes, a work of pure pleasure filled with humor, mystery, and emotional wallop.


Bleu is a critically acclaimed singer, songwriter, producer, and mixer who's been releasing his highly stylized musical manifestos since 1999. His work as a solo artist has included collaborations with a who's who of cult-pop icons such as Andy Sturmer and Roger Joseph Manning Jr. of Jellyfish, Hanson, and Steve Gorman of The Black Crowes. As a writer and producer for other artists, he's reached the masses through gold and platinum selling acts such as Meat Loaf, Demi Lovato, Selena Gomez, and The Jonas Brothers. 2013 saw Bleu involved in many more collaborations, and side-projects. He contributed an awesome version of "Baby Come Back" to our last project, Drink A Toast To Innocence: A Tribute To Lite Rock, and he released his fifth full-length album, To Hell With You.

Mike Viola

A prolific Los Angeles-based singer, songwriter, producer and recording artist, Mike Viola first entered the national spotlight as founder and front man of the Candy Butchers. Mike became known not only for creating music for award-winning films (“Get Him To The Greek,” “Walk Hard,” “That Thing You Do!”), but also for writing and producing for other artists (Mandy Moore, Rachael Yamagata, Tim Christensen, Gin Wigmore, Karise Eden). Mike’s latest release is Ghoul, an innovative project that's one part new album and another part trading card game! Mike can also be found on our last release, Drink A Toast To Innocence: A Tribute To Lite Rock, turning in a fantastic version of "Steal Away."

Chris Price

Chris Price is a songwriter/producer/multi-instrumentalist from Miami Beach, Florida. He has released one album to date, the independently released, critically lauded 2012 LP "Homesick", which he recorded using only his iPhone 4. Most recently he produced Linda Perhacs first album in 44 years, The Soul Of All Natural Things, and is in the process of making new albums with, respectively, Emitt Rhodes and Roger Joseph Manning Jr. He is also the co-writer and co-producer of all Taylor Locke & the Roughs material, and in addition to all those wonderful people, he has performed on records by or played shows with artists such as Beck, Bleu, Mike Viola & Low. Chris currently resides in Los Angeles, California.

Rachael Yamagata

Rachael Yamagata has been called ‘the troubadour of heartbreak’ by the press and fans are drawn to her ability to ‘turn emotion into song’. She’s got the old soul singer songwriter essence that calls upon Todd Rundgren, Carole King, Joni Mitchell, The Carpenters and Elton John and sonically gravitates towards the darker stylings of Nick Cave, Tom Waits, P.J. Harvey and Danny Elfman.

In September 2002, Rachael landed a deal with Arista's Private Music, and her self-titled EP arrived in October. Her first full-length album, Happenstance, followed in June 2004. Featuring production from John Alagía, who had previously helmed such albums as John Mayer's Room for Squares and Dave Matthews Band's Busted Stuff, the album's pop-tinged sound found its way onto several TV shows, including The O.C. and Alias. Happenstance also endeared Rachael to such musicians as Ray LaMontagne, Jason Mraz, Ryan Adams, Conor Oberst, and Rhett Miller, all of whom invited her to perform on their albums as Yamagata readied her sophomore effort. Boosted by such support, she returned in 2008 with Elephants...Teeth Sinking into Heart, an eclectic release that featured both intimate material and PJ Harvey-inspired rock.

Rachael has since gone the independent route, releasing subsequent records on her own label, Frankenfish Records. She launched a Pledge Music campaign to raise funds for her third full length LP, Chesapeake, and reached her goal in three days thanks to a loyal following that continues to support her.

Cliff Hillis

In baseball terms, Cliff Hillis is a valued, multi-talented utility player: He plays guitar, bass and keyboards, he sings, he writes, and he’s an in-demand studio whiz that’s recorded, produced or mixed many artists. Cliff can also be seen performing with the popular Philadelphia-area bands Ike, Love Seed Mama Jump and the In the Pocket: Essential Songs of Philadelphia project.

Cliff's most recent album is the critically acclaimed Dream Good, which includes collaborations with Scot Sax, Danny Wilde of The Rembrandts, and Philip Price of Winterpills. His two previous albums (Better Living Through Compression and The Long Now) garnered praise from USA Today, Los Angeles Times, Absolute Powerpop, Amplifier, Goldmine and many more. His original songs have been featured in TV shows (All My Children, Party of Five, Roswell, Life Unexpected and more) and films (Enough, After Sex, Waking Dreams, Mayor Cupcake). Hillis has also won national songwriting and jingle awards and contests. Cliff also contributed a fantastic rendition of "Shake It" to Drink A Toast To Innocence: A Tribute To Lite Rock.

Big-Box Store (Joe Seiders)

Big-Box Store is a musical covers project by Los Angeles drummer/multi-instrumentalist Joe Seiders. Joe has been touring and recording for 15+ years with artists such as Bleu, The Everyday Visuals, Beat Club, Tracy Bonham, Juliana Hatfield and many others. Big-Box Store covers primarily female artists in the pop genre, stripping away the top 40 production to expose the great songwriting often overlooked. Channeling artists such as Iron and Wine, Sufjan Stevens and David Bazan, Joe chooses a low-fi approach to recording, often enhanced by the mixing talents of Bleu. Big-Box Store’s debut EP “Love Songs" was released on iTunes in late 2013. 

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Parks - New record on Pledgemusic

The debut album of Parks will be released via Pledge Music and can be preordered NOW!
It will be mixed by Grammy award-winning engineer, Ducky Carlisle.

Parks are Brian E. King (Songs/Vocals/Guitar), Stu Dietz (Guitar), Matt Girard (Bass/Vocals), Brian Fitch (Drums),  Liz McBride (Vocals/Keys/Percussion).

Described as "a crisp & precise take on garage pop" (Boston Globe), Parks distinguishes itself with dynamic live performances, lush instrumentation, rich three-part harmonies and sonics somewhere between fizzy Shins twists and fiery Strokes-esque turns.

Here are the news from Parks:

"As you see in our video, we will be releasing our long-awaited debut album via PledgeMusic and YOU! Over the past year of working tirelessly, we have a ton of bonus materials, unreleased outtakes, alternate versions, behind-the-scenes footage, and MORE! We’re extremely proud of it and we need your help to bring it to a wider audience. We’re excited to say the least. Here are some of what you’ll receive as a pledger: ·Instant download of our two singles ·Incredible perks including bonus tracks, home demos (even potentially embarrassing iPhone demos), studio videos, personalized songs, vinyl (!!!), house shows + dinner, and more! ·Exclusive insight into the recording/writing process ·Come visit us in the studio and sing, play, or hang with us for the day! With every pledge, you support us in the releasing our record. Please join us and be a part of something we’re extremely excited to share with you."

Friday, June 20, 2014

Musicmaik - Emeral EP

A friend of mine - Maik Antrack - just released his first EP - it's called Musicmaik - Emeral.

Back in 2010, equipped with a guitar, pen and paper, Maik Antrack sat on Mt. Taranaki and wrote an idea, which later came to life as a piece on his first album „Ooceeyaan“.
Weeks later, after traveling to some of New Zealands’ lonely places and exploring Australias’ East coast, he came back to Europe with a bunch of ideas. 12 pieces went on his first recording „Ooceeyaan“.
When he finished this album, a mysterious and rough travel diary, there was more to say, more to explore, more to play. There was an open door, leading to his undeniable love for straight-forward stuff, melodies, grooves. 3-4-GO! There’s rooms for vast improvisation and explorations in sound. And worlds in between. Paths yet to find! So Musicmaik, that’s Maik playing his own Music. The latest EP release „Emeral“ features five new explorations.

Emeral is a place, everyone of us owns. It’s far from daily life and still you can find it’s entrance at every corner of a street.
While touring with New York based Songwriter Steve Waitt in 2012, Maik played together with Gidon Carmel, another one of Israels’ nicely grooving drummers. So why bother about that? Having not the biggest Nightliner- touring bus around, as a musician you tend to hang out and sleep in adventurous places.
Remembering that, Maik thought of Gidon when he planned his new recordings for the Emeral sessions. Looking for a studio, „Tempelton“ in Berlin Wedding was a good choice for part of the EPs’ sounds. Drums and bass where recorded together in the studio. 
So Johannes did the guitar recordings. And! The brass! These guys, - Damir Bacikin and Fred Hendrich, playing an awesome trumpet and trombone on „Seen On TV“, „Tease You“ and „Stay“.
In February and March 2014, vocals where recorded. Studio? No. An old East German - Funkwerk- Leipzig microphone (Maik found it on a flea market) stood on a wooden floor in Johannes’ living room in Berlin. Some breathless squeeks later, the vocal-recording-adventure was finished.

Loving music, energy and skill, that latest release from Musicmaik is well worth diving into.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Jenny Lewis - The Voyager

Jenny Lewis (former singer of Rilo Kiley) has her new solo record - The Voyager - out on July 29, 2014. It's the first record since six years.
It was produced by Ryan Adams & Mike Viola, Beck, Jenny & Johnathan Rice.

The Voyager can be preordered (digital, CD, LP, T-Shirt, Tote bag) at