Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Mark Bacino - Not That Guy (Single)

After devoting the last few years to producing and mixing for various artists, composing for television-film-advertising and writing for publications such as Songwriter’s Market and Guitar World, Mark Bacino finally returns to his post as power pop, singer-songwriter with the release of a new single, “Not That Guy”.

Not That Guy” not only signals the musical return of the artist TimeOut NY once called “A trad-pop, wonderboy…,” but it also marks the first of several, single song releases Bacino has planned for the coming months. 

Mark explains: “Given my schedule as producer, composer, mixer and sometimes hack, music journalist, I’ve found myself a bit time challenged of late when it comes to recording music for myself as an artist. Rather than wait to amass an album’s worth of new material before sending it out to the world, I thought why not just release the new tunes as I finish them?” 

An up-tempo, piano-driven, pop rock ode to the trials of “friend zone” banishment, “Not That Guy” features Jay Sherman-Godfrey (Laura Cantrell, TMBG) on guitars/bass/keys and Joe McGinty (Ryan Adams, Ronnie Spector) on piano.

Buy "Not That Guy" on iTunes or

For more information on Mark Bacino, please visit

Mark was so kind to have a Q&A with PowerPopSquare (thanks Mark!):

Q: Tell me about the new song “Not That Guy.” How did it come into being?

A: Well, “Not That Guy” is one of a batch of new tunes I’ve written. I guess it came into being like most of my songs do - just me sitting with an acoustic guitar, messing around with different chord patterns, humming different melodies until I find something that strikes me as interesting.  Once I had the music in place, somehow I came up with the idea to write some lyrics about a guy who been permanently banished to the “friend zone” by this girl whom he’s madly in love with.  As the lyric developed, I expanded the story - we learn the girl has a boyfriend who treats her with indifference and despite our hero treating her with love and respect, in her eyes, he’ll never be more than “just a friend.” Ultimately it’s really just a play on the classic, unrequited love theme.  Unfortunately, whether you’re a guy or a girl, I think we’ve all been there, so hopefully folks will find the song relatable.

Q: Who are your musical idols or which musicians do you admire most?

A: Wow, that’s a tough one. There are so many musicians that have had a great affect on me.  Too many to name, but if I had to quickly pick just a few, I’d probably have to go with two legends - Paul McCartney and Brian Wilson. Paul for his sheer tunefulness, just a born songwriter.  And Brian for the same, plus his production prowess.  What an incredibly musical mind.

Q: Will there be a new full-length record in the near future?

A: I have about an album’s worth of new songs written and I’ve been slowly recording in fits and starts, but given my schedule as producer, composer, mixer and sometimes hack, music journalist, I’ve found myself a bit time challenged of late when it comes to recording music for myself. As such, I started to think, rather than waiting to finish an album’s worth of new material before sending it all out into the world, why not just release the new tunes as I finish them? So that’s the plan for now. Not to say it won’t change.

Q: Is there anything outside making music / producing you do to rejuvenate your creativity?

A: I’m still a huge fan of music, so I try to listen to as much as I can, by a variety of artists, to nurture and spark my creativity.  Doing that continues to inspire and seems to hit the reset button for me.  I also love to read.  I find that too has a similar effect.

Q: Do you remember what your first record was?

A: The first record I had as a little kid was a vinyl, 45 single of “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head” by B.J. Thomas.  Loved that record.  Later I came to find out that the song was, of course, written by the great Hal David and Burt Bacharach.  Seemed I had pretty good taste in songwriters.  Not that I cared back then.  I just loved the tune.  It’s funny, but if you listen to the music I make, and then you learn that “Raindrops…” was my first record, it actually explains a lot.

Q: What is Power-Pop for you? Are you able to define the genre?

A: I think Power-Pop’s definition is pretty broad these days, generally encompassing any kind of ultra-melodic, slightly retro-ish music.  That said, I’ve always thought of it in more specific terms.  Like songs with big, crunchy guitars, big hooks, big harmonies and big drums.  Kind of like if you took, say, the early Beatles and had them play through big Marshall amps with maybe two Ringos instead of one (no offense, Mr. Starr).  Cheap Trick or The Raspberries are power-pop bands to me.  Folks have categorized my music as power-pop and I’m guilty of sometimes using the term to describe what I do as well, but I think while I’ve certainly made some power-pop music, I’m not a hard-core power-pop artist.  Maybe only in the broad sense of the definition I described earlier.

Q: What’s your opinion regarding streaming services like Spotify and Deezer? Is this the end of the road for music distribution? 

A: It’s certainly a heated topic these days. I’d say as a music fan, I love streaming.  I, personally, subscribe to Spotify and totally love having nearly the history of recorded music at my fingertips, at all times.  That said, as an artist/working musician, streaming and the lackluster royalty rates that currently source from the companies who facility the format, certainly make it harder for musicians to make a living.  Ultimately, I think it’s important not to demonize the technology.  It seems folks love streaming and anything that gets people listening to more music has to, ultimately, be good for the music maker.  Despite many a musician’s protest, we’re never going back to the old forms of distribution.  As such, I think our energies would be better focused on coming together as artists and seeing how we can work collectively to try and make our piece of the streaming pie a little more fair/lucrative.  I’m optimistic.  I think it will happen, but it may take a good long while.

Q: Tell me your 3 lonely island records!

A: Oh, such an impossible question!  I’m pretty sure my answers would change daily.  I’ll have to go with some standards then - let’s say The Beatles “Revolver,” The Beach Boys “Pet Sounds” and I’ll throw in Miles Davis’ “Kind of Blue” as well.  Such a hard question!

Saturday, June 18, 2016

+ + + New Music June 2016 + + + (David Brookings, Ken Sharp)

David Brookings and the Average Lookings

The new - self titled - record of David Brookings is out now! Listen to the full album below - it's absolutely worth it:

Ken Sharp - New Mourning

Ken Sharp is back with "New Mourning". The album features various special guests including Rick Springfield who contributes lead guitar to two songs and background vocals on one track, Wally Stocker of The Babys and Prescott Niles of The Knack.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

The Top Boost - Turn Around EP

The Top Boost, Vancouver's psychedelic garage pop trio, have just released their debut EP "Turn Around". Recorded and mixed in Vancouver and mastered at Abbey Road Studios in London, the record is filled with astonishing good songs.

To assemble The Top Boost, singer/songwriter Hunter Gogo searched for musicians who shared his love for catchy melodies and vocal harmonies informed by classic '60s groups like The Beatles, The Byrds and The Zombies. He found drummer Greg Johnston and guitarist Kirill Yurtsev and together they began to hone their craft, playing live to enthusiastic crowds at clubs around Vancouver.

The band has been working hard writing and performing new material, and have already begun pre-production on a new record.

Listen to the full EP here - I recommend to start with "Turn Around" and "What If She Loves You": 

One final note:  This may be the best debut record I listened to in 2016. I demand to have more of this! The Turn Around EP is brilliance!

Friday, May 27, 2016

The Feeling - The Feeling

Do you remember The Feeling? Ten years ago their debut "Twelve Stops And Home" was not just a quite successful album (No. 2 in the UK charts!) it was also REALLY good!
Sadly their success declined with every following album (I also lost track with them).

Now - 10 years later - The Feeling is back with the fifth - self-titled - album. A record I didn't expect to leave any impact on me. Boy I was wrong!

Instruction Manual for the record "The Feeling":
1) Check your pulse. 
2) Find a source to listen to the record in full (Spotify, Apple Music, Google Music ... or if you're as old as me: buy it on CD or Vinyl)!
3) Turn the volume UP (you know how far you can go, do you?)! Alternative: Headphones!
4) Use this track list: Feel Something // Wicked Heart // Spiralling // Real Deal // Repeat To Fade // Let It Be Gone // What's The Secret? // Sleep Tight
5) Check your pulse. Has it changed?

The Monkees - Good Times!

"Good Times!" is the twelfth studio album by the Monkees - and the band's 50th anniversary. Produced by Adam Schlesinger it bring together Micky Dolenz, Michael Nesmith and Peter Tork.

The record consists of unreleased songs they wrote together with Neil Diamond, Carole King & Gerry Goffin, Harry Nilsson & Bobby Hart as well as new songs by Rivers Cuomo, Andy Partridge, Ben Gibbard, Noel Gallagher and Paul Weller.

The title track was written by Harry Nilsson. A demo was used to create a duet between Nilsson and Micky Dolenz. 

Travis - Everything at Once (Update May 2016)

Travis are back! Their latest full length record "Everything at Once" is their 8th record and the 20th year of the band (time flies!). It was produced by Michael Ilbert at the legendary Hansa Studios in Berlin.

Travis never disappoints with their records. The opener "What Will Come" impressively shows the strength for lyrics & melody. 
Fran Healy described "Magnificent Time" as the time of everyone's life where boys and girls become adults. A time where everything explodes and you say "Woo-ooh - wait a second, I can do all THAT now?" - a period you never ever get back and you should enjoy it as much as you can. The song itself is also magnificent, by the way.
"Radio song" and "Animal" are dangerously catchy!
And there is "Everything At Once". I had the chance to see it live (it was the opener of the show). Play it LOUD. It rocks!
Listen to the full album below!

If you don't know the history of the band - here's a collection of the best Travis songs:

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Owsley - The possibility of a third record

About a month ago I asked via Facebook:
Just a theoretical question: If there would be enough songs for a proper third record of Owsley, how many people would buy this record or would pay for a crowd funding?

Within 24 hours more than 120 people (just at this Facebook group) answered "YES". They would have bought at least this record, many of them wanted give more money just to get this record out.

Because of this, I thought a next step would be to start a poll and give you some samples of the songs that are already out in the world wide web (at various sources).

These are the songs that are already there. I excluded some collaborations and live recordings. So this is the attempt for a first track list. There are even more songs in the archives.

The biggest problem to get this record done are copyright questions and production costs. It could be helpful to estimate if financing of the record (e.g. by crowd funding) would work well or not. So please answer the poll below:

Would you buy a third Owsley record?

I'd buy the CD for about 20 USD
I'd buy the LP for about 35 USD
I'd buy the CD and LP for about 50 USD
I'd buy the record and stuff for 80 USD or more
I'd buy the record and stuff for 100 USD or more
I'd buy the record and stuff for more than 200 USD or more
Please Specify:

So everyone: let's cross your fingers we get this thing started (or better done).

Monday, March 28, 2016

Owsely - Discography

The Semantics - Powerbill Demos (1993)
01 Sticks and Stones
02 Future For You
03 Glasses and Braces
04 Johnny Come Lately
05 Coming Up Roses

The Semantics - One More Step (Demos - by PopFair / 1993)
01 Heart Attack
02 Simple Thing
03 Vegas
04 Standing Still
05 Pamela
06 One More Step
07 Jerry Deacon
08 Lonely Girl
09 Gone
10 She's So Clean
11 Victim for Somebody
12 Baby It's You
13 This One's For Me
14 The Facts of Life
15 Hippy Woman
16 Wildflower
17 Maria
18 Merry Go Round
19 Avalon

The Semantics - Powerbill (1993 recorded / 1996 released)
01 Sticks And Stones
02 Future For You
03 Coming Up Roses
04 Jenny Won't Play Fair
05 Average American
06 Don't Say Goodbye
07 The Sky Is Falling
08 Black And Blue
09 Johnny Come Lately
10 Life Goes On
11 Glasses And Braces

Owsley - Owsley (Original Version / 1998)
01 The homecoming song
02 Coming up roses
03 Good old days
04 Uncle john's farm
05 Sentimental favourite
06 Oh no the radio
07 Zavelow House
08 Sonny Boy
09 Class clown
10 Mess with me

Owsley - Coming Up Roses (Single / 1999)
01 Coming Up Roses
02 The Homecoming Song
03 Mess With Me

Owsley - Live in Newark (1999)

01 Intro
02 Oh no the radio
03 The homecoming song
04 Coming up roses
05 Uncle johns farm
06 Zavelow house
07 Sonny boy
08 Sentimental favourite
09 I'm alright
10 The sky is falling
11 Good old days
12 Class clown
13 Last Goodbye (live Jeff Buckley cover)

Owsley - Owsley (1999)

01 On No the Radio
02 I'm Alright
03 Coming Up Roses
04 Good Old Days
05 The Sky Is Falling
06 Sentimental Favorite
07 Zavelow House
08 Sonny Boy
09 The Homecoming Song
10 Uncle John's Farm
11 Class Clown
12 Band on the Run
13 Mess with me - Good old days (reprise)

Owsley - Live (2000)
01 Intro
02 Good Old Days
03 Sentimental Favorite
04 Coming Up Roses
05 Last Goodbye (Jeff Buckley)
06 Class Clown
07 Sonny Boy
08 Uncle John's Farm
09 I'm Alright
10 The Sky Is Falling
11 Zavelow House

Owsley - Acoustic Session (2003)
01 Be with you
02 Rise
03 Dude

Owsley - Live in Nashville (2004)
01 Intro
02 She's The One
03 Oh No the Radio
04 Dude (live)
05 Coming Up Roses
06 Zavelow House
07 Matriarch
08 My Old School (Steely Dan)
09 Rise
10 Down
11 Rainy Day People
12 Be With You
13 Good Old Days
14 Outro

Owsley - Live at Vintage Vinyl (2004)
Owsley - Live at Vintage Vinyl 04-03-2004 (complete concert - audio/video)

Owsley - The Hard Way (2004)

01 Be With You
02 Rise
03 She's the One
04 Dude
05 Down
06 Matriarch
07 Undone
08 The Hard Way
09 Dirty Bird
10 Rainy Day People
11 Got A Lot On My Head (Cars Tribute)

Owsley - Changes (Rare Songs - by PopFair / 2010)
01 Psycho
02 Changes
03 Mess With Me
04 Upside Down
05 Got a Lot on My Head
06 When Lonely Comes Around
07 Band On The Run
08 Leave it all behind
09 Endlessly
10 Won't get fooled again (live Seattle 2000)
11 Ruth Trimble and Will Owsley - May It Be

Ethos Music with Owsley (circa 2010)
01 Far from me
02 Fountain of Youth
03 Take Me to the Place

Owsley - Changes - Version 2 (Rare Songs - by PopFair / 2016)
01 Fountain of Youth
02 Psycho
03 Changes
04 endlessly
05 Far from me
06 Mess With Me
07 leave it all behind
08 Upside Down
09 Take Me to the Place
10 When Lonely Comes Around
11 Feel No Pain
12 Got a Lot on My Head

Chris Andrews & Owsley - Someone To Trust

Sunday, March 27, 2016

The Honeydogs - Love & Cannibalism (Review)

The Honeydogs are back. Four years after What Comes After comes ... Love & CannibalismAdam Levy and his band recorded the album at The Pearl Studio in Minneapolis with producer John Fields (Semisonic, Rooney). Love & Cannibalism will be out April 16, 2016.

The album opens with a straight rocker: Vermillion Billows (Shouldn't Take It So Hard). Devices sums up classic Honeydogs sound with soul and jazz influences. Art & Vandalism goes into your ears and gets stuck in your brain (careful!) - it's such an ear-worm. Wheels has a classic (maybe 1970s) touch - the ending is magnificent. Gorgeous harmonies accompany Left Alone. Yet another bad-ass ear-worm. 
And then comes Sandstorm: My gosh - this is such a strong song. By the way: the intro reminds me of Bleu's Redhead. Again a hard rocking track: Blue-Backed Speller. The guitar work is stunning, reminds me sometimes of Brian May's Queen sound. 
Look Through The Sun (Photokeratits),Arguing With Fiction and Ordinary Legs are instant Honeydogs classics. I rest my case.  
The record finishes with a slightly seldom kind of album ending song: Little Sister is so positive - or better: it just makes you happy. The track mixes upbeat elements (I LOVE the chorus) with Caribbean sound.

For me Love & Cannibalism is the counterpart to Adam Levy's Naubinway from 2015. While Naubinway is sometime hard to get through because of its meaning (which is reflected in every song), Love & Cannibalism is straight, positive and full of joy.
Just to make sure: Don't get me wrong about Naubinway - I love the record (see my Top 10 list of 2015).

In my opinion there is not a single filler or skippable song on Love & Cannibalism. Every songs stands on his own. This may be one of the best things you can say about a record.

Listen (and watch the video) to "Arguing With Fiction" here:

You can and would do well to buy Love & Cannibalism at Bandcamp after its mid-April 2016 release.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Paul Steel - April & II (Update - March 13, 2016)

Paul Steel is back with a new record. The PledgeMusic campaign for April & II is out now.

Paul explains: 
"‘April & I’ the first time round was a pre-emptive teenage rebellion against all the musical sacrifices I suspected I’d have to make once I’d signed a record deal. That was in 2007. 
I’m nearly 30 now, I have facial hair, hypothyroidism, occasional back problems and I’ve been working as a commercial pop writer and producer where my own personal musical sacrifice has earned me a living.
However, more and more I’ve been craving that rush you get from making music for its own sake. After a few years of nothingness, I had a thought. Then shortly after another different thought appeared. Then another. And another. By the end of 2014 I could count at least 20 different thoughts and observations roughly speaking! This giddy feeling of infinite possibility and inspiration took me straight back to the ‘April & I’ days so it made sense for this new record to be a sequel."

BEWARE! Listen to the first song and you will HAVE TO pledge. It's stunning.

Update (March 13, 2016) - here is another song from the record: