Sunday, April 9, 2017

New Music - April 2017: jeremy messersmith - Dan Wilson - The Honeydogs

jeremy messersmith - 11 Obscenely Optimistic Songs For Ukulele: A Micro-Folk Record For the 21st Century And Beyond


jeremy messersmith (yes, it's now in lowercase) describes his new record (11 Obscenely Optimistic Songs For Ukulele: A Micro-Folk Record For the 21st Century And Beyond) as "jam-packed with ridiculous songs about kittens, world peace, flying cars and the transformative power of love. Why? Because we all need a ray of sunshine every now and again. Because it's important to not lose sight of how good things could be. Because the first step to a better world is to imagine a better world. (...) I don't know if a song can change the world, but singing sure can. Trust me. You'll feel better and that's a start, right?"


You can download the songbook with all the songs right now and create a video for them - details at: www.jeremymessersmith.com


The album will be out in April 2017 (no further details are confirmed yet).

Dan Wilson - Re-Covered


Dan Wilson is back with a new album: Re-Covered. You can buy it (digital, CD, CD Deluxe) at pledgemusic HERE. There is plenty other stuff you can get (signed items, illuminated tracklisting, handwritten lyric sheets, songwriting Q&A, house concerts..).

Dan explanis: "Re-Covered is an album of of songs I wrote with and for other artists. These are my versions, most of them quite different from the originals. But in every case, I’m trying to get to the heart of the song as I understand it. Sonically, the record is a portrait of me and some of my favorite musician friends playing and singing live at United Studios in Hollywood. We recorded straight to tape. We all pushed each other to create new vibes for the songs. I didn’t want to do straight-up “covers” of the covers; my hope is to shed new light on both the familiar hits and the less-familiar gems. I recorded more songs than made the album, and I wanted to share one of those tunes as a Pledge exclusive. It won’t be on the album, but I’m excited to share “Everyone’s Waiting,” a song I wrote with Missy Higgins, as a taste of what’s yet to come. There are a lot of really cool items in the Pledge store this time, and I had a blast making a lot of them."

The record is produced by the one and only Mike Viola!

The Honeydogs - Your Own Shadow

The Honeydogs are back with a new single. You Own Shadow is an intense track with burning issues of the world we face today.



Thursday, March 16, 2017

Bill DeMain - Transatlantic Romantic

Bill DeMain's upcoming album Transatlantic Romantic will be out in 2017. According to the first three songs it's already close to a favourite record of the year.




Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Pugwash - The 7th record (with Jason Falkner)

The seventh album of Pugwash is out in 2017. A crowdfunding campaign just started at Kickstarter.
...
You haven't pledged yet? 
Yes, it's Jason Falkner (of Jellyfish) in this picture below. And he is playing and working on this record, too.
So hurry up and go to Kickstarter NOW!

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Warren Zanes - New Album @ Pledgemusic

You never heard of Warren Zanes? Maybe you should...

Zanes has been all of these things: a Ph.D and professor at several American universities, a Vice President at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, a writer whose subjects range from Jimmy Rodgers to Dusty Springfield to the Wilburn Brothers to the history of Warner Bros. Records, a musician who made three records with 1980s rock and roll band the Del Fuegos and four as a solo artist, a thinker-for-hire who has worked on several high-profile music projects, including, most recently, the upcoming George Harrison documentary directed by Martin Scorsese, and the Executive Director of Little Steven Van Zandt's Rock and Roll Forever Foundation, where his work is an extension of his non-profit experience and his teaching at Case Western Reserve, the School of Visual Arts, the University of Rochester, and other institutions.

Time Out New York has said of Warren that he is "as smart a pop songwriter as there is." Entertainment Weekly lauded his solo work as "a thing of indie-pop beauty." Rolling Stone described that same music as having "flashes of Beck and 1970s Paul McCartney . . . [and] a lot of what sounds like XTC." Among those who have already stepped forward to praise his latest recording are Cameron Crowe, Aimee Mann, and Tom Petty. But, mostly, Zanes flies under the radar.

Warren Zanes

Zanes has a crowdfunding campaign for his fourth record The Biggest Bankrupt City in the World

To get an introduction to his music I recommend his last record I Want to Move Out In the Daylight. Listen to it in full HERE.

Last but not least: Support the new record at Pledgemusic! It's worth it!

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

New Music February 2017: Aimee Mann - Goldfrapp - Andrew McMahon

Aimee Mann - Mental Illness


Aimee Mann’s Mental Illness, her first album in five years, is a return to a more musically soft-spoken but still lyrically barbed approach.
The Oscar-nominated, Grammy-winning singer remains a student of human behavior, drawing not just on her own experiences to form the characters in the songs but tales told by friends. “I assume the brief on me is that people think that I write these really depressing songs,” Mann says. “I don’t know—people may have a different viewpoint—but that’s my own interpretation of the clichĂ© about me. So if they thought that my songs were very down-tempo, very depressing, very sad, and very acoustic, I thought I’d just give myself permission to write the saddest, slowest, most acoustic, if-they’re- all-waltzes- so-be- it record I could… I mean, calling it "Mental Illness" makes me laugh, because it is true, but it’s so blunt that it’s funny.


Mental Illness will be out on March 31, 2017.
Pre-order the album at: hyperurl.co/aimeemann

Goldfrapp - Silver Eye


The seventh studio album of Goldfrapp - titled Silver Eye -  belongs more to the electronic world of Supernature and Black Cherry.

 

Silver Eye will be out on March 31, 2017.

Andrew McMahon In The Wilderness - Zombies On Broadway


Andrew says: "I wrote this album in the middle of a whirlwind, when the future was unclear. Isn’t it always? I found my way to the city, thinking I could settle a score with a ghost. You can’t, so I came home and rewrote the ending. I’m proud announce my new album, “Zombies on Broadway,” is coming on February 10th. I spent more than a year hoping to find new answers to old questions. What I found; I have always been two people; One in search of peace and the other in search of whatever makes my hair stand up and my heart beat faster. This record is mostly about the latter."

 
 
Zombies On Broadway will be out on February 10, 2017.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Owsely - A Third Record

Almost a year ago I made a serious attempt to get everything together for a project: a Third Record of Owsley.

There are a couple of stunning songs (demos, unreleased songs, collaborations) out there and as far as I know many more are in the vaults.
So I asked at Facebook if there is Interest in such a project (and man - there is!) and started a poll to look for a possible success of a crowdfunding campaign. So all signs looked good.


A lot of other musicians, friends of Will Owsley and his family showed interest too. Sadly the project wasn't realized.

To cut a long story short: I created a third record myself. And I think it's a good one. It's called Feel No Pain.


If you are interested in the record, just write me here: powerpopsquare@gmail.com

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Top 5 records of 2016 (and special mentions)

2016 is coming to an end - it's time to look at this year and its best music:

1. Emitt Rhodes - Rainbow Ends

In 1973, after battling bad contracts and industry demands, Emitt Rhodes saw his last release, Farewell To Paradise. Emitt Rhodes never recorded another full-length LP. Until now.

Rainbow Ends released by Omnivore Recordings - it is his first new album in 43 years.




After connecting with producer Chris Price in 2013, Rhodes revived his home studio with help from Price and an all-star band, all of whom had been enamored of Rhodes’ work: Roger Joseph Manning Jr. and Jason Falkner (both solo artists, members of Jellyfish, and currently in Beck’s studio and touring band), indie producer and musician Fernando Perdomo, Rooney’s Taylor Locke and New Pornographers’ drummer Joe Seiders. They would cut the new record live in that space.

More special guests appeared to make this momentous release even more special: Aimee Mann, Susanna Hoffs (Bangles), composer and producer Jon Brion, Wilco’s Nels Cline and Pat Sansone, Bleu, and Probyn Gregory & Nelson Bragg from Brain Wilson’s band, among others. What was achieved is more than what folks thought would ever happen.

Producer Price says, “I view this as a continuation album, meaning it isn’t meant to be recreating the sound from his first record, but instead what he might have sounded like after his third album, Farewell To Paradise, if he kept making music in the mid-to-late ’70s.

According to Rhodes, “I had a spurt there, you know. I just wrote a whole bunch of songs. I’m just gonna write what my heart tells me, because that’s the only thing that really matters, isn’t it? Sometimes you don’t know, and then the light goes on and you do know.
The music is very good on this record. I think that these guys are all wonderful players and there’s all sorts of interesting stuff. I hope people like it, and I want you young guys to be able to get your due.
I think whenever it happens, it happens on time.

It’s rare to have your dreams come true. For many, a new Emitt Rhodes recording has only been a fantasy. In 2016, the Rainbow Ends at a true pot of gold.




2. The Honeydogs - Love & Cannibalism

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



Love & Cannibalism is the counterpart to Adam Levy's Naubinway from 2015. While Naubinway is sometimes hard to get through because of its meaning (which is reflected in every song), Love & Cannibalism is straight, positive and full of joy.
 
Listen (and watch the video) to "Arguing With Fiction" here:



You can and would do well to buy Love & Cannibalism at Bandcamp.

3.  Air Traffic Controller - Black Box

The third record of Air Traffic Controller - BLACK BOX - is a strong and versatile album. And most importantly: it's FUN!



Listen to two songs from BLACK BOX here:

 
BLACK BOX - digital
iTunes
Spotify

BLACK BOX - CD Digipack
ATC PayPal 


4. Johnson & McAuley - Illuminated Dream

Alexz Johnson and Bleu teamed up for a new record: Johnson & McAuley - Illuminated Dream.

 

Listen to: Illuminated Dream, Heartbeat (Beatin’ You Up), The Secrets You Keep and No More Fear


Order via PayPal:

US Shipping - Black Vinyl Album
International Shipping - Black Vinyl Album

US Shipping - PINK Opaque Vinyl Album
International Shipping - PINK Opaque Vinyl Album


5. Travis - Everything at Once

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!






Special mentions 

The Top Boost - Turn Around EP 

The Top Boost, Vancouver's psychedelic garage pop trio, released their debut EP "Turn Around" in 2016. 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! 

Paul Steel - April & II 

Paul Steel is back with a new record. Or will be. The PledgeMusic campaign has already been closed - and the record may be out in 2017.




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


 

 


Josh Fix - Free At Last

To be honst - this is a record which is almost 10 years old. But I discovered it in 2016 so techncially it is OK to have it in this list (and it's here just because it's SO good!).

Free At Last is the debut record of Josh Fix. It's his first - and only - full length record to date (also there is the "Steinway The Hard Way" EP from 2004 and the "This town is starting to make me angry" EP from 2009).



Free At Last was recommended to me for years, but I was never ready to listen to it properly. Now I did: What I discovered was nothing less than the powerful, refreshing and playful record in years.

If you're into Queen, Ben Folds, ELO, Jellyfish, Elton John or Bleu you should take a close listen!

Start with: I thought about it first / Jethro / Free at last / Don't call me in the morning

Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness - Brooklyn, You're Killing Me



New Radicals - Lost Stars

"Lost Stars" is one of the best songs of the recent years. It's such a shame there's no full record from Gregg Alexander or the New Radicals:

Friday, November 18, 2016

Marc Martel - The Silent Night EP

Marc Martel, known for his astonishing Freddie Mercury-esque vocals, takes a surprising approach on his new Christmas offering. Aptly named, The Silent Night EP, it serves as a refreshing addition to a chill evening get-together with family and friends.


The EP sets a distinct singer-songwriter-meets-synth-pop feel, and is full of moments that would cause anyone to stop and listen. The title track is almost theatrical in its stark acappella intro, conjuring the image of Martel standing in some remote snow-blanketed forest, while singing the most familiar Christmas carol of all-time.
Melancholy classics like "O Come Emmanuel" and "In The Bleak Midwinter" also stand out as emotional piano-driven ballads where Martel's refined instinct for preserving a song's fundamental core, while giving it his own artistic arrangement, shines. Grammy award winning guitar and banjo virtuoso, Ron Block (Alison Krauss & Union Station), brings his brand of Tennessee bluegrass to Martel's sound on "What Child Is This?" The track list contains a cohesive selection of 5 traditional Christmas classics, including "O Holy Night," but also gives us a novel take on Martel's own "How Many Kings".

Track listing:
1. Intro
2. Silent Night
3. In The Bleak Midwinter
4. O Come, Emmanuel
5. O Holy Night
6. What Child Is This?
7. How Many Kings

Listen to the full record - and buy it HERE!

Friday, November 11, 2016

Josh Fix - Free At Last

Free At Last is the debut record of Josh Fix. It's his first - and only - full length record to date (also there is the "Steinway The Hard Way" EP from 2004 and the "This town is starting to make me angry" EP from 2009).


Free At Last was recommended to me for years, but I was never ready to listen to it properly. Now I did: What I discovered was nothing less than the powerful, refreshing and playful record in years.

If you're into Queen, Ben Folds, ELO, Jellyfish, Elton John or Bleu you should take a close listen!

Start with: I thought about it first / Jethro / Free at last / Don't call me in the morning