Wednesday, December 6, 2017

PowerPopSquare Top 10 of 2017

The year draws to a close, seen musically it was a stunning year (in other areas, it was surely not). 
So - here is the Top 10 of PowerPopSquare for 2017:


1. Chris Price - Stop Talking

Price is a man of many talents - producer for Emitt Rhodes and Linda Perhacs, writing with artists like Roger Joseph Manning Jr. (Jellyfish) and Taylor Locke (Rooney) or recording a complete album with an iPhone 4 (his first record Homesick).


Chris Price was joined in the studio by a variety of top musicians, including Kyle Fredrickson, Ben Lecourt, Fernando Perdomo, Joe Seiders and many others. Price explains: “I spent the five years since my first album Homesick working on albums for two heroes of mine, Emitt Rhodes and Linda Perhacs. But I never stopped writing and recording material of my own, and both of those incredibly inspiring and fulfilling projects ended up deeply informing my work, pushing me to think harder about my lyrics, become more adventurous in my production and never take the safe route musically. Nearly 50 songs were recorded for this project, and I went through an arduous and at times painful process whittling it all down to the form it is now in. I’m very proud of this work, which has been brewing for quite some time. But I should really stop talking and let the music speak for itself.”

And he has every right to be proud of this record. It is my number one record of 2017. And it left me deeply impressed.

Stop Talking is available on CD and (very limited) Vinyl. Listen to it here:



2. Pugwash - Silverlake
Thomas Walsh recorded his latest record Silverlake mainly on its own - with producer Jason Falkner (yes, THE Jason Falkner of Jellyfish!).


Thomas wrote all the songs, arranged them, and played acoustic guitar. Jason played everything else (except the strings), sang backing vocals and recorded/produced.
Thomas says: "I’ve known Jason for twenty years, so I rang him last Christmas and asked him what his next year was looking like. He said, ‘It’s fuckin’ full up, but if you’re saying to me we can make a record, I’ll make time'. That was an amazing thing to hear. The minute I heard that I was hooked. I got excited again. Within a week I’d written all the songs.

The opener and lead single (The Perfect Summer) is nothing less than perfect pop music.
I admire Sunshine True, Everyone Knows That You're Mine and Such a Shame for their tremendous melodies and lyrics. All of the twelve songs are growing the more often you listen to them. And that's what you should do right now!

You can get the download, CD, LP, a limited 7" single and a T-shirt (bundles available) directly from Lojinx.


 

3. Neil Finn - Out of Silence

Out Of Silence - the new record of Neil Finn - was recorded in four intimate 2-hour-sessions, broadcasted live on the internet.
The result is a minimalistic and just beautiful album. "More Than One Of You" should convince everyone within its first seconds:




4. Jeremy Messersmith - 11 Obscenely Optimistic Songs For Ukulele: A Micro-Folk Record For the 21st Century And Beyond


jeremy messersmith 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?"


The record is just Jeremy Messersmith and his Ukulele. 10 songs, lyrics of pure optimism and gorgeous melodies.

5. Bill DeMain - Transatlantic Romantic
With his first full length album Bill DeMain created nothing less than an instant classic.
This gem will grow on you with every listen!




 
6. Charlotte Gainsbourg - Rest
Charlotte Gainsbourg is not only an actress, also she's a singer. She recorded songs with artists like Jarvis Cocker (from Pulp), Jean-Benoît Dunckel (from AIR), Nicolas Godin, Beck and Neil Hannon (from Divine Comedy).


Listen to two songs from it here:


7. Nic Cester - Sugar Rush
Nic Cester, the lead singer of JET has returned with a solo record.

"Sugar Rush" has become an amazing rock record - listen to the lead singles here:



8. Seth MacFarlane - In Full Swing
Seth MacFarlane is widely known as the creator of Family Guy and American Dad, the movies Ted and A Million Ways to Die in the West and recently the reinvention of Star Trek in The Orville.

While his kind of humor is a matter of taste he has another talent that is less known: MacFarlane is a musician with a keen sense of reinterpretations of The Great American Songbook. His fourth album is out now: In Full Swing


If you have at least a minimal interest in this genre, listen to it NOW.



9. 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 cliché 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.



10. Goldfrapp - Silver Eye

Silver Eye is Goldfrapp in its best form. They continue their dark, electronic and melodic songwriting and bring it to perfection.



Special Award: Owsley - Feel No Pain
Almost two years ago I made a serious attempt to get everything together for a project: a Third Record of Will 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 want to know more about the record, just write me here: powerpopsquare@gmail.com

Friday, November 24, 2017

Pugwash - Silverlake (Review)

Pugwash is back with a new record: Silverlake. But this time it is quite different: Thomas Walsh recorded it mainly on its own with producer Jason Falkner (yes, THE Jason Falkner of Jellyfish!).


Recorded in Falkner’s LA studio earlier this year, Thomas wrote all the songs, arranged them, and played acoustic guitar. Jason played everything else (except the strings), sang backing vocals and recorded/produced.
Thomas says: "I’ve known Jason for twenty years, so I rang him last Christmas and asked him what his next year was looking like. He said, ‘It’s fuckin’ full up, but if you’re saying to me we can make a record, I’ll make time'. That was an amazing thing to hear. The minute I heard that I was hooked. I got excited again. Within a week I’d written all the songs.

The opener and lead single (The Perfect Summer) is nothing less than perfect pop music.
I admire Sunshine True, Everyone Knows That You're Mine and Such a Shame for their tremendous melodies and lyrics. All of the twelve songs are growing the more often you listen to them. And that's what you should do right now!

Silverlake is out now! You can get the download, CD, LP, a limited 7" single and a T-shirt (bundles available) directly from Lojinx.


Saturday, October 21, 2017

Nic Cester - Sugar Rush

Nic Cester, the lead singer of JET has returned with a solo record.


"Sugar Rush" will be available on November 3, 2017.  And it should be nothing less than amazing - listen to the singles here:



Charlotte Gainsbourg - Rest

Charlotte Gainsbourg is not only an actress, also she's a singer. She recorded songs with artists like Jarvis Cocker (from Pulp), Jean-Benoît Dunckel (from AIR), Nicolas Godin, Beck and Neil Hannon (from Divine Comedy). I especially recommend the album "5:55".


On November 17, 2017 her newest record "Rest" will be out. Listen to two songs from it here:


Tears For Fears - I Love You But I'm Lost (Rule The World)

Tears for Fears have a new Greatest Hits compilation ("Rule The World") out November 10, 2017. While this isn't that spectacular, it's remarkable it will include two new songs. Listen to one of them below.


Seth MacFarlane - In Full Swing

Seth MacFarlane is widely known as the creator of Family Guy and American Dad, the movies Ted and A Million Ways to Die in the West and recently the reinvention of Star Trek in The Orville (I highly recommend the last one!).

While his kind of humor is a matter of taste he has another talent that is less known: MacFarlane is a musician with a keen sense of reinterpretations of The Great American Songbook. His fourth album is out now: In Full Swing


If you have at least a minimal interest in this genre, listen to it.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Bill DeMain - Transatlantic Romantic

The new record of Bill DeMain "Transatlantic Romantic" is out now.
And is has become a gem, filled with wonderful harmonies and having an overall classic touch.


Listen to four of the songs below!




The album is available for $12. For ordering info, email billdemain@gmail.com

Neil Finn - Out Of Silence

Out Of Silence, the new record of Neil Finn, will be out in September 2017. The first song is "More Than One Of You" - you can listen to it here:



He is recording the album in four 2-hour-sessions which were and will be broadcasted live.
The first two sessions can be seen HERE and HERE!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Marc Martel - Crowdfunding campaign (two new records)

Marc Martel has started a crowdfunding campaign for two new EPs. More information below.

Here is the first song and video from this project - and it's stunning!

 

Saturday, June 17, 2017

New Music June 2017: Bill DeMain, Camera2, Cliff Hillis, ATC, Phoenix, Dan Wilson, Chris Price

Bill DeMain - Lemon Yellow



The new record of Bill DeMain "Transatlantic Romantic" will be out in summer 2017.

Air Traffic Controller - After Party



The "Echo Papa EP" will be out June 23, 2017 (amazon.com).

Cliff Hillis - Many Happy Returns EP



The new EP of Cliff Hillis is out now!

Camera2 - Ride That Feeling Again



The album "Orbit" from Camera2 will be out in 2017.

Phoenix - Ti Amo



Phoenix' new album "Ti Amo" is out now.

Dan Wilson - Re-Covered




Re-Covered , the new record of Dan Wilson (produced by Mike Viola) is available on Pledgemusic  or on Amazon for preorder. It's out August 4, 2017.

Chris Price - Sigh



Chris Price released his stellar second album - Stop Talking - now. Buy it on Bandcamp or Amazon.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

L.E.O. - Alpacas Orgling

L.E.O.? Looks familiar, doesn't it? Yes, it's no accident that you might get an instant connection to The Electric Light Orchestra.  But Alpacas Orgling is not a tribute album of the usual kind. There are no covers but rather ten completely original songs (along with two bonus tracks).

For the record: Alpacas Orgling is the best record Jeff Lynne never made.


It was released in 2006 and included the finest collection of artists: Bleu, Mike Viola, Jason Scheff (Chicago), John Fields, Hanson, Ducky Carlisle, Andy Sturmer (Jellyfish) and Scott Simons.
That's a hell of a band.

The songs refer to Jeff Lynne's style, but there are also references to George Harrison (Goodbye Innocence) and The Beatles.


The project was led by Bleu. Vocals are shared between Bleu, Mike Viola (Distracted, Make Me), Andy Sturmer (Goodbye Innocence) and Scott Simons (Sukaz Are Born Every Minute).

Listen to the record here:



Final note:
Bleu once told me someone in the audience paid him a compliment that his voice on Sukaz Are Born Every Minute was his best one yet.
The point is: he didn't sing on it ... (main vocals were exclusively by Scott Simons).

Monday, May 22, 2017

Chris Price - Stop Talking (Review)

It is always a special (and quite seldom) moment when I finish to listen to a record for the first time and I instantly know this is an exceptional piece of work. Chris Price has achieved this with "Stop Talking".


The record is out now - and there are 14 reasons to buy it:

The opener and title track "Stop Talking" is so different and promising, it leaves you asking where this record is heading to. To clarify this: it's heading not in one direction, rather into a wide variety of genres, reminiscences to pathbreaking artists and through musical eras.
While "Man Down" is 70s McCartney, Nilsson and Rhodes in its best way, "Darkness" could also fit on "Sheer Heart Attack" or "Queen II" - the song is nothing less than a mini opera and an instant classic.  "You And Me (And Everyone Else)" and "Once Was True" shine, and I bet the late Freddie Mercury or Paul McCartney would have wished they'd written these songs.
"One Of Them" and "Just In Time" are playful and absolutely catchy tunes.
"Hi Lo" starts with acoustic guitar and intense vocals and slowly builds up to its climax.
Then there is "Pulling Teeth" - like a dream in minor keys, the heavier and intense "Algebra In The Sky" and "Contrition" (these harmonies!).

Finally: "Sigh". This is nothing less than a perfect pop song. It left me deeply impressed. "Sigh" is meant to be put on repeat. Get this on radio airplay in heavy rotation or in a soundtrack of a good movie, please!


Stop Talking is a hell of a record and hot candidate for my personal record of the year. It's highly recommended!


Listen to Stop Talking here (start with Stop Talking, Hi Lo, Sigh, Man Down, Darkness):


Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Chris Price - Stop Talking

The second solo album of Chris Price, Stop Talking, is coming on May 19, 2017.

Price is a man of many talents - producer for Emitt Rhodes and Linda Perhacs, writing with artists like Roger Joseph Manning Jr. (Jellyfish) and Taylor Locke (Rooney) or recording a complete album with an iPhone 4 (his first record Homesick).


Chris Price was joined in the studio by a variety of top musicians, including Kyle Fredrickson, Ben Lecourt, Fernando Perdomo, Joe Seiders and many others. According to Price, “I spent the five years since my first album Homesick working on albums for two heroes of mine, Emitt Rhodes and Linda Perhacs. But I never stopped writing and recording material of my own, and both of those incredibly inspiring and fulfilling projects ended up deeply informing my work, pushing me to think harder about my lyrics, become more adventurous in my production and never take the safe route musically. Nearly 50 songs were recorded for this project, and I went through an arduous and at times painful process whittling it all down to the form it is now in. I’m very proud of this work, which has been brewing for quite some time. But I should really stop talking and let the music speak for itself.”

Stop Talking is available on CD and (very limited) Vinyl.


Here are the first three songs from Stop Talking - and it looks like a good canditate for the record of the year for me:

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 cliché 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