Friday, March 21, 2014

Weekend Roundup.

Greg-Ieronimo-Bipolar Love. About once a week, I sift through the latest releases on CD Baby. It's a somewhat painstaking process that takes a couple of hours, and as the saying goes you have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find a prince. But coming across debuts as tight and power popping like Greg Ieronimo's debut EP, Bipolar Love, makes the whole enterprise worth it. Ieronimo's crunchy power pop comes in somewhere between Cheap Trick and vintage Weezer, as you'll hear once you click on "Roller Coaster Ride" below. The more jaunty yet rocking "Catch Me" has a hint of Jellyfish to it, as does the more acoustic guitar-based "Lucky Day". There's not a bad track among the seven featured here - "Home" recalls Foo Fighters in power pop mode, and "Goodbye Love" is a Beatlesque treat. One of the best debuts I've heard in months, if not years, Bipolar Love will be extremely tough to dislodge from my top of my 2014 year-end EP list.

CD Baby | iTunes

Damp-Damp. Damp is a guy named Ryan from Oregon (that's about all the biographical information I could glean) who makes some highly melodic indie pop on his debut album. Although it's primarily piano-based, Damp's music is more Shins or Ben Kweller than Ben Folds as demonstrated by opening duo of "Time" and "What's to Come from What Has Been", a pair of gorgeous tracks. Although these two tracks might lead you to believe he's a bit earnest and straightforward, there's plenty of playfulness on display here as well, from the almost-vaudeville piano of "Ye Ol' Bitch" to the baroque pop of "What's Wrong, Oh So Wrong" to the (actual) blues of "Cherry Pickin' Blues" to the catchy-yet-kazoo backed "I'm Thinking of You". This a an audacious, fun debut that also makes my panning for gold on CD Baby worth it.

CD Baby | iTunes | Official site (w/a few full-length tracks)

Friday, March 07, 2014

Weekend Roundup.

The Mike Benign Compulsion-Here's How it Works. Our favorite Milwaukee power-poppers are back with their third - and best - album to date. Benign & Co. perfect their Squeeze/Elvis Costello-styled pop with tracks like "Mrs. Kean" (which has a bit of Ray Davies to it), the stomping "Haley Daley" and the minor chords of "No Dumb Luck". Plus, to make the Elvis C comparison complete Benign throws in a track called "Imperial Bedroom" which would make the man himself proud. You won't find this one on CD (unless you burn one yourself), it's digital download and vinyl-only. That's just how it works.

CD Baby
| iTunes | Bandcamp

Ed Woltil-Paper Boats. Ed Woltil has been a mainstay of Tampa Bay area power pop scene, most recently as one-half of The Ditchflowers, who turned in a couple of top-notch albums over the last 5-6 years. This time around Woltil goes for a bit more intimate, laid-back sound on his solo excursion, not unlike label mate Steve Robinson. So while you may not dance to these tunes, their craft is impeccable from the beguiling opener "Algebra" and its catchy chorus to the lovely "In Plain Sight" to the lightly bluesy "Someone Else's Life". This is grown-up pop for fans of artists like David Mead, Josh Rouse and Neil Finn, but how many teens are reading this anyway?

CD Baby | iTunes

Gen Pop-Waiting for Disaster. Guess it's Wisconsin day at Absolute Powerpop, since in additional to Mike Benign these pop/rockers hail from the Cheese State as well. Their debut disc is warm and catchy with a hint of The Lemonheads and The Gin Blossoms' style of 90s power pop. Opener "Warm Sun" will draw you in while the quirky "You Scare Me" will bring Weezer to mind. Meanwhile the standout here is "Top of the World", a midtempo number that sounds like it could have been a hit for somebody about 20 years ago. A promising debut that you can name your price for on Bandcamp.

CD Baby } Bandcamp | iTunes