August 1, 2008
The term "power pop" often suggests music so light and bubbly it could float away. On his super-fine third album, "Misadventures in Stereo," out Tuesday, genre master Jim Boggia does keep the music wonderfully airy and sweet, but his brew is grounded and organic, with stripped-to-the-essence arrangements and a dark lyric core, as most of the songs are about loss. End result: These pop nuggets always feel honest, durable and, yes, important. Clearly, this Philadelphia-based talent has learned from the greats.
July 21, 1997 |
Like the Foo Fighters, Brad is the kind of band that doesn't elicit a strong opinion in either direction, but attracts the curious because an alt-rock luminary is a member. In this case, it's Pearl Jam's Stone Gossard, who needs something else to do when Eddie Vedder goes into hiding. But unlike the Nirvana-sequel Foo Fighters, Brad - on the Philadelphia stop of its first tour Friday night at the Theatre of Living Arts - tries to establish an identity of its own, even if it's not an entirely successful one. The band builds its songs around the very un-grunge stylings of frontman/pianist Shawn Smith, also known for his work in bands like Satchel and Pidgeonhed.
October 27, 2005 |
The B-52s once sang about doing 16 dances, with the Shy Tuna and the Aqua-Velva among the steps celebrated in "Dance This Mess Around. " OK Go, the Chicago quartet that drew a crowd to the North Star on Tuesday, incorporated pretty much all of those dances into the recent video for "A Million Ways," causing an Internet stir with its hilarity. On stage, OK Go didn't dance goofily, even though a few rabid audience members tried their moves. It may be a funny band - the members are mismatched in shape and shirt-tie choices, and smiled nerdishly when lyrics were at their angriest - but OK Go didn't need gimmicks.
December 1, 1995 |
On short notice you probably couldn't name a band from Selinsgrove (you know, across the Susquehanna from Sunbury, just south of Lewisburg) more immediately appealing than the Badlees. Over the past five years, the quintet has steadily built its power base - mostly in the Pennsylvania heartland, where it draws thousands of fans to gigs in, say, Wilkes-Barre - with nonstop touring, aggressive management, and three independently released albums. When the third, River Songs, sold 10,000 copies in six months, A&M Records heard the cash registers all the way from New York and released it nationally.
July 25, 2009 |
Nick, Joe, and Kevin Jonas have built their career on seeming like the boys next door, but their show at the Wachovia Center on Thursday night made it clear that they've moved to a fancier neighborhood. Performing on a round stage lit by an overhead video array that looked like an upside-down wedding cake, and backed by as many as 10 musicians, the brothers seemed more like alpha dogs than eager pups, determined to mark every inch of their territory. Musically, at least, the concert was more coherent than their new album, Lines, Vines and Trying Times, whose calculated attempts to touch on every genre of popular music give it a distinctly Frankensteinian air. With a few exceptions, their 90-minute set focused on the upbeat, lyrically lightweight power pop that is their stock in trade.
July 31, 2009 |
When word broke earlier this year that Fountains of Wayne's Adam Schlesinger had formed a power-pop supergroup with Cheap Trick's Bun E. Carlos, former Smashing Pumpkin James Iha, and Hanson singer Taylor Hanson, the reactions ranged from incredulity to downright disbelief. But Tinted Windows' self-titled debut provides proof that, no matter how unlikely the grouping might seem, there's method to its madness. "We kind of expected that reaction," says Schlesinger, while cooking dinner for his family on Martha's Vineyard.
March 18, 1996 |
Former Pixies frontman Frank Black and his discovery, Chicago singer-songwriter Jonny Polonsky, twisted straight-ahead rock into their own creations Friday night at a near-capacity show at the Trocadero. Black's hour-long set with his three-piece band proved that his strength is in a live setting rather than in the studio, where albums such as his recent The Cult of Ray don't quite translate. Part misfit and part male diva, he performed quick-paced, three-minute portraits of aliens, Los Angeles and pop culture charged with garage, surf and power-pop.
July 14, 2003 |
There's some notable trivia attached to power-pop favorites Fountains of Wayne. For instance, the origin of the group's seemingly absurd name is a lawn ornament store in North Jersey, more recently woven into popular culture through appearances on The Sopranos. Also, co-songwriter/bassist Adam Schlesinger penned the Oscar-nominated theme song to the Tom Hanks film That Thing You Do! If the second fact suggests some serious songwriting chops, then the group's third album, Welcome Interstate Managers (S-Curve/Virgin)
June 7, 1999 |
It's been said that the genre of power pop - frail, white man-boys with cherry guitars reinvigorating the harmonic convergence of the Hollies, Big Star and Cheap Trick with the caffeinated rush of youth - is the revenge of the nerds. In fact, if the world were a level playing field, and things such as athletic ability and luck with women were more evenly distributed, the Cars and the Knack might never have existed. Add to the list Fountains of Wayne, which played at the Trocadero on Friday night.
April 18, 1998 |
Yeah, there are, or have been, lots of bands like Superdrag. The Gigolo Aunts. Weezer. Jellyfish. Teenage Fanclub. You know, power-pop guys who remind you of the three B's (the Byrds, the Beatles and the Beach Boys), which inevitably means they sound like Big Star, but not quite as, well, stellar. But no matter how many replicas there are, you can't beat the flash and brawn of a power-pop band for a good time in concert. At Thursday's Superdrag show at the Trocadero, the Knoxville, Tenn.