Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Bruce's NEW AT NOT LAME Update for late July 2008!!!

Straight from the boss, here's Bruce's list of what's new at NOT LAME...

Here are the Top New Releases on the Not Lame web site for July. There are many new releases on da 'ole home page, but for the time starved, these are the ones worth of your precious time. Click on the links for full mini-reviews on each CD and listen 'n sample lots of soundbites, as well. Have Fun!

PhotobucketTHE DOLL TEST - "Mosque Alarm Clock"
Sloan-esque poppings all over this - definitely plenty of The dB`s, Soundtrack Of Our Lives, New Pornographers. A great band just ripping it up w/ their Rickenbackers! It`s just classic power pop with a distinct Northwestern edge. The Doll Test are from members of Seattle pop greats, The Model Rockets( Scott Sutherland, Boyd Remillard and Graham Black)!! Fans of The Model Rockets will not be disappointed!
“Mosque Alarm Clock” is a tasty adrenalized brew of no-filler powerful and rocking sharply crafted pop. At every turn, armies of chiming 12 strings stride confidently and rough-and-tumble incendiary melodies and vocals that can make the earth move.

First-rate performances and bang-on harmonies mingle with decidedly adroit arrangements, timeless production nuances and subtly profound lyrics, ultimately confirming the Telepathic Butterflies membership among the contemporary masters of the melodic pop realm.
A compelling examination of modern life expounding on the drudgery, alienation and paranoia of everyday life yet offering redemption in the soaring harmonies, ringing melodies and lovingly crafted songs.

PhotobucketSUMMER SUNS - "Greatest"
22 song best of compilation! THE SUMMER SUNS (1985-1996) were part of the vanguard of the Perth pop scene in a truly halcyon era. They played a melodious blend of '70s influenced power pop and '60s folk rock and featured a revolving door line-up of most of Perth, Western Australia's premier pop musicians - including DOM MARIANI of The Stems, The Someloves and DM3.
A must for fans of Australian power pop - no doubt! The classic archetypes are all over each and every one of the 22 songs here.

PhotobucketJEFF LARSON - "Left Of A Dream"
2008 release from this long time soft-poppin’ favorite here at Not Lame since he arrived on the scene in the late 90s! Jeff Larson is incapable of disappointing his fans, even has he takes stylistic detours, which he does not do here.
Echoes of very early Eagles and Poco, Pousette-Dart Band and a bit of Bill Lloyd, there are lots of chimey guitars, sticky and yummy harmonies and songs that evoke a spirit of another time and still feel `right` for now!
Help Beach Boy/Brian Wilson band leader Jeffrey Foskett and Gerry Beckley and Dewey Bunnell are indicators of the sounds on this new disc. While not a classic power pop record as many here are used to, if you like your pop on the soft side of the fence. VERY Highly Recommended!

THE POP PROJECT - "Stars Of Stage And Screen
CLASSIC Not Lame styled pure power pop! Stars of Stage and Screen was five years in the making, and its prolonged gestation is reflected in the meticulous craft of the arrangements — producer Andy Thompson has covered every song with a delicious layer of honey and powdered sugar to complement the band’s love for ringing guitars, touches of brass, new wave-y keyboards, and (of course) the requisite stacks of glorious, glorious vocal harmonies.

PhotobucketTHE RIP OFF ARTISTS - "Esque"
This is top-shelf pop, Not Lame-style. Fans of Michael Penn, Doug Powell and The Candy Butchers do NOT miss out with “Esque” from The Rip Off Artists!

PhotobucketSUGAR HIGH - "Let The Sunshine Out"
Created with guitars, violins, and Casio keyboards, the angles vary from moody acoustic tracks to jarring rockers and soaring power pop, all delivered with newfound depth and urgency. Recorded over the course of two years in a vintage, analog studio by whiz producer Bob Hoag -- it was worth the wait.
Big, fat guitar riffs with undeniably aching lead guitar parts and, importantly, sweet harmonies, driving guitars and mountain-sized hooks abound. Very Highly Recommended!!

PhotobucketDROPKICK - "Dot The 'i'"
UK import and what a find!
You will be hard-pressed to find any recent band more enamored and pleasurably emulative of Teenage Fanclub than Dropkick. It’s, simply, a sparkling, sun-drenched soaking of melodic guitar jangle pop. Fans of The Primary 5, The Pyramidiacs and Michael Carpenter, this is very familiar territory. Like those artists, Dropkick exude and emulate their classic influences without resorting to outright plagiarism and doing their own brand of jangled up power pop.

PhotobucketTHE CHEVELLES - "Barbarella Girl God"
A perfect introduction to – THE CHEVELLES! 16 songs, 12 of which are remastered from their back-catalog and 4 great new ones!


Fans of Teenage Fanclub, Orange Humble Band, The Jawhawks and Michael Carpenter, you h ave found more new nirvana, trust us!
The Forresters debut release `Skindeep` spans the musical spectrum from power pop to blues tinged soul, alt. country to straight ahead rock`n`roll. There is a timeless essence to the sound of this record and on first listen one might get the feeling that they have stumbled across a lost 70`s country pop gem.
It`s about as classic of a all-round great pop record as we`ve the last few years -- With tender melodies, wonderful chord progressions, and a command of a particular sound.

PhotobucketTHE BOSS MARTIANS - "Pressure In The Sodo"
A long time since their last one but they are back and they rock HUGE with style of mixing garage, power pop and kick-ass rock ‘n roll.
There's a duet with Iggy Pop with guitars so explosive they sound like a street fight between Ted Nugent and Wayne Kramer. Other highlights include the prog punk-infused “Don’t Wanna See You Again” (with the Jon Lordlike work of Martians’ keys man NickC), the Cheap Trick-inspired power ballad “And She’s Gone,” and the huge-sounding epic rocker “Elsie,” with its Thin Lizzy-meets-The Who guitar heroics.
VERY Highly Recommended!!

PhotobucketGIGANTIC - "Giganticphonic Sounds (w/ free limited EP")
Australian import. Aussie pop fans will hear the familiar Australian template of pop DNA of such bands as DM3 and The Chevelles on some of this material, never a bad thing! Ffull of catchy hooks, crunchy guitars and pure indie rock bliss.
The result is great pop songs sorrounded by a pristine sound, on an album that take you in different directions. Enjoy this record by a band with a bright future ahead, exceptional heirs to the immortal tradition of Australian power pop.
All 12 songs here each deliver a perfect balance and blending of sweet melodies, carefully ringing guitars and a sleepy, pleasurable vocal style.

Monday, July 21, 2008


PhotobucketIs there really any music channel scummier than VH1*? OK, sure, MTV, but that's a given. But it seems like VH1 goes out of its way to piss off "real" music fans with their continually pretentious "tributes" to rock legends. The latest to receive this "honor" is, one of the greatest bands of all time, THE WHO.

Now I don't know a single Not Lamer who isn't a WHO fan. You know the music, you know the legend, so you don't need me to recount it here for you. Knowing all this, if you were going to have a tribute concert to the WHO, who would you pick? Their legendary contemporaries who are on par with them, right? Page and Plant, Paul McCartney, Jagger...anyone that understands how important their music was to that time and place.

PhotobucketBut no, VH1 couldn't give a damn about all that. Instead, they'd rather fill the red carpet with tweeny-bopper idiots like Mila Kunis(!) and Kim Kardashian(!!) to get a couple of notices on TMZ than actually, oh, I don't know, CARE ABOUT THE MUSIC! So,w ho did they get to perform songs...well: Pearl Jam did an okay cover of "Love Reign O'er Me" and the Flaming Lips wowed with a great TOMMY medley. And the overrated Foo Fighters were in their somewhere too.

But then came INCUBUS. INCUBUS?!?! REALLY!?!?! These shitty frat-rockers don't deserve to clean the spittle offa Roger's mic, let alone share a stage with them. And then Teancious D shows up. I think they are funny, but in no way should they be paying tribute to the WHO. And, as if to twist that knife just a bit deeper, FREAKIN' ADAM SANDLER shows up to do some horrifically shitty "parody" song to the tune of "Magic Bus". KILL ME NOW!

PhotobucketLater the WHO showed up and played a few songs, and while they are a shadow of their former selves, at least they know how to ROCK. Incubus, take some notes--or better yet, take a handful of sleeping pills. You won't be missed.

So the big question is, because we all know VH1 will just do it all again next year, who will the Dis-HONOR next? Howzabout Pink Floyd, with "performances" by Katy Perry,
Young Jeezy, Creed, Jack Johnson and the winner of LAST COMIC STANDING???

As a bonus, here's a clip of the WHO from THE ROCK'N'ROLL CIRCUS!!!

(*NOTE: This does not extend to VH1 Classic, the bastard step-child channel that VH1 has tried to hide by putting it on 567. It is probably the best thing on cable, second to Food Network. I loves me some Paula Deen!)

Friday, July 18, 2008


PhotobucketYou know, I really feel like I was born in the wrong era. I was born in 1978 and, this year, will turn 30. But, if you ask me, I wish I had been born about fifteen years earlier. Then, I could have known of the pure musical bliss that is the Osmonds. If right now was say, 1976, I honestly believe that I would, without shame, have the Osmonds' masterpiece CRAZY HORSES in my record collection, right next to the Ramones and KISS. Yes, CRAZY HORSES rocks. Like, REALLY rocks.

Released in 1972, this album, along with its 1973 follow-up THE PLAN, are pretty much the sound of the Osmonds, the most wholesome, clean-cut band of all-time, rebelling. Yep, they're telling pops "Screw off dad, I wanna rock!" and turning their amps up all the way, even getting into a guttural growl here and there. Check out this live performance of the title track:

Here's THE PLAN's "Let Me In" --true POP perfection-- from TOP OF THE POPS:

Go to Hell, Led Zeppelin! CRAZY HORSES rocks so hard it even made the list in Chuck Eddy's Stairway to Hell: The 500 Best Heavy Metal Albums at number #66. No joke! But, I know that the "hard" stuff scares some of you guys off, so, let not your heart be troubled: beautifully arranged ballads such as "Let Me In" and insane psychedelic romps like "War in Heaven" mingle wonderfully together to create an album that's better than SGT. PEPPER. There, I said it.

You need this album NOW!!! Click here to order it from the NOT LAME website.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

JANGLE ON! for JULY 2008!!!

By Eric Sorensen‏, written exclusively for NOT LAME

Chiming, jangly, ringing 12-string songs started coming out of the woodwork again this past month. Here are some of the albums and songs that will appeal to fellow jangleholics:

Two CDs (one with new original tracks by Jeremy Morris; the other with over 20 cover songs) by one of indie pop’s most prolific artists! There is no shortage of jangly tracks in this bounty of pop tunes, but “The River Flows” (AKA “The Ballad of Easy Rider”) stands out as the most chiming song. Jeremy’s fondness for the Byrds was also evident on a very cool version of “So You Want To Be A Rock’n’Roll Star” that he recorded not too long ago.

This is a top-notch power pop album that features a number of jangly tracks – like “Hurry Up” (a strong candidate for this month’s Song of the Month honors), “I Don’t Want To Talk About It,” “Unusual Girl” and “Set Me Free.” I have said this before: lead vocalist James Hall’s voice reminds me a great deal of Dave Faulkner – the frontman for the Hoodoo Gurus. This is a good thing, as it gives Shake Some Action’s mainstream pop songs a bit more bite.

A solid debut disc from a band that merits comparisons with Tom Petty, the Windbreakers, Matthew Sweet, REM … and Scott Baird’s nasal vocals also reminds me of Martin Luther Lennon and Chris von Sneidern. “Girl,” “Wait Too Long” and “She Comes Around” are the most chiming tracks on an album that is brimming with radio-friendly songs. This is timeless pop from an indie pop band that got it right!

Veteran power pop fans recognize this is as the digital resurrection of a highly sought-after and obscure late 70s album. After digesting this material, I hear a blend of the classic Texas pop/rock of Buddy Holly and the late 70s power pop of Dwight Twilley (without the echo effect). Although the album is nearly 30 years old, the songs are still fresh and vibrant. If you’re looking for the most jangly track in the collection, click on “Cry All Over Me.”

Like the Roblaine disc, this is another “nugget” from the indie pop archives. Indie pop fans should already be familiar with Tim’s current body of work. Retrofit features material from his earliest recording days. Like his more recent material, it falls into the “classic pop” genre and reminds me of material being recorded during that same period by Mark Johnson, David Grahame, Dwight Twilley and the Toms.

I have been a fan of this Swedish pop band ever since I first heard “Plastic Moon Rain” on a early Not Lame compilation. My affection for the band grew when they contributed a nifty version of “Christine” that was featured on Not Lame’s 36-song Full Circle: A Tribute to Gene Clark in 2000. The band has stood the test of time well with a classic formula for short, upbeat power pop tunes. Chiming riffs abound on “Info Girl” and “Train To Catch” … but it’s all quite catchy!

Every couple of years, a surprise album like this is released. References to pop artists from the past five decades would be accurate, and in no way is meant to detract from the sum of the parts. The band combines hooks, melodies and jangly riffs with the best of them! Jangleholics will smile when they hear “You Promised,” “Love Has Found Me” and “Forget Me Not.” In a small way, the Galaxies remind me of the indie pop band, the Bratchmen, from the early 90s.

A studio collaboration that includes the talented Stephen Butler of Smash Palace. Jangly tracks are not this album’s strong suit, but some strummy jangle is featured on the acoustic track “When Is It Time.”

I have fellow Byrds enthusiast Ray Verno to thank for alerting me to this new release … since he included several of their tracks on his Byrdsian Volume 35 compilation. I had read about this Pacific Northwest band on the INTERNET, but I was not aware that they had just released an album that is brimming with Byrds, Dylan, Eagles and country rock influences. Bob Dale’s chiming 12-string Rickenbacker guitar provides a solid foundation for original songs like “South Tacoma Way,” “Washington Rain” and “Gone With The Wind.” The next time I travel to the Pacific Northwest, I will definitely go out of my way to take in one of this band’s live shows. This album/band are a nice companion to the work released by German Byrds acolyte Horst-Peter Schmidt and his band the Different Faces.

While this disc does not feature jangly guitars, it does feature one of my other favorite musical attributes – great vocal harmonies! I found this disc by doing a “Sounds Like the Eagles” search on CDBaby. Eagles fans will smile when they hear “Need A Friend” and recognize its melodic similarity with “Take It Easy” and “Already Gone.” The Low Stars’ gorgeous harmonies will remind other listeners of America, CSN and, more recently, Venice. This is timeless acoustic, harmony-driven pop/rock that deserves to be heard outside of Starbucks stores!

PhotobucketIn the “blast from the past” category this month is my favorite band to emerge from the mid-80s Los Angeles Paisley Underground movement – THE LONG RYDERS. This band flirted with country, pop, folk-rock, garage-rock and psychedelic influences to create a fresh take on the sound of the Byrds, Love, the Standells and the Flying Burrito Brothers (to name a few). Over on the east coast and at about the same time, REM’s Peter Buck was similarly influenced by these sounds. Long Ryders tracks often featured Sid Griffin playing a Rickenbacker 12-string – as evidenced on “I Can’t Hide,” “Ivory Tower” and “Capturing the Flag.” Griffin befriended Byrds founder Gene Clark during the band’s heyday, and “Ivory Tower” includes Clark on harmony vocals. If you haven’t already discovered the Long Ryders, a great place to start is their two-CD Long Ryders Anthology. Sid Griffin remains the most musically active of the band’s former members – fronting bands like the Coal Porters and Western Electric, as well as releasing solo material. Sid’s affectionate for Byrds/Clark material also remains strong. When I saw Western Electric perform live several years ago, they played an excellent version of “He Was A Friend Of Mine.” Sid’s solo disc included a haunting rendition of “I Come And Stand At Every Door,” and the Coal Porters’ latest disc includes a cool take of Gene Clark’s “Silver Raven.”

Until next month, jangle on!