There is definitely power in the pop these days and with artists like Weezer and Matthew Sweet representing the best in Jangle Pop and Roll as well a wealth of lesser-known artists bubbling just under the surface. Here are five fresh faces that are ticking our ears and jangling our souls.
Brian Bringelson/Gabe Dulek – Desperate Days
Known mostly for his work with posters Anchor and Bear, his latest solo effort, Desperate Days represents a master class in how to make music that may share the DNA of those ’60s Sunshine Pop bands or the ’80s Brit-Pop wave while at the same time making a record that is fresh and alive. Here, the mid-era Beach Boys are well represented on a set of songs where the vocals and the arrangements play together like waves under a surfboard.
Rick Hromadka – Better Days
A member of the L.A. Power Pop underground Rick Hromadka has 9 previous solo albums under his belt and you know he knows his way around the mixing board as the current “in-house” sound mixer at Dreamworks Animation. On his latest record, Better Days, with a sound that marshalls The Beach Boys with Jellyfish and The Raspberries, there is a surprising marshmallow of a nugget around every groove.
The Well Wishers – Shelf Life
Essentially a Jeff Shelton solo effort with a few solo guitar guest spots thrown in for good measure, Shelf Life is a fully realized record that would make Brendan Benson and Mattew Sweet proud. There are hints of R.E.M in “We Grow Up” a bit of Greg Kihn permeating on the pulsating “All The Same” and some really cool Western-Noir Buddy Holly on “Holidays Await.” This is a refreshing listen that deserves multiple listens.
Palmyra Delran And The Doppel Gang
As one of the hosts on Little Steven’s Underground radio station Palmyra Delran knows her way around a cool retro tune and with her double-sided single release of “Lucky In Love,” a song that shares some pillow talk with “Then He Kissed Me” and “Who’s Been Sleeping Here,” an old Darts tune come vibrantly to Girl Group life, she stretches her Power Pop muscle.
Dana Countryman – Come Into My Studio
If “Somebody’s Baby” is your go-to Jackson Browne song then the ’70s semi-Yacht Rock influence of Dana Countryman’s Come Into My Studio will certainly be your jam. The title track that could have been a whimsical Harry Nilsson ditty will set the retro mood that is cemented with the Elvis Costello/Burt Bacharach sounding “Every Time You Break My Heart” and driven home courtesy of the Phil Spector grandeur of “Ecstasy.” The Carpenters even make a guest appearance on “Whenever We Walk By” a duet with Dana’s wife Tricia Countryman.