Give Me The Word
(Fermada Nowhere Music) 2020
For the past couple of decades, Southern California singer, songwriter and multi-faceted instrumentalist Dan Markell has been a familiar face on the independent pop scene.
Highly praised albums such as “Big Deals” and “Eleven Shades Of Dan Markell,” as well as appearances on compilation sets like “Yellow Pills” and “International Pop Overthrow” have put him on the map, along with collaborations with former Wings drummer Denny Seiwell, Jim Babjak and Dennis Diken of The Smithereens, Coz Canler of The Romantics, Clem Burke of Blondie and The Empty Hearts fame, and Standells guitarist Tony Valentino.
Dan’s latest offering is an updated version of a song included on “Eleven Shades Of Dan Markell,” which was released in 2011. Grooving to an even-tempered rhythm, “Give Me The Word” simmers with a soulfully sensuous feel fueled by smoky horns and seductive melodies. Dan’s harmonious vocals – mirroring those of Squeeze and Crowded House – are flawlessly in sync with the sound and motion of this regal song that ropes together soul influences with pop aspirations in a cool and classy manner.
Dan’s revision of “Give Me The Word” is bound to not only pique interest in his back catalog, but make listeners eager to hear his next move.
The Empty Hearts
Second Album (Wicked Cool Records)
A true supergroup, The Empty Hearts are Wally Palmar from The Romantics on vocals, rhythm guitar and harmonica, Elliot Easton of The Cars on lead guitar and vocals, Andy Babiuk from The Chesterfield Kings on bass and Clem Burke of Blondie on drums and vocals.
In 2014, The Empty Hearts released their self-titled debut album, which was expectedly greeted with wild applause. Considering how busy these guys are with their own separate projects, they can be excused for taking so long to deliver a follow-up effort. But it was definitely worth the wait, because the properly coined Second Album is just as fun and exciting as the first endeavor.
Dotted with wailing Yardbirds‘ styled harmonica trills, The Best That I Can crackles and crunches with classic garage rock fervor, and then there’s Well, Look At You, which includes hip horn arrangements and grooves to a sprightly soulful timbre.
Hook-laden power pop is the name of the game on fetching numbers such as If I Could Change Your Mind and Coat-Tailer, where Sometimes Shit Happens For A Reason bristles to a gritty blues pitch managed by tobacco-ravaged vocals and raw-boned emotion.
The band’s good friend, Ringo Starr, lends his fabled tub-thumping prowess to Remember Days Like These, that chimes brightly with Byrds inspired bliss and magical melodies by the mile. An apt statement of the turbulent times we’re currently experiencing, The World’s Gone Insane roars with red hot anger generated by throttling riffs and pulsing punk rock energy. Shaped of a larger than life chorus and a stomping beat, Come On And Try It plugs in as another rousing raver included on the collection.
Those hungry for a shot of authentic rock and roll will certainly feed their need with Second Album. The Empty Hearts play their great songs straight from their hearts – pun badly intended – and their passion for the music is instantly infectious. Equipped with killer-diller chops and the kind of telepathic chemistry found in the best bands, these fellows were destined to be together. Here’s to a standing ovation.
Let’s Hear It For Love
Nick Frater’s got a new full-length on the way, and this digital single is our first little glimpse. Let’s Hear It For Love is a buoyant power pop number, though there is an ethereal quality in the melody that sounds both happy and sad at the same time. Brilliant.
Hailing from Brighton, England, Tenderhooks reveal an anthem for the horrible year that we all seem to be trapped in. 20-20 Vision is a slinky little rocker that pulls no punches (cool video, too), recalling the very best of Cracker and White Album-era Beatles. More, please.
I Won’t Forgive You
Recording under the moniker More Animal, multi-instrumentalist Bo Ledman has a real winner with his track I Won’t Forgive You. It’s a middle finger to The Orange Menace and his enablers, wrapped up in a grungy pop song that’s simply irresistible. It’s on repeat play here at Pop-A-Looza HQ, and we’re looking forward to a deep dive into the full-length that hatched it.
The Empty Hearts
These guys are a power pop lover’s dream-come-true. Wally Palmar, Andy Babiuk, Clem Burke and Elliot Easton uncork another three-minute gem, played with the youthful exuberance of men half their age. Big snare and guitars, hooky chorus and harmonies, the stuff pop dreams are made of.