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Fountains Of Wayne / Sky Full Of Holes

This week, I’m taking another look at reviews I wrote of various Adam Schlesinger projects, when my Quick Spins column ran in The Kenosha News. Adam’s recent passing due to the pandemic has really impacted me, so I’d really like to be a part of people discovering what made him such a special guy.

D.P.

Fountains Of Wayne

Sky Full Of Holes (Yep Roc)

http://www.foumtainsofwayne.com

The guys from Fountains Of Wayne sure do take their own sweet time releasing new music. Although Adam Schlesinger often keeps busy scoring T.V. shows and movies, it’s been nearly four years since the band produced Traffic and Weather. While that release left critics underwhelmed, their latest should allay any fears that they are in a downward spiral.

If you only know Fountains Of Wayne by their breakthrough single “Stacy’s Mom,” then you’ve only seen a small potion of what this band can do. Their speciality is writing clever character vignettes that somehow manage to describe an entire lifetime in a quirky, four-minute pop song.

Best among this batch is “Richie and Ruben,” a tale of two friends who go into business together, without two ounces of business acumen between them. Another is “Action Hero,” the account of a decent regular guy who gets some unfortunate news about medical test results. Lightening up the mood is “A Road Song,” in which singer Chris Collingwood admits his song is just as cliche as Journey’s “Faithfully,” but he’s going to sing it anyway.

What I really like about this band is that with each track, you almost feel as if you’re listening to a close friend describe his most important relationships. It’s as intimate and personal as music can get. Too bad this doesn’t happen more than once every four years.

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Tinted Windows

This week, I’m taking another look at reviews I wrote of various Adam Schlesinger projects, when my Quick Spins column ran in The Kenosha News. Adam’s recent passing due to the pandemic has really impacted me, so I’d really like to be a part of people discovering what made him such a special guy.

D.P.

This review originally ran in The Kenosha (Wi) News in 2009.

Tinted Windows

Tinted Windows (S-curve)

http://www.tinted windows.com

Wow, did this album take me back. Tinted Windows‘ debut is a power pop feast that harkens back to the late seventies and early eighties. It’s no surprise then, to learn just who makes up this stellar group.

Tinted Windows are; Bun E. Carlos of Cheap Trick (drums), Adam Schlesinger of Fountains Of Wayne (bass), James Iha of Smashing Pumpkins (guitar)and Taylor Hanson of Hanson (lead vocals). Quite a line-up, to be sure.

“Kind Of A Girl” starts things off as one of the greatest singles I’ve heard in several years. With muscular guitars and drums propelling the ageless vocals of Taylor Hanson, it’s hard not to be suckered in.

You’ll find that most of these eleven tracks will blow by in what seems like seconds. They are catchy as all get out, especially the Latin-flavored “Cha Cha.” This is gonna sound great in the car this summer. Buy this. Now.

D.P.

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Pop Co-Op / Factory Settings

Pop Co-Op

Factory Settings (Futureman)

http://www.popco-opband.com

From the band’s website; “POP CO-OP is a group of four geographically dispersed musicians who focus on making the music they want to hear. They formed in 2016 as a result of Spongetones bassist Steve Stoeckel inviting friends on social media to collaborate in songwriting: Stoeckel threw out titles and music, asked for lyric snippets, assembled the snippets from contributors into full song lyrics, and recorded the song. Along the way, Stoeckel enlisted the guitar talents of Joel Tinnel, who introduced him to Bruce Gordon (aka Mr. Encrypto). Gordon already had several CD’s to his credit and subsequently introduced Stacy Carson to the group.

The group had so much fun creating a first song together that they decided to form a band and release an entire album. The effort was truly cooperative: each member wrote, recorded, engineered, produced, and mixed these 12 songs in every combination. “POP CO-OP” was the obvious band name.”

If this had been the only positive result of the creation of the internet, it would have been worth it. These four acquaintances mesh perfectly together, in a musical melange that is equal parts friendship, fun, craftsmanship, and reverence for the very best of what is often humbly referred to as pop music.

“No Man’s Land,” which heralds these eleven splendid tracks, begins with a stomping Dave Clark Five beat and the best melody this side of Andy Partridge. Switching gears, “Keen To Be Near You” is a soft, Jane Austin-inspired ballad with lovely touches of mandolin and a vocal by Stoeckel that will melt even the hardest of hearts.

I think my favorite of the set, however, is the rollicking “Won’t Be Me,” which sounds like Billy Gibbons being backed by Chuck Berry and Rockpile. I really can’t get enough of this one, in particular.

Also, when you’re finished devouring “Factory Settings,” you’ll want  to pick up the quartet’s 2017 debut, “Four State Solution.” It’s a seriously inspired start to what will undoubtedly be an illustrious discography.

D.P.

http://popco-opband.com/

https://popco-opband.bandcamp.com/album/factory-settings

https://popco-opband.bandcamp.com/album/four-state-solution

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