Bill Lloyd / Don’t Kill The Messenger
The American South has no greater ambassador of guitar-driven pop than Bill Lloyd, Tom Petty’s origins notwithstanding. Don’t Kill The Messenger, the title track from Lloyd’s latest long-player, is an anthem for truth tellers everyone, scorned for stating the obvious. Wrapped in layers of guitars that have both power and jangle, it’s irresistible to our ears, here at Pop-A-Looza HQ.
Marshall Holland / Paper Airplane
Columnist Beverly Paterson introduced most of us to Marshall Holland, and, boy, has his track Paper Airplane become our office’s ear- worm of the moment. Holland’s vocals have a floating feel to them, giving this a song a warmth that is equal parts James Taylor and Beck. We will be digging into the rest of his catalog shortly!
Honeychain’s Spaceman reminds us a whole lot of the indie scene in Chicago in the early 1990’s. If you would’ve told us that it was a great lost Veruca Salt single from ’92, we’d believe you. Powerhouse guitars and drums propel this top-notch rocker, buoyed by Hillary Burton’s nonchalant vocal. Aces.
honeychain – Pocket Full of Good Luck
Golden Robot Records
Punky L.A. trio honeychain returns, with a riff-tastic track called Pocket Full Of Good Luck. Hillary Burton, late of The Pandoras, does her best Jim Ellison and it’s all kinds of fun. Summer starts NOW!
Coke Belda – Thank You, Paul
Kool Kat Records
Coke Belda puts out consistently-good records, and if we could press 45’s at our pleasure, this would definitely be an “A” side. Coke pays homage to his favorite Beatle for providing so much joy to the world, and we couldn’t enthusiastically support that position any more. Awesome track!
The Pretenders – The Buzz
On this new one from Hate For Sale, Chrissie Hynde channels her younger self, in a song that neatly bookends with Kid, from The Pretenders’ first Lp. If you have any connection whatsoever with her and the band, this one will put you in your happy place. More, please.
Hey! It’s The Pandoras (Burger)
The arrival of vinyl at my house is always cause for celebration. Such was the case when The Pandoras’ Hey! It’s The Pandoras! arrived. Peeling the plastic shrink-wrap off of an Lp cover always involves a bit of time travel for me. I’m immediately taken back to the mall of my youth, with $7 burning a hole in my pocket, all the way to Camelot Music.
The Pandoras are undoubtedly legendary; sometime garagey, sometimes poppy, sometimes punky, but all the time, FUN. “It’s Getting Harder All The Time” kicks things off, replete with pleading vocal by the always-great Kim Shattuck, and groovy organ by Melanie Vammen. “You Burn Me Up and Down” rocks like the bastard child of “(I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone,” with the throbbing one-two punch of Karen Basset’s bass and Hillary Burton’s drums. Teenage energy abounds with these ladies.
My fave of the set, however, is the closer, “Dark November.” As lean, mean and moody as the title might imply, it’s a change of pace that really illustrates perfectly, just how versatile this band can be. Since the passing of lead vocalist Shattuck in 2019, it’s probably safe to say that this is The Pandoras’ swan song. It’s a damn fine one.