Categories
Got Any Singles? Quick Spins

The Vapour Trails / Taylor Swift / Dolph Chaney / Katrina

The Vapor Trails

That’ll Do It (Futureman)

https://futuremanrecords.bandcamp.com/album/underneath-tomorrow

That’ll Do It is one of seven swell songs from The Vapor Trails’ latest E.P., Underneath Tomorrow

The follow-up to last year’s brilliant full-length Golden Sunshine, it’s brimming with enough hooks to legally label the whole darn thing as a legit ear worm.

That’ll Do It evokes a mid 1960’s Carnaby Street vibe, with a dash of Boyce and Hart for good measure. Beginning with a twist on the classic Paperback Writer riff, this one combines youthful lead vocals and harmonies that pull you in, sounding both fresh and familiar at the same time. A gritty, biting solo tempers the tasty pop leaning of the track, before the listener is lured into the last few bars with echoey harmonica. This is everything pop music should be.

Taylor Swift

Willow (Republic)

https://www.amazon.com/evermore-Taylor-Swift/dp/

A lot of musicians took the energy usually reserved for touring, and channeled it into the recording studio. Taylor Swift released Evermore last December, a more introspective, acoustic release, in contrast to the pop sounds of Lover.

Willow is a nifty single, and finds Swift exploring a folkish path that Mandy Moore and creative partner Mike Viola have been mining for several years now. I like the way that Swift switches gears here, and Willow is one of her best. With a slightly-Latin lilt and more than a couple of hooks, I can hear this track being covered by a variety of artists.

Dolph Chaney

Now I Am A Man (Big Stir)

https://bigstirrecords.bandcamp.com/album/this-is-dolph-chaney

We’ve only got one so far, from Dolph Chaney’s upcoming This Is Dolph Chaney release on Big Stir, and it’s a dilly. Chaney channels prime Matthew Sweet on this selection, complete with the bone-crushing guitars of Sick Of Myself. Big drums propel the whole she-bang, leaving no doubt that power pop is not only alive and kicking, but still capable of a Chuck-Norris-style roundhouse.

Though this is the only track currently available, you can pre-order the full album for digital download or on compact disc. Que bueno!

Katrina

Holiday (Music Manager)

Home – Hearts Loves & Babys – Katrina from Katrina & The Waves

From the instantly-likable Hearts, Loves & Babys, Holiday is a diamond among…well, other diamonds. This is an anthemic fist-pumper, which reminds me a bit of Slade’s Run Runaway. With a galloping rhythm that just makes you feel energized, it also shows that Ms. Leskanich hasn’t lost a bit of those famous pipes.

While Holiday has been ricocheting around in my brain this week, I’d be remiss if I didn’t try to get you to pull the trigger on the full Lp. I believe if you order a physical copy, she’s including an autographed 8×10 as well. Go.

By Dan Pavelich

Categories
Got Any Singles? Quick Spins

Dan Pavelich’s 1st Annual Means-nothing Awards

Please note: These awards mean nothing beyond the fact that I like what the recipients did. There were tons of albums, songs and videos that I never heard or saw. 2020 was a shitty year in general, but an extraordinary one for great independent music. It would have been impossible to acknowledge or consume all of it.

DP

Coolest Release of the Year

Michael Slawter & The Pleased To Meet Me’s – Dear Bastards (Flexidisc)

Record of the Year

Marshall Holland – Paper Airplane

Song of the Year

The Vapour Trails – Lonely Man

Best Vinyl Releases (Tie)

Maurice & The Stiff Sisters – Welcome To Love

Gretchen’s Wheel – Such Open Sky

Best Cassette Release

Dw Dunphy – Test Test Test

Top Ten Singles of the Year  (In no particular order)

Ken Sharp – Girl

Ed Ryan – Even Time

Nick Frater – Let’s Hear It For Love

Tenderhooks – 20-20 Vision

More Animal – I Won’t Forgive You

The Empty Hearts – Coat-tailer

Katrina – Drive

Mike Daly & The Planets – This Is My Life

Coke Bela – Thank You, Paul

The Pretenders – The Buzz

Top Ten Long Players of the Year (In no particular order)

The Well Wishers – Shelf Life

Katrina – Hearts, Loves and Babys

honeychain – Pocketful of Good Luck

Tom Curless and The 46% – Almost Ready For The Future

Bill Lloyd – Don’t Kill The Messenger

It’s Karma It’s Kool – Woke Up In Hollywood

Nick Piunti and The Complicated Men – Downtime

Pop Co-Op – Factory Settings

Gary Ritchie – Head On Swivel

The Toms – The 1979 Sessions

Music Video of the Year

Tiny Bit Of Giant’s Blood – Girl Over Here

Best Children’s/Family Releases (In no particular order)

Lindsay Munroe – I Am Kind

Rena Strober & Friends – Imagine That

Red Yarn – Backyard Bop

Flor Bromley – Fiesta Global

Diana Panton – A Cheerful Little Earful

Congrats to all of the winners!

Categories
Quick Spins

Lindsay Munroe, Katrina Leskanich, and honeychain, Reviewed

Lindsay Munroe

I Am Kind

Lindsaymunroemusic.com

From Munroe’s website; Lindsay Munroe is a multi-instrumentalist, singer, songwriter and mother of three who lives in Massachusetts. She likes to bake, loves bird watching and does some crotchet in her spare time. In 2018 Lindsay followed her passion and began doing singalongs for kids. Her lively, engaging singalongs brought joy to kids and parents all around New England and many more enjoyed her YouTube channel “Singalong with Lindsay.”

While that description might also be similar to that of her peers, it says little of the sincerity and warmth that Munroe possesses. I Am Kind, a duet with Raffi, begins a parade of sixteen tunes, each touching in their own way. Munroe’s crystalline voice is stunningly pitch-perfect and bell-like, which elevates these already-buoyant tunes to another level. There is also a subtle theme working through this material, that everyone has moments when they feel like an oddball, which is a message that any human being can take to heart. Highly recommended.

Katrina (of Katrina and The Waves)

Hearts, Loves & Babys

Katrinasweb.com

Katrina Leskanich sounds rejuvenated on her latest, Hearts, Loves & Babys, which is arguably one of the strongest releases of her career. Much like 1989’s Break Of Hearts Lp,  this one covers a lot of bases and shows the many moods that Leskanich is able to elicit.

The lead vocals are powerful and spot-on, having lost absolutely nothing over the years. The first two singles to be released, Drive and I Want To Love Again, are sure-fire hits in any decade, the demise of terrestrial radio notwithstanding.  These are big songs just made for highway driving with the windows rolled down. Other moments, like the sweet Who We Are and the cover of I Can’t Give You Anything But Love, are equally as lovable. Bravo.

honeychain

Pocket Full of Good Luck

honeychainmusic.com

Regular readers of this column already know that the staff here at Pop-A-Looza HQ is enamored of this Los Angeles trio. Frontwoman Hillary Burton is a skilled writer, blending pop sweetness with punk-inspired attack. You’ve got to be inventive in a trio setting, and thankfully, honeychain is more than up to the task of supplying the listener with variety.

Spaceman, an aural bungee jump, brings muscular guitar and drums for miles, with a chorus that Liz Phair would die for. Flee Los Angeles slinks and grinds equally, conjuring up images of anti-culture heroes causing apocalyptic trouble, while Wrong Side Of Town blends a power pop chorus with skanking verses. The pretty, acoustic Late Night Movie Show closes out the proceedings, leaving only the anticipation of where honeychain will go next. Pocket Full of Good Luck is guaranteed to be on many year-end-best lists.

By Dan Pavelich

Categories
Got Any Singles? Quick Spins

Got Any Singles? Gretchen’s Wheel / Marshall Holland / Katrina

Gretchen’s Wheel/You Should Know 

Gretchen’s Wheel is a well-established favorite here at Pop-A-Looza HQ. On You Should Know, a preview track from the upcoming Lp, Such Open Sky, we get a crunchy bit of pop that would feel at home on a Fountains Of Wayne long-player. While we await the official release, we’re content to spin this track over and over. And over. And over.

Marshall Holland/When The Rain Comes

From one of the best Lp’s of 2020 (Paper Airplane), When The Rain Comes, by Marshall Holland. It’s a nifty, buoyant little number that feels like a dream collab between Tom Petty and Beck. Holland’s always-earnest vocals lushly surround the chorus hook that your ears have been searching for. The rest of Paper Airplane is just as wonderful.

Katrina/Drive

Yes, THAT Katrina! She’s still walking on sunshine, with her swell new single, Drive. Her voice is in great shape, and this rockin’ single is a must-have for your summer (what’s left of it) soundtrack. Our staff loves this tune, and you will, too!

Dan Pavelich

Categories
Pop-A-Looza TV

Katrina / Drive

Brand new music from Katrina Leskanich, formerly of Katrina and The Waves! It’s a nice little power pop number called Drive!

Categories
Pop-A-Looza TV

Katrina & The Waves / That’s The Way

Post new wave, pre grunge, this first-rate pop song by Katrina and The Waves was lost in the shuffle. From their 1989 Lp, Break Of Hearts, this single should’ve been huge, along with its counterpart, Rock N’ Roll Girl. It rose to the #16 position in the United States, but struggled elsewhere.

Categories
Video of The Day

Walking On Sunshine!

Yep, it’s been in a million movies and commercials, and a lot of people are sick of it. Not me. I still love the song, I still love the video. I remember hearing it on the radio and how much I loved it. It sounded like the 60’s, just when everything else was sounding so much like the 80’s. I went to my local record store and bought the single the very next day.

D.P.