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Pop Sunday

50th Anniversary Tribute To Todd Rundgren, Someone / Anyone?

Various Artists

50 Anniversary Tribute To Todd Rundgren

https://toddtribute.bandcamp.com/album/someone-anyone-the-50th-anniversary-tribute-to-something-anything

To commemorate the half century anniversary of Todd Rundgren’s revolutionary double album – Something/Anything? – noted multi-diversified musician Fernando Permado rounded up a circle of talented friends to assist in the celebration. Cleverly dubbed Someone/Anyone?, the two-disc collection will be released February 1, 2022, which marks fifty years to the day Something/Anything? was issued. 

Not only does the record feature inspired versions of the songs we know and love so well, but the project is for a good cause, as all net profits will go to Todd’s Spirit Of Harmony Foundation, a charity that supports musical education.

A genre-bending masterstroke, Something/Anything? awarded Todd major league status, whose far-reaching influence resonates decades on. The twenty-five tracks on Someone/Anyone? are sequenced in the exact same order as the original album. 

Fernando joins forces with Jordan Rudess of Dream Theater on Breathless, an enchanting instrumental rife with compelling synthesizer lines and snagging riffs. High on energy and imagination, the cut keenly slips into jazz fusion territory at times. 

Kasim Sulton from Todd’s Utopia band reprises The Night The Carousel Burned Down, which is pronounced by majestic piano arrangements and  spiked with a swell of sweeping guitars and crashing drums, where Louise Goffin turns in a superb performance via I Saw The Light that spangles and sparkles with blissful melodies. 

A pinch of soul, compounded by sprinklings of a frilly falsetto, frame Ken Sharp’s excellent and impassioned cover of It Wouldn’t Have Made Any Difference, while the sounds of soul, backed by honey-scented harmonies, are further amplified on the rich and robust Saving Grace from Victor Wainwright and the Wildroots

On the funky front, there’s John Powhida International Airport’s take of Slut, and Marshall Crenshaw’s rendition of Couldn’t I Just Tell You serves as a sweetened slice of gold standard power pop. 

Brent Bourgeois checks in with the shimmery top five hit  Hello It’s Me, and Van Duren’s Torch Song is a sparsely-structured piano-led ballad illuminated by ringing chords and emotionally-gripping vocals. Other select entries include You Left Me Sore by the Intoxicats, Secret Society’s Dust In The Wind and Black Maria from the star-studded trio of Stan Lynch (Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers), Rob Bonfiglio (Wanderlust, solo artist) and Stephen Dees (Todd Rundgren, Hall & Oates, Novo Combo, the Bandeees). 

A spellbinding sprawl of styles and moods, Someone/Anyone? may be a lot to inhale, but that’s the beauty and magic of album, which has been revamped with utmost dignity and respect. Todd himself approved of the package, so that alone tells you how great these tunes are. 

Ken Sharp’s ‘Miniatures,’ Album Of The Year

Every year, one record has stands out as being far-and-away my favorite. There is a combination of elements that each year’s favorite seems to have in common. First, the cover art pull me in, either through an interesting graphic or particularly emotive color. Secondly, the songs, one after another, draw me in to view the artist’s complete, long-play vision. Last year, that record was Marshall Holland’s extraordinary Lp, Paper Airplane. This year, that distinction is most happily given to Ken Sharp, for his Miniatures Lp.

While Sharp is well-known in pop circles (his name has a perfect pop ring to it) his music was unknown to me, until fairly recently. The artwork for his 2020 single, Girl b/w Forget That Girl, jumped out at me. “TWO Monkees’ covers?” I remember thinking, “you, sir, have my attention.” Both were high-quality turns, owing equal parts to The Pre-fab Four’s arrangements and instrumentation, and Sharp’s own excellent, retro expressions. I was officially a fan.

Next came Sharp’s brilliant Miniatures Lp. With a cover brimming with Rankin/Bass-inspired art, I knew I had to order up. While I’m often afforded promotional copies to do these reviews, I instinctively knew, that this release warranted me plunking down my own money on the vinyl. I would not be disappointed. When it arrived with a full-color insert and on transparent vinyl, I was thrilled!

Now, the music…

There are 32 tracks here, some that don’t even break the minute mark. That isn’t to say that these are unfinished bits yet to become something more, they exist as potent short sentences, instead of more lengthy paragraphs. In presenting his songs in this manner, the Lp plays like the listener is getting a peak into the inner dialog we all have with ourselves, 24/7, though here we are, in Sharp’s head.

Susannah Silently Shining has been heard on numerous radio shows, and it’s a good snapshot of the project as a whole. A  fifty-two-second ode to pure, natural beauty, it’s sweetness flows like musical honey. Humble and to the point, as all these tracks are, it eases you toward the next daisy in the chain.

Lorelei reveals itself as a piano ballad in the classic tradition of McCartney’s For No One, albeit with a bit more drive. Sharp keeps the instrumentation simple throughout, which certainly gives the whole project a Fab vibe, though, that influence never gets in the way of his own style. You’ll hear piano, acoustic guitar and accents of mellotron, even as everything sounds crisp, contemporary and vibrant.

One of my favorites on this disc is the peppy Something’s Happening, which unfolds like the theme song to a great lost sitcom by Sid and Marty Krofft, in the very best way. I would hazard a guess that Sharp grew up on shows like The Bugaloos and the trippy Lidsville. A lot of these tunes have a definite visual element to them, which I find to be to their benefit.

Please consider taking a Listen to Miniatures, which I’m more than happy to proclaim, my pick for Album Of The Year, 2021.

By Dan Pavelich

https://kensharp.bandcamp.com/

http://www.ken-sharp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/KenSharpMusic

Categories
Got Any Singles? Quick Spins

Harmonica Pocket, The Well Wishers and Ken Sharp

Harmonica Pocket

One Two I Love You

https://harmonicapocket.bandcamp.com/

There’s nothing better in music than a song that lifts the spirits, and, boy, does this song do that. Written by head harmonica man Keeth Apgar and his son, it’s the musical equivalent of a big red balloon, or a sunny afternoon. Now that it’s carpool season again, we’re betting that this one will definitely start your family’s day off on a positive note.

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The Well Wishers

Wonderful Life

https://thewellwishers.bandcamp.com/album/wonderful-life

Not only is this buoyant slab of power pop a real go-getter, it’s a charity single benefitting the California Community Foundation’s Wildlife Relief Fund. Considering the horrendous wildfires that have been consuming the western United States the past few years, it certainly is a worthwhile cause. Two tracks for $1.

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Ken Sharp

This Kiss

https://kensharp.bandcamp.com/track/this-kiss

Until we get around to doing a full-length review of Ken Sharp’s latest Lp, Miniatures, we highly recommend that you give this cool track a spin. Sharp strikes us as being from the Brill Building school of songwriting. In fact, you can almost hear this tune being sung by Davy Jones or The Ronettes. Top-notch stuff.

By Staff

Categories
Pop-A-Looza TV

Ken Sharp / Susannah Silently Shining

Here at Pop-A-Looza HQ, we’re enjoying the heck out of the latest Lp from Ken Sharp, Miniatures. One of our favorites tracks, Susannah Silently Shining, is also a nifty video. This release is guaranteed to be on our year-end-best list, and we think if you give it a listen, it’ll be on yours, too.

https://kensharp.bandcamp.com/album/miniatures

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

Ken Sharp/Girl

Ken Sharp

Girl b/w Forget That Girl (Jetfighter)

kensharp.bandcamp.com

What’s not to love about this digital single? Benefitting The Davy Jones Equine Memorial Foundation, it features two songs that the man himself sang, “Girl,” which was a solo single featured on an episode of The Brady Bunch, and “Forget That Girl,” a swell Monkees’ track from their Headquarters Lp.

Sharp’s heart is clearly in the right place, and the joy is palpable in every note of these two “Davy” numbers. They’re just plain fun to listen to, and can’t we all use a bit of fun these days? More, please!

D.P.