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The Pretenders / Complex Person

Pop Sunday

The Weeklings / In Their Own Write

The Weeklings

In Their Own Write (JEM Records 2021)

Live albums are the next best thing to being there, especially when brought to you by a group as great as The Weeklings. Recorded on the stages of the Strand Theater in Lakewood, New Jersey and Daryl’s House in Pawling, New York, In Their Own Write truly does capture the widely adored combo in all their energetic and exciting splendor.

 Because The Weeklings are so adept at composing and playing heritage genres, you would swear on a stack of vinyl that their songs were platinum-plated hit singles from the golden age of pop rock. 
Bobbing with jingling guitars and cheery choruses, Little Tease, Don’t Know, Don’t Care and Little Elvis mimic the mop-topped Liverpool Class of 1963, where Morning, Noon And Night projects a stirring folk rock feel, accompanied by the tremor of a bluesy harmonica. 

Wrapped in rotating rhythms, surrounded by power chords  and drum drills snapping like rubber bands, In The Moment bears a potent Who presence, the chugging roll of 1,000 Miles Away rests firmly on Chuck Berry turf, and the melodic shimmer of Leave Me With My Pride would have been right at home on a Raspberries album.

No Weeklings’ gig is complete without greeting The Beatles. That said, In Their Own Write contains a pair of John Lennon and Paul McCartney covers, but rather than recycling the songs note for note, The Weeklings offer treatments that are far different from the original versions. Both The Word and Baby You’re A Rich Man are shaped of  a stately stance,  marked by weighty arrangements, a measured intensity and harmonica interludes, resulting in very unique and imaginative takes.

The Weeklings flex their stadium rock muscles to maximum momentum on the pulsing Running Away, which climaxes to a whirring jam, as well as the ultra-catchy 3, that bucks and bounces with stabbing hooks, elevated harmonies and a powerful and gritty lead vocal reminiscent of John Waite during his Babys days.

Intended to be experienced to at ear-splitting volume, In Their Own Right will have listeners clapping their hands, stomping their feet and singing along with these nifty tunes. The Weeklings have passed the audition. Here’s to a standing ovation and an encore! 


BRIGHT LIGHTS IN JAPAN: The Choosers Cover The Flashcubes

The world needs more cover versions of songs originally done by Syracuse’s own power pop powerhouse the Flashcubes. There have been a few, though not many (and not enough). A local band called Eclipse used to cover ‘Cubes bassist Gary Frenay‘s “It’s You Tonight” in live sets in the ’90s; around 1980 or so, Central New York group the James L. Cortland Band was thinking of adding ‘Cubes guitarist Paul Armstrong‘s “I’m Not The Liar” to their set lists, I was living elsewhere by then, so I don’t know if the fabulous Cortlands followed through with that plan; but I was there, at the Firebarn, when they discussed it with PA, and I can vouch for that much as true.

The highest-profile ‘Cubes cover to date was the Slapbacks‘ cool rendition of Gary’s “Make Something Happen” on the 2017 compilation album This Is Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio, Volume 4. You can read all about that here (or as part of a longer account here). While you’re at it, you can still get TIRnRR # 4 as a CD from Kool Kat Musik or as a digital download from Futureman Records. GO!!! This pop gig doesn’t pay for itself, y’know.

And now, Japan’s phenomenal pop combo the Choosers have released a video of their own minty-fresh and fabulous take on “Christi Girl,” the song that served as the Flashcubes’ first single in 1978. Written by ‘Cubes guitarist Arty Lenin, “Christi Girl” is a pure pop ballad that should be a standard by now, and it retains all of its panache in the capable hands of the Choosers. It goes a little something like this:

MORE!! More Flashcubes covers, and more from the Choosers, please. And really, shouldn’t there already be a Flashcubes tribute album by now? Get the Choosers on the phone. We should all have a special place where nobody else can go.

And then, y’know, invite everyone there anyway.


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The Toms / One Man Girl Parade

Pop Sunday

Singled Out: Mike Browning

Mike Browning

Another Bite At The Apple (Mike Drop Music 2021)

October 2020 saw the release of “Never Too Late,” an EP that introduced the world to Mike Browning. Drawing on the best and brightest pop rock sounds of mid-sixties AM radio, the  North Carolina based singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist revisited these influences with spot on precision while injecting his own notions into his superbly-scripted material. Refreshingly pure and moored with melodic perfection, “Never Too Late” registers as a modern day retro masterpiece.

Mike’s current effort, “Another Bite At The Apple” is a single that proceeds to pursue his passion for the music he so deeply loves. Leaning heavily on jogging surf styled rhythms, the springy sentiment owes further tribute to the genre in the form of Mike’s clear and concise vocals, backed by fluid harmonies. A bubblegummy carnival-like organ solo also courts the cut, as well as rolls of tightly-wired hooks and clicking guitar licks. 

Semi-autobiographical, “Another Bite At The Apple” mirrors the experience of Mike meeting and getting together with his wife, Janine, who he has been happily married to for nearly thirty-four years. Picture the Beach Boys mingling with Tommy Roe and Gary Lewis and the Playboys, and that pretty much rams the point home on this tasty slice of pop rock sure to steal your heart. 

Pop-A-Looza TV

Erasure / A Little Respect

Released as a single in September of 1988, Erasure’s A Little Respect. From the group’s Lp The Innocents, it would become an international hit, thanks, in part, to its popular MTV video.

Pop Sunday

The Eddies / Waiting

The Eddies


(Twist Records 2020 ) 

For the past couple of decades, The Eddies have been composing and performing premium grade pop rock that has deservedly drawn worldwide praise. The Orange County, California based band’s latest album – “Waiting” – proves to be another exciting audio chapter in their long-running career. As an added perk, the disc contains alternate mixes of the featured tracks.

One of the numerous nuggets heard on “Waiting” is “In The Sunshine,” which is powered by a paralyzing swirl of crushing drums, trippy patterns and reverb-soaked vocals. A stinging guitar solo subsequently highlights the intense workout.  

Grounded in an entirely different setting, “Wishing On A Star” and “Can I Be With You” are founded upon danceable rhythms, the brassy blast of a trumpet, bubbly harmonies and lashing hooks that incorporate moptopped Mod moves with swinging soul grooves into a tidy package.

A soft and silky tone is applied to the dreamy  “Hey Baby,” which is laced with Latin-flavored trumpet interludes, and  “Show Me” romps and rolls to a  new wavish pop beat, radiating with melodic merriment. 

Heightened by the classy reveries of a violin and French horn, “A Girl Like You” steps in as a sweet and tasty pop piece, and cuts such as “I’m Waiting” and “I’m In Love With You” pair ethereal textures with spare arrangements, resembling the quieter moments of Big Star

Now that “Waiting” has been discussed, it is time to meet the musicians behind the dynamic songs. Twin brothers Dean and Dale Hoth are the vocalists and also play bass and guitar respectively, while Len Curiel is the drummer and noted producer Earle Mankey is the rhythm guitarist. Hooray for The Eddies and the joy they bring us with their great tunes!

Pop-A-Looza TV

The Human League / (Keep Feeling) Fascination

Released in April of 1983, (Keep Feeling) Fascination was released by The Human League as a single. An international hit, it was quickly incorporated into a new e.p., Fascination!

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Jude Cole / Baby It’s Tonight

Pop-A-Looza TV

Ultravox / Vienna

Released as a single on January 9th, 1981, Vienna by Ultravox, from their Lp, Vienna.