A great magazine publishes a power pop issue. And I’m in it!
I’ve been remiss in getting the word out about this one, as working on This Is Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio‘s 30th anniversary show and finishing my long-threatened book The Greatest Record Ever Made! (Volume 1) occupied a lot of my bandwidth this month. But man, I gotta tell you about Big Stir magazine’s latest issue, which is devoted to that musical question:
IS THIS POWER POP?
This special edition of Big Stir magazine was lovingly compiled by writers/musicians/pop experts (and our pals!) John M. Borack and S.W. Lauden, and it collects a compelling batch of essays about power pop, courtesy of Borack, Lauden, Paul Myers, David Bash, Hanna Vacek, Jeff Whalen, Nadja Dee, Christina Bulbenko, David Laing, Kate Sullivan, Rex Broome, Steve Schnee, and your little old blogmaker, me. That’s good company to keep, and I’m delighted to be included as part of that janglebuzz roll call.
And it’s a wonderful read. As I was just telling Nadja Dee earlier this week, there’s enough here that I agree with and enough that I disagree with to keep it all interesting. What could be better than informed rockin’ pop fans respectfully trading opinions? Yeah, I’m really glad I’m involved with this.
Because it’s important to hear music as well as talk about music, this issue comes bundled with an exclusive CD, Power Pop For Now People, serving up shots o’ sonic bliss from Addison Love, Kevin Robertson, Danny Wilkerson, In Deed, the Pengwins, Ice Cream Hands, Lannie Flowers, the Yes It Is!, Plasticsoul, Bill Lloyd, Nick Frater, Popdudes, Sorrows, sparkle*jets u.k., the Brothers Steve, the Kariannes, the Reflectors, Librarians With Hickeys, the GoAllTheWays, and Bruce Moody. Step right up: TUNES!! Pop tunes!
I”m told the magazine is nearing a sell-out–not the first time I’ve been accused of being a sell-out–so don’t delay, order TODAY: https://www.bigstirrecords.com/magazine-apparel Looks like there may also still be some stock available on previous issues, and I have some of my ramblings in each ‘n’ every one of those, too. GO! Get more Carl! You’ll be puzzled why you did.
Here’s Big Stir’s official hype for the magazine’s power pop issue:
“Officially out now, and for the first time featuring a bonus CD enclosed within its 36 glossy full-color pages, BIG STIR MAGAZINE #6 is the issue for which you’ve all been waiting, tackling the issue you’ve all been debating. The special “Is This Power Pop?” edition is guest-edited by JOHN M. BORACK (Goldmine Magazine, Shake Some Action 2.0 : An Updated guide to the 200 Greatest Power Pop Albums 1970-2017) and S.W. LAUDEN (co-editor of Go All The Way and Go Further, the recently published Literary Appreciations of Power Pop from Rare Bird Lit). These two leading commentators on the field have assembled an eminent array of writers, thinkers and actors on the global pop rock scene to settle this burning question by approaching it from several different angles—whether tackling the debate head-on, or examining some of the individual artists, scenes and historical eras to give additional context and perspective. The specially priced, print-only magazine and CD package can be purchased exclusively at www.bigstirrecords.com/magazine-apparel and www.bigstirrecords.bandcamp.com/merch while supplies last.
“Lavishly illustrated as always by CHAMPNISS (the London-based graphic artist known for providing the distinctive sleeve art for SPYGENIUS among others), the latest issue of BIG STIR MAGAZINE is a focused departure from the previous five freewheeling installments. Between its covers are fourteen essays considering the very essence of that hotly debated genre – power pop – from a diverse variety of angles and experiences. Included is an exclusive 20-track CD featuring Borack’s picks of exemplary power pop tracks culled from the full catalogs of Big Stir Records and their partners SpyderPop Records, insuring a treat for the ears as well as the eyes and the mind.
“The list of contributing writers includes the editors as well as Paul Myers (Go All The Way, The Pulmyears Blog), Jeff Whalen (of the bands Tsar and The Brothers Steve), Hanna Vacek (of the Omaha Introvert YouTube series), David Bash (International Pop Overthrow), Carl Cafarelli (of This Is Rock ‘N’ Roll Radio and the Boppin’ Like the Hip Folks Do blog), Nadja Dee (of Hop On Power Pop), Rex Broome (Big Stir Records, The Armoires), David Laing (Grown Up Wrong! Records and Ugly Things Magazine), Steve Schnee (Discussions Magazine and his ongoing YouTube series) and Kate Sullivan (Knock Knock, L.A. Weekly,) with a heartfelt introduction from Christina Bulbenko of Big Stir Records and The Armoires.
“The included exclusive CD, Power Pop For Now People: John M. Borack’s Selections from the Big Stir and SpyderPop Records Vaults, is just what its title says and much more. Handpicked by the magazine’s co-editor, the track list features a who’s who of performers from the worldwide scene, demonstrating the hooks and harmonies that make the genre what it is as understood by one of its foremost scholars. There is the exclusive debut of a Japanese-language version of “This Is It” from Bruce Moody of power pop legends Private Numbers, and choice cuts from legends like Bill Lloyd, Sorrows, and The Pengwins (as well as separate solo outings from the Texas band’s Lannie Flowers and Danny Wilkerson). The stars of the moment shine as well, some of them covering the titans (Big Star, 20/20,) progenitors (The Hollies, The Creation) and outliers (Descendents, NRBQ) of the genre, and others offering all new tunes cut from the classic cloth. Scotland’s Kevin Robertson (The Vapour Trails), Sweden’s In Deed, Nick Frater of the UK and a plethora of American artists from coast to coast including Addison Love, Librarians With Hickeys, Sparkle*Jets UK, Plasticsoul and more make the disc a worthy appendix to the essays.
“Linking the editorial staff for this unique issue with its audio component, Borack himself appears on the drums with Popdudes and The Armoires (under their power pop guise The Yes It Is!) while Lauden, in his alter ego as Steve Coulter, pounds the skins for The Brothers Steve and The GoAllTheWays. Magazine contributors Bulbenko, Broome, and Whalen all make sonic appearances on the disc as well. Taken together with the bravura design work by Champniss and the wealth of musical perspectives on display between the covers, BIG STIR MAGAZINE #6 is not just the “next issue,” it’s more of a next step for the periodical of record for the global pop rock scene. And it’s a fascinating exploration of the eternal question, “What is power pop” that both satisfies the intellect and allows genre fans everywhere to know it, as the saying goes, when they hear it.”
So let’s hear it! And let’s READ it! Get your copy of Big Stir magazine’s epic power pop issue here.
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