A power pop record of the year 2009? Well that’s too early to say, but this really is a wonderful pop record. Tinded Windows is obviously the new band where pop legends Adam Schlesinger, James Iha and Bun E. Carlos have joined forces with Taylor Hanson. Self-titled debut has been out now for few weeks and it’s getting rather mixed reviews. For me it’s hard to understand why popmatters gave this 2 out of 10 and said it might be the worst release of the year so far. Heck, if this high energy pop blast is the worst of the year, it must be one hell of a year. Sure this might be just whole lot of fun packed into simple, energic pop songs about the girls they either have, have lost or are only dreaming about, but exactly when did that become a bad thing. For example Messing With My Head is just one gorgeous pop song with a real killer chorus. Where’s that Taylor Hanson fansite? I wanna join in. Oh, and when mentioning James Iha every self-respecting pop snob has to say that James Iha’s solo debut Let It Come Down is a fantastic album (for example better than anything The Smashing Pumpkins ever did, not that I have anything against Smashing Pumpkins) and please James make another solo album.
Tinted Windows website
Tinted Windows at myspace
And then something completely different. After being entertained by Tinted Windows, it’s time to let Alela Diane’s amazing voice carry you into the most beautiful surroundings. Be still and be captivated. Alela Diane is a true great among folk artists. She has found some masterful way to make this highly artistic music be so easily accessible. As you well know, I’m a rather simple boy (that Tinted Windows praising being a good example) and my problem with folk chanteusses often is that eventhough I appreciate the artistic value of it, I just find myself getting bored in the long run. Joanna Newsom is a prime example. As much as I would like to love her, I just have to admit that I don’t. But Alela Diane. I love her. That acoustic beauty of the songs. Those amazing vocal melodies. Like hugs wrapped around your heart. To Be Still. Alela Diane. An incredible album.
Alela Diane at myspace
A few hours after writing that previous entry about those two australian pop bands, I stumbled upon the website of The Lost and Lonesome Recording Co and some sad news from the australian pop front hit my heart. The Lucksmiths have decided to break up next fall after a farewell tour.
They’ve been around for a long time and done more than their share in the holy quest of filling the world with perfect pop songs. They can fully enjoy their retirement after such a career, but it’s still hard not to feel sad when we lose one of the most consistent performers in the pop field. None of their records failed to deliver and they were always on the top of their game. Now they are ready to enter the indie pop hall of fame (or should I say hall of no fame but an incredible amount of wonderful pop songs) and I’m ready to take a game misconduct for using hockey jargon in an entry dedicated to the legendary australian pop group The Lucksmiths. Shame on me. I’ll leave you with one of my own favourite The Lucksmith songs Untidy Towns.
The Lucksmiths website
Thursday will be an exciting day in Turku. First, Inter-TPS football derby at Kupittaa and then two great australian pop bands hit the stage at Dynamo. I really loved Crayon Fields’s debut album Animal Bells back in 2006. I gave it 4 1/2 hearts back then and it appeared as #11 on albums of the year 2006 list. So I’m definitely excited about this concert. The fact that their new songs might be even greater does not exactly make my expectations lower. This is wonderful dreamy and sugary pop music. In my Animal Bells review I apparently jumped to the feared namedropping mode and threw in names like The Heavy Blinkers, Ashley Park, High Llamas, The Zombies, The Beach Boys, Harry Nillsson. Was I getting carried away. Maybe, but a bad reviewer like yours truly just couldn’t find a way to describe Geoff O’Connor’s greatness. Years haven’t made me a better reviewer, but Geoff has gotten even better as a songwriter. Here’s a new song:
Crayon Fields at myspace
The Motifs is also an excellent group if you happen to like sweet indie pop like Pipas, The Softies etc and I definitely do. I’m really looking forward to thursday.
The Motifs at myspace
Tonight’s love affair is Blue. I noticed a bunch of their records at the front page of notlame.com with some extremely monstrously high praises from Bruce Brodeen. As usual, Bruce was right and this is truly wonderful scottish pop music from the seventies. Pure melodic bliss and vocal heaven in the vein of Badfinger. I don’t know how have I managed to miss them before, but thankfully I now did notice them. Unfortunately the debut is already out of stock at Not Lame and the store at NB music doesn’t seem to work either at the moment. Therefore I have to settle for these youtube videos like these below for the time being.
Other than that, I today bought The Munsons album from 8raita and I’m really loving it. They’ve really recorded a killer version of ZZ TOP’s Rough Boy. You’ve got to love that one. But it’s not just that one song, the record is full of fabulous rootsy music. Anyway, I’ll get back to them later. If you are impatient, you’ll find their myspace here. However, a word of warning is in order. After visiting that link, you also might need to visit a record store.
It’s time for a nostalgic trip to Stockholm. Farkkujanne has done a good deed by adding some Big White Monkees classics to youtube. My favourite song by them was always Stockholm. Maybe it’s just a nice little tune, but I’ve always loved it and it still recalls lots of good memories like audiences trying to force Saku to play Stockholm as an encore (thankfully he usually did end up playing it).
Anyway, back then I was always excited about my trips to Turku and several times a year I travelled to Turku just to see bands like Big White Monkees, Bridget, Ben’s Diapers, Since November, Hundred Million Martians, Boomhauer play live. A lot has happened since and nowadays I live in Turku and often find myself pondering whether I have the energy to walk 15 minutes to Dynamo to see a good pop band play a concert. Listening to Stockholm now and recalling all those fine moments I spent at various places in Turku makes me want to shout to myself that “get a grip man/boy/whatever and drag your lazy ass to those concerts that fine people organize. It’s what you love and it’s what you want to support. Heck, you used to travel 7 hours in a train to see one great pop concert and now you can’t walk 15 bloody minutes”. Anyway. Here it is. Big White Monkees and Stockholm. A song that would definitely make the list, if I had to choose ten songs that are dearest to me.
There’s also other great Big White Monkees songs at youtube:
Falling From The Ride
I’ve known this french band Cheap Star for some years, because of their The Posies connections, but only found out today that they’ve released an album a couple of months ago. It’s called Speaking Like an Elephant and half of it was produced by Jon Auer and the other half was produced by Ken Stringfellow. So The Posies connections are still there and it’s certainly not a bad thing, because for me The Posies is the greatest band ever. Still just the fact it was produced by Ken & Jon wouldn’t make one love them if the songs weren’t as great as they are. Okay, so far I’ve only heard these four songs that are on their myspace, but based on those I really like them and will order the album tonight.
This is definitely my kind of music and brings back the golden age of music. Because for me this dearest era and golden age of music is the 90’s power pop, guitar pop, indie rock etc. The stuff finnish indie freaks heard on Räkärodeo and fell in love with it. There’s a lot of that The Lemonheads, TFC, The Posies thing going on in here. Wonderful melodic guitar pop with beautiful mellow harmonies. The title track on the other hand sounds almost exactly like the great Guided By Voices. I’m definitely hooked and convinced enough to order the album.