Monday, February 28, 2011
Only one more compilation in the Power Pop Explosion series left after today, but remember: I promised five discs worth of PP goodness. There's a special bonus compilation which will make its appearance in approximately two weeks. I've also got one or two more Power Pop surprises up my sleeve, so keep stopping by-- I might just make 2011 the year of Power Pop here at Burn and Shine, who knows?
As for today's volume, it might be my favorite of the bunch. Again, I wish I could go on and on about how great Arizona's Blue Shoes or England's Prisoners are, or all of the bands in between. I just don't have time. I would, however, like to single out the Vertebrats from Champaign-Urbana, Illinois. I first heard "Left in the Dark" about 15 years ago, when I found the compilaition Destination Bomp! in the used bin at one of my favorite record stores. Judging by the $40+ price tag on that used copy at Amazon, I'm guessing this baby is out of print :(
I don't know exactly when it happened, but at some point, LitD just knocked me out. It is probably their most well known song, mainly due to its inclusion on that Bomp! compilation, but I just couldn't resist putting it on PPE! It's one of those songs, that is the best song ever whenever it pops up on my iPod. It's the kind of song that never wears out its welcome, and always leaves me wanting more. In short, it is perfect. If you've never heard it, you're in for a treat. If you know it well, then you won't mind hearing it again-- I'm sure.
Power Pop Explosion! 1980-1983: Vol. 3
01. Blue Shoes, "Someone Like You" 
02. Dogs (France), "Never Come Back" 
03. The Lambrettas, "Da-a-ance" 
04. Rockpile, "Now and Always" 
05. Shane Champagne, "Lonely Next to You" 
06. The Bongos, "The Bulrushes" 
07. The Rings, "Who's She Dancin' With"
08. James Freud & the Radio Stars, "Modern Girl" 
09. Tommy Tutone, "Why Baby Why" 
10. The Vertebrats, "Left in the Dark" 
11. The Speedies, "Something on My Mind" 
12. Matt Finish, "Layman's Day" 
13. Let's Active, "Make Up With Me" 
14. Kimberly Rew, "Stomping All Over the World" 
15. Boyfriends, "Wrapped Up in a Dream" 
16. The Allies, "Emma Peel" 
17. Tommy Keene, "Another Night at Home" 
18. The Spongetones, "Tell Me Too" 
19. The Sunnyboys, "You Need a Friend" 
20. Cheepskates, "Run Better Run" 
21. Comateens, "Late Night City" 
22. Beat Rodeo, "What's the Matter" 
23. Donnie Iris, "Agnes" 
24. The Pinkees, "I'll Be There" 
25. The Prisoners, "There Can't Be a Place" 
Total Time: 1:15:44
Download it here: Power Pop Explosion! 1980-1983: Vol. 3
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Old Business: My "Most Important Power Pop Band of the '80s" poll closed last week. Pretty good voter turnout with 46 of you taking a moment to voice your opinion. Cheap Trick ended up edging the Plimsouls 13 votes to 11. Even though their best work was behind them, the Trick were certainly the most high profile act working consistently in the genre. We can all forgive them for "The Flame" (some of you might even secretly like that one) and the utterly forgettable album The Doctor. The Plimsouls were great, but in the end that appearance in the movie Valley Girl, wasn't quite as earth shattering as it should have been. I was pleasantly surprised to see Marshall Crenshaw receive a few votes after getting none the first week of the poll. He ended up in a very respectable third place. Again, I'd like to apologize to Tommy Keene for leaving him off the list. I presume that had he been on the poll, he would have garnered more than his one write-in vote.
I hope everyone participates in the new poll. This week's question centers on one of the artists on PPEV2: the Producers. The reason I've picked the Producers, is that I don't hear much about them among the Power Pop glitterati. Their two initial albums have been mostly unavailable for the last twenty or so years. Their biggest hit in the U.S., "She Sheila" was all over MTV in 1982 and may have been the first time I ever witnessed a Keytar (really, I think this is just a keyboard with a guitar strap):
I don't know exactly where I stand on the Producers question, but I do know that the track I picked, "What's He Got", has been popping into my head at random times for the past 30 years. That's worth something, idn'it?
Wish I could tell you all about the other 24 artists on this volume, but I just don't have the time. Besides, I wouldn't tell you anything you couldn't look up yourself via Alta Vista.
Power Pop Explosion! 1980-1983: Vol. 2
01. The Swingers, “Counting the Beat” 
02. Any Trouble, “Yesterday’s Love” 
03. The Sidewalks, “Rhythm Kids” 
04. Modernettes, “Barbra” 
05. The Action (U.S.), “She’s Got My Heart” 
06. The Innocents, “Sooner or Later” 
07. Dirty Looks, “You Can’t Love Me” 
08. The Producers, “What’s He Got” 
09. Secret Affair, “I’m a Bullet” 
10. The Chords, “Maybe Tomorrow” 
11. Squire, “Take a Look” 
12. The Rockers, “Don’t Leave Me Tonight” 
13. Code Blue, “Modern Times” 
14. The Ejectors, “Fade With the Summer” 
15. The dB’s, “Black and White” 
16. Fleshtones, “I’ve Gotta Change My Life” 
17. Crash Street Kids, “Mystery Girl” 
18. Berrys, “The Little Things” 
19. The Windbreakers, “I Never Thought” 
20. Richard Barone & James Mastro, “I’ve Got a Secret” 
21. The Blades, “Hot for You” 
22. Taxi Boys, “Bad to Worse” 
23. Rattlecats, “Back to Life” 
24. The Smart Remarks, “Mary’s Got Her Eye on Me” 
25. Utopia, “Say Yeah” 
Total Time: 1:10:46
Download it here: Power Pop Explosion! 1980-1983: Vol. 2
Sunday, February 13, 2011
Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! What better way to celebrate than to listen to some Power Pop? I suggest that if you want to make your Valentine happy, then you should burn a copy of today’s playlist and give it to them. They will surely be grateful, and if they’re not, you should look for a new partner! But seriously, today I get to tackle my favorite Rock & Roll genre, and, perhaps my favorite decade of music. Actually, I think my favorite decade is 1976-1985, but I digress.
You may be asking yourself, “Why 1980-1983?” Great question. I’ve got a couple of reasons. The main reason is the sheer volume of artists that were making great Power Pop records in the 80s. When I started sorting the stuff I had, I quickly realized I needed to do the decade in sections. When the decade began, there really was sort of an explosion of Power Pop bands getting signed to record contracts.
This “Power Pop Explosion” probably started in 1978, but it was very much still in full swing by 1980. In the U.S., bands like the Cars, Cheap Trick, Blondie and the Knack were moving a lot of units. In the U.K., Elvis Costello, the Jam, Squeeze and Joe Jackson were doing quite well too. Success breeds imitation, so there were a lot of bands playing jangly guitars, singing three-part harmonies, and wearing their heart on their sleeves.
Another reason I picked 1983 as the cut-off has more to do with another series here at Burn and Shine. I started doing 25-year anniversary compilations in 2008. So the first year in that series was 1984. While I do intend to finish the decade at some point, I wanted to give these years the spotlight here.
As usual, I’ve tried to stay away from some of the most well known songs from the era. There are a lot of great Power Pop Compilations out there and I tried to stay away from the songs that come up again and again. In most cases, when a band or artist is well known, I’ve tried to choose a song from their catalog that is maybe slightly off the beaten path. For instance on today’s compilation, I chose the Cars’ “Don’t Go To Pieces” which was a b-side to their “Gimme Some Slack” single. Of course, I also chose Squeeze’s “Is That Love?” which made it into the Top 40 in the U.K., so I’m not afraid to throw in a bona fide classic! By the way, today’s compilation is made up entirely of artists who featured in the Birth of Power Pop Series. I almost subtitled this one, “The Returning Starters”, but then I couldn’t come up with subtitles for the other three comps, so I just went with the very boring “Vol. 1”. I won’t be doing the track-by-track commentaries this time, but if you have any questions about any of the songs, please fill free to ask me in the comments.
Power Pop Explosion! 1980-1983: Vol. 1
01. Paul Collins Beat, "All Over the World" 
02. Scientists, "Last Night" 
03. The Distractions, "Boys Cry"
04. The Fans, "You Don't Live Here Anymore" 
05. The Searchers, "Changing" 
06. 20/20, "Nuclear Boy" 
07. Squeeze, "Is That Love?" 
08. The Barracudas, "I Can't Pretend" 
09. Bram Tchaikovsky, "Missfortune" 
10. The Ramones, "I Need Your Love" 
11. The Romantics, "Forever Yours" 
12. Elvis Costello, "I Stand Accused" 
13. Cheap Trick, "I Can't Take It" 
14. Dave Edmunds, "Other Guys Girls" 
15. Nick Lowe, "My Heart Hurts" 
16. Dwight Twilley, "I'm Back Again" 
17. The Knack, "Just Wait and See" 
18. Shoes, "Only in My Sleep" 
19. The Pointed Sticks, "Part of the Noise" 
20. The Records, "Not So Much the Time" 
21. The Jam, "Man in the Corner Shop" 
22. Badfinger, "Because I Love You" 
23. The Cars, "Don't Go To Pieces" 
24. Secrets*, "Shy Around Girls" 
25. The Yachts, "A Fool Like You" 
Total Time: 1:17:00
Download it here: Power Pop Explosion! 1980-1983: Vol. 1
Not sure what is going on with Divshare, but until it gets resolved here is another link for this PPEV1: Megaupload
Friday, February 11, 2011
Okay folks, I'm currently putting the finishing touches on my upcoming Power Pop Series, which is now officially titled, Power Pop Explosion! 1980-1983. Big thanks to Ralph Dibney for the suggestion on the title and artwork. I plan to have my first installment ready by Valentine's Day. I currently am projecting this to be a four-part set, and I'm also planning a bonus disc (that's five volumes with 125 Power Pop gems). I'll post one new compilation per week-- generally by Tuesday, but check back early and often. Any help spreading the word for this would be great, so if you have a blog or Twitter account, I'd appreciate a shout.
Also, if you have not yet voted in the poll in the top-right corner, there are still a few days left. Currently, the Plimsouls and Cheap Trick are in the lead. Here are some videos of the four nominees who have yet to receive a vote:
Wednesday, February 2, 2011
Currently working on a companion series to my Birth of Power Pop compilations. I've decided to only tackle the years 1980-1983. I need a title, as the Adolescence of Power Pop (working title) is not doing it for me. Please, suggest away in the comment field. Hopefully, I'll have the first volume up within the next week or so. Also, if anyone would like to come up with some artwork (T. Remley? Sherri?) let me know, as I am super busy and don't have time to come up with anything on my own.
In the meantime, here's a video of one of the tracks that I'm certain will make the cut: