THE SEARCHERS: Another Night: The Sire Recordings 1979–1981

After having numerous hits during the ’60s, the Searchers were still trying to keep fans and get new ones, but the music scene had changed a lot since their heyday. Luckily the time was ripe for short, tight pop-rock that they were good at playing. The punk/new wave scene was not looking for old guys just pretending to be part of the scene, these guys were loving the fact that they could learn a bit from the new school and mix it with their sound and fit right in. The two albums that they released were as good as many of the top stars at the time, but for some reason, they still stayed on the edge of what was happening. This collects both of their albums, plus bonus songs and proves just how good they were during this time period and what people missed out on.

“Hearts in Her Eyes” is a fantastic song that was released as a single and went nowhere sadly. “This Kind of Love Affair” is another great song that would have been a great hit, but again, the band had no luck. “No Dancing” is another song that is full of energy and sounds perfect for the times. The first album showed just how good the band was and had more than enough songs to satisfy anyone who took the time to listen to them. After the eponymous first album, second album Love’s Melodies (released as Play for Today in the UK) was even better. Moon Martin’s “She’s Made a Fool of You” is a great song that shows how good the band was. This also applies to their version of John Fogerty’s “Another Saturday Night.” These two songs are full of fun and give the listener a smile on their face and some bounce in their step. “Radio Romance” and Big Star’s “September Gurls” are another pair of songs that stand out on the album. Both discs have bonus tracks added, the first has three worthy alternate mixes, and the second has “Sick and Tired” (which was on the UK’s Play for Today but not Love’s Melodies), “Changing” (the B-side to the “Love’s Melody” single), and “Back to the War” and “Ambulance Chaser.” The booklet contains album cover artwork from the different territories, and an essay from Scott Schinder, with new interviews from the band’s John McNally and Frank Allen.

This release gives power-pop fans a great collection of songs that managed to slip away from listeners when they were first released. It shows just how good a band that was contemporaries of the Beatles could still knock out music that was every bit as good as younger bands of the time. A very worthy collection.

THE ROMANTICS: The Romantics: CD

The Romantics first album after a couple of singles and what a corker it is with a ton of catchy songs. Three of the songs from their original singles were re-recorded for this album which connected them with their past and with how they were at that point in their career.

Their first album and what an album it is…from start to finish, played like it’s the most important thing in the world, and at the time, it probably was. This was released back when radio was tired, disco was everywhere and power pop was starting to catch on because no one wanted to put out punk records, this was safer and the radio guys could get behind a poppier sound than the rough and tumble punk rockers. This kind of music wasn’t popular for long, and some bands died out quickly, (see The Knack), but thankfully a lot of this is still around and looking back, this was some damn fine music. This stuff still holds up well after all these years, this was released back in 1980 you know. You get the explosive “When I Look in Your Eyes” to start things off and what a way to start. A classic pop song that has hooks for days, the “Tell It to Carrie” comes on with its smooth sound and you know it’s going to be a great ride. There is not one bad song on this album and with all the skinny-tie bands that started with “The,” these guys and The Knack were the ones that created true classic albums. Of course hearing “What I Like About You” now doesn’t have the same excitement as it did when the album came out, but it’s still one hell of a song that gets you up and dancing, just like most of this album. It’s great to hear this album cleaned up and sounding so sharp with the remaster, giving you a chance to hear the tight musicianship of this, (at the time), young band.

You can count on getting pure enjoyment from this album from start to finish and a lot of wear and tear on your shoes from dancing so much while listening to it. Grab this album and crank it up for a great night or a fun ride in the country.

CASTALIA: How’s Life?: Download

How's Life? - Castalia

This seven track EP from this Raleigh, NC power pop / punk band is track after track of energetic songs that get stuck in your ears. Formed in 2010, this young band really comes out and gives us an album that would sound great blasting at a pool party with some cool drinks and a nice breeze gently wafting through the trees.

Every track is tightly played with a ton of energy that gets you dancing and the hooks are so great that it feels like you are at a fishing show. The pop is just enough to get things catchy, but not sugary and the punk is the nice gritty guitar playing that is cranked up and furiously played. With seven songs that go by so fast, I just put this on repeat and had a great time hearing the wicked licks that were played with power and the amazing voice of Candace O’Neal.

This is a definite keeper and you should track this one down today. I can only imagine what they are like live…probably amazing.

THE PERMS: The Aberdeen EP: CD

This trio from Winnipeg, Manitoba have put out five albums before this release and the quality is there right from the first note. They play a mix of power pop mixed with a hint of punk energy and the mix is intoxicating.

Kicking things off with “It’s Mania,” the guys really lay down the template for the rest of the EP, an upbeat and high energy rocker, the harmonizing is on-point and the band play like this is the best song that will ever be played. “Aberdeen” sports a huge sound built on layers of vocals and energetic playing with whoa-ohs adding to the thrill of the song. “The Parent Thing” is so catchy that you may need to get your shots before listening to it, everything is perfect and I could listen to this song over and over again with the WEEZER feel to it and the complete sense of fun that these guys put into it. “Walk Away” gets a bit more rock infused than the other tracks and it has a great ’60s influence that makes you think that you’re in a time warp that you don’t want to leave.

Great playing, a sense of complete fun and a love of the music makes this a small sampling that will both excite you with the talent on here, but frustrate you because of the short running time and only four songs. You need to go out and get this one as soon as possible!

THE SENSIBLES: Self-titled: 7″

s/t - 7" - 2012 cover art

From Milan, Italy, THE SENSIBLES have a terrific power-pop punch that has just the right amount of punk to give it a little bit of an edge.The self-titled EP was released by the band itself in just a short run of 300 copies, so you had better get a copy…if you still can that is.

The thing that really strikes me about this single is the crisp production that they have which makes the songs jump out at you and give you the full power of the band. The guitar playing is tight, with great riffs and solos, the bass and drums mesh together perfectly, giving you the feeling that you want to get up and dance around, and the sweet, but biting vocals from Stella remind me a bit of Clare Grogan from ALTERED IMAGES. The songs are catchy and real standouts that I loved to hear over and over again.

This band needs your support, just listen to how good they are, you need to go out and buy this and everything else from them so maybe they will come tour near me and I can sing along to these songs live. This is a keeper!

FAT STUPIDS: Self-titled: 7″

These power pop / punk guys are from Halifax, Nova Scotia and play with intensity and a ton of hooks on these five songs. You get dual vocalists and a feeling that they are having a great time playing these songs.

As soon as you start playing the first song, you are hooked! One great song after another of flawless power pop mixed with enough punk to give it a nice bite without getting too heavy-handed. These songs will make you get up and start dancing around, or at least pretending that you are a rock star with your air guitar. The little bit of a British feel to this single really gives it a feeling of an older release that you just found out about from the good old days, but this is some brand new classic music being played here.

A fantastic single that I can’t stop playing over and over again. This is the kind of stuff that keeps me digging through the stacks of singles, hoping to find a band that I can’t get enough of. One of the best singles that I’ve heard in years.



This two band, four song split single is going to be just what you’re looking for if you like power pop done right, not too sweet, and just raw enough to keep the rock edgy. These two band really are perfectly suited on this release and will get you dancing around like a lunatic.

From Portsmouth, NH comes THE CONNECTION with their two songs and they totally rock out and have that hint of sweetness, especially on “She’s Gonna Leave You” with the silky vocals and the subdued playing. “Don’t Let Me Sleep Too Long” is a fantastic fast song that will have you jumping around while listening to it. Next up is THE CRY from Portland, OR and “Discotheque” is their first song and what a dose of fun it is. Great harmonies and the guitar playing is really tight. “T.C.P.” is a cover of THE BOYS and it’s not a straight cover, it’s more poppy, but still retains the high energy of the original and is very good.

Two bands playing power pop, both doing things just a bit different, one more ’60s influenced and one more ’70s, but both killing it. A great split and a great way to hear two masters of the genre.

WARM SODA: Someone For You: LP

"Someone For You" cover art

Matthew Melton who was in the band BARE WIRES has got himself a new group and what a group it is! These four guys play some of the best power pop that I have heard ever.

There are a few nods to CHEAP TRICK, THE KNACK, THE QUICK and DWIGHT TWILLEY. You can drop the needle anywhere you want on this album and find your new favorite song because of the non-stop great songs on this release. I love the song “Jeanie Loves Pop”; it has a ton of energy, great playing and one of the catchiest choruses that I’ve heard in a long time. The band is super tight, great guitar licks thrown out left and right; strong drumming, bouncing bass and smooth vocals all made this a treat to listen to. The production is crystal clear; everything is mixed really well together giving the album the punch it needs to stick to your ears. This ballad-free twenty-eight minute, twelve song album has to be heard by you, just check out these other songs, “Violent Blue,” ” Waiting for Your Call,” “Star Gazer,” and “Only in Your Mind.”

WARM SODA is one of my favorite bands right now, this is a classic release that stands up with some of the best power pop releases, and will get played a ton at my house and you should grab it and play the hell out of it at your house too.

SAINT ALVIA: Static Psalms: CD

This band from Burlington, Ontario, next door to my hometown of Hamilton has put out a really cool album that I can’t stop listening to.

The first single “Define Me” has what I believe a sample from the movie Stripes popping up throughout the song, and is really a good pop rock song, but the album has a lot of depth to it. You have aspects of some 60s / 70s music, some power pop, and a touch of classic rock and a bit of punk to make what should be a horrific mess, but is an album that I love and works so well all together. There is a lot of melody on here, great singing, and the band really can play, they are tight, show a ton of skill at their craft and make this a great listening experience. The great job on the production just adds to the clean sound of this album. There are thirteen songs on here and not one is out-of-place, everything flows and the more that you listen to it, the more you will be drawn in by them.

I really can’t say more except go out and get this, it’s great! Sorry to steal that Tony the Tiger…lol.

IMPO & THE TENTS: Pop Secret: 7″

I love this! These three guys from Stockholm, Sweden play great pop punk mixed with power pop that brings back memories of the great band the DICKIES with the mutual use of organ, bouncy guitar lines and great, crazed vocals.

I’ve heard a few other releases from this great Swedish band and they just keep getting better and more fun. These four songs just jump out at you with the energy of an exploding sun and start making the smile come out on my face, and then the head starts bobbing, the feet start tapping, then it’s all out chaos of jumping around the room like a lunatic. Yes, they’re that good! It’s hard to believe how many pop punk bands get this wrong and end up in the BLINK 182 junk wagon, instead of taking the lead from the DICKIES and having fun like these guys. The songs on this single are Pop Secret, Worthless Love, Nag, and I Don´t Care (What Happens To Me Now) and everyone is a classic!

They’ve been around since 2009 and now I must have all of their music…damn Swedes! I played this for my wife and she loved it too. I can’t give a better review than her approval.