After a departure from my review of LA's IPO Festival, I'm back to looking at the bands I would have liked to have seen if I had gone. I had initially intended to do an extensive overview of all the artists that really impressed me. However, as a result of checking out so many bands, I have decided to take a different approach this time. I imagined if I was a DJ/Producer showcasing the festival on a little college station that these are the tracks I'd single out for my radio show.
All of these bands are from California with the exception of the Armchair Oracles who are from Norway.
We Go On - Galaxies Everything that a great powerpop song should be; it grabs you from the very moment it starts and doesn't let you go until the end. In fact the entire CD Here We Go is highly recommended as like a brimming jewelry box, every song reveals another surprise gem.
You'd Rather Be - Service Group Has that soft gentle appeal that reminds those of us with long memories of classic 'Shoes'. Only the 70's nondescript wah-wah middle eight tells you it's not those Murphy boys from Illinois.
But You - The Holliston Stops Straight away it makes you think:Jellyfish. The song has all those gargantuan 'Fish hallmarks, but close your eyes a little more and what's that? The unmistakable grandiose suggestion of a Jeff Lynne production visiting Queen.
Never Enough - Armchair Oracles This Norwegian band is unsigned at the moment but should get snapped up by a record label very soon if there's any justice in the world! There's a definite whiff of Beatlesque pop, but with George dominating the proceedings. I also hear the Los Angeles band Love. Overwhelmingly though, they recall the classic powerpop originals, Ardent recording artists, Cargoe. This is high praise indeed!
Tiny Slivers - The New Fidelity At first you think primitive Brit Invasion, but really this very much recalls early British New Wave, complete with Clash white reggae references. The vocal call and response breakdown is really nice, then builds to a satisfying end - a rounded contribution.
Imaginary Girls - Teenage Frames Unashamedly retro: think New York Dolls guitar, the early Greg Shaw Bomp era and the late 70's Boston movement. The band exhibits such energy and fun in their music.
Law of Attraction - The Automatic Music Explosion This brilliant gem demonstrates class and polish and not surprising when you realize it was produced by Mike Chapman. The lead singer gives off that classic tough girl rock stance like Suzi Quatro, Westworld (remember Sonic Boom Boy?) or Joan Jett. This is grade A Rock 'N' Roll.
Golden State - Brandon Schott An evocative pedal steel introduces an acoustic guitar which in turn places you somewhere in LA, then suddenly baroque cellos? While it seems we're in the vaguely familiar company of maybe Jackson Browne or the Eagles, there's a hint of Ian Matthews, something less Californian and something that isn't ordinary. The run out is pure 20/20 Beach Boys. A masterful mix of styles and influences.
This is an expensive sound. A beautiful rendered piece of country tinged pop. Why isn't it on the radio instead of that other nonsense?
To hear more from these bands here are their Myspace links:
• The Galaxies • The Service Group
• Holliston Stops • Armchair Oracles
• The New Fidelity • The Teenage Frames
• The Automatic Music Explosion • Brandon Schott