Tag Archives: Power Pop

#303 – Jason Falkner – Make it Be

Jason Falkner
Jason Falkner

Pristine power pop and low fi collide

Multi instrumentalist Jason Falkner played in the Three O’Clock, Jellyfish and the Grays before embarking on a solo career in the mid-90’s. He’s also played with numerous artists, including Beck, Air and even Paul McCartney.

Falkner’s latest project is an unlikely collaboration with him and low fi pioneer R. Stevie Moore. The new album, Make It Be, meets their two styles midway, with songs mostly written by Moore, featuring backing mostly by Falkner. He talks about how the pairing came about and how both of them chose which songs to record.  Falkner also addresses his successful Bedtime with the Beatles series, and how soon we’ll see a new Falkner solo album.

#287 – Chip Z’Nuff of Enuff Z’Nuff

Enuff Z’Nuff arrived at the height of hair metal, but had more in common with bands like Cheap Trick, emphasizing melody over guitar trickery. They scored a couple of radio hits in the early Nineties with “Fly High Michelle” and “New Toy.”

The band has continued releasing albums full of great melodic hooks. Their latest release, Clowns Lounge, goes back to the beginning, featuring songs that were written and recorded during sessions for their debut record, but never released.

We talk with leader Chip Z’Nuff about the archival project, which also features one of the last known vocals by Warrant vocalist Jani Lane on a song called “Devil of Shakespeare.” There’s also a sign of things to come, with a brand-new track called “Dog on a Bone.”

WARNING: CONTENT

#283 – Dwight Twilley – The Tulsa Years

Two-disc set chronicles power popster’s productive latter years

You could say it’s been one hell of a ride for Dwight Twilley.  Emerging from Tulsa, Oklahoma in the mid Seventies, he scored a big hit right out of the gate with “I’m On Fire” – establishing right away Twilley’s keen way with a melody, something he’s been doing for over 40 years.  After souring on the bright lights of the big city, he returned home to Tulsa near the close of the last millennium and began making records on his own terms.

The Best of Twilley: The Tulsa Years sums up one of the most fruitful chapters of his career.  The two disc set also contains several bonus tracks as well. Twilley also gives his memories of the late Leon Russell.

#282 – Jody Stephens of Big Star – Complete Third

Big Star’s first two LPs were full of chiming guitars, heavy drums and melodic hooks, yet somehow both albums failed to meet the high expectations. Those failures loomed large as Alex Chilton and Jody Stephens went to work on their next project.

Eventually called Third or Sister Lovers, the songs recorded for these sessions seemed at times to be the polar opposite of their first two records – alternating between haunting moments of despair, and fragile beauty. The album, never officially completed, has been issued over the years in many forms and track listings. But, Omnivore Recordings has assembled quite possibly the final word on the legendary project.

Complete Third is s three-disc set, bringing together virtually every note recorded for these sessions. Through acoustic demos, rough mixes, and about as final version of the album as we’ll ever hear, we get a peek behind the scenes of this fractured masterpiece.

We talk to Big Star drummer Jody Stephens about recording the album, what producer Jim Dickinson brought to the project, and how a song he wrote, “For You,” helped shape the rest of the record.

#55 – Wally and Jesse Bryson on John Lennon

Wally Bryson and Jesse Bryson of Bryson Group

Guitarist Wally Bryson was a member of the Raspberries and helped write his band’s biggest hit, “Go All the Way.”  The band released four albums in the early Seventies before breaking up in 1975.  Those records are now regarded as early examples of “power pop,” mixing the melodic sense of the Beatles, the intensity of the Who, and the summery harmonies of the Beach Boys.  His son, Jesse Bryson, has forged a music career all his own, showcasing his excellent singing with a knack for writing hook-laden melodies.  The father / son duo have teamed up to form the Bryson Group.  Icon Fetch talks to them about both of their unique musical paths, and also the impact that John Lennon had on both of their careers.

#44 – Dave Faulkner of Hoodoo Gurus – Purity of Essence

Hoodoo Gurus

Australia’s Hoodoo Gurus have mixed garage rock, psychedelia, Motown and punk into their own brand of catchy tuneage for the last 30 years.  Some of their alternative-rock hits include “Come Anytime,” and “Miss Freelove ’69”.  They’ve just released their first new album in six years.  Purity of Essence finds them doing what they do best: rocking out and having fun.  Icon Fetch talks with singer Dave Faulkner about the new CD, managing to keep the same group of guys together, and recording one of their classic songs with the Bangles.

 

#37 – Tommy Keene – Tommy Keene You Hear Me: A Retrospective 1983-2009

Tommy Keene

Tommy Keene has been making his brand of melodic rock for almost 30 years now.  His early independent releases garnered high praise from critics, and when he jumped to a major label, big things were expected.  Through a series of industry blunders and bad luck, Keene’s rock star ship never came in.  Despite the numerous setbacks, the excellent quality of his songs has never wavered.  He’s just released his first-ever career spanning collection called Tommy Keene You Hear Me: A Retrospective 1983-2009.  Icon Fetch talks to the influential songwriter about his many pitfalls, as well as how he assembled his new collection, and teamed up with Bob Pollard of Guided By Voices.

#35 – Dwight Twilley – Green Blimp

Dwight Twilley

Dwight Twilley is best known for a pair of #16 hits: “I’m On Fire,” from 1975, and “Girls,” from 1984, but he’s been making songs with catchy hooks his entire career.  He’s set to release a brand new disc called “Green Blimp.”  Icon Fetch talks with the power pop master about his notorious struggles with record companies, and how, with the support of his devoted fans, he’s been able to finance his latest project on his own.  Click below for the Dwight Twilley interview.

 

#33 – Jesse Valenzuela of The Gin Blossoms – No Chocolate Cake

Jesse Valenzuela and The Gin Blossoms

The Gin Blossoms had one of the biggest albums of the Nineties in New Miserable Experience, which yielded the hits “Hey Jealousy,” and “Found Out About You.” The band has just put the finishing touches on their fourth full-length, No Chocolate Cake, which is full of the jangly, melodic pop that helped them sell over five million records to date.  Icon Fetch talks with guitarist and founding member Jesse Valenzuela about the recording process, how Badfinger helped influence one of the songs, and how he’ll NEVER play “Mustang Sally,” no matter how many requests he gets for it.  Click below for the Jesse Valenzuela Gin Blossoms interview.

#30 – Chris Difford of Squeeze – Spot the Difference

Chris Difford and Squeeze

Squeeze has made some of the greatest pop music of the last 30 years, with gems like “Another Nail in My Heart,” “Tempted,” and “Black Coffee in Bed.”  These days, there’s a great deal of money in song placement in commercials and films.  Problem is, with the lousy contract the boys signed in their teens, they have no say in the placement of old songs, nor do they receive any money for them.  Here comes Spot the Difference to the rescue; 14 of Squeeze’s best-known classics meticulously re-recorded to painstaking detail…so much so, that they dare you to Spot the Difference. Click below for the Chris Difford Squeeze interview.