… I started this blog, with some trepidation, excitement, and a strong sense of purpose – to let anyone who might stumble across it know about all the great music I’d been finding, particularly those who might think that all the best music was in the past. My point, repeatedly stated over the past year, is that if you love music from 1950s through to the 1990s, people are taking up those influences today in wonderful, creative, and surprising ways. I have always loved all kinds of music, across a host of genres (e.g. rock and roll, country, jazz, etc.), but if I had to boil it all down, my favourite music is built out of a great song, something catchy you can sing on your own without accompaniment and still get a sense of the tune. For me, that has always been best represented in the broad category I call poprock.
In the pantheon of emblematic poprock I would start with Buddy Holly and the Everly Brothers, segue to the Beatles and the Byrds, and carry on into the 1970s from there. I got started with my parents’ record collection, which covered most of the classics from the 1950s and 1960s. I was a child of the 1970s and the swan song of top 40 radio. I came of age with New Wave and all the early 1980s alternative scene. My first big discoveries on my own were performers like Elvis Costello, Marshall Crenshaw and Joe Jackson, and bands like XTC, Squeeze and Split Enz. Music has always been a huge part of my life. I started collecting records as teenager and by my late 30s had amassed nearly 6000 pieces of vinyl: 5000 long players and a 1000 45s (I’ve since ‘focused’ the collection down to about 1700 units). There were a few years where I lost touch with a lot of the new music that coming out as I bore down on completing graduate school and getting a permanent job, but I still caught the occasional show or discovered some new band. Over the past few years, I’ve ramped up that process of music discovery with great results.
Since I started this blog a year ago I have managed to stay on target with roughly one blog post per week. I’ve also been in touch with a number of poprock bloggers, who’ve given great advice and suggestions for content. I’ve seen a bevy of live shows over the last twelve months featuring many of the bands I’ve been writing about, one advantage of living in Canada’s biggest city. But my biggest take-away from this experience has been grappling with the enormous surplus of talent out there. The world is full of talented people putting out great stuff, if you can just find it. Our humble efforts here at Poprock Record have been about supporting that process.
To mark one year as a blog I wanted some tunes that exuded fun, joy, and reverence for the music. Animal House are an Australian band (now based in the UK) that ooze a good time party vibe. Of their four pretty strong singles presently available for download or streaming “English Girls” is a blast, a fun, infectious table-thumper – just try to not tap something. The song screams ‘dance to me’ and do it now.
By contrast, youthful Luke Potter is a different kind of fun, distinctly more sweet and hooky. Potter is really more of a ballad guy of the swooning teenage girl variety but his 2014 album, So Sugar, was bit more indie rock band, with a number of catchy tracks. “There it Goes Again” has a nice vocal arrangement and solid acoustic guitar and band backing that allows the hooks to stand out. There it Goes Again
Last up is the superlatively talented Adam Levy. Levy built his career in the trenches with a vast number of studio sessions and tour hours logged backing up major acts. He is master of many guitar styles with recordings that run the gamut of blues, jazz, Americana and more. But in 2013 he decided to put out a poprock album, Portuguese Subtitles, a real departure from his larger body of work, and it is an amazing effort. “Flooded with Light” is a moving, carefully crafted poprock gem, with great vocals and lovely guitar flourishes. It leaves you feeling good, and that is what we’re all about at Poprock Record.