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Screen Shot 2019-02-02 at 5.06.05 PMTime to twist the dial and see what playing across the poprock-o-sphere. This time it’s mostly Europe, with a special guest appearance from Canada!

Sometimes I imagine Scotland to be this place where everybody is just sitting around writing great songs. I mean, the weather’s not that great. Why not strum something by the fire? Be Like Pablo hail from Forres, Scotland, population 18,000, and their delightful accent is all over their hooky single, “My Kind of Girl.” Between the matching Beach Boys shirts and the killer 1980s synth shots, the song is addictive in more ways than one.

Canadian Michael Rault opens his recent album It’s A New Day Tonight with some pretty stylish guitar work before settling into the late period Beatlesque number “I’ll Be There.” Oh, there’s more guitar later, along with some McCartney-like background vocals.

Meanwhile in Norway, band names are meant to get your attention, like Death by Unga Bunga. 2018’s So Far So Good So Cool was hailed by critics for a host of the songs, but few singled out “Turn My Brain Off.” Which seems weird to me because there’s a pretty serious Cheap Trick vibe coming off this track. In a good way.

Back to the UK, London this time, with Tim Jackson and his sort-of comeback, sort of debut album, Better Late Than Never. Jackson’s story is cinematically also-ran, the young fan who grows up too fast to hang on to his dream. But, hey, now he’s back and Better Late Than Never really isn’t false advertising. I love the piano rush that kicks off the title track, definitely hit single-worthy. Double A side nominee? Check out Jackson’s exquisite “Little Girl.”

In the old days we heard it on the radio and then headed downtown to the record joint to get the vinyl. Now you barely have to control click something to get it. Click on Be Like Pablo, Michael Rault, Death by Unga Bunga and Tim Jackson do some record shopping, new millennium-style.