One way to get caught up on the amazing onslaught of music coming out is to let someone else do the sorting. Compilation records emerged almost simultaneously with advent of the long playing ‘LP’ in the 1950s, offering music consumers a load of hits or exposure to new artists at bargain prices. Of course, groove-cramming 20 artists on a single album did come at a cost – these were not ‘high fidelity’ releases! But I certainly recall hearing a lot of acts via such releases that I might not have discovered. Today digital compilation albums don’t suffer poor sound quality and once again serve to introduce audiences to broad genres of music – and power pop and poprock are no exceptions. While every track may not be winner on your garden variety compilation album, our three examples come pretty close!
Wayne Lundquist Ford is the ‘Ice Cream Man,’ a UK expat living in Sweden and producing a regular radio show that combines sixties retro classics with new material that runs the full gamut of power pop and then some. Ford’s particular blend combines garage rock with some surf rumble and straight up power pop. Songs We Learned in Sundae School is a monster collection of 163 tunes, all available for free download from the Futureman bandcamp site. Of the 150 different artists that appear here, we’ve also featured 26 of them on Poprock Record. Great minds, fools not differing – whatever the reason, I won’t repeat all the overlap. Suffice to say, Ford’s got great taste! I’ll just highlight a few cuts that really appeal to me that I didn’t already know.
Reverse Play: C86 Rediscovered sees a variety of bands reinterpret the New Music Express cassette of indie pop tunes from 1986 that featured Primal Scream, The Primitives and The Pastels, among others. Some tracks have a decidedly shoegaze gloss to them while others sound like more polished or alternate takes of the originals. On the whole, it’s a pretty solid tribute/homage to the original record. But, if I have to choose, the standout tracks for me would be “Emma’s House,” from the incomparable The Catherines, the janglicious “Kill, Kill, Kill” by The Death of Pop, and Ed Ling’s beautiful acoustic rendition of “Velocity Girl.”
David Bash is a power pop institution, hosting live showcases of new talent in countless cities on two continents – every year! His insatiable appetite for hooks and keen ear for up and coming talent is apparent on his most recent multi-CD compilation, International Pop Overthrow 21. This collection features power pop defined in the most broad and inclusive terms (as it should be). Of the 69 featured songs, we’ve also highlighted 8 on Poprock Record, so clearly I’ve missed a lot of good stuff! As there’s too much here to review in detail, I’ll just whet your appetite with a few standout tracks, IMHO.
Caper Clowns – Pretty and UnderwearThe Legal Matters – The Cool KidsLannie Flowers – Kiss a MemoryThe Genuine Fakes (featuring Jon Auer) – I Won’t Be Home Tonight
In these dark times, the world needs melody, ringing guitars, and songs about love. The compilers here have done all the heavy lifting for you, all you have to do is reach out and click ‘download.’ Click on these links to start getting your copies: Ice Cream Man, Reverse Play and International Pop Overthrow.