cryI was introduced to The Cry in early 2012 when I stumbled across the then-digital only release of their S/T debut album. Delivering twelve power pop tracks in the Exploding Hearts vein I was completely blown away by their songwriting skills and impeccable delivery. Well, two years have passed and the band have just finished up recording their second album and had the courtesy of sending me a promo, to which I’m much obliged.

Kicking off with the B.T.O.-esque Discotheque, the band launches into ten tracks of perfectly written power pop gems with a healthy dose of rock ‘n’ roll, garage and glam thrown in for good measure – and there’s even some shuffle to boot! Influences intact I still hear a band that’s matured and have taken their songwriting skills to a whole new level. Somehow this affair got me thinking of The Clash circa Give Them Enough Rope – not that they sound anything like it, but I can sense a similar development as touring, writing and gigging made them gel as a band that in a similar manner let their influences shine through without aping anyone.

The end result is a true party album with ten consecutive hits, a great sounding effort delivered with sweat and passion and every time it ends I find myself wanting to hear more – the tell-tale sign of a truly great record. I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if this made Best of 2014 lists towards the end of the year. A+. Get it.

Sample track: 

Bandcamphttp://thecry.bandcamp.com/
Websitehttp://www.thecrypdx.com/

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The Cry

January 4, 2012

Well, if we ignore there’s a Swedish garage outfit with the same name that’s been active for 20+ years, Portland quartet The Cry is a fairly new band made up of pretty young guys delivering perfectly executed Power Pop. I gotta admit I was initially freaked out hearing these guys on account of their eerily similar sound to that other great Portland pop outfit The Exploding Hearts (especially considering their heartbreakingly tragic end in 2003), but these guys make it no secret they’re an influence and they manage to pull it off incredibly good!

Twelve tracks are served up on their self-titled debut album and it pretty much sounds like a greatest hits compilation from a veteran band with twenty years under the belt (and these guys are in their teens!). We’re talking massive song writing talent mixing up the classic sounds of 70’s Power Pop with nice 50’s harmonies, completely drenched in hooks – fodder for some heavy radio rotation, I kid you not. Keep a lookout in March when the vinyl version is released in Japan (on S-P Records) and Europe (by Taken By Surprise Records).

Sample track:

Bandcamp: http://thecry1.bandcamp.com/
Website: http://www.thecrypdx.com/

The Reactions

January 3, 2012

Well, these guys really don’t need that much of an introduction for us collector nerds as their records fetch some pretty ridiculous prices on eBay these days. Formed in Florida in 1979, The Reactions delivered some pretty cool high-energy power pop in the early 80’s, self-released two 7″ EP’s and then folded. Making a name for themselves locally, interest in the band came years later when their tracks started appearing on various bootleg compilations during the 90’s.

Mixing The Buzzcocks with The Ramones we’re talking some pretty basic, three-chord power pop with healthy punk energy injected to it. Seventeen-track Cheap Rewards Records‘ compilation Saturday’s Gone Wild – available as a download on Bandcamp – offers all the material from the previously mentioned singles, with some unreleased rehearsals plus four live tracks. At the set price of nine dollars it’s a bargain compared to the originals.

Sample track:

Bandcamp: http://thereactions.bandcamp.com/
Website: http://cheaprewards.net/

Kurt Baker

December 21, 2011

For a slice of classic US powerpop sounds make sure you check out Kurt Baker‘s latest release Rockin’ For a Living. A former member of The Leftovers, Kurt started a solo career in 2010 emulating the sound of 80’s greats like The Romantics, Paul Collins Beat and The Knack – gaining favorable press in the process. With crispy clear production and great instrumentation, the EP offers up six tracks so perfectly executed you’d swear you’re listening to a lost 12″ EP from the 80’s.

We’re talking loud Rickenbackers, genial simplicity and tons of (retro) charm. Hailed by everybody from Ben Weasel to Larry Livermore of Lookout Records, the album is packed with hooks, nice sing-alongs and leaves you wanting more. If Hollywood decides to do a remake of Valley Girl this guy should handle the soundtrack.

Sample track:

Bandcamp: http://kurtbaker.bandcamp.com/
Website: http://kurtbakermusic.com/

Cold Warps

December 18, 2011

Yet more bands that got you scratching your head wondering why they haven’t released a record on a label already is Canadian garage/power pop trio The Cold Warps. Especially when you consider there’s a bit of hype going on right now in the underground punk/garage scene for Canadian lo-fi bands like The White Wires and Marvelous Darlings (although that might change soon considering they link to Noyes Records on their website!).

We’re talking a nice mix of The Ramones (especially the vocal delivery!) with classic power pop influenced by greats like Paul Collins Beat and The Nerves – and staying pretty faithful to their roots while doing it. Three releases available so far, all serving up a basic, no-frills combination of power pop and garage with some nice punk energy. Two releases might still be available on cassette so check ’em out and drop them a message on Facebook!

Sample track:

Bandcamp: http://coldwarps.bandcamp.com/
Website: http://www.facebook.com/coldwarps