Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Review: Chasing Kings "The Current State of Our Future" [EP]

Attention fans of sophisticated pop: Chasing Kings has a new EP called "The Current State of Our Future" that you need to check out. The young gentlemen making up this outfit include Drew Beck (guitar/vocals), Mike Gold (bass/vocals), Nick Sandler (drums) and Matt Schwartz (vocals/keyboards/guitar). Their talents have attracted the producer Tony Berg, who has worked with Phantom Planet and Mellowdrone. Berg adds a polished sheen to this strong group of songs that catapults them to the next level, giving the EP a very professional sound.

Right out of the gate, "The Current State of Our Future" engages the listener with a haunting build-up that climaxes with the pop charm of "Empathy". The vocals are smokey and soulful, effortlessly singing lyrics that are intriguing and smart. The next song is the title track and it is a blissful, horn-laced gem with its hook in the backing vocals - there's also a terrific acoustic interlude. The third highlight in this six pack is the infectious "Dark Sunglasses", which you can sample below via video.

I highly recommended you give Chasing Kings the royal treatment if you enjoy the likes of Josh Fix, The Fray, or the more energetic side of Coldplay.

iPOD-worthy: 1, 2, 5

Chasing Kings on MySpace.

Check out the video for "Dark Sunglasses" - it will make you 'hungry' for more:

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Review: The Honest Mistakes "Break Up"

"Break Up" is the debut release due January 5, 2010, from a new Baltimore band calling themselves The Honest Mistakes. The band personnel have been around the block, though - founders Joylene Dalia (vocals) and Chris Ehrich (guitar) were formerly in the aptly titled outfit, The Chris and Joylene Show from 2000 to 2004. They've teamed up with Adam Kivisaari on bass and Frank Corl on drums/percussion to create this record for those disenchanted with togetherness.

The Honest Mistakes have aligned with The Beechfields Record Label, who were responsible for bringing us the notable power pop of The Seldon Plan (review here) and the eclectic Gary B and the Notions (review here).

"Break Up" took the band nearly 4 painstaking years to make - a labor of love to be sure. The songwriting largely employs solid pop sensibilities, but the band has a tendency to digress with some different styles. For some this will make for a fun dynamic, but for others it will disrupt the consistency of an otherwise pop rock record. It is no great surprise that this record is about breaking up. This is always a dangerous topic to explore as so many artists have already been there and done that, but The Honest Mistakes deserves credit for making their songs lyrically engaging with plenty of wit and sting. It is unquestionably a good CD to spin if you are going through similar trials and tribulations with your significant other - honestly, The Honest Mistakes unmistakably feel your pain.

"Break Up" gets off to a very promising start with four well-written tracks that showcase the chemistry of this band and bring to light their full potential. Energetic gems like the opening title track will pique your interest, and the melodic goodness is sustained through "Feel Good" and "Roses". "Long Way Around" is another catchy track, with bright guitar and snappy melody that brings 80s sensation Katrina and The Waves to mind. The other songs are just kind of there - not bad, but not great. The exception here is the brilliant "If It Isn't Me", which for me represents this band at its best and proves they can achieve greatness if they go that extra mile.

There are a few things that dampen my enthusiasm for "Break Up". That 'extra mile' I refer to above isn't taken on most of the tracks. Show has a capable voice, but it is often bereft of confidence and swagger. It has a bit of a slacker feel, actually, kind of like early Liz Phair. But then there are songs like "Roses" and "If It Isn't Me" where she takes some chances, inching more towards Sheryl Crow with a hint of Blondie. More harmony vocals and better production would also have given the record that extra punch it needs.

iPOD-worthy: 1, 2, 3, 4, 8

The Honest Mistakes on MySpace.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Review: Quiet Company "Everyone You Love Will Be Happy Soon"

Quiet Company is a new sensation out of music hotbed Austin, TX. The band is fronted by Taylor Muse, who is no stranger on the scene, having spent time in many other bands including The Connotations and an early version of Eisley. “Everyone You Love Will Be Happy Soon" is the follow up to their first record, "Shine Honestly". In addition to singing, Muse contributes piano, guitar, organ, banjo, percussion, harmonica, and - yes, the glockenspiel. Quiet Company also boasts Tommy Blank on guitars, electric piano, organs, synthesizers, and - yes, glockenspiel. How many other bands do you know of with two glockenspiel players?! Finally, we have Matt Parmenter on bass and piano and Jeff Weathers at the drums.

Regarding the theme of the new record, the bands states, "Lyrically, the record promises songs that will make you fall in love with life and then just as
quickly challenge everything you know about it". No doubt, as the track listing contains some of the most intriguing song titles you'll ever see on a CD.

Despite their name, the latest from Quiet Company roars into action, steam-rolling ahead with numerous top notch tracks such as the building, "A Nation of Two" and the bouncy philosophical number, "It's Better To Spend Money Like There's No Tomorrow Than Spend Tonight Like There's No Money". Other standouts include "Our Sun Is Always Rising", "Seal My Fate", and "Golden (Like The State)". The record has some trouble sustaining the quality of the first half, but this is more because that first half is so good.

Whether peppy or slow, the band exudes an energy and enthusiasm that makes every track jubilant and a pleasure to hear again and again. I'd recommend Quiet Company for those who dig Semisonic or Wilco, and all sounds in-between.

iPOD-worthy: 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 9

Quiet Company on MySpace. Official site.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Rare CD: Glasshouse "Glasshouse"

"Here's another nearly impossible to find AOR gem for you.
GLASSHOUSE are from Germany and they released this CD (their only one) in 1992 as a private pressing in very very limited quantities. It took me years, to get this copy even here in Germany!
Musically GLASSHOUSE go the same way RESCUE, JOJO and SEASONS IN COLOR already did, that means perfect arranged AOR with a excellent mix of keyboards and guitars, catchy hooklines that make you sing along with and a very good production.
Some songs are real AOR killers, like the opener "Don't Turn Your Back On Me" or the rocking "Keep On Running" that both reminds me of RESCUE meets JOJO and some songs are great mood lifting Westcoast tunes that come along like a mix of TOTO and SEASONS IN COLOR.
Check out for example the mighty "I Want More" that pleases with a huge chorus and great saxofon fills here and there.
I promise you that every single song is a little highlight. There's no boring second to be found!
By the way Singer Stefan Schneider has a fantastic, smoky voice that fits perfect to the cool songs and the musicianship of the other band members is simply excellent. For example guitarist Andreas Pfeil plays some smoking and unbelievable solos.

If you are looking for some MEGA RARE Indie AOR piece, in very good condition and full of killer songs, you must go for this baby!"

Sold for $153.50 on ebay (16 bids)

Rare CD: Price-Sulton "Lights On"

"Price-Sulton-Lights On JAPAN CD rare AOR Original
Year: 1986
Label: CBS/ Sony (Japan)
Catalog Number: 32DP-586

1. Shotgun Shy
2. No T.V.No phone
3. Lights On
4. Take Me Away
5. Shana
6. Something's Gonna Happen
7. Stories
8. Reckless And Wild
9. Heaven's Girl
10. Oh No"

Sold for $338 on ebay (33 bids)

Free Holiday mp3 from Colin Healy and the Jetskis

Here is another generous gift for the holiday season, this one given to us from Colin Healy and the Jetskis (you can read our review of their latest EP here). The guys have a brand new Christmas song called “Meet Me Under The Mistletoe" and they are figuratively placing it in your stocking for free. Get it now through the link below.

Colin Healy and the Jetskis on MySpace.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Review: Like Trains and Taxis "Tales From A Revolving Door"

The band's name is Like Trains and Taxis - sounds like they are built to take us somewhere. But in this case, it is not the destination that matters, it is the journey. The musical journey this band will take you on passes through a myriad of genres, from piano pop to jazz, with occasional pitstops in soul.

Like Trains and Taxis is a trio of artists from New Brunswick, NJ - all with sophisticated talents led by vocalist Chris Harris. Harris has a soothing, mellow tone with a mild smokey bar quality that drifts between Jack Johnson and Daryl Hall. In general, the music is not too far from the realm of Jack Johnson either, but with acoustic piano rather than acoustic guitar. The melodies are more artistic than infectious, and the lyrics are also more cerebral than simplistic. My favorite cuts include "Their Eyes Were Watching God", "Crooks", and "Charlie".

If you dig Jack Johnson, John Mayer, or Ryan Adams, you'll probably find something to enjoy on "Tales From A Revolving Door". If you are ready to be taken for a smooth and relaxing ride, Like Trains and Taxis is ready to take you on board. The record is out January, 2010.

iPOD-worthy: 1, 3, 5, 8

Like Trains and Taxis on MySpace. Official site.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Review: Research Turtles "Research Turtles"

Back in August the young Louisiana band Research Turtles released their self-titled debut CD. The band is composed of brothers Jud Norman (vocals and bass) and Joe Norman (guitar and vocals), as well as Logan Fontenot on lead guitar, and Blake Thibodeaux on drums and percussion. A very cool name for a band that I trust is a great conversation starter, but can these inquisitive terrapins rock?

Rock they can, but in a raw and indie garage way, mixing some moments of melodic pop with downright gritty guitar and near slacker production. Kind of like early Fountains of Wayne meets Foo Fighters. Most of the songs are pretty good, but some are nondescript, and one had me reaching for the fast forward button (the plodding "The Riff Song"). The highlight for me was the "wake you up with a slap in the face" opening track, "Let's Get Carried Away". Other standout tracks include the slower "Kiss Her Goodbye", which has a neat Cars-inspired keyboard riff and subtle harmonies, and "Tomorrow", which has a breezy reggae feel sandwiching a catchy power pop chorus. "Into A Hole" has a classic Weezer feel, dressing up a great 50s/60s pop melody with grungy guitar.

The CD is enjoyable and fun most of the time, and my buddy Aaron over at Powerpopaholic was more enthusiastic about them. In my opinion, there is great potential here if the Research Turtles stick out their melodic neck some more and come out of their hard shell.

iPOD-worthy: 1, 4, 7, 8

Research Turtles on MySpace.

Check out a live performance of the hearty rocker, "Cement Floor":

Monday, December 14, 2009

Review: Andy Lehman and The Night Moves "Lowcountry"

Andy Lehman & The Night Moves released their sophomore effort, "Lowcountry" back in September on Ten Star Records. The band formed in 2007 and have been building a loyal following ever since. After hearing "Lowcountry", I wouldn't be surprised at all if they became the latest pop rock sensation.

To be honest, I was a bit taken aback on the first listen. The CD begins with a mellow 6 minute opus that tells a story about a girl named Ally who was going back to Mobile (Alabama). Memories of Bob Dylan's "Stuck Inside of Mobile" kept distracting me from the story of Ally, but I was abruptly shaken out of my Dylan daydream with a gorgeous bridge that flowed into one of the most uplifting and memorable choruses I've heard in some time. Pretty, baby! The other thing that threw me at first was Lehman's vocals...his voice is different...a little light, a little effeminate perhaps, but dammit I like it. His voice is smooth, soothing, and soaring at times - perfect for these laid-back and breezy Southern tunes. He sounds fragile and crystal clear - yes, his voice is like a wine glass - a cross between David Gates (Bread) and Kyle Vincent. Not that he can't rock out, though, as you'll read below.

Following the brilliant opener is another in the vibe of story-telling Harry Chapin called, "You Can Leave The Light On". It is another great track with intelligent lyrics, a catchy chorus, and an insightful mix of electric and acoustic guitars. "An Arrow Flew" is the standout ballad with another winning sing-a-long chorus. So not to put us asleep, Lehman wisely slips quickly into a peppy and sunny tune called "Million To One", whose simple lyrics enchant us almost as much as the 70s bubblegum vibe (complete with handclaps). The rest of the CD struggles to meet the very high bar set by these first four tunes, with "I Smelled You on the Breeze" and "All Along The Roads We Walked" coming closest. While not one of my favorite tracks, "Wolf In Sheep's Clothing" is notable - it rocks more than any other song here, and gives Lehman the opportunity to show us the versatility of his vocals. He not only holds his own against the wall of guitars, but even throws in a Robert Plant inspired falsetto in the chorus!

The production is top-notch and truly remarkable for an unsigned band...this is no doubt attributable to the expertise of Rick Beato, who has previously worked with Shinedown and Jump Little Children. The songwriting is terrific, with beautiful chord progressions and well-placed harmonies that you'll appreciate more with each listen.

I also thought it was cool how the final track, "Back To Where The Roads Are Mud", ends with a subtle reprise of "Ally Went Back", nicely looping you back to the beginning of the CD. Clever little tricks like this indicate that the band is thinking outside of the box, not just worrying about single tracks, but also keeping the entire album experience in mind for their listener. I expect great things from this band and can't wait to hear what they do next. Keep those choruses melodic, keep the chord changes interesting, and keep those harmonies soaring!

Don't miss the chance to check out Andy Lehman & The Night Moves for free - go download three tracks for FREE at the web site now.

iPOD-worthy: 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 9

Andy Lehman & The Night Moves on MySpace. Official site.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Review: Sol Giant "Strangers" [EP]

Just what we need...another band out of L.A., right? Well, I'd like to make a case that the world does indeed need Sol Giant. Melodic rock seems to come naturally to the four members comprising this band.

"Sol Giant is Eric Nicolau, an accomplished young vocalist, songwriter and guitarist who graduated Warped Tour before high school, bassist Alana Chirino, a Miami-raised musician born to two Grammy-winning Latin pop stars, Elliot Schwartzman, a keyboardist adept in funk, Americana and blues; and drummer Rob Humphreys, a rocker whose been hearing drumbeats since the womb."

Despite coming from varied musical backgrounds, the four members of Sol Giant have a chemistry that has distilled all the essentials of great pop rock. The unique background each member brings to the stage is used to their advantage: each song has a fresh sound even if it is adhering to a tried and true pop rock formula. Sol Giant sounds very professional, hip, and poised to conquer L.A. and beyond.

My favorite cuts from the EP "Strangers" include the rousing opening track, "Wide Eyed", and its polar opposite, the stripped down acoustic ballad "Been To The Mountain". These two tracks showcase how well the band performs at both ends of the spectrum. The only pet peeve: Eric Nicolau's voice is so warm and soulful, yet in some songs it is overshadowed with unnecessary processing.

"Strangers" Track Listing:

The EP was released on December 8 - time to go check it out today. Or get the digital release from major online retail outlets such as Amazon, iTunes and Rhapsody.

iPOD-worthy: 1, 3, 4

Sol Giant on MySpace.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Review: Ben Montague "Sampler" [EP]

Ben Montague’s feisty debut single "Can’t Hold Me Down" was recently playlisted on Radio 2 in the UK for an impressive five weeks. It is an infectious song with a delightfully sunny and bouncy groove, reminiscent of late 70s/80s Elton John. He has a new single out now called "Rainy Day" that should continue his momentum in the UK and also get this talented artist some attention in the US as well.

The five track sampler I received included the following: 1. Rainy Day, 2. Weight of Love, 3. Yeah Yeah Yeah, 4. Haunted, and 5. Can't Hold Me Down. Each track is an textbook example of what the perfect melodic pop rock song should be. "Rainy Day" is a standout and superb choice for a single as it has the most cross-over potential, appealing to AOR fans as well as fans of new gen pop rockers like Maroon 5. "Rainy Day" has a great acoustic base covered in layers of driving electric guitar and glistening piano, topped off with an emotive vocal performance from Montague. The other four tracks are also excellent, a great mix of upbeat, feel-good tunes and majestic ballads in the vibe of Gavin DeGraw.

Based on this sampler, Ben Montague is definitely one artist I will keep a keen eye on in 2010. His album will feature contributions from the likes of Simple Minds, Gary Barlow producer Peter-John Vetesse, guitar from Genesis legend Mike Rutherford, the song writing talents behind Kylie, Westlife collaborator Cliff Masterson and Bon Jovi mixer Dave Bascombe.

You can get "Rainy Day" on iTUNES right now - click here.

Ben Montague on MySpace. Official site.

Check out the music video for "Haunted":

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Interview: Starcode

Check out my interview with Dave O'Connor from the pop rock band STARCODE, now posted at Rock and Roll Report.

Click here.

Click here for my review of their record, "A Fine Line".

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Review: Gooding "The Return" [FREE]

You may have heard the thunderous, adventuresome rock from Gooding already if you've seen movies and TV shows such as Walk The Line, The Animatrix, Nip/Tuck, or The Closer. After listening to his latest, "The Return", it isn't hard to figure out why his tunes are becoming ubiquitous in edgy films and TV episodes. Gooding's music starts with a melodic core and then is dressed to the nines with layers upon layers of diverse sounds. You'll hear classic rock with hints of industrial rock and an occasional urban beat, all set to grooves that will make you want to shake your booty (or at least nod along).

The blistering lead off, "Make The Devil Cry" trumpets 'the return' of Gooding. "Make The Devil Cry" is an obvious choice for a single - it rocks to the limit with sophisticated sonic textures that keep the verses interesting until the memorable chorus kicks in. This is quickly followed by the stomping "Go Kid Go", which features some lead guitar that would make Santana smile. "Vagabond" is even more accessible, serving as the best example of Gooding's ability to bleed into the pop rock genre - this track could be huge. Gooding can also slow it down to good effect without sacrificing his trademark sound, as displayed on the hauntingly beautiful "Please". "I'm Not Listening" is another standout, calling to mind U2's "Who's Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses". Another treat is "No One Gets Out Alive" - a song that isn't all that remarkable on the surface, but Gooding jazzes it up with some greasy slide guitar and tasty synth effects that make it irresistible.

If you can imagine what Moby would sound like if he grew a pair, then you can begin to get a sense of what you're in for with Gooding. If you can't imagine that, how about U2 performing songs written by David Bowie, with engineering done by Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails)? Seriously..."The Return" is the type of record that U2 should have released this year.

Gooding's new songs hit the airwaves and iTunes in Jan, 2010, and in March the band will embark on a 50 state tour, featuring showcases in LA, NYC and Austin. But you can get "The Return" for free right now! Click here.

iPOD-worthy: 1, 2, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10

Gooding on MySpace. Official site.

More FREE mp3 for the holidays! is giving away 29 nice holiday tracks for free, including some from Tori Amos, Relient K, Jars of Clay, and Mindy Smith. My favorite is "Mr. Heatmiser" by Big Bad Voodoo Daddy!

Head over here to check them out.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Rare CD: Oasis "MTV Unliammed"

"Record Live @ MTV Unplugged, Royal Festival Hall, London, UK, 23 Aug 1996…This is the famous “MTV Unplugged” show Oasis done back in 1996 with Noel on Lead vocals as Liam didn’t turn up for the show…"

Sold for $81 on ebay.

Rare CD: Big Bang Babies "Big Bang Babies"

"BIG BANG BABIES S/T 7 tracks. Mint ,totally original copy of the glam classic !!! Containing one of the best,over the top glam anthems "Everybody Needs A Hero"."

Sold for $123.05 on ebay.

Rare CD: The The "Gunsluts"


This CD was sold on The The's 2000 "World Tour Of Tiny Spaces", as well as through the official The The website. It featured one instrumental track off The The's unreleased 1997 album "Gunsluts".

Track listing:
1. Gunsluts"

Sold for $125.77 on ebay.

Rare CD: Hanson "Boomerang"

"Extemely rare indie Hanson Boomerang CD."

Sold for $255.00 on ebay.

Rare CD: Kidd Wikkid "Kidd Wikkid"

"Collectors item..Very Rare!

Case has been opened, but CD never played. Silver pressed original.

Recorded in 1992

Tracks: Too Dark To See Jesus, All Fall Down, Let It Rain, Feelings In The Bottle, Midnight Drive, Seasons so Lonely, Dreamtime, On The Run, Take Me Home."

Sold for $282.36 on ebay.

Rare CD: All Time Low "The Party Scene"

"All Time Low's debut CD now out of print- from orginal label -Emerald Moon records- released in 2005. very rare disc.

Track listing
"Prelude" – 0:43
"The Party Scene" – 2:58
"Lullabies" – 3:58
"Hometown Heroes; National Nobodies" – 2:53
"Circles" – 3:20
"Interlude" – 1:53
"We Say Summer" – 3:06
"Break Out! Break Out!" – 3:10
"Running from Lions" – 3:06
"Noel" – 4:10
"I Can't Do the One-Two Step" – 4:02
"The Girl's a Straight-Up Hustler" – 6:22
Contains the hidden track "Sticks, Stones, and Techno"

Sold for $293.99 on ebay (40 bids)

Friday, December 4, 2009

Review: Starcode “A Fine Line”

Somewhere between The Rembrandts and The Posies is Starcode, a pop rock band from New York City founded by Dave and Dan O’Connor. Dave writes the songs, plays the bass, and handles the vocals while Dan does all the percussion. Starcode fills a void that exists right now for accessible melodic rock that has excellent cross-over potential.

Dave’s vocals sound a bit like Mark Gable of the Choirboys or Robbie Williams, with a hint of Billy Corgan’s (Smashing Pumpkins) snarl every now and then. Every song on “A Fine Line” is likable, with the CD being particularly strong at the beginning. Their formula is to build from a solid base of acoustic guitars, adding layers of electric guitar and harmony on top. The lyrics are straight-forward and sincere without being silly or cliché, and the arrangements and production are sublime. I can’t seem to get the driving midtempo rocker, “I Found A Way”, out of my head. Other highlights include the pleasant “Close Your Eyes” and “Out There”.

The brothers O’Connor have nailed a formula that has proven to be mega-successful in years past, and it is about time someone has re-discovered it. Starcode is an Adult Contemporary musical dream, but they possess enough zest in the vocals and edge in the guitars to drive younger audiences to dig them too. “A Fine Line” is one of the most tuneful surprises of 2009 and should convince any listener that the O’Connor brothers are on their way to great things.

Be sure to check out my interview with Starcode’s Dave O’Connor on Rock and Roll Report – coming soon!

iPOD-worthy: 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 10

Starcode on MySpace. Official site.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Holiday goodies!

We've already featured a couple goodies for the holiday season (see Andrew Ripp here and The Goldbergs here), and here are a few more for your listening pleasure!

Concord Music Group have launched their Holiday Winter Music Guide website.

Hundreds of Holiday titles, vinyl, boxed sets, shirts and more are now on sale through the holidays. Become a Concord Music Group fan on Facebook or follow on Twitter, and get access to exclusive offers, discounts and more.

Featured titles on sale with the launch of the new site include:

Creedence Clearwater Revival - "The Singles Collection"
(see the BMF review here)

Vince Guaraldi Trio - "A Charlie Brown Christmas"

Frank Sinatra - "Christmas with Sinatra & Friends"

Check out all the titles & offers here

Follow CMG on Twitter:

Become a CMG fan on Facebook:



MxPx released their "Punk Rawk Christmas" (Rock City Recording Company) on December 1, 2009. Track listing is below; the release is available digitally through major online retail outlets (iTunes, Amazon, Rhapsody, etc.).

1. PUNK RAWK CHRISTMAS (previously unreleased) (2009) (new)
10. 2005 (2005)
14. AULD LANG SYNE (TRADITIONAL) (previously unreleased) (2009) (new)

You can check this out at MxPx on MySpace.


Swedish powerpoppers The Genuine Fakes have released a nice X-mas cover in the spirit of the holidays and PowerPop!

The song which is now being released is a complete makeover of the classic ”All I Want for Christmas”. The Genuine Fakes' take on it is loosely based on the Mariah Carey version, but with a different beat and plenty more energy and power it brings your thoughts more to The Posies and Foo Fighters. Add to that some killer Queen style vocal harmonies and you've got a truly spectacular combination!

Their version of ”All I Want for Christmas” can be downloaded/streamed from the music section of The Genuine Fakes' website - click here.

The Genuine Fakes: official site

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Review: Bobby Emmett "Learning Love"

Discovering great discs like the new one from Bobby Emmett (formerly of The Sights) helps to remind me why I started this blog in the first place. I am panning for gold when listening to the stacks of CDs piled up on my desk and when I heard the first couple notes off "Learning Love" I knew I hit pay dirt.

Bobby Emmett, a Detroit native who also plays in Shooter Jenning's band, has delivered a treasure trove of power pop goodies on "Learning Love". Not surprisingly, an album with a title such as this is a meditation on the pros and cons of being in love, but it doesn't come off as simplistic or sappy at all. What really stands out are the catchy melodies and memorable riffs - and "Learning Love" has more than its fair share. Highlights include the crunchy opener "Queen of Hearts", the crowd pleasing "Still Wanna Be With You" (complete with some retro surf guitar), and "Moving Ahn", which brilliantly shifts between psychedelic verses and a juicy pop rock chorus.

As an interesting aside, Emmett admits that the record has "a very classic 70's feel and timbre to it" due to the fact that it was recorded with vintage gear from that era (and the bubble gum harmonies add to this retro feel). While I can hear those 70s vibes, "Learning Love" also sounds quite contemporary to my ears and is clearly one of the best power pop records of the year. Don't miss this one - it was the best 30 minutes I've spent in front of the stereo in a long time!

Recommended if you like Eugene Edwards, The Merrymakers, and Greenberry Woods.

iPOD-worthy: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10

Bobby Emmett on MySpace.