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Power Poppin' Daddies....

Updated on August 16, 2011

It's the hook.., No, it's the beat...

Rock & Roll. Pop. Power Pop. Garage. Is today's music really all that complicated? I wonder what it is that makes us all want to listen to different genres--- soul, progrock, jazz.  Are we predisposed to a certain type of sound at birth?  Sometimes it seems that way.  The bookish, quiet classical nerd?  Not necessarily a generalization.  Nor the music nazi, nor the jam fan, nor the boot-scootin' cowboy.

For myself, it was at first melody and harmony which morphed into Rock & Roll and eventually turned into Power Pop.  Yep, I admit it.  Give me the right hook and melody and I'm in.  Throw in some great harmony and I'm in seventh heaven.  It is genetic.  It has to be.

Those Rockin' Limeys...

As a child, I listened to everything but jazz (not an exclusion, but lack of exposure. I just did not know anyone who listened to jazz back then). My extreme youth was an infusion of Country & Western, Classical, Polka, the Standards and whatever else found its way into my ears. Hank Williams was a god in our house, as were the Six Fat Dutchmen and Bing Crosby. As I grew, I tossed them all aside for Rock & Roll and the excitement of Bill Haley & the Comets and Fats Domino and Jack Scott and The Monotones and everything that found its way to me via the transistor radio and Teen Scene (Eugene, Oregon's answer to American Bandstand) and, of course, American Bandstand.

It was about this time that the Power Pop gene began kicking in, I believe, or maybe it was just puberty, but the music began to become more personal and more alive and next thing you knew, I was discovering the Brits. It wasn't The Beatles for me but the plethora of the other bands and artists streaming across the ocean and onto radio: The Kinks, The Rolling Stones, Herman's Hermits, The Rockin' Berries... It began to seem to me like there was a new British band under every rock you turned over and I began turning fast and furious. There was something in the music--- the guitar sounds, the melodies and the hooks--- that grabbed me and I could not get enough. By the late sixties I settled down but only because the States had found its way, but by then I was knee deep in some of the best rock music ever recorded. For instance...

The Status Quo...

The Small Faces

The Road Less Taken.....

Then, FM took over. While AM radio hung on, the whole concept of 'hit radio' took backseat to 'Underground Radio'. I found myself wading through mounds of albums, few containing even possible hits and most under the radar of the vast majority of the more intense music enthusiasts. Still, that longing for the hook and the melody remained. 'New Wave' became a subgenre in the mid-seventies, thanks to writers like Greg Shaw, Ken Barnes, Alan Betrock and Jon Tiven. Big Star and Cargoe, albums I discovered in '73, gave way to a whole new gathering of musicians who believed in their music enough to press small quantities when the industry turned their collective back. Groups like Pastiche and The Zeros and The Leopards jumped from Bomp Magazine's distributing arm onto my turntable, but 45s did not satisfy my hunger and, finally, minor labels gained major labels' backing and became a farm system for a lot of the pop I craved.

The Records...

Nick Lowe... The Stiff Year

The Three O'Clock Go Wild...

The Ever Changing Constant...

You can say one thing about pop music: the only thing permanent about it is that it changes. Fifty years later, I hear many of the same riffs, but in different contexts. There is something about that crunching Kinks guitar sound or the jangly Byrds' twelve-string, the Brit Pop harmonies twisted to fit into the present, the solid basic beat. Of course, these days, the whole idea of Power Pop has expanded to include folk twists, psych and even hard rock. The key, like I said, is melody and hook. Today, fifty million bands are recording, a portion of those falling into the Power Pop category. Any of them good? I think so. Here are some more videos worth checking out. If you've seen any of these in any of my other posts, it is only because I think enough of them to keep them going until they have found the following they so richly deserve.

The Weaver Twins--- Among the very best...

Research Turtles--- The Apex of Power Pop

The Pillbugs... Hiding in Plain Sight

The Tamborines--- From England, With Fuzz

Green & Yellow TV--- How did this get buried?

The Lackloves--- The Radio's Mine

The Grip Weeds--- Salad for the Ears

Which just goes to show you...

how the Net has opened up doors like never before. Some of these videos I had not seen myself until I decided to post this and I dig them one and all. This is a brave new world we live in these days and the music could not be better nor more available, regardless of what the media tells you. All it takes is a bit of time and a few clicks and you could be power poppin' with the best. If you like, start with your favorites among these and see where it takes you. Behind the next door that opens might just be the jackpot you've been waiting for... Good hunting.


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