Tag Archives: pops tops

Pops Tops: Top 11 Releases of 2011 (#1-3)

#3: The Wall and the Window-The Years EP

This folk duo came out of nowhere in December, just when I thought I had my top 11 list finished. Though this 5-song EP was recorded using a 4-track cassette tape recorder, I wouldn’t call it lo-fi in the least. But I wouldn’t call it polished either. Honest is the word I think fits best. On The Years, the Wall and the Window combine beautifully warm harmonies and genuine songwriting to create an EP that holds up to the best songs from many of folk’s giants like Simon and Garfunkel or Peter, Paul, and Mary.

#2: Minor Characters-Minor Characters EP

Not many bands can sound like Radiohead and the Beach Boys both in the same song (“Burden”). Minor Characters’ debut EP is equal parts experimental and equal parts pop music, a formula that has allowed them to craft 5 extremely intricate and well thought out songs, none sweeter than the Wilco-driven “Come Break My Heart.” (If I was doing a list for best 11 songs, this would be #1)

#1: The Orwells-Remember When LP

This LP is all over the place. There’s garage, glam, girl groups, punk, and blues-all seen through the lens of five pissed off teens. This band keeps busier than most, seemingly recording and releasing a song every few weeks or so. And it shows because on Remember When, the Orwells have gone from good (last year’s Oh! Well) to great.

Advertisements

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Pops Tops: Top 11 Releases of 2011 (#4-7)

#7: The Runnies-You Can’t Win LP

Perfect musical accompaniment for a haunted house or dingy dive bar,You Can’t Win is full of ominous, organ-heavy rock and roll. The way singer Mary McKane growls all over this record, I found myself constantly being reminded of the Whigs and fellow windy city spook poppers Hollows.

#6: Cosmos Kids-Volume 1 Lp

Cosmos Kids, like the Laureattes, wear their influences on their sleaves, though Cosmos Kids may wear theirs more boldly and proudly. Listen to album closer, “Saying Goodbye” or “Fight for your Love” for proof that this band has a very real knowledge of and love for the early days of rock and roll.

#5: The Laureattes-Spells LP

Last year, the Laureates smittened me with their EP, No Kontrol, so much so that I named it one of the 5 best releases of last year. On Spells, the guys may have opted to ditch the heavily distorted vocals, but have kept the Britpop sensibilities that hooked me in tact. It’s not surprising this LP was recorded during the same year the band also recorded a year’s worth of covers from bands like the Yardbirds, Stones, and Troggs. Spells, much like it’s predecessor shows no qualms about wearing its British Invasion influences on its sleaves.

#4: Narrow Sparrow-Synthworks EP

On Synthworks, Narrow Sparrow’s debut EP, the group has perfectly married early 60s sock hoppery with modern electronics. This 4-song EP combines theramins, sythns, drum machines, and pretty melodies to create what, to me, is the musical equivalent to an Edgar Rice Burroughs novel.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized