20/20 [1979]

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Classic eponymus debut album for this power pop legends from Hollywood, California. First heard ’em on ”Giving It All” single included on ”From L.A. With Love” comp. recorded for Greg Shaw’s Bomp! Records in 1978. Apart from a couple of filler tracks, the first 20/20 LP was brilliant through and through — one of the top ten “powerpop” releases ever. That’s the best reason to get this. Songs like “Yellow Pills,” “Cheri,” “She’s An Obsession,” “Tell Me Why and most assuredly the album’s buried treasure “Jet Lag” will quickly turn your heart to ashes. ”Oh Cheri open up the door”… Dig!!!

 

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v.a. FROM L.A. WITH LOVE [Vinyl]

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This is one of my favorite compilation lp’s I bought in the early 90’s. It’s a collection of singles issued by famous BOMP records in 70’s & 80’s featuring classic Power Pop & Punk acts as Plimsouls, 20-20, Flamin’ Groovies, Shoes, Surf Trio, Barracudas, Stiv Bators, Jeff Dahl, DMZ, Sky Saxon & SS-20, Zeros and Iggy & The Stooges. The concept is: first side power pop, the other side – garage punk, just simple as that and pressed on blue translucent vinyl. Already have posted it on my old blog and here it comes again. Some KILLER STUFF indeed. Dig!!!

 

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BOSS MARTIANS – Making The Rounds / The Set Up

“Have some gritty rock chop with your pop!”

Two of the very best garage punk albums from the beginning of 21st century. On their 5th and 6th Lp [2002/03], North-West surfers change their style to a harder rockin’ power pop sound influenced by the 60’s acts as Small Faces, The Who, Paul Revere & The Raiders, The Sonics and 70’s bands like Cheap Trick, Elvis Costello or Ramones. Non stop guitars/organ driven rockin’ action with tunes like She Moves Me, Making The Rounds, Dreaming In Stereo, My Love Ain’t Free, Every Girl In Town or r’n’r radio hits as I Am Your Radio, Kill My Telephone, I Wanna Be Your Addiction, He’ll Be Around from “The Set-Up” lp. Already have posted this stuff before but hey… This is A MUST !!!

 

 

SHOES – Black Vinyl Shoes / Present Tense

 

Most bands start out trying to bang their songs together in someone’s living room, but Shoes certainly made more of that experience than most people. Jeff Murphy, Gary Klebe, and John Murphy were three pop obsessives from Zion, IL, who bought a four-track, found a drummer (Skip Meyer), and started putting songs on tape in Murphy’s living room with all the care their primitive circumstances would allow. While the results were intended to be used only as a demo, Black Vinyl Shoes eventually attracted the attention of PVC Records, who gave the homemade set a nationwide release; the album’s positive press eventually earned the band a major-label deal. Like their contemporaries and kindred spirits the Scruffs, Shoes were one of the few interesting pop bands to emerge in the mid- to late ’70s who were very obviously not new wave; Shoes were pop classicists in the manner of the Beatles and the Raspberries, and if their low-tech recording setup dictated a leaner and more basic approach than the Fab Four, the thick guitar lines, smooth backing harmonies, and trickier-than-they-sound melodic structures made it clear their back-to-basic style was a nod to past rock glories as much as a call to jangly arms. But Shoes also had their own set of quirks to bring to the table (again like the Scruffs, Shoes had an unusual perspective on the male/female relationship), and there’s an understated, off-kilter wit to songs like “Tragedy,” “Do You Wanna Get Lucky?,” and “Capital Gains” that’s as delicious as the band’s rich, satisfying songcraft. Black Vinyl Shoes is an album whose somewhat primitive production actually works in its favor; with 15 tunes to record and only four tracks on hand, Shoes made a record that was about melodies, hooks, and harmonies, and the result was an album that helped kick start the ’80s pop revival — and still sounds fine almost a quarter of a century later. [Mark Deming]

 

 

The first of Shoes’ three Elektra albums, Present Tense is almost a happy accident in ways not that the band hadn’t already shown its particular approach beautifully with earlier efforts, but at a time when major labels were trying to figure out what punk and new wave could provide, Shoes just found a perfect balance. Recorded in England and co-produced by the band, Present Tense didn’t end up sounding like a Cheap Trick clone, had a winsome, cool air thanks to the brilliant harmonies that distinguished the group from the Knack, and in the end traded off power and wistfulness in equal measure. The harmonies in particular are just lovely — as distinct and band-defining as those of the Beach Boys — on songs like “Too Late,” “Three Times,” and “Your Very Eyes.” Gary Klebe and Jeff Murphy have enough crunch and sting in their guitars to add some downright swagger to things — check out the glammish kick of “Hangin’ Around With You” and the combination soar and snarl of “Now and Then” while keeping an eye on economy throughout. The fragile acoustic lead on “Every Girl” provides an especially striking dimension to the song. The punch of Skip Meyer’s drums adds further heft, John Murphy’s bass also can cut through the mix — the introduction to “In My Arms Again” and “I Don’t Miss You” in particular showcases both nicely. Much of the sound of the album finds a sound that could easily be called timeless — it’s inspired by the past but sets a template that so many groups would follow in the future. [Ned Raggett]

First two and best albums of american power pop icons the Shoes. It’s a power pop wet dream, a must for new wave popsters!

 

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FLAMIN’ GROOVIES – Groovies’ Greatest Grooves

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“Groovies’ Greatest Grooves is a 1989 compilation album by U.S. rock band the Flamin’ Groovies, originally released by Sire Records. The tracks were selected by Rolling Stone Senior Writer Michael Goldberg and freelance rock critic Michael Snyder, who also co-wrote the liner notes. Goldberg and Snyder wanted to emphasize the Groovies’ original material, and so 18 of the album’s 24 songs are Groovies originals. It also collected tracks from throughout the group’s career, and showcased their versatility and changing styles throughout the years. Having said that, it draws heavily from their three Sire Records albums, with 20 of the 24 songs from those records. (The exceptions are “Teenage Head”, from the 1971 album of the same name, the two 1972 UA singles “Slow Death” and “Tallahassee Lassie”, compiled on A Bucket of Brains, and the 1981 Gold Star Studios recording of “River Deep, Mountain High”.)” wiki

Listen up folks! If ya ain’t got any of Groovies’ three Sire rec. albums by now you just ain’t livin’.  This fine comp gathers songs mostly from their “power pop” period with Chris Wilson. 24 trax + 9 bonus cuts added for a good measure is a real cool deal, allright! Dig!!!

 

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THE PLIMSOULS – One Night In America / Beach Town Confidential

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”At a time when rock music was shifting gears, the Plimsouls threw British Invasion into the new wave mix and permanently altered the genre. Fun was the operative word, and bar bands everywhere joined the fray. But the Plimsouls were exceptional because they boasted the talents of singer/songwriter Peter Case.

The band formed in Los Angeles in 1978 and merged roots, retro and guitar rock with a ramshackle punk aesthetic. Case had already collaborated with Jack Lee and Paul Collins in the Nerves, who had some success in 1976 with the single “Hangin’ on the Telephone,” later recorded by Blondie. In 1978, Case met L.A. locals guitarist Eddie Munoz, drummer Lou Ramirez and bassist Dave Pahoa. After one EP, Zero Hour in 1980, and an album in 1981 that contained some stellar power-pop in songs like “Zero Hour” and “Hush, Hush,” it looked like the band were a new wave one-off until a single from the soundtrack to Valley Girl, “A Million Miles Away,” lifted them from new wave obscurity and cemented their reputation. The song remains a timeless classic. An album for Geffen, Everywhere At Once, followed in 1983 with a re-recorded version of the song, but ultimately, the liaison with the label was not a lasting one; the Plimsouls broke up shortly after its release. A testament to their strength as a live band was captured on One Night in America and released in 1988.” [Denise Sullivan]

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“LA’s short-lived but glorious run of The Plimsouls is documented by this loud and proud, high energy concert recording, made in 1981 and left in a bag in guitarist Eddie Munoz’s closet. It runs through 13 songs, mainly from the band’s Planet Records’ debut album, four covers and an early version of The Plimsoul’s signature “A Million Miles Away.”

“One Night In America” captures the band’s unique mix of progressive punk and power pop in a tight, sometimes messy, energetic performance. Featuring classic tunes such as ‘A Million Miles Away’ and ‘How Long Will It Take’, the band also included a few covers such as The Kinks’ ‘Come On Now’ and The Outsiders’ ‘Time Won’t Let Me’, here in all their raw, live glory.”

 

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“Beach Town Confidential” captures a stunning live performance by power-pop purveyors The Plimsouls at the band’s pinnacle, during the summer of 1983. Recorded at the now-defunct Golden Bear in Huntington Beach, Calif., the incendiary 17-song set finds the foursome charging through a particularly inspired set of hook-filled originals and some smartly-chosen covers.

Led by the passionately soulful vocals of Peter Case and the slashing, melodic guitar work of Eddie Munoz (complemented by a tight rhythm section in bassist Dave Pahoa and drummer Lou Ramirez), “Beach City Confidential” offers the best sound of any Plimsouls live recording that has surfaced to date. (It was produced and mixed by Case from the 24-track masters.) In addition, the set list provides a fine overview of the band’s best-known originals from their two full-length albums (including the alternative radio biggie “A Million Miles Away,” “Zero Hour,” “Now” and “Oldest Story in the World”), alongside some rarities (such as the smoldering surf instrumental “Hobo,” which was originally released as a B-side).

As powerful as the originals are here – and the readings of “Oldest Story in the World” and “How Long Will it Take” positively smolder – the band’s choice of covers is where Beach City Confidential really shines. Many of these have never appeared on any Plimsouls release until now; Moby Grape’s “Fall On You” and the Creation’s “Making Time” are particularly well-suited to the Plimsouls’ sound, and the band amps ‘em up a bit, throws ‘em into overdrive and makes them their own. Versions of the Everly Brothers’ “Price of Love” (with guest vocals by the Williams Brothers) and the Flamin’ Groovies’ “Jumpin’ in the Night” (with Keith Streng of the Fleshtones sitting in on guitar) are also quite fine, and showcase the Plimsouls’ love of ‘60s pop and classic power pop,respectively.” [Goldmine]

 

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Squire – Get Ready To Go! / Big Smashes [80’s Mod Revival]

 

Though they never received the recognition they deserved, Squire was undoubtedly one of the earliest and finest Mod Revival bands of the late 70s. Squire were able to transcend the limits of the genre with their high quality pop which drew equal parts from punk spirit and the 1960s.
Named because they rehearsed above a shop called Squires, this lot went to school with Paul Weller in Woking, Surrey and formed in Guildford not long after JAM as a covers band consisting of Enzo Esposito (vocals/bass), Steve Baker (guitar) and Ross Di’Landa (drums).
In June 1978, songwriter/guitarist Anthony Meynell joined just prior to a high profile gig opening for The Jam. The addition of Meynell changed the band’s focus to producing original material, and by 1979, they had released their first single for ROK Records, Get Ready to Go.

‘Get Ready’ focuses on the early work of the original lineup from their mod days. This release supplants Hits from 3000 Years Ago by picking the highlights (most of the album) and combining their first single, the brilliant “Get Ready Go,” with B-sides, previously unreleased material, a track from the Odd Bods, Mods and Sods compilation, and a track from a fan club release.

 

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Somewhere between the delicate power pop of Shoes and the classy British pop of mid-period Jam sits the wonderful world of Squire. No, not Billy “The Stroke” Squier. This is Squire, the groovy mod trio fronted by Anthony Meynell, one of pop music’s unsung heroes. Spanning the years 1980-1984, this exceptional compilation concentrates on the latter half of the band’s career, and contains almost their entire Get Smart album. By this point in the band’s career, Meynell had tired of the musical restrictions that the mod scene had thrust upon him. Adding more overdubs in the studio (including a horn section), Meynell created some of the brightest, most exhilarating, guitar-based pop music of the early ’80s. Sidestepping such influences as the Who and the Kinks, and embracing Lennon’s edge from the Beatles (“No Time Tomorrow”), and the bright, sunny vibe from the Monkees (“Standing In The Rain”), Squire did not create disposable pop, they created timeless pop. Many of these tracks could have been released in the mid-’60s or even in the early ’90s at the height of Brit-pop. “Every Trick In The Book Of Love,” “You’re the One,” “My Mind Goes Round In Circles,” “Girl On A Train,” “Stop That Girl,” and “Take A Look” are nothing less than perfect pop songs. When Meynell puts down his pen and records a cover version (including Shoes’ “Boys Don’t Lie” and Big Star’s “September Gurls”), the results are nothing less than Squire-like. Mod and power pop fans should keep their eyes peeled for this gem of a CDs. It’s worth the hype![Stephen SPAZ Schnee]

 

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R@M0#E$ – Pleasant Dreams [1981] / Subterranean Jungle [1983] ViNyL RiPs!!!

 
“I’m gonna brag about it
I’m not gonna stay in school
I’m gonna rob and steal
Gonna break every rule
I’m a time bomb, baby
Yeah, Yeah!”
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Another pair of my favorite Ramones slabs. “Pleasant Dreams” their 6th studio album produced by Graham Gouldman [member of 10CC, man who wrote “For Your Love”, “Heart Full Of Soul” and “Evil Hearted You” for The Yardbirds] is a 60’s influenced power pop gem with handfull of classics as ”We Want The Airwaves”, ”All’s Quiet On The Eastern Front”, ”The KKK Took My Baby Away”, ”Don’t Go”, ”You Sound Like You’re Sick”, ”She’s A Sensation”, ”7-11”, ”Sitting In My Room”… From my point of view one of their best, better than ”End Of The Centery”.  On ”Subterranean Jungle” their 7th Lp, Ramones turned back to their punk rock roots and sound from “Rocket To Russia” era. Interesting is that on this album Walter Lure played most of guitars so the style on some tunes as ‘Somebody Like Me” or ”Time Bomb” reminds on The Heartbreakers. Album feature fine covers of ”Little Bit O’ Soul” [The Music Explosion], ”Time Has Come Today” [The Chambers Brothers] and ”I Need Your Love”[The Boyfriends], plus killer originals as “Outsider”, ”Somebody Like Me”, “Psycho Therapy”, “Time Bomb”, “Everytime I Eat Vegetables…”. Vinyl rips by Mr.Eliminator, in <360> binaural Surfadelic sound!

“Sitting in my room
Record player on
Sitting in my room
Humming a sickening tune
Sitting in my room
Something to do soon”

 

THE REAL KIDS – No Place Fast [1981/82]/ Hit You Hard [1983]

 

More ace power pop/punk by these Boston rockers. “No Place Fast” is actually “Outta Place” 1982.lp on Star Club records + “Taxi Boys” mini lp issued on Bomp rec in 1981. With slightly different lineup John Felice put out some pretty solid power popsters as ‘Can’t Talk To That Girl’, ‘No Place Fast’, ‘Senselass’, ‘ Outta Place’, ‘What’s It To You’, ‘ Bad To Worse’, ‘Everybody’s Girl’

”Hit You Hard” is 1983. lp on New Rose records, featuring another version of ‘She’ and superfine slices of power pop like ‘Hit You Hard’, ‘Now You Know’, ‘Where I Wanna Be’, ‘Right When It’s Right’, ‘She’s A Mess’… produced by Andy Paley [of Paley Brothers].

 

 

THE REAL KIDS – st [1977] + ’74/’77 Demos!

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American punk/power pop rock’n’roll band from Boston, Massachusetts formed as The Kids in 1972 by John Felice after he left The Modern Lovers. They played 50’s & 60’s/Groovies/ Stooges/ VU/ Dolls influenced raw garage pop punk. In 1977. Red Star Records issued The Real Kids classic debut slab with twelve raw rockin’ tunes, 9 originals as ‘All Kindsa Girls’, ‘Solid Gold (Thru And Thru)’,,’Better Be Good’, ‘She’s Alright’, ‘My Baby’s Book’, ‘Do The Boob’, ‘Raggae Raggae’… and fine covers of Buddy Holly, Eddie Cochran and Huey “Piano” Smith songs. This here is a vinyl rip of their debut lp plus newly found rippin’ proto-punk 1974/’77 demo tapes of their first recordings. ‘Like their name, these guys were for real’. Dig!!!

 

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