Things may be seriously amiss in the corridors of power, but, thankfully, all is well in the world of power pop. In fact, it’s in rude health.
If you’re unfamiliar with Sugarbush’s output, then a good place to start is the new compilation album, A Spoonful of Sugarbush – a 13-track sampler LP that brings together a whole bunch of tracks by various artists that are otherwise unavailable on vinyl.
Limited to only 300 copies – 150 on green vinyl and 150 on red – this is an essential collection of hook-laden, retro guitar pop.
There’s no messing about – things get off to a great start with the jangly Stormy Skies and Starry Nights by Caddy from Norway, which reminds me of classic Teenage Fanclub.
It’s hard to pick out highlights, but here are a few: Algernon by Detroit’s The Hangabouts – essentially, Fountains of Wayne doing psych-pop; Ticket With No Return, by English act The Orgone Box – think Revolver-era Beatles – and the irresistible Take It From Me by US singer-songwriter Chris Richards.
Sugarbush Records’ head honcho, Markus Holler, has even included one of his own tracks on the album – a perk of the job, eh? – and it’s a belter – the Cotton Mather-esque Little Pretender.
And all of those songs are only on side one… Flip it over and you get the swirling, psychedelic sounds of Maladantive Solution and Green Pajamas, and the Future Harmonies’ faithful rendition of the theme tune from ‘70s sitcom Whatever Happened To The Likely Lads?
There’s no doubt about it – A Spoonful of Sugarbush is just the thing to help the medicine go down.
And as if that’s not [Matthew] sweet enough, Spanish label You Are The Cosmos has also recently served up some delicious power pop treats.
King Without A Throne by David Brookings is a 12-track Best Of collection on vinyl that includes material from all seven of the US singer-songwriter’s albums released between 2000-2016.
Opener Time To Go is hugely hummable and high on harmonies, the title track is a big, mid-paced, radio-friendly ballad about being dumped – it sounds like it should be on the soundtrack of a romcom or a teen angst movie – the country-tinged Tough Crowd is an ode to playing to unreceptive audiences, and The Greatest Songwriter No One Ever Heard is an anthem for frustrated, undiscovered musicians everywhere.
Funnily enough, Ronnie D’Addario – whose Best Of 1976-1983 LP is also out now on You Are The Cosmos – could be the greatest songwriter no one ever heard.
He’s the dad of brothers Brian and Michael D’Addario, from New York hipsters The Lemon Twigs, and sublime Beachboys and Beatles-inspired pop is his specialty. And there’s plenty of it on offer on this classy 12-track compilation.
The piano-led I’m On To Something is pure McCartney and the gorgeous Falling For Love is a ballad that sounds like it was found buried in Brian Wilson’s sandbox.
Ronnie’s three studio albums – Take In A Show (1976), Falling For Love (1981) and Good For You (1983) are also available in a three CD box set on You Are The Cosmos.
Finally, also out in power-pop land this month – on Buchipluma Records – is Fear The Summer – the third album from one-man band Colman Gota, the former member of Madrid-based act Insanity Wave.
The record is co-engineered by Mitch Easter (R.E.M and Velvet Crush), and as someone who suffers from a fear of summer, I was particularly drawn to the superb title track, which kicks off the album with a howl of guitar, before letting loose with a chugging rhythm, spacey New Wave sounds and some serious organ, like Elvis Costello and The Attractions doing fuzz-pop. It’s going to be my anti-summer soundtrack.
Call It Quits, What You Want Me To Be and Make A Stand – which is driven by a cool bass groove – are gloriously defiant, power-pop anthems.
In the press release that accompanies the album, Colman says: “Should you still be rocking in your forties? Yes, you should.”
He adds: “These days you have the feeling, that society condemns you to solitary confinement if you are not young and beautiful and if you don’t comply with some unwritten rules. Well it’s time to rebel against all that…. or write a great song about it.”
With Fear The Summer, he’s written a whole bunch of ‘em. More power to him.
For more information on all of these records – which are out now – please visit: