I can never relate to people who complain there’s no good music these days. The charts may be jammed with overly commercial artists, but with a little effort, it’s still possible to find new stuff you’ll love in rock, soul, new wave, C&W, or punk. That’s obviously the case for power pop since David Bash, Founder/CEO of International Pop Overthrow, has just released another three-CD collection featuring power pop and indie rock acts associated with his traveling music festival. With over 60 tracks, some misfires are inevitable, but International Pop Overthrow - Volume 15 serves as a great resource (complete with the website for each act) for discovering music. Here are some highlights from the numerous worthwhile tracks.
Bash gives power pop veterans Shoes the honor of kicking off this volume with the guitar-driven “Head Vs. Heart” from their impressive comeback CD, Ignition. The Tor Guides use a similar approach on “Summer’s Green,” as does Robin Stanley on “Make Up Your Mind.” The Condors crank up the energy on “Queer Fascination,” and there are high-speed, catchy efforts from The Issue, The Seasons, 302, and The Afternoons. Go Time! mixes in a bit of hard rock on “Give It A Chance,” while Lily Sparks bring a Stones-like swagger to their song, “Stars.”
The Reflections evoke a 1960s Top 40 hit through jangling guitars and harmonies on “Girl From Out Of Town,” The Pondhawks combine Paul McCartney and Squeeze on the infectious “Drive,” and The Beat Rats travel back to the British Invasion for “Only 16.” Garage rock is well-represented by Dave Rave’s “You’re My Sensation” and John McMullan’s “That’s What Dick Dawson Said.”
NUSHU, a duo comprised of Lisa Mychols and Hilary Burton, delivers a fun and faithful take on The Cars’ “My Best Friend’s Girl,” and Mychols also succeeds with her power pop gem, “Taken.” Laurie Biagini’s catchy love song, “Two Of A Kind” is an immediate attention-grabber, and Sue Hedges crafts an amiable folk arrangement for “Song For Last Year’s Lover.” “Impossible To Be With,” by Ramune, is a bit disjointed at the start, but then kicks into gear.
Although International Pop Overthrow is primarily concerned with power pop and indie rock, Bash obviously relishes the opportunity to toss the occasional curve ball. The Dirty Royals use acoustic instruments to back “Hey Katrina,” their tale of an abused wife, The Foreign Films build an orchestrated sound on “Sweet Sorrow,” and The Star Fire Band breaks out some honky tonk piano on “Home.” David Dattner & Troy Warkentin draw listeners in with the pulsating techno beat of “Skating On The Thin Ice,” and Liar’s Club is abrasive but enjoyable with its punkish “There You Go Again.” IPO - Volume 15 wraps up with the dreamily psychedelic “Barbie” by Ed Tulipa.