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September 2004
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December 2004

Not To Be Missed (It’s all good!)

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…new release season is here! There are so many great new albums being released I’ve been at a loss on where to begin. I’m going to list 4 great ones right now…

Jeffrey Foskett – Stars In The Sand
Power Pop fans take note! If you’re a fan of the Beach Boys or Brian Wilson, or more importantly his tours and the new SMiLE release, this album is a must have. It ranges from Beach Boys style surf pop to 70’s power pop and features Jeffrey’s great vocals and guitars along with guest performances by Marshall Crenshaw and Brian Wilson himself. You can currently see Jeffrey on the SMiLE Tour. Get this CD now! You can pre-order it from Amazon or get it now from www.popcollective.com

The Futureheads
This one is a bit harder to nail down. Everyone throws out the new wave reference, and that works for most of the record, because the vocalist sounds like Adam Ant meets the Sparks. The music is early new wave and post-punk, sounding like early Devo and the Clash at times and Todd Rundgren and Adam and the Ants during others. The band somehow manages to still sound quite original. They'll suprise you though with acapella vocal arrangements for intro's and weird breaks and style changes. Very cool!

Dogs Die In Hot Cars – Please Describe Yourself
If you can get past the odd band name, which, while clever, would have worked much better as an album title, this is a great CD. XTC fans take note, this guy sounds a lot like Andy Partridge and there are some great melodies and power pop moments on this one. Has anyone ever seen the lead singer of this band and Andy Partridge in the same room? I'm beginning to wonder... I really like this one, if it doesn’t make my year end top 10 it’s because they should have went more power pop at times instead of trying to be the next Strokes or Hives. These tendencies crop up here and there on this record and it really has so much more potential artistically than those horrible garage band Rolling Stones knock-offs.

Mute Math – Reset
I love this CD! I want a full album and I want it now. This 7 song EP will leave you wanting more, and I guess that’s a good thing. The opening track is a hit. It reminds me of U2’s Beautiful Day if Depeche Mode had performed it. It’s commercial but brilliant. Then it heads into pure Moby territory, sounding like something from Play or the song We’re All Made of Stars. They’re adventurous and alternative, while utilizing keyboards and numerous influences. Mute Math is very original and hard to pin down. I highly recommend this one!

Other notables on the Not To Be Missed list are:
Interpol – Antics
They’re even better than before. Get this.

William Shatner – Has Been
This is a brilliantly fun masterpiece from Captain Kirk, Ben Folds and an unbelievable who’s-who of guest artists and performers.


The Greatest Show on Earth

Some people love to go to concerts. They prefer the live experience over listening to a CD. I think that there are a lot of music fans out there that feel this way. Some of those people even prefer a live recording over a studio recording. I am not one of those people. I like great sound. I like studio production. I rarely like a live version of a song over a studio recording. There are exceptions of course. As I get older, I find my desire to go out and see bands live is fading fast. There are exceptions to this as well. There are a select number of bands that I will always go see if I get the chance…but even those shows are rarely as good as the album. There is one show that I definitely wanted to see, but I never thought it could top the album and that’s Brian Wilson’s SMiLE tour. The album is a true work of art and easily the best of the year. The U.S. tour opened here in Minneapolis and I was fortunate enough to have tickets and passes. I knew I was going to love the show, but I never thought the music could be better than the record and I couldn’t have been more wrong. The band was nothing short of amazing, with a string section, horns, keyboards, percussionists, guitars and more. There was Brian, front and center. The band breathed new life into the old Beach Boys material and then came SMiLE. Brian immediately perked up and seemed to be invigorated by this material. From the complex to the simple the band performed the musical suites and songs as though this was the exact music they were born to perform. They played it well, and had fun with it. Their creativity and energy made it come alive and gave these live renditions a feeling all there own. There was something there that the new SMiLE album and the earlier versions of this material were never able to capture. It was so fun, and so moving, that during the entire set, Brian and the audience couldn’t stop smiling.

Check out the backstage photo here: www.popcollective.com/smiletour.html