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New Fun. Do not miss "Some Nights"

This is already a better year for new music and it is only February! What I believe will be two of the best records of the year came out yesterday. That's right, we have been blessed with two that will be hard to be beat. They are both better than anything I heard all of last year.

FunSomeNightsI'll start with the best because it's so good I can't wait to let everyone know about it. The album is called Some Nights and it is from the band called fun. That's fun. with a distinct period after it. Their debut Aim and Ignite had some hook filled power pop, including the fantastic "All The Pretty Girls." The new album was a long time coming, with a reissue of their debut and a live EP in between, not to mention a couple of top notch singles on iTunes. Some Nights was well worth the wait and it is an album that puts the band on a whole new level. It is a creative masterpiece that is so original I find it hard to draw a comparison to any other modern band. There are influences for sure, from Queen and Wings to a bit of a bit of a UK power pop vibe. It sounds a bit like The Feeling if they wrote much better songs and were more experimental. A Cappella layered haromies over piano and vintage synths with melodies that will bob and weave through your ears and into your heart and mind, leaving you stunned and wanting more. The title track (after the intro) is brilliant and you will want to give it repeated listens. Musically it's fun and hooky with great production, but lyrically it is extremely deep and often introspective, "Lord, I'm still not sure what I stand for." These guys know what they are doing and their art of song craft is evident on every track. I got the vinyl, and the packaging and lyric sheet are fantastic. Even though the album wasn't stickered this way, it includes the full CD as well. I have loved this band for a few years now, but with this record I think the secret is out of the bag. This is a true artistic statement and one you do not want to miss. Find out more here:

FieldmusicplumbTodays reviews are sponsored by the letter "F". From Fun. to Field Music. This is a band that has defied classification, and they have showed moments of sheer brilliance and beauty on their last 3 records. Little did we know that they were just experimenting and making their way to artistic glory. Plumb is without a doubt their best work. It has a heavy 70's pop and rock influence but yet they maintain somewhat modern alt vibe. I have never heard a band take elements of 10cc, Yes, Paul McCartney and The Beatles and combine them into pop tunes. Imagine Godley and Creme doing a combination of Yes' Fragile and The Beatles Sgt. Peppers, with a young Paul McCartney singing some of the tracks.Those tracks are here. There is also some fun psychic mayhem that creaps in that I can't quite place. Maybe some of you out there can help with it, check out track number 4 and tell me who you think the influences are...I can't figure it out, but it has a cool sound. Check it out:


Hot New Band Alert: Joy of Painting

Nashville TN has long been known for country and gospel music, but over the past 20 years it has gradually seen an increase in the cool music category. With modern and alternative rock emerging to make it a true music city. From Self to Kyle Andrews to Fun it has managed to produce a number of the best artists of the past few years. Go ahead and add Joy of Painting to that list, because their first EP is an artistically brilliant debut that will truly surprise you. Asterisk is the title and this release definitely deserves one, with 7 well written tracks that will leave you wanting more. Listen to "Old Love" first, although there isn't a bad song in the bunch. This is a young band with a great sound so GIVE IT A LISTEN:


New Music Tuesday - Kweller, Air, Van Halen and McCartney

KwellerFlyAKite AirLeVoyage VHDifferentCov  PaulMcCartneyKisses

As far as ObviousPop is concerned, this was the first big New Release Tuesday of 2012. I wasn't expecting to really like any of these records, but they are all albums that I wanted to hear and review.

Let's start with the new Ben Kweller...I was hoping to like this one, even though a few songs I had heard border on Crosby, Stills & Nash, it is easily his best record to date and I have a feeling power pop fans will love it. Two tracks that really stand out are "Gossip" and "Jealous Girl." It's a beautiful record with a lot of styles infused into one cohesive group of songs that flow nicely. The melodies are the best thing about this one.

Air is a hit and miss group for me. They are incredibley talented and there is always something to love but their last couple of releases didn't do much for me. Now comes their new concept/soundtrack album "Le Voyage Dans La Lune." It's a soundtrack to the famous French movie of the same name that inspired the movie Hugo. A great story in and of itself. So I expected weird or mellow film music. I couldn't have been more surprised if I had woke up with my head sewn to the carpet. This may be the best thing Air has ever done. Cool melodies, electronic and pop with quirky vibes and sounds that hook you in and won't let go. Make sure you get the "deluxe" CD/DVD edition with the movie included.

Now onto a couple of records I would have bet the nest egg on this to completely suck. I know that ObviousPop is not the destination of Van Halen fans, but I happen to be a big fan, simply based on past hooky hits and because Eddy is one of the greatest rock guitarists of all time. We've all heard about Eddie's problems and according to some of the rumors he was completely washed up. Then there is the return of David Lee Roth and the departure of Michael Anthony. The first clue that the rumors were not all true is their last tour with Dave, even though it was short lived, I happen to see it here in MPLS and Eddie was as good as I have ever seen him. But a new album with Roth? Yikes. The title is "A Different Kind of Truth." The first single is "Tattoo" and although it eventually grew on me, it didn't excite me and was underwhelming. Then there is the album cover, which is just plain awful. So what's to like? Almost the entire record rips with some of the best music and the best guitar playing we've heard from VH since the 1984 album. Tracks like "She's The Women" and "Outta Space" just plain rock and fit right along side the best this band has to offer. If you aren't a fan of VH or that sound, you still won't like it, but I am hoping fans and critics give this one a try. I have read a couple reviews and it was obvious the person did not listen or give it a chance.

Another record that has "bad idea" written all over it is Paul McCartney's new "Kisses On The Bottom." The title and album cover art are complete crap, as is the idea for the Beatles legend to stoop to Rod Stewart level and record an album of old timey standards. I even debated not buying this album at all, just based on principal, but then I heard it playing in a store. At first I wondered "what Beatles or McCartney album is this?" The new album of standards was the answer that I didn't expect. His voice sounds great singing these songs, some I recognize, some I don't. His 2 originals here are good, but there isn't a bad son on the record and the recording is beautiful. It's Beatles lounge music and it is extremely well done. If people enjoyed hearing Rod Stewart's raspy smoke and alcohol ravaged voice sing standards, they will think they've died and went to heaven when they hear Paul McCartney actually do it right and make it work.

Contrary to popular trending, I highly reccomend all 4 of these new releases!

ELO Strikes Again

Longplayer SecretPowersRose BGOoutofthisworldThey say that imitation is the best form of flattery. We all know that The Beatles and Beach Boys have inspired more imitation than any other bands, especially in the world of power pop. Jeff Lynne and his Electric Light Orchestra seem to be getting more than their fair share of imitators lately. Many of these border on tribute bands, like the wonderful LEO. The last year has seen three very good bands that are more than heavily influenced by ELO. Longplayer is probably my favorite, with two of the best original songs, "The Messenger" and "Silicone Sue." These songs sound like they are straight out of the early 80's Jeff Lynne songbook. Either one would sound right at home on Time or Secret Messages. Then you have The Secret Powers with their album "What Every Rose Grower Should Know", this one isn't a direct imitation like the others, but it has plenty of ELO influence and themes. The most blantant of the bunch though has to be Bubble Gum Orchestra with their new "Out of This World" release. It's basically one guy, but wow, he's REALLY into ELO. From the spaceship album cover to the album title and lyrics, it is all a tribute to Electric Light Orchestra. The string arrangements are great and there are some good songs. It isn't as strong as Longplayer, but power pop and ELO fans will want to check it out. One thing is for sure, all three of these albums are full of excellent hooks and orchestration.