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Power Pop Lives On In 2013


Wyatt Funderburk Top Power Popper
















I consider I follow mainstream pop fairly closely, I might not know every popstar in every genre but I don’t there is a genre I can be completely blindsided on, right?


Once you start getting into “The Deli” and, the reason we’re here right now “Power Popaholic” I am completely clueless. Writer Aaron Kupferberg’s website devoted entirely  to modern day Power Pop, you know the ancestors of Big Star, the dB’s and other mid-80s members of the most likely not to break pop power pop tribes, is a study in eh?

So Aaron posted his top 25 albums of 2013 and I didn’t know one of them,  though I do know Richard X Heyman  among the honorable mentions and, er, the Beatles At The BBC among the best compilations.

And after listening to the album of the year, Wyatt Funderburks Novel And Profane, I am not sure if power pop isn’t a little too bland AND overwritten. Everything in the same key, every song with the same whiney nasality, but all the songs are good enough and occasionally, the excellent “Nights Like This”, they are more. A fair to middling effort by an old pro, Wyatt’s bio reads:

 “Wyatt Funderburk is a Nashville musician, songwriter and producer. Since self-releasing his first record as a teenager in the 1990s, Funderburk has toured the US and abroad with his own bands and others’, while also working in his studio with some of the best rock and pop artists in the country.

As a songwriter, Funderburk has collaborated with musicians like Erik Chandler and Jaret Reddick (Bowling For Soup), Dan Vapid (The Riverdales, Screeching Weasel), Linus of Hollywood (Size 14), James Broad (Silver Sun) and Kurt Baker as well as with his own bands (Second Saturday, The Pendletones, The Loblaws) and as a solo artist.”

Except for Bowling For Soup, I don’t know a name here. And waiting for an Apples In Stereo reference is a suckers game.

# 2 is Corin Ashley and a talented fellow, he sounds like Stamey singing Ron Sexsmith though again my power pop years ended back in 1983 so I am probably dismissing what I can’t quite hear. # 3 is the most interesting,  Secret Friend have  jazz influences as well as the usual suspects, Steven Fox’s band  is something of a studio creation  and on  the title track “Time Machine”, sound very McCartney.

Skimming through the rest of Aaron’s favorites, Nick Piunti’s galloping guitars is very Big Star-y, Lisa Mychols is, wow, a woman, and sounds like a power pop Tracey Ullman without the irony, The Orange Peels are Byrdsy guitars and off tune harmonies, the Junior League sound a little like the Turtles and The Grapes Of wrath, a Canadian trio around since the 1980s, and a band I will definitely try and catch up with.

Listening to one power pop band after another is probably not the best way to immerse yourself, though if you have Spotify this small sampler will give you an idea of the scene. It reminds me a little of emo with the guitars turned down, the melodies sharper and the song names less interesting. And it reminds me a little of the early 80s, though probably more like the Stamey-Holsapple of Mavericks.

As music movements go, the DIY with little interest or acknowledgment of the music business reminds me more of the Lo-Fi scene exemplified by Bridgetown records: I respect it a lot even if it doesn’t quite set off any musical alarms. It is like getting stuck in an elevator with Glenn Murrow and Ron Sexsmith, for hours, it could be worse, both are talented guys, but it isn’t going anywhere.

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