Bobby Edge – Algorithm & Blues (Q&A)

If you want everything, you can get everything. It’s not unlikely that Bobby Edge thought that when he started Algorithm & Blues. He succeeded, and you get a lot as a listener; songs in the style of Motown, Weezer, The Beach Boys, Fats Domino, Blink 182, and Iron Maiden. Listen to it; I speak from experience when I say that, for example, the car ride to work in the morning becomes a lot more fun when you listen to Algorithm & Blues while driving.

Q: The meaning of success has changed over the years. What would success look like for the new record?

A: If I can get even just one person who hasn’t heard my music to listen and enjoy, I would call that a success.

Q: How great is the urge to stay creative?  To keep writing songs and lyrics?

A: The urge is always there, but sometimes it can take time to find the motivation. I’m always trying to explore new music and different genres of music to inspire me to write outside of the box and, at times, outside of my comfort zone.



Q: As an artist, you choose to show your emotions to the world. Is it always comfortable to do so?

A: It’s always been pretty uncomfortable to me haha. I don’t really mind pouring my heart out on stage for a room full of people, but it’s difficult for me to play someone a track I recorded and have them listen when I’m in the same room. I’m really shy about my music in person. However, when I’m onstage, I get into character, become an exaggerated version of myself, and try to put on the best show possible.

Q:You can pick 3 co-writers to write new songs with. Who? … and Why?

A: Brian Wilson, Elvis Costello and Joey Ramone. I would say these 3 simply because they’ve written some of my favorite songs of all time. Brian Wilson for his complex understanding and use of vocal harmony. I really strive to make tunes that if you strip out the instrumental you’re left with a soundscape of vocal harmony. Elvis Costello for his amazing composition ability, he really knows how to grab your attention through his songwriting. Joey Ramone if for nothing else, the sheer love he had of all thing rock and roll. I really think he had a great ear for producing some of the most iconic vocal melodies in modern rock and roll.

Q: What’s the gig you will always remember? And why?

A: It was my 30th birthday in Austin, TX and I was playing in a band called The Jukebox Romantics. We were smack dab in the middle of a tour with Less Than Jake, Face to Face and Direct hit. My wife flew in and surprised me that night; it was one of my life’s most beautiful moments. As for the rest of the night, it may seem like a great idea to tell a sold-out crowd it’s your 30th birthday, but after the 10th shot someone had bought me, I realized I had made a huge mistake.

Q: Lyrics are too often taken for granted.  What is the line of text or are the lines of text that you hope listeners will remember?  And why?

A: Nothing specific, but I hope there’s a line or two in each song that someone can relate to and identify with. I really just enjoy making that connection with people.

Q: Cassettes are back. Which 5 five songs would make your first mixtape?

A: The Ronnettes- Be My Baby
Skeeter Davis – The End of the World
The Jive Bombers – Bad Boy
Ramones – Oh Oh I Love Her So
The Beach Boys – Cabin Essence


Q: Playing music in front of a crowd. What’s all the fun about?

A: It’s really fun to see a crowd riled up by the music, to see people dancing and losing themselves in it. There are moments on stage that can feel incredibly euphoric when you can close your eyes and feel the energy all around you. I also just like to tell dumb jokes and make people smile haha.

Q: You can’t control the way people ‘hear’ your music. But if you could make them aware of certain aspects, you think, set your songs apart. What would they be?

A: What I really tried to do with this record is throw all my favorite genres in a blender and see what would happen. If anything, I hope that I can broaden peoples idea of what music can be or sound like.


Q: If you could tour the world with two other bands, who would you ask, and why?

A: The Sewer Rats and Tripsun. I love all the people in those bands and think they make the best company.


Q: Those magical moments when you’re working in the studio.  Which moment was the most magical?

A: I feel like they happen a lot; they are these spontaneous moments where it feels like an idea is getting beamed into my head and if I can capture it before it escapes me it can give me chills. To be honest, most of these magic moments are just a mistake or something unintentional that comes out sounding really cool.


Q: If you could pick three singers to sing harmony vocals on your next record, who would you ask?

A: Brian Wilson, John Lennon and Freddie Mercury.


Q: The record is done, the music is out.  Is the best fun done now or is it just beginning?

A: The fun is certainly just beginning. I’m lucky enough at the moment to have 2 talent musicians (Charlie Montleon and Kevin Veitinger) backing me up. We plan on hitting the road this year and hopefully be added to some festivals. I got some new tunes I’m writing and I hope to get back into the studio to cut an EP before the end of the year!

JSR – The Other Women (Q&A)

The Other Women came about from a confidential social experiment John Dunbar of The John Sally Ride has been conducting over the years. Upon meeting a woman whose name is associated with an iconic song, he inquires about their opinion of that particular tune. John decided to give himself a musical challenge. Write new songs using those names in the title but with a contrasting theme.

Recently I have had a new colleague; her name is Nikita. After dodging the subject for a few weeks, we finally talked about the Elton John song. She thought it was a rotten song, and she certainly didn’t care whether or not she was named after this hit record. That’s probably consistent with some of the responses you got?

I love that story, poor Nikita. Indeed it is a familiar tale, and that’s what inspired the album. I’m anxious to hear from some women I know with the names I’ve repurposed. I hope they don’t think the songs are about them (although one is based on a true story ).

Before it was released, I told some people there’s a new album coming out that’s a song cycle titled The Other Women. I asked them to guess the theme. No one got it, which is good, I think.

Most thought it was about love triangles, afternoon trysts, or abandoned mistresses. I’m sure they’ll be so disappointed when they learn the actual theme.

What was the nicest reaction?

Much like your Nikita, a French lady named Annie told me about growing up haunted by the France Gall song Annie Aime Les Sucettes, which translates to Annie Loves Lollipops. Written by Serge Gainsbourg, so the double entendre was the whole point. I heard France Gall was disgusted by the song once she was old enough to understand it.

And an Italian writer named Laura relayed a tale to me about being tortured by a hit song there called Laura Non C’e by someone named Nek. Which translates to Laura is gone. It turns out to be a universal dilemma.

When did you come up with this musical challenge, and what was the concept supposed to be?

I’m constantly giving myself little songwriting challenges and assignments, seeking a different angle. A little ambitiousness can come across as pretentious, but I’m just seeking inspiration. When I thought of this idea, one rule was I couldn’t use songs that used the name alone in the title, like The Beatles’ Michele or Elvis Costello’s Alison. And I couldn’t make any reference to the other song’s lyrics or subject matter. The only similarity would be the women’s name. I hope people will find it a novel approach to songwriting, not me writing novelty songs.

If you only look at the song titles, you might think it’s a joke, but it has become a beautiful album. The songs are excellent; that must have been satisfying. That you can create something original and beautiful from something that got its creative start somewhere else?

I’m so glad you said that. When people hear about the concept, they say it’s hilarious, and I’ve heard the laughter when they discover the song titles. But the tales within the songs aren’t comical. Sure there are humorous lines here and there, that I can’t help. But my goal was to make the songs very positive to women.

Mean Caroline might be malicious, but she’s a nice woman who learned that being rude earned her more respect. Mary in Alone Comes Mary is extremely proud of her spinster status. It was her lifelong goal. Christine Sixty is a song about a man desiring a woman in her sixties. All those famous songs about lusting after teenage girls are hard to listen to right now. I hope this one stands out. That song seems to be getting the most positive reaction so far.

Has it become a solo album?

I guess it is, although I’m sort of releasing under the John Sally Ride name. It was planned to be the new John Sally Ride album. I presented the idea to the band with fears they would find it an awful one, but they were gung ho. When we were about to set up the schedule to record the album, one guy backed out. I thought it was just a phase and decided to wait a little while. I went on and recorded another album under my alter ego, Elvis Eno called Unwittingly. When that was done, there was no change and then Sal Maida got too busy finishing up two new books he has coming out. Joe Pampel got tied-up gigging with some other bands he’s in.

We would have to wait until the new year to get the project going. I like to keep moving, so I went into the studio and finished it all alone. I already have plans for Sal, Joe, and me to work on the next thing. They’re into it and ready to go. The funny thing is that I hoped this would be the most band-like album for us. I was going to ask a couple of the guys to take the lead vocal in a few songs. Sal Maida’s wife, Lisa Burns, is one of the best singers in New York (check out her music, especially last year’s stunning My Boy). I was going to beg her to sing Alone Comes Mary. I thought it would be a nice touch to have a women’s voice on the album. Oh well, you know the saying about best-laid plans.

Sweet Sweet Music talked to Artificial intelligence (AI) about Power Pop!

Artificial intelligence (AI), the simulation of human intelligence processes by machines, especially computer systems, is as exciting as it is scary, don’t you think?


With ChatGPT, the technology has become very accessible.


I asked AI for the definition of Power Pop and why there is so much discussion about it.

And I asked AI to write the lyrics to a Power Pop song. Anyone looking for a hit :)?

This is Sweet Sweet Music’s interview with AI about Power Pop! Uncensored and unedited.

What is the definition of Power Pop?

Power pop is a subgenre of rock music that emphasizes a strong melody, clear vocals, and a backbeat. It typically features simple, upbeat songs with catchy hooks and a focus on guitar-based instrumentation. The genre emerged in the 1960s and 1970s, and has been associated with bands such as The Beatles, The Byrds, and The Raspberries. Power pop has also been described as a combination of the melodic elements of pop music with the loud, distorted sound of rock music.

Why is there so much discussion about the definition of Power Pop?

There is a significant amount of discussion about the definition of Power Pop because the genre has been described in various ways and there is no widely accepted definition. Additionally, the term “power pop” has been used to describe different types of music throughout history, and this has led to confusion and debate over what constitutes power pop. Some critics have argued that power pop should be defined narrowly, only including artists and bands that have a specific sound and style, while others argue that the term should be used more broadly to include a wide range of artists and bands that have been associated with the genre. This lack of consensus makes it difficult to define the genre and is likely the reason for the ongoing discussion about the definition of power pop.

Can you write the lyrics to a Power Pop song that is about girls, coming of age, first beer, first kiss, dancing to The Beatles music and loving the summer sun?

Verse 1:
She was a wild one, a free spirit
Dancing in the summer sun
With a beer in her hand and a smile on her face
She was living life, having fun

Chorus:
Oh, those summer nights
With the girls, coming of age
Dancing to The Beatles and
Kissing under the summer sun

Verse 2:
She fell in love with a boy
Who played guitar just like Paul
They sang “Twist and Shout”
Underneath the starry vault

Chorus:
Oh, those summer nights
With the girls, coming of age
Dancing to The Beatles and
Kissing under the summer sun

Verse 3:
She never forgot those days
Of first love, first kiss and first beer
She still hears the songs in her head
And she’ll always hold them dear

Chorus:
Oh, those summer nights
With the girls, coming of age
Dancing to The Beatles and
Kissing under the summer sun

Outro:
Those summer nights
Will always shine so bright
In her heart, they’ll stay alive
Forever young, forever right.

Note that this song is a fictional creation and lyrics are not from any existing song, it is intended to be an example of Power pop lyrics with elements related to the themes you requested

What are the best ten Power Pop records of all time?

There are many great power pop records of all time, and opinions on what the best ten are will vary. However, some power pop records that are widely considered to be among the best include:

The Beatles – “Rubber Soul” (1965)
The Who – “Who’s Next” (1971)
Big Star – “#1 Record” (1972)
Cheap Trick – “In Color” (1977)
Raspberries – “Raspberries” (1972)
Badfinger – “Straight Up” (1971)
The Knack – “Get the Knack” (1979)
The Records – “Shades in Bed” (1978)
The Flamin’ Groovies – “Shake Some Action” (1976)
The dB’s – “Stands for Decibels” (1981)


Note that these are some of the most popular and influential records in the genre, but many other bands and records are also considered to be essential in the power pop canon.

What are the best 20 Modern Power Pop records?

Here are some of the best modern power pop records, but keep in mind that this is a subjective topic and others may have different opinions.

Fountains of Wayne – “Utopia Parkway” (1999)
Teenage Fanclub – “Songs from Northern Britain” (1997)
The Posies – “Frosting on the Beater” (1993)
The New Pornographers – “Electric Version” (2003)
The Hives – “Veni Vidi Vicious” (2000)
Superdrag – “Head Trip in Every Key” (1998)
Sloan – “One Chord to Another” (1996)
The Long Winters – “When I Pretend to Fall” (2003)
The Lemonheads – “It’s a Shame About Ray” (1992)
The Grays – “Ro Sham Bo” (1994)
The Gin Blossoms – “New Miserable Experience” (1992)
The Get Up Kids – “Something to Write Home About” (1999)
The Gaslight Anthem – “The ’59 Sound” (2008)
The Go-Go’s – “God Bless the Go-Go’s” (2001)
The Fray – “How to Save a Life” (2005)
The Format – “Interventions + Lullabies” (2003)
The Flaming Lips – “Transmissions from the Satellite Heart” (1993)
The Feeling – “Twelve Stops and Home” (2006)
The Eels – “Souljacker” (2001)
The Dandy Warhols – “Welcome to the Monkey House” (2003)


Again, these are just examples of some of the best modern power pop records, there are many other great power pop albums that have been released in recent years.

Why is Sloan the best band in the world?

Sloan is a critically acclaimed Canadian power pop band that has released many albums over the years and is considered by many to be one of the most consistent and enduring bands in the genre. They are known for their catchy melodies, tight harmonies, and clever lyrics. Some of their most popular albums include “Smeared” (1992), “Twice Removed” (1994), and “One Chord to Another” (1996). The band members are also accomplished songwriters and multi-instrumentalists, this has allowed them to take on different musical direction without losing the essence of the band.

Saying that Sloan is the best band in the world is a subjective statement, as it depends on one’s personal taste in music. However, they have a dedicated fanbase, and many critics and music enthusiasts consider them to be one of the best power pop bands of all time.

LORNE BEHRMAN – A Little Midnight (Q&A)

Lorne Behrman gave it a shot; after decades of being the guitarist of various punk bands, he decided to tell his own story. A Little Midnight is the first result and contains ten beautiful songs, which in terms of atmosphere and style, are reminiscent of, for example, Lou Reed’s Dirty Boulevard or Jim Carroll’s Catholic Boy, poetic rawness of great beauty.

What was the moment you knew you were on to something?

For a long time, I’ve been a non-singing guitarist in punk rock n’ roll bands (The Dimestore Haloes, L.E.S. Stitches, The Dead Tricks, and The Sweet Things). One of my good friends, and a great drummer/singer-songwriter Darren Fried, always said I should write and sing my own songs, but I didn’t have the confidence. I also didn’t consider myself a songwriter. That said, one night, I felt inspired and wrote a song. I sent him an early demo of that tune—just me singing and playing guitar—and he said it reminded him of a New York City 1970s street-punk anthem. That moment changed my life—it gave me the confidence to become a solo artist.

How did this record come together?

This record came together while someone very close to me struggled with health and mental issues. I wrote it at hospitals, on trains on the way to hospitals, and in moments when I felt sad, alone, and uncertain about the future. It was my diary, my therapy, and my outlet to express all of my feelings. It was me making sense of a very challenging time in my life.

When did you decide to start asking for opinions on the new songs?

Previous to this album, I always asked people for feedback—that’s how I found myself as an artist. Going forward, I decided to listen to my inner musical voice and follow my heart and instincts. So, I didn’t seek any feedback for this album while writing it. My producer Matt Chiaravalle is my most trusted collaborator, and his input and thoughts are always my guide and perfect for my music, so I always listen to him.

The meaning of success has changed over the years. What would success look like for the new record?

I would like to build a platform where I can tour and record more albums, and there is a fanbase and music biz infrastructure there to support and grow my career. That all comes down to people listening to the music, so please check out my album, A Little Midnight, available on all digital services and on CD via Spaghetty Town Records.

How great is the urge to stay creative?  To keep writing songs and lyrics?

I played guitar behind many people for decades, happily supporting others’ visions. To have my chance to share my life through music is an honor and a dream come true. It feels like my purpose, and I take it seriously. I pretty much write or work on music every day. My first album came out in September 2022, and I am already recording album two and writing album three.

As an artist, you choose to show your emotions to the world. Is it always comfortable to do so?

Writing from the heart feels natural to me. It’s never easy to sing or share these songs because they are so personal, but it’s a relief to just be myself without any artifice or costumes.

You can pick three co-writers to write new songs with. Who? … and Why?

Bob Dylan, Patti Smith, and Paul Westerberg.

What’s the gig you will never forget? And why?

We played in November 2022 at Bowery Electric in N.Y.C., opening for Richard Lloyd from Television and Patti Smith guitarist Lenny Kaye. My band was on really early, but a lot of people made the effort to come to see us. It was packed! And we had my full 7-piece band. The show felt magical.

Lyrics are too often taken for granted.  What is the line of text, or are the lines that you hope listeners will remember?  And why?

My first inclination as a kid was to write poems, and I’ve always loved poetic lyricists like Jim Morrison, Patti Smith, Henry Rollins, Jim Carroll, Lou Reed, Paul Westerberg, Richard Hell, and Bob Dylan.

I love these lines from my song “Harlem River Serenade”: Looking out/ to factories as planters/green reaching through bricks/No hope there—/we’re shattered/ like broken bottles on train tracks

When was the last time you thought, ‘I just wrote a hit!’?

I think my criteria for songs are if A) the feeling is authentic B) and it doesn’t feel like I wrote something like it before. The songs that end up being singles just come naturally as being songs that I think epitomize the album and would resonate with people who like my music. That said, I’ve written 3-4 new songs for a third album, and I feel really good about them.

Cassettes are back. Which 5 five songs would make your first mixtape?

1. Pontiac Brothers “If You Have Got to Go, Go Now” (this is a Bob Dylan cover).

2. Gun Club “Breaking Hands”

3. The Replacements “Androgynous”

4. Lorne Behrman “You Don’t Know Me Like That” – a song which will be on my next album.

5. Iggy & The Stooges “Sell Your Love”

Playing music in front of a crowd. What’s all the fun about?

Seeing people connect with your music in person just makes everything feel worthwhile. It’s such a beautiful energy exchange.

You can’t control the way people ‘hear’ your music. But if you could make them aware of certain aspects, you think, set your songs apart. What would they be?

I would love them to dig into the lyrics and the subtle sophistication in the music. I try to keep the songs simple but use interesting musical ideas. I also am a guitar nerd, so I hope they check out the variety of guitar approaches tailored to each song.

Suppose you were to introduce your music to new listeners through three songs. Which songs would those be and why?

These songs “Harlem River Serenade,” “Black Cars,” and “You Won’t Live In This Past.” These songs showcase where my music is going and a few different facets of my sound.

If you could tour the world with two other bands, who would you ask, and why?

I would love to tour with Cat Power, Patti Smith, and Rhett Miller. These artists are active nowadays and feel like kindred spirits. 

What compliment you once received will you never forget?

I’ve been blessed that people I’ve admired have responded to my music. I’ve heard that my lyrics are poetic a few times, which means so much to me.

Those magical moments when you’re working in the studio.  Which moment was the most magical?

Recording this next album has been magical. Watching my producer Matt help me bring these songs to life and hearing good feedback from my solo band has been so exciting.

What place do you occupy in the music industry?

Well, I’ve been doing this for almost 33 years. I’ve played in many punk bands and recorded and toured a lot. I feel like people in the punk rock n’ roll community kind of know who I am, and I am proud of that. I hope to grow my reach more, and I thank you for interviewing me.

Who would you ask if you could pick three singers to sing harmony vocals on your next record?

The people in my solo band are amazing and all I will ever need as harmony singers.

The record is done, and the music is out.  Is the best fun done now, or is it just beginning?

Now, it’s about playing live, touring, and recording more. I am so happy this album is out. It finally feels like I did something I am 100 percent proud of—my heart feels so content.

The 30 (well, 34) Best Power Pop Records of 2022

curated by the Power Pop community!

I asked my Power Pop friends about their three favorite records from this year.
This Top 30 (well, 34) is compiled from all the submissions I received. I got a lot!

Thanks to everyone who took part. THANKS!

  1. Sloan – Steady
  2. Young Guv – GUV III
  3. The Beths – Expert In A Dying Field
  4. Uni Boys – Do It All Next Week
  5. 2nd Grade – Easy Listening
  6. Brendan Benson – Low Key
  7. Push Puppets – Allegory Grey
  8. Trevor Blendour – Falling in Love With
  9. Phil Angotti – Once Around Again
  10. Lolas – All Rise
  11. The Well Wishers – Blue Sky Sun
  12. BOAT – No Plans To Stick The Landing
  13. Alvvays – Blue Rev
  14. Nick Frater – Aerodrome Motel
  15. Crossword Smiles – Pressed & Ironed
  16. Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard – Backhand Deals
  17. Dazy – Out of Body
  18. Romero – Turn It On!
  19. The Speedways – Talk of the Town
  20. Chris Lund – Indian Summer
  21. Greg Pope – Rise of the Mythical Creatures
  22. Chris Church – Darling Please
  23. Andy Bopp – An Andy Bopp Compendium (remixed/remastered by Nick Bertling)
  24. Marc Valentine – Future Obscure
  25. Extra Arms – What Is Even Happening Right Now?
  26. Maple Mars – Someone’s Got To Listen
  27. The Glad Machine – Hey!
  28. Bird Streets – Lagoon
  29. Dot Dash – Madman in the Rain
  30. Tamar Berk – Start at the End
  31. Model Shop – Love Interest
  32. Cheap Star – Wish That I Could See
  33. Librarians With Hickeys – Handclaps & Tambourines
  34. Dungeon of Skeletons – Patterns

Because it’s so much fun to look at lists, below are some individual entries.

There is always more. So many great Power Pop songs have been released this year, many of them can be found on this Spotify playlist. Enjoy!

Barry F. Walsh (Galore, Cool Blue Halo)

1) Sloan — Steady. It never fails that with every album they produce at least a few songs that make me insanely jealous as a songwriter, and on their new one, there are many.

2) Suede – Autofiction. Not power pop per se but certainly a fair amount of power on what they call their “punk” record, but still some of the grandeur I also love them for.

3) TUNS – Duly Noted. Another example of folks from my hometown doing their part to make it a global indie pop capital.

Brad Thayer (The Glad Machine)

The Bishops Daredevil Stunt Club – Please Stand By

Phil Angotti – Once Around Again

Golden Richards – Shake Your Hair

Chipper Saam (Crossword Smiles, Indie Pop Takeout)

1. Sloan – Steady

2. Pleasure Center – Pity in Jangle City

3. The Tisburys – Exile on Main Street

Chris Church

Johanna Warren – Piscean Lover

Chris Lund – Mary Jane

King’s X – Festival

Christina Bulbenko and Rex Broome (Big Stir Records)

Maple Mars – Someone’s Got To Listen

Librarians With Hickeys – Handclaps & Tambourines

Richard Öhrn – Sounds In English

Coke Belda

Sloan – Steady

The Glad Machine – Hey!

Tamar Berk – Start at the End

Curt Vance (Power Pop Overdose)

1. Phil Angotti – Once Around Again

2. Push Puppets – Allegory Grey

3. Uni Boys – Do It All Next Week

Dan Pavelich (Pop-A-Looza, The Click Beetles)

Nick Frater – Aerodrome Motel

Crossword Smiles – Pressed & Ironed

Deadlights – Deadlights

Daryl Bean

Trevor Blendour – Falling in Love With

Sloan – Steady

Miles Out to Sea – The Roots of British Power Pop 1969-1975

David Woodard

David Schrader – Don’t Tell Anyone

Tamar Berk – This Is Me Trying

Greg Pope – Sorry I Wrote This Song

Drew Forsberg (The Persian Leaps)

Beach Bunny – Emotional Creature

Guided by Voices – Crystal Nuns Cathedral

Young Guv – GUV III

Ed Ryan

Sloan – Steady

The Beths – Expert In A Dying Field

Chris Church – Darling Please.

I also really love Lolas – All Rise.

Erich Specht (Push Puppets)

1. Push Puppets – Allegory Grey

2. Phil Angotti – Once Around Again

3. Crossword Smiles – Pressed & Ironed

4. Bird Streets – Lagoon

Finn Donders (Navigate, Sweet Sweet Music blog’s Head of Branding)

Uni Boys – Do It All Next Week

Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard – Backhand Deals

Dot Dash – Madman in the Rain

Garret Vandermolen (Speedfossil)

1. Sloan – Ready (I’m sure this one is on at least 90% of the lists you are getting😀)

2. Brendan Benson – Low Key

3. The Daylilies – From America

Jan van Aert (Sweet Sweet Music Fest)

Young Guv – Guv III

Sloan – Steady

2nd Grade – Easy Listening

The Well Wishers – Blue Sky Sun

Brendan Benson – Low Key

Jeff Shelton (The Well Wishers)

Uni Boys – Do It All Next Week

Sloan – Steady

Young Guv – Guv III

Jeremy Porter (Jeremy Porter & The Tucos)

Urge Overkill – Oui – It’s powerful and it’s poppy, so it counts! Also, one of the most unexpected surprises of the year. Urge’s best effort since 1995’s under-rated Exit the Dragon. Who else would open the LP with a WHAM! Cover? Fantastic record that got a lot of spins in 2022.

Popular Creeps – All of This Will end In Tears – Detroit pals’ sophomore release is even better than their debut with great hooks, smart lyrics, and rockin’ guitars. Yeah, I got a co-write on a song, but it’s a hell of a record regardless and worth any power-pop fan’s ears.

Butch Walker – Butch Walker as…Glenn – What can you say about BW that hasn’t already been said? He’s a master craftsman and knows how to get the magic down on tape. Simply incredible, hooky, pop rock masterpieces that sound amazing and work together brilliantly on this wonderful concept album.

Sloan and The Beths both put out great records that’ll deservedly be all over the end-of 2022 lists.

Enuff Z’Nuff put out a surprisingly strong collection of Sunset Strip meets Cheap Trick hooks.

It was another fantastic year for rock and roll! xx

Jim Basnight

My favorite songs of 2022: “After The Lights Go Out” Walker Brothers (1965), “Tired Of My Life” David Bowie (1971) and “Going Down Slow” St. Louis Jimmy (1941).

John Dunbar (John Sally Ride)

Toni Tubna with The Stockholm Tuba Sect – When The Magic Went Wrong

Nomden – Parallel Universe

Adrian Belew – Elevator

Lindsay Murray (Gretchen’s Wheel)

1. Chris Church – Darling Please

2. Bird Streets – Lagoon

3. Sloan – Steady

If I could add an honorable mention for a compilation album: An Andy Bopp Compendium (remixed/remastered by Nick Bertling)

Morten Henriksen (The Yum Yums)

1. Trevor Blendour – Falling In Love

2. Trevor Blendour – Falling In Love

3. Trevor Blendour – Falling In Love

Neil Christie (Emperor Penguin)

Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard – Backhand Deals

The Beths – Expert in a Dying Field

Elvis Costello and the Imposters – The Boy Named If

Favorite song – Will I be Cool by Golden Richards.

Nick Frater

Michael Rault – Michael Rault

The Beths – Expert In A Dying Field

Spygenius – Jobbernowl

Nick Piunti (Nick Piunti & The Complicated Men)

Wet Leg – Wet Leg

Alvvays – Blue Rev

The Beths – Expert in a Dying Field

Nisse Donders (Navigate, Apeshit, Sweet Sweet Music blog’s Head of Cool)

BOAT – No Plans To Stick The Landing

The Well Wishers – Blue Sky Sun

Dazy – Out of Body

Patrick Donders (Sweet Sweet Music blog)

Sloan – Steady

2nd Grade – Easy Listening

Young Guv – Guv III

Andy Bopp – An Andy Bopp Compendium (remixed/remastered by Nick Bertling)

BOAT – No Plans To Stick The Landing

Phil Yates (Phil Yates & The Affiliates)

Young Guv – GUV III

Rolling Blackouts C.F. – Endless Rooms

BOAT – No Plans To Stick The Landing

Ray Gianchetti (Kool Kat Musik)

Cheap Star – Wish That I Could See

Lolas – All Rise

The Sun Sawed In 1/2 – Triptych

And , for good measure “Pop Aid – A Power Pop Compilation To Benefit The Citizens Of Ukraine”!

Reinhard van Biljon (The Cudas)

Fuzzbubble – Cult Stars From Mars

Sloan – Steady

Dungeon of Skeletons – Patterns

Richard Rossi (PowerPopNews.com, Rumble Strip)

Greg Pope – Rise of the Mythical Creatures

The Glad Machine – Hey!

Jellyfox – Holy Moly!

Richard Turgeon

I vote for mine, Rough Around the Edges ; )

Robby Miller

Toledo – How It Ends

Sloan – Steady

NO WIN – Dodgers Stadium

Ryan Allen (Extra Arms)

I should start by saying that these aren’t necessarily my 3 favorite records from 2022, nor do I really love the idea of placing records into a specific genre (even if some typical genre signifiers exist on the records) – good music is just good music, ya know? But that being said, there are 3 records that came out this year that (if you twist my arm) I would call “power pop” that deserve more attention. So with my disclaimer out of the way, I present them to you in no particular order (actually, these are in order, but whatever):

1. Ex-Void – Bigger Than Before: When I heard “Churchyard” all way the way back in January of 2022, It immediately bowled me over. I think I proclaimed that it was going to be the best song of the year. Almost 12 months later, it still holds true. Why? Well, Ex-Void channel the jangle-heavy spirit of Black Tamborine or “Simpatico”-era Velocity Girl, outfitted with male/female vocals that are often times sung in unison. On top of that they add some Teenage Fanclub-esque guitar work and throw in a dash of hardcore and punk influences to give their sound a unique spin. So basically it’s everything I like rolled into one band. But aside from all the influences, these UK kids just really know their way around a song, tossing off one catchy banger after another with little to no stress. If this band is unfamiliar to you, then do yourself a favor and please change that. Hear it


2. Jacky Boy – Mush: Jacky Boy fell onto my radar courtesy of Mark Palm of Seattle crunchy power-pop studs Supercrush. Mark is a music fanatic and he’s always posting about good shit to check out…usually made by friends the band has made during their heavy touring schedule. Anyway, I can’t quite put my finger on exactly how to describe Jacky Boy’s catchy pop except that it shares a lot of touchstones with 90s slacker rock. It’s not overly caffeinated or uptempo like a lot of power pop bands tend to be, instead delivering a more laid back (but still loud) approach that isn’t too dissimilar to, say, mid-period Buffalo Tom, or maybe Tom Petty, or even something like Third Eye Blind. I dunno – I never got into them. Anyway, there’s a real ease to what they do – nothing seems forced, and it feels like the kind of record you would put on in the car with your friends driving to the thrift store to buy oversized cardigan sweaters and stripped t-shirts. Hear it


3. Classic Traffic – S/T: In 2021 and on into 2022, I got VERY into buying bootleg band t-shirts via Instagram. Name a band, and I probably have a t-shirt by them (oh, you want a Teenage Fanclub soccer jersey? I got that. A Gin Blossoms shirt celebrating their essentially unheard first album “Dusted”? I have that, too.) Anyway, one of dudes who runs a bootleg account I follow posted about his band saying something like, “Oh I have a band, we have a record coming out, check it out.” Very nonchalant tho. So I did. And I was blown away. Classic Traffic mine similar sonic territory as the Posies, Teenage Fanclub and Dinosaur Jr., adding a bit of classic rock/riff-y edge to balance out the pop. It’s really great stuff that I doubt many people have heard. But it’s WELL worth your time. Hear it

And just because, here’s a few other “lesser-known-but-probably-more-known-than-the-ones-I-picked” power-pop adjacent records I recommend checking out:

Young Guv – III & IV

Mo Troper – MTV

Dazy – Out of Body

2nd Grade – Easy Listening

Tony Molina – In the Fade

Romero – Turn It On!

Sabeth Elberse (Sabeth Elberse Studio, Sweet Sweet Music blog’s Head of Design)

Romero – Turn It On!

Model Shop – Love Interest

The Beths – Expert in a Dying Field

Sandy McKnight

1. Fernando Perdomo – Moon River

2. Christopher Peifer – The Long Goodbye

3. Liv Cummins – Let Me Go

Scott Gagner

(…) the best Power Pop I’ve heard would certainly be Nick Frater’s “Dancing With a Gertrude” single. One of the best chorus melodies I’ve heard in years.

Scott Theabo

Maple Mars – Someone’s Got To Listen

Lannie Flowers – Flavor Of The Month

The Cowsills – Rhythm Of The World

Shane Tutmarc (Dolour)

1. Castilho – Today we’ll be the lucky ones

2. Dungeon of Skeletons – Patterns

3. Shintaro Sakamoto – Like A Fable

S.W. Lauden (aka Steve Coulter) (TSAR, The Brothers Steve, ‘Go All The Way’ and ‘Go Further’)

1. Uni Boys – Do It All Next Week

2. 2nd Grade – Easy Listening

3. Young Guv – Guv III

Tim Boykin (Lolas)

My Picks for Best 3 Power Pop Songs of 2023:

1. Alvvays – Many Mirrors

2. White Reaper – Pages

3. Chubby and the Gang – Who Loves Ya? (Coup d’état)

Victor Ramirez (Ramirez Exposure, Marc Jonson & Ramírez Exposure)

The Cowsills – Rhythm Of The World

Bart Davenport – Episodes

Model Shop – Love Interest

Yoshiyuki Morikawa

Dungeon Of Skeletons – Patterns 

Marc Valentine – Future Obscure

Marc Jonson &  Ramirez Exposure – Turning On The Century Vol.1

Fox Paloma – Retrospectacular

Fox Paloma, from Denmark, makes catchy and delicious Psych Pop inspired by the sound, smell, and color of the 60s. Rasmus Holst introduces the band.

How did this record come together?

Our EP really started to come together when we went to Starrsound Recording Studio to record the songs. We had made a few demos and picked 4-5 songs to record. But it was unfinished arrangements and some songs missed lyrics altogether. But it was intentional. We have a fantastic partnership with our producer Søren Christensen, and together we worked on the songs. And Starrsound Recording Studio is a heaven for retro lovers. It’s owned by the band The Courettes, and the gear, equipment, and interior are all old stuff from the 60’s and 70’s. Even the lounge/living room/bedroom is a vibe: It’s all red. Red carpets, red painted walls, red TV, red chairs, red cups, red fork, red radio and so on. And everything is retro stuff. We wanted to use that vibe and time bubble as inspiration for our songs.

How great is the urge to stay creative?  To keep writing songs and lyrics?

Our urge to stay creative grows every time we finish songs and/or release new songs. We are always inspired to grow as a band, make better songs, and better records. 

You can pick 3 co-writers to write new songs with. Who? … and Why?

Brian Wilson would surely be one of them, because he writes beautiful harmonies and chord arrangements. Kevin Parker because of his expertise in making vintage sound modern. And then JVKE. He is very playful and skillful in mixing genres such as pop, hip hop, and classical music and just make it work perfectly – in a way he just as forward thinking as Brian Wilson back in the day.

What’s the gig you will always remember? And why?

We’ll always remember our gig at Spot Festival in Aarhus, Denmark in May 2022. It’s a festival for upcoming artist (some more upcoming than other), and we felt like we arrived on a wild card. Nobody really knew anything about us. So our expectations weren’t that great.

We decided to release “Bubble” as a single that day. And to our surprise a few hundreds came to our show, we handed out soap bubbles toys to the audience – it was a blast! People were dancing and blowing bubbles everywhere!

 Playing music in front of a crowd. What’s all the fun about?

We write music for people not for ourselves. It’s wonderful to work on songs in the studio and it’s great to release them to the world. But nothing beats playing our music in front of a crowd and get the immediate reaction. To see them dance and hear them sing along to our songs. Feel the vibe and energy. When we really connect with the crowd, and the crowd connects with us – that’s when it all makes sense. 

What compliment you once received will you never forget?

One of our missions with Fox Paloma is to bring back the 60’s vibe. We absolutely love 60’s music and in the beginning of the “project” we almost exclusively draw our inspiration from back then. After our very first gig on our very first tour in 2022 a young bloke came up to us and said: “I felt like I was at a Beatles concert”. To be honest, at first we didn’t take it as a compliment – that’s one hell of a box to be put in. But then we thought about. Maybe his frame of reference of music from the 60’s is the Beatles. Thinking in that way he didn’t mean that we sounded like the Beatles. Instead, we embodied his imagined nostalgia of the 60’s. That’s when we thought we were on to something. We nailed the sound and the vibe! Or maybe he just thought we sounded like the Beatles…..

Those magical moments when you’re working in the studio.  Which moment was the most magical?

We love being in the studio – it’s such an immersive experience. We’ve recorded at Starrsound Recording Studio a couple of times now and we’ve had many magical moments there. For this record it was especially magical when the sample in the intro to our song “Bubble” was added. It felt like it all was coming together.

If you could pick three singers to sing harmony vocals on your next record, who would you ask?

Our dear friend Jonas Ringtved, Brian Wilson and Robin Pecknold!

‘colouring outside’ and being the epitome of underground.

‘I think our songs are distinct from many other songs because we imagined all of the songs from these releases as coming from a fictitious 80s jangle pop band in a French Colony off the coast of Newfoundland who never released a record and broke up under suspicious circumstances. That is a mouthful, but it is true that these songs are to be viewed through this lens. Another thing that sets us apart is Charles Austin, who writes the music, and is an elite-level fuzz connoisseur. Also, unlike most bands, we purposefully obfuscate our songs and degrade their fidelity. We hoped the songs would sound like an old water-damaged cassette found in a moldy basement.’, says Josh Salter. He is talking about his band Colouring Outside, who released many great songs in the last couple of years.

What place do you occupy in the music industry?

I would like to say the very bottom wrung of the ladder, but the truth is probably the ground on which the ladder rests. Maybe even the soil beneath. We are the epitome of underground.

The meaning of success has changed over the years. What would success look like for the new record?

Success for our records is mostly dependent on us enjoying making the music. Literally, anyone hearing said music is a plus. We’ve never played a show (except in our elaborate fictitious backstory).

Cassettes are back. Which 5 five songs would make your first mixtape?

The Pooh Sticks – On Tape

Elyse Weinberg – Houses

The Boy Hairdressers – Golden Showers

Shira Small – Eternal Life

The Replacements – Run For the Country

Who would you ask if you could pick three singers to sing harmony vocals on your next record?

David Crosby, Graham Nash, and Stephen Stills circa 1968 or Alvin, Theodore, and Simon circa 1980.

Dungeon of Skeletons – Patterns (Q&A)

‘I get into a funk when I’m not creating.’, says Nashville-based singer-songwriter Justin Kline; that’s probably one of the reasons why he started a new band with his kids during the pandemic. That band is Dungeon of Skeletons and Patterns; the grand debut is chock full of great, sharp, crispy, catchy Power Pop songs.

How did this record come together?

It almost came together by accident. Most of our listeners aren’t aware, but our band consists of me and my children, ages 16-22. When they were younger, I used to teach them how to play simple melodies on piano, guitar, etc. We were able to get everyone playing together at the same time and started messing around with ideas. Our first song, “Valencia” was written pretty fast. We kept it super simple, but catchy and fun. When the pieces started coming together, I remember thinking “This is actually pretty good!” My mind goes a million miles per hour so I immediately started planning an album. We worked on more songs during the beginning of the pandemic when everything was shut down, and the rest is history.

The meaning of success has changed over the years. What would success look like for the new record?

Yea, success is subjective, I guess. When we finished the record and listened to it as a whole, we all felt a sense of accomplishment. Some laughter, some tears… all the good stuff. To me, that is success. We’ve been getting good feedback from our listeners, which means a lot to us. To me, the best feeling of accomplishment is knowing that we set out to make the record we wanted to make and we achieved it. But getting millions of dollars from a record label wouldn’t be too shabby either.

How great is the urge to stay creative?  To keep writing songs and lyrics?

As humans, I think we have to keep moving. I get into a funk when I’m not creating. Even when it’s not music, I have to keep my hands and brain busy with either projects in the garage or even cooking. Keeping myself in a constant place of creativity is a must or I start losing my mind.

You can pick 3 co-writers to write new songs with. Who? … and Why?

Hmm, maybe Mike Viola, John Davis, and Andy Sturmer. I would say Brian Wilson or Paul McCartney, but we would geek out too hard and get nothing done. Mike Viola writes some of the best lyrics and melodies ever. He’s a huge inspiration for us. I would say John Davis and Andy Sturmer for the same thing. All of them are melody masters.

Cassettes are back. Which 5 five songs would make your first mixtape?

Oh man, this is good. I asked the other bandmates to throw out some ideas too:

Beatles “Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey”

Mike Viola “Strawberry Blonde”

Superdrag “Baby’s Waiting”

Weezer “Jamie”

Beach Boys “Wonderful”

You can’t control the way people ‘hear’ your music. But if you could make them aware of certain aspects, you think, set your songs apart. What would they be?

I think our male and female vocals are pretty unique. I know it’s been done before, but it’s a little less common than most bands, I would say. One of my favorite things about The Beach Boys would be their sibling vocal harmonies. Since their vocal tones and characteristics are similar, the vocals are that much sweeter to my ears. Since we’re all family, I think our vocals blend pretty well too… but Beach Boys take the cake with that one, am I right?!

What compliment you once received will you never forget?

I’ve been told a couple of times in the past that music I’ve been involved with kept people moving forward and/or from giving up, which feels indescribable.

Those magical moments when you’re working in the studio.  Which moment was the most magical?

I loved working on the bridge for “Turn the Key” on this record. We don’t try to pull off a certain sound. We’re just trying to make the music we want to hear. During the bridge, it repeats the lyric “Don’t go back the way you came, Don’t go back the way you came from…” and then another vocal part comes in at the same time underneath. When we were tracking the vocals for this, we kinda looked at each other like… HECK YES.

The record is done, the music is out. Is the best fun done now or is it just beginning?

We had lots of fun making the album. We’re already talking about album #2, but ya know… life happens so it’ll probably be a while before we can get the ball rolling with it. We’ve been talking about what the track list might look like. We’re even brainstorming a 3rd album already. But for now, we just want to get Patterns out to as many people as we can. We’re so thankful for the passionate music lovers that’ve been spreading the word. It seems like it’s been pretty organic, so we’re very excited to see how far the music will spread.

Bird Streets – Lagoon (Q&A)

‘With the circumstances surrounding this record, there was no choice but to go even deeper. ‘, says John Brodeur, and because the past few years have been difficult, Bird Street’s Lagoon has become a very personal, darkly colored, and intensely beautiful album.

Regrets, Addiction, Lost Loves, Despair. You don’t shy away from singing about the dark side of life on Lagoon.

I’ve always tried to be honest in my writing–to tell the listener something about myself, even when singing through a character or addressing another person. A lot of the “you” in my older songs could be sung into a mirror. With the circumstances surrounding this record, there was no choice but to go even deeper. A semi-conscious decision was made to write the majority in first-person and I think that makes it feel even more personal. This album is about some heavy adult shit. I tried my best to convey that gravity in my writing. As my marriage was breaking up and my life was flashing before my eyes, I remember having the self-effacing thought, “At least I’ll get a good record out of this.” If the measure of good is truth, I think I did ok.

Was it liberating to write “Ambulance”? I feel the emotion of that song all the way here in Utrecht.

It’s liberating just to put feelings into words; to put those words to music is a gift. The struggle is to tie complicated emotions together into neat little rhymes, and to weave them into a story without it just being verbal diarrhea. “Ambulance” very easily could have gone in that direction–it has a lot of phrases that run together without any real breaks, which can invite filler. I think setting that song in an unusual time signature helped keep me from overwriting. It’s good to create within limitations. Each line had to have a certain shape and rhythm. Part of the arc, for me, was trying to make every line hit harder than the one before it. By the end of the song, “harder”  means I’m screaming the same line over and over. That was some uncharted territory but it felt like the right move–what the song needed.

I think that with Bird Streets you have a unique sound, yet Lagoon has a completely different sound than the first album you made under this name. Was that the intention?

I rarely start a project with a particular style or sound in mind. The sessions for this record took place over three years, with a bunch of different producers and players and studios, versus just two guys in a room. So the sound is expansive by nature of there being a much larger cast of characters and ideas in the mix. Lagoon is definitely more of a “singer-songwriter” record than the last one. My only real goal was to stay out of the way of the songs and I think I did a decent job of that. It’s actually the first album I’ve made where I don’t play any drums! Stylistically it’s all over the place but the common thread is my voice, and this album has some of the best vocal performances I’ve ever recorded.

“Positively will only get me so far. And it’s a pretty low bar. When I am positively drowned, in tears, confirming my biggest fears.” That sentence jumps out from the first listen. How satisfying is it when you find the right words?

It’s such a rush when it all comes together. I’m always searching for a better way to say what I mean. Something like the line you quoted, from “Let You Down,” is really just a lucky break, a matter of where rhymes needed to happen to make the melody work. I don’t remember struggling too much with that song’s lyrics. But it took more than two years to get “Unkind” right. I wrote seven verses for “Sleeper Agent.” And the more succinct lyrics, like “Leave No Trace” and “SF 1993,” were a fantastic challenge, to try to say a lot with relatively little. I’m prone to editing and rewriting all the way into the vocal booth, which happened a bit on “Unkind,” and a lot on “Ambulance”–though that was more of a mathematics problem. On the first Bird Streets record, I changed the lyrics after a song was “finished” on more than one occasion, much to Jason’s chagrin. Whatever it takes to make the song better.

Your emotions or the emotions of the people you sing about have now gone public. That’s exciting, don’t you think?

“Exciting” is one way to put it. I was actually a bit terrified for the last few months. The fear I speak about in “Sleeper Agent,” of confessing something personal because it will make that thing more real, is a fear I experienced for months leading up to this record. Every day, it was me wondering if this was something people would want to listen to, trying to decide how much was too much when it came to guts-spilling. There are really only two people in these songs, and one of them is speaking to you currently, while the other one hasn’t heard the record, though they are aware of its existence. I was on the fence about including a few of these songs until the very last minute, because of how direct they are. But now it’s all out in the world for anyone to hear–which honestly feels like a relief. It’s like a form of closure.

Ward White – Ice Cream Chords

The sound of Ward White is difficult to describe, but it certainly has the same class as the music of David Bowie, Roxy Music, and The Blue Nile. Ice Cream Chords is again bursting with beautiful lyrics, unexpected vocal lines, and slightly stubborn melodies and is ‘a bit more user-friendly’ than its predecessor, the equally beautiful The Tender Age.

The sound on Ice Cream Chords seems a bit looser, less intense, than on The Tender Age. If I heard correctly, was that a preconceived plan or did it come about naturally?

There is definitely a different feel to this record – perhaps a bit more user-friendly – but the arrangements are surprisingly dense; as with all art, it takes significant effort to appear like you’re not trying. There was no predetermined framework for the overall tone, although the album title does reflect certain aspects of the writing process. As the songs were coming together, I realized that a significant number of them clocked in at 120 beats per minute, which, when played in sequence, starts to feel a bit like a rather dark Studio 54 playlist.

The title track seems to be a protest against the production of art for mass consumption but could I be completely wrong?

Ice Cream Chords, and its preceding track, Mezcal Moth, are a diptych concerning the final days of a fallen musical icon, flushed out of hiding in the jungle, tried, convicted, and sentenced to death for his crimes against art. It’s a riff on the Leonard Cohen dictum, “A singer must die for the lie in his voice.” The term ice cream chords is archaic songwriter slang for rote musical changes, overused and mawkish, with predictable resolutions. Every artist makes a choice to follow the path of least resistance, or stop to ponder alternatives. Also essential to maintaining the cult of personality is the public’s complicity, their eagerness to embrace trash. In this song, we see their endgame: a fickle audience, bored with their former hero, and hungry for blood. What, if any, degree of guilt the singer may feel is open to interpretation. He seems appropriately conflicted to me.

Your vocal lines really make your songs unique and seem to have been developed with great care. Is finding the right structure complicated?

My songs are always lyric-driven, so their relative success or failure hinges on the vocal delivery. As I don’t really write in the traditional first-person confessional voice that one might expect from a dreaded singer-songwriter, my phrasing often needs to strike a balance between dialogue, omniscient narration, and stream of consciousness interjection. Mercifully, the material is pretty free of “Yeah”s, “Ooh girl”s, and “Somebody say keep on rockin’?”s, as I suspect such outbursts might push my vocal responsibilities to the point of critical mass.

Also this time all songs are equally beautiful. Do you write a lot of songs to get to 12 or do you puzzle until the few you have are perfect?

I’m a relatively economical writer – there are rarely outtakes from my records. The process will usually start with one or two seemingly unconnected songs, whose shape and content begin to suggest a theme; my interpretation of that theme, inasmuch as I can grasp it at the time, will inform the rest of the writing. Experience lets you know when you’ve got a batch that’s ready – once you can smell the cookies, they’re burnt.

Can you tell us something about the creation of Like a Bridge? I think the lyrics and the sound of the guitar are so beautiful.

There’s a famous truss bridge in Trenton, New Jersey, with a neon sign spanning the entire length that reads, “TRENTON MAKES: THE WORLD TAKES”; a remnant of its industrial past. It’s highly visible from I-95, and as a kid it made a big impression on me – usually as a progress marker on long car trips. The Ambassador Bridge between Detroit and Ontario has notable neon signs on either side of the border crossing, as well. The chorus plays on the double meaning, turning its attention to the bridge, or middle eight, of a song; particularly the appeal of a classic McCartney bass-driven bridge, suggesting that “counterpoint can cover a multitude of sins.” The verses veer off into old man-bar reportage, with dialogue from a litany of characters who frequent a long-standing small town dive. The track is built around the bass line, and it maintains a sense of tension because it never really resolves, harmonically speaking.

Are you familiar with the music of The Blue Nile?

I am, but hadn’t listened in years – in fact, this question made me go back and revisit the catalog the other night. My first job in New York City, ages ago, was as the receptionist for a small artist-management firm, which had, at one point, represented The Blue Nile. There was a framed copy of the Hats LP on the wall across from my desk. If I close my eyes, I can still see it.