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Eliot Sumner Claims Her Family Name on 2016’s Most Triumphant New Album

Earlier this year, Eliot Sumner quietly released Information, one of the loudest, most ambitious, most exhilarating and inventive rock/pop albums of the decade, let alone the year. And I had no idea it was sitting on my hard drive until last month. Such are the perils of being a music blogger with an overactive downloads folder. After one listen, I promptly rushed out and bought the CD. And her last album too. And such begins our story… There’s a moment every music fan longs for when they buy a new album at the store, bring it home, struggle to remove the @#$%*ing plastic wrap and security sticker, and pop it into the CD player, cassette deck or turntable. If you’re already saying — um, but what about streaming? — I say you are killing the music industry, but hey, who am I to stop you from reading this? #lovewins Back to my story — there is a moment when you realize you are listening to something truly special, something fresh, something exciting, something that will likely …

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Haley Reinhart and Allison Iraheta Come Back Swinging

Dear American Idol, Since you’ve been gone, I’ve been thinking about your legacy. Your original premise was to take an unknown talent and usher them into superstardom. Mission accomplished in Season One, but then never again. Sure you discovered a lot of country stars, but so did Nashville Star. You minted a lot of celebrities, but so did YouTube. While you still have a better track record than The Voice, Britain’s Got Talent and X Factor UK have you beat. Did any bonafide recording artists emerge from the shadow of Simon Cowell’s giant cup of Coke? When it comes down to true originality, innovation, earphoria and albums that will sound as fresh 20 years from now as they did 15 minutes ago, in my book it comes down to four: two guys (Adam Lambert and Blake Lewis) and two gals (Haley Reinhart and Allison Iraheta). No offense to Kelly, Carrie and Chris who deliver pretty popular, but formulaic albums in their respective genres of belters, crossover country and arena rock. No offense to Jennifer and her Oscar or …

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ABC, Daniel Ash and Others Reinvent the Eighties in 2016

One of my favorite musical trends of the 2010’s is the glorious “return to form” comebacks from a dizzying array of great 80’s artists. As gutted as I am about the death of Prince (about 80% of my time spent listening to music has been Prince-related since April 21; prior to that it was about 50%), I’m comforted that we live in a Now where The Ocean Blue, Duran Duran, OMD, Blancmange, New Order and others are again prolific, relevant and urgent. Even comebacks that might have been nothing more than an Awakenings-style one off encore (Devo, the Wild Swans and the tragically cut short comeback of Visage) were still as exciting to hear as any new music by new bands of the decade. Here’s a quick roundup of who’s back now and what why you should get off your teenage stream and check em the hell out: Daniel Ash • Stripped When you look at the CD title and familiar tracklist, Stripped looks like one of those nostalgic cash-ins where a beloved but commercially faded artist craps …

ROADTRIP

Popdose Rides Eternal: The Ultimate Roadtrip Mixtape, Reloaded

Roads can take you anywhere, but they have a funny way of bringing you around to the same spots now and then. You pass through these hubs and junctions on your way someplace new — but as you pass, you take a look around and see what’s changed. The Ultimate Roadtrip Mixtape is like that for us here at Popdose. The idea was always to provide a curated soundtrack for your long car ride, with the aim of elevating that everyday experience into the realm of the mythic — to make your ride as cool as the movies — and we seem to keep coming back to it. We’ve gotten periodic reader requests to repost these longform mp3 mixes, and as we have occasionally done so, we have also expanded the scope of the project. That’s the nature of a roadtrip, after all. Constant motion. Constant change. It’s not enough to simply revisit your points of reference. The journey is always getting longer; the scenery grows ever more wild and strange. And the trip has …

TV on DVD: “Cop Rock: The Complete Series”

Unless you watched it during its original run, you’ve probably never seen Cop Rock. Save for the occasional airing on a “can you believe this ever got made?”-themed marathon on a few cable channels every decade or so, it was pulled off the air after 11 episodes in 1990. It is legendary, but for the wrong reasons. It’s synonymous with bad television, although the press release for Cop Rock: The Complete Series on DVD calls it a “short-lived cult series.” Regardless of why, Cop Rock is undeniably a landmark of television. It’s one of the most high profile disasters ever, the kind of bomb where everyone behind it is astonishingly unaware of how bad it is, but how literally everyone else in the world could tell. Kind of like how NBC thought five nights of Jay Leno in primetime was a good idea, or how Mitt Romney’s internal research showed he was going to win the 2012 election in a landslide. Cop Rock is that rare, fascinating place where artistic hubris and delusion go hand …

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THINKING INSIDE THE BOX SET: Cherry Red Producers Tell All

  Long before Prince’s death, fans were wildly discussing if and when the vast contents of his audio library – the legendary vault – would be officially released. While former labels, associates, band members and distant relatives jockey for position as the estate ambles through probate, one can only hope they archive, release and celebrate his work as well as London’s Cherry Red Records has been doing for years in a wide variety of musical arenas. Box Sets are nothing new; from the bloated “scrape the archives” cash-ins that just about every major artist puts under the Christmas tree to focused niche sets like Nuggets and Children of Nuggets. Cherry Red has been digging gold out of the 1970s and 1980s alternative underground they way Nuggets celebrated psychedelia. A few years ago, they released the stunning 5CD set, Scared to Get Happy: A Story of Indie Pop 1980-1989. The set brilliantly restored more than 100 tracks that in many cases were never issued on CD or digital platforms, or if they were, they weren’t prominent …

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Video Premiere: Trapper Schoepp – Ogallala

I’ve always been obsessed with songs that mention my hometown of Omaha and it seems songwriters are obsessed with mentioning Omaha in their songs. Waylon Jennings, Tom Waits, Gary Louris, Bob Seger, Moby Grape, John Prine, Counting Crows, They Might Be Giants and numerous other artists have all name dropped Omaha. It’s time to add Wisconsin native Trapper Schoepp to the list, with his song about another city in Nebraska, “Ogallala” from his new LP, Rangers & Valentines.  Ogallala, Nebraska: Population 4,737. Where is Ogallala? If driving on I-80 West to Colorado or East to Omaha, you can’t miss Ogallala, or maybe you can – if you blink. When exiting the interstate at Ogallala, you’ll notice roads named Stagecoach Trail, Pony Express Lane, Chuckwagon Road and Prospector Drive. Within minutes, you quickly get a view of the town’s history. What do you do if you’re a touring band and Mother Nature forces you to exit in Ogallala? Well, you write a song about it. From Trapper himself: ‘Twas the week before Christmas and I-80 was coated in black ice. We were in the middle …

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What The World Needs Now: The Incredible Music and Story of Cait Brennan

Cait Brennan has an amazing story. One of conquering incredible odds of gender identity, disease, abuse and homelessness, getting her shit together, rising up, becoming a stellar live performer and giving birth to not one, but two amazing albums with a third on the way. But that’s not why we’re here today. We’re here about the music. Cait Brennan makes AMAZING music. Songs steeped in 50 years of music history that sound urgent, current and eternal. Songs that the moment you hear them, you can’t imagine how you lived so long without them. Cait Brennan isn’t some jaded hipster Millennial whose main currency is Instagram followers, she has lived herself some life – and that life is captured in her debut album, perfectly titled to document her coming out on an international stage. Debutante. Debutante, a sparkling album produced by Brennan and Fernando Perdomo, is right up there with the great “drenched in blood, sweat & tears, leave everything on the table, conquer the world” albums like Against Me’s New Wave, Guns & Roses’ Appetite …

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All Hail The Legends of Et cetera

Every time I see something like Selena Gomez’s flat, tuneless, speak/sung SNL performance and think to myself, “seriously, THIS is the crap the kids are listening to these days!”, someone else comes along, kicks my ass, and makes me believe that the children are indeed the future… well, if we don’t fuck it up for them by electing some douchebag like Trump or Cruz. It shouldn’t matter that singer/songwriter/guitarist Serena Miller and her band, Legends of Et cetera, are still in high school, their music is pure, and it rocks. Their story, high school plot line and all, is truly worth telling, so here goes. They crushed their set at WTMD’s Baltimore Band Block Party and their song, ‘Give Up The Ghost’ is on regular rotation at the station. The station recently set them up with a gig at the airport of all places (see it on their facebook page). ‘Ghost’ deserves to be a national hit, the guitar line hooked me first and it’s been thundering out of my stereo ever since. When I picked up, Coyote, their …

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Album Stream: Angela Perley & The Howlin’ Moons’ Homemade Vision

POPDOSE has been listening to Homemade Vision, the second album by Angela Perley & The Howlin’ Moons, nearly round the clock for the past month. Spin after spin, the Michael Landolt-produced rocket ride soars higher onto my eventual Best Albums of 2016 list (their previous album, Hey Kid, landed high in my 2014 round-up). Thankfully, you don’t need to wait a year to hear my fancy pants aging hipster music critic review of it, take control and Rock & Roll right now. Stream it below — for a limited time — to give yourself a taste and then pick it up on iTunes or Amazon (digital). Want a CD? You should, I’m an old school (circa 1985), high fidelity guy myself. Get it direct from Angela’s store right here. While it’s easy to get lost in her midnight eyes or swoon over her signature vintage dresses and hats, don’t for a minute think this is a one woman show. Chris Connor (lead guitar), Billy Zehnal (bass) and a Spinal Tap’ian rotation of drummers help Perley deliver the goods on record and on stage …

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Oh Canada! Here Come The Lipstick Junkies

If the Lipstick Junkies new song, ‘Build Me a Box’, gets stuck in your head for days, don’t blame me. Blame Canada! Blame Canada! The Toronto trio’s new EP was recorded by Al Connelly and Sam Reid of the Juno Award-winning and Grammy-nominated band, Glass Tiger. For fans of HUGE pop songs from the Eighties, let’s let the awesomeness of that sink in for a moment… Now if this post can’t get Canadian enough, Bryan Adams sings back-up on that Tiger track. OK, back to business. Fun and games is part and parcel for the Lipstick Junkies who take their name from a Red Hot Chili Peppers song (2011’s ‘The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie’). They have performed around southern Ontario, from London to Montreal, including appearances at Canadian Music Week, Indie Week and Ryerson Radio, and have opened for acts like Walk Off the Earth and Organ Thieves — never heard of those bands? Ask a Canadian! If you think I mock Canada here, you could not be further from the truth. I love Canadian music. From …

BANTA

Breaking Band: Banta Fits The Fashion and Breaks The Mold

Decades after its Sunset Strip heyday, Los Angeles has no shortage of hot new bands on the rise. Phases (featuring the Like’s Z Berg), Halo Circus (featuring Allison Iraheta, one of American Idol’s most talented expats) and Echo Park’s Banta are well poised to break out nationally as 2016 picks up speed. Imagine if Rumors-era Fleetwood Mac truly went new wave in the early 80’s — that’s just about the sound Banta brings to ‘Someday’, a single from their promising full-length debut, Dark Charms. Banta is Sharaya Mikael (Lead Vocals/Guitar), Alathea Reese (Keys & BGV’s), Dan Perez (Lead Guitar), Jon Marcu (Drums) and Steve Grohne (Bass). The group unveiled their debut EP in 2014, recorded with producer Andrew Stonestreet, and began playing shows around Los Angeles, including the Buzzbands LA Showcase at Echo Park Rising and opening slots at The Satellite and The Troubadour. Dark Charms was pieced together over several sessions in Portland and Los Angeles with Stonestreet and producers Andy Brohard and Ryan Castle. “I can’t believe this album is actually finished,” Sharaya Mikael said via her rep. “It was such a long process. …

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Honor “The Artist”, Feed An Artist, Gift Your Favorite Little Prince

Last summer, POPDOSE talked with Seattle artist, Troy Gua, about his years-long celebration of a funky lil musical genius named Prince — and the lawsuit, global press coverage and short film (pun intended) that followed. Read the full interview here. As 2016 kicks off, we reconnect with Gua to discuss his latest project, one that could land your hands on this limited edition gem of a poster (see below): What inspired the Le Petit Prince poster project? LPP for those in the know. It was an end-of-the-year Instagram app that culled your 9 most popular posts of the year and compiled them into a grid for posting. I guess it should have come as no surprise that all nine of mine turned out to be LPP pics. I posted, someone said it would make a great poster, the wheels turned. Does this mark the end of the LPP era? It’s not the end of an era, but I had concentrated on an entirely new 80’s period series earlier this past year, so I thought a compilation would make sense and …

Bill Pritchard 2016

WORLD PREMIERE: Bill Pritchard ‘Saturn and Co.’

26 years after it’s release, Bill Pritchard’s Three Months, Three Weeks & Two Days, remains one of my all time favorite albums. It arrived at my college radio station, WKSR (Kent State University), just as we were playing Morrissey’s Viva Hate into the ground. Pritchard struck the same nerve as Moz without all the drama. The buoyant melodies, wry lyrics, Parisian cafe touches and Pritchard’s crisp, deep woodwind of a voice helped end the Eighties on a high note as we faced a daunting Nineties without the Smiths. ‘Nineteen’ and ‘Tommy & Co.” were the big hits, but I absolutely fell in love with the single ‘Romance Sans Paroles’. Considering this album was Pritchard’s 4th in two years, I fully expected to fill my shelves with his work in the decade to come. But the stretches between albums became greater and greater and I often found out about “new” Bill Pritchard albums years after their official release. Needless to say, I am glad to be ahead of the game with his upcoming album, Mother Town Hall — arriving hot on the heels of …

Repeater 2016

World Premiere Video: Repeater ‘Never Forget’

To kick off 2016 in high style, POPDOSE proudly premieres the latest video from one of our favorite bands. Ideal listening for fans of New Order, Echo & The Bunnymen and The Postal Service. There are plenty of original new wave acts (typically with at least one original member and loads of spare parts) riding nostalgia circuit. Beyond New Order, a handful, like Duran Duran, OMD and Blancmange, have found a way to recapture their magic with compelling new music (see my Unintentionally Retro Top Albums of 2015). Even fewer NEW bands have been able to tap into that signature sound with original music that looks back and still moves forward. Among them, Repeater of Long Beach, California. Their self-titled album made the Top 10 of the Best Albums of 2014. Repeater’s music might be close to impossible to find on Amazon or Google — type in the name and you need to wade through a crap load of electronics — but it’s worth seeking out. Repeater the album gets better and better with every listen. Big melodies with dark undertones. Shiny synths and shimmering guitars with …