Friday, February 20, 2009

Dirty Little Secret...

I've been hiding a dirty little secret for decades now.
Beneath the faded black Clash and Bad Religion t-shirts, lies a heart that beats just as hard for good pop music as it does for punk rock. I'm not talking about The Jonas Brothers or Pussycat Dolls - get your mind out of the gutter - I'm not a tasteless idiot. I mean pure, well-written pop songs. Strong melodies, sweet harmonies and classic girl-breaks-boy's-heart themes.

The PR folks at record companies try and take the sting out of it for me by labeling it pop-punk or more recently Power Pop (which it most definitely is not - please listen to anything by 20/20 or Material Issue if you're that unsure of what Power Pop really sounds like), but no one's fooled: it's pop music. Maybe, maybe pop-rock, but punk really should not be used in the same sentence. The Format's Dog Problems is absolutely flawless, from start to finish. I listen to it at least once a month. Despite write ups in AP and, it is still a pop record - a brilliant pop record, but a pop record nonetheless.

The Bouncing Souls and Sex Pistols still make it into my car most mornings, but lately I've been sneaking in CDs by The Rocket Summer (a band of which I'm about 15-20 years past the demographic for) and Everybody Else (again, I'm probably a good 10 years older than even the bartenders at their shows).

Having heard a few songs off of his/their (?) MySpace page, I'm already adding NeverShoutNever to my list of bands I'm afraid the cool kids will find out I listen to. Still a teen, Christofer Drew's songs are deceptively simple. The production is clean, free of any weird effects (I'm looking at you All American Rejects) or vocal polishing. Straight up, Beatles-influenced pop songs that I'll likely be playing inside my head for the next year.

I'm not ashamed of it, I've learned to live with it.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Innocent Words Relaucnhes

One of the music mags I write for (and serve as Features Editor on), Innocent Words, has just relaunched online with their latest issue. The layout is amazing!
It has always been a stellar publication with a greater focus on independent musicians, and the new site will help solidify the IW brand.

Here's the press release:


Innocent Words Magazine, an independent entertainment publication, is very pleased to announce the launch of it’s new Web site along with their #32 February/March issue.

The print-to-Web transition marks an exciting step in the seven-year history of Innocent Words. The new website enables Innocent Words to accommodate more musicians, help publicize additional new albums, and assist bands and artists in receiving the recognition they deserve. Fans will also benefit by having more information to read.

The #32 February/March 2009 issue of Innocent Words Magazine includes the following:
Cover Story: Rise Against frontman Tim McIlrath talks about the new album, the tour, politics and their hometown of Chicago; Also in this issue we have interviews with Cheap Trick - 30 years after Budokan; The punk rock band Dead To Me; eccentric folk singer Larkin Grimm; Thrice frontman Dustin Kensrue on his solo projects; and the legendary Ska-rockers Reel Big Fish. Plus reviews of CDs and books.

About Innocent Words Magazine:
Innocent Words Magazine has covered indie music from around the U.S. and the world since 2001. Each issue features exclusive interviews, CD reviews, and other assorted content such as DVD and book reviews. Before it became a Web-only publication in 2009, a print version was distributed to 100 locations in 19 states. Artists who have appeared in Innocent Words include Ani DiFranco, Pearl Jam, King’s X, Tegan and Sara, The Shins, Our Lady Peace, Mudhoney, Flogging Molly, and many, many others. More information is available at