June 30, 2009

Mod-A-Day: Lefties Soul Connection

Modern day soul vikings, Lefties Soul Connection, come charging out of Amsterdam to take Europe's soul and hammond beat loving hordes by storm. Mixing heavy soul, funk, mod, and even hip-hop, Lefties Soul Connection have concocted a sound that is mindful of past funk and soul bands of the late 60s and early 70s, but also aggressively incorporates a lot of mod/garage rock influences. At the same time there are hints of nu soul and hip-hop throughout, creating a really unique and thoroughly modern sound. With two full CDs under their belt already the band is working on a third. That being said, here is their brand new single, a tribute to garage rock to be sure, and a soulful cover of The Sonics' "Have Love Will Travel."

Lefties Soul Connection -- Have Love Will Travel

June 28, 2009

From the Vaults: Modcast #41 Back to Basics

Once more into the vault my friends, once more into the vault. Step back in time, to a time when the modcast was young and fresh. Take a giant step outside your current listening constraints and journey with me all the way back to the cold and blustery days of January 2007. I've opened up the vaults and dusted off a classic modcast that I think you'll enjoy. Again.

It's time to get back to basics, to brush up on the foundations of the whole mod thing. So, I've put together a list --certainly not definitive-- of what I think are some of the most foundational bands of the mod scene. Some of these were bands that actively championed the mod movement, and others were bands that embodied a mod sense of style and sound. All of them have inspired mods, and laid the groundwork for later punk, powerpop, and garage bands.

  • The High Numbers (The Who, 1964) -- Leaving Here
  • Small Faces -- Wham Bam Thank You M’am
  • The Kinks -- Susannah’s Still Alive
  • The Creation -- Can I Join Your Band?
  • The Standells -- Barracuda
  • The Chocolate Watchband -- Medication
  • The Sonics -- Like No Other Man
  • The Attack -- Colour of My Mind
  • The Monkees -- Sweet Young Thing
  • The Action -- Shadows and Reflections
  • The Pretty Things -- Get The Picture

  • Love the show? Hate the songs I selected? Have a question about what I'm listening to these days? Want to just bitch moan or whine? Comments are nice, as is e-mail: rob@mistersuave.com.

    Bonus Videos:

    The Who -- I Can't Explain
    More than any other video, I think that this one captures the sounds as well as the sense of style that made up the original mod scene. And, how can you argue with The Who, the absolute leaders of the sixites mod scene. So, I deem this the greatest mod video ever.

    The Pretty Things -- Midnight to Six

    June 27, 2009

    Mod-A-Day: The V.I.P.s

    The V.I.P.'s were a mod revival band that lasted a scant two years, 1978-80, during which time they produced a fistful of singles and opened for the likes of Madness, the Jam, and Secret Affair. The band had a pure mod sound blending a nice sixties R&B feel over the top of driving power chords. That was most of it, though there were a couple of more Stiff Little Fingers punk numbers such as "Who Knows". The song here, "One More Time," was the b-side to "Need Somebody to Love" which was to be the band's breakthrough, but ended up falling short. Should have gone with One More Time as it's a power pop gem. They had previously flirted with chart success and it was expected to come with this single and when it didn't the band sort of fell apart with two members going on to form 80s mod psych rockers Mood Six


    The V.I.P.'s -- One More Chance

    June 25, 2009

    Mod-A-Day: The Satelliters

    If you like sixties punk; if you are a fan of The Standells, The Seeds, Count Five, and the Sonics; well then you are probably a fan of German garage punks, The Satelliters. In fact, there are only two types of people I know of, those who are fans of The Satelliters, or those who will become fans of The Satelliters.

    The Satelliters
    started out in 1993 and have been striding the stage like the rock gods they are ever since. I first came across them shortly after the release of their 2001 album, Sexplosive!. That album was a wild ride through 16 organ fueled, guitar fuzzed, psyched out, cave stompin', garager rocking tunes. The vocals were reminiscent of Gravedigger V, while the songs themselves were in the same vein as the Fuzztones.

    Now here we are nearly a decade on and the band isn't just going strong, they're actually taking big steps forward, producing stong songs with sharp writing. Their latest release is this single, a blistering bit of garage revival goodness, "Lost in Time".

    The Satelliters -- Lost in Time

    The Satelliters -- Abba

    June 24, 2009

    Mod-A-Day: The Exits

    In 1977 most mod groups were just learning to walk, and such was the case with The Exits. Happily they picked up speed and hit the ground running in 1978 with their first single, "The Fashion Plague" backed with the song featured here "Cheam". For my money, Cheam was clearly the better track with more intensity, and had a sharper sound that was just unpolished enough to make the band sound kind of tough.

    The Exits' sound was evocative of Elvis Costello, perhaps because of Geno Buckmasters vocal stylings --which were very much in that angry young man style, even if the songs weren't so much. The band's recordings were lost when their labeled shyed away from the mod/punk sound, after which they soon split up. Then in 2007 Cherry Red Records released it all on one nice CD.

    The Exits were the forerunners to the Direct Hits one of the few pure mod bands to find an audience and build a following during the 80s.

    The Exits -- Cheam

    June 23, 2009

    Mod-A-Day: The On/Offs

    British mod combo The On/Offs produced a couple of hard-edged mod singles before going away. The bands was tight, and had a really nice recorded presence, not surprising when you learn that the members had years of experience in previous indie outings. Despite praise from Paul Weller and lots of media coverage, the band has dissolved and front man Danny Connors has moved on to a new project The Ladders (check out their contribution to The Jetset tribute album on modcast #126). The few songs they left behind are all very mod revival like and show a strong influence from '79 era Jam, Buzzcocks and so on. The song here, "This Town," was the band's debut single, and one of their finest. They released one other single, "Wrong Upstairs" that also featured sharp musicianship and songwriting.

    The On/Offs -- This Town

    June 22, 2009

    Modcast #132: All Summer Long

    On this first full day of summer guest host Ken (he's from The Shingles, really) steps into the studio to spin up some sunshine love perfect for lazing the day away on the beach.

  • Brian Wilson - Morning Beat (That Lucky Old Sun, 2008)
  • Vinyl Kings - Sycamore Bay (Time Machine, 2005)
  • Barracudas - Summer Fun (Drop Out with The Barracudas, 1981)
  • Surfin' Lungs - The Beach Will Never Die (Splash Back, 1998)
  • Bronco Bullfrog - Sun-Tan Notion (Bronco Bullfrog, 2002)
  • Trade Winds - New York's a Lonely Town (Single, 1965)
  • Last - Every Summer Day (L.A. Explosion, 1979)
  • Rattlers - On the Beach (Single, 1979)
  • Hi-Risers - Ghost of the Surfer Girl (Lost Weekend, 2004)
  • Gamblers - Dr. Goldfoot (and His Bikini Machine) (Single, 1966)
  • Ventures - Party in Laguna (Surfing, 1963)
  • Tikiyaki Orchestra - Ali'i Fire Dance (Stereoexotique, 2007)
  • Wondermints - Full Moon (Tropical Blend) (Delphonic Sounds Today: Del-Fi Does Del-Fi, 1999)
  • Linus of Hollywood - When I Get to California (Your Favorite Record, 1999)
  • Explorers Club - Last Kiss (Freedom Wind, 2008)
  • Beach Boys - All Summer Long (All Summer Long, 1964)

  • Bonus Video:
    Tikiyaki Orchestra - Last Days of Summer (Live)

    June 21, 2009

    Mod-A-Day: Chardon Square

    What is there to say about Chardon Square other than that as I grew up in the mod scene the were my favorite local mod band.

    [Ed Note: This blog is updated from one originally posted 1/22/08]

    In 1983 ska was declining, punk was old hat, and power-pop was in many ways on the rise again. Chardon Square came into being September of that year when ex-Targets guitarist Perry Tollet formed up with ex-Patterns bassist Bill Sass and guitarist Phil Cuzimano, with Doni Costello on drums. With The Jam, Buzzcocks and the Clash heavily influencing them, they quickly garnered a large following in the Orange County/Los Angeles mod scenes in Southern California.

    With their raw power and agression they epitomized what a power-mod band should be. Their first single in 1983, "'65 Film Show" (backed with "Moving Bright Colors"), showed their potential as a serious post-punk band with sixties pop overtones. Shows in 1984, '85, and '86 with bands like The Bangles, The Ramones, Fishbone, Big Audio Dynamite, and The Three O'Clock, kept them in the fore-front of the Southern California mod scenes. In 1986 they released a second 7" single, "Lost in the Cartoons." It was both more powerful and less polished, which showed a lot of sophistication on the part of the band in eschewing that sort of overproduced sound so many groups fall prey to on their second time around.

    Chardon Square always turned in a dynamic show with a good mix of covers like The Records "Starry Eyes", and "All Night" by Beggar. But their originals caught on with audiences as well, who demanded the band perform "'65 Film Show", "Lost in the Cartoons" and "Home With a View" sometimes more than once in a single show.

    For me the highlight show for Chardon Square came at Insight Out magazine's American Mods Mayday '89 at John Anson Ford Theater in Hollywood. As was their habit, Chardon Square weren't the sharpest dressed mod band (or the best behaved I'm sure), having always been more concerned with sounding good, as opposed to looking good. It was about as unmod an attitude as a band could have, but proved a good move for them as they always sounded way better than they looked. That night in Hollywood, they pounded out a set of mod songs that eclipsed most of the other bands there -- no small feat since there were bands there from all over the country including mod heavyweights like Manual Scan, The Funseekers, and The Question.

    Chardon Square have always been, for me, one of the best memories I have of growing up as a mod in the 80s in Southern California. Watching them move seamlessly from soul infused R&B to 70s fueled power-pop in a single set, you could always see that a love for the music came first. What more could a music lover ask for?

    (Adapted from Insight Out Magazine #5, 1989)

    Chardon Square -- '65 Film Show

    Chardon Square -- Lost in the Cartoons (live at Fenders Ballroom 1988)

    June 20, 2009

    Mod-A-Day: The Platforms

    They look good and they sound better. Austin's The Platforms merge sixties punk with seventies glam and power pop to pound out some great garage rock. From their first CD Kicked Off there was no doubt that this was an all girl group out to kick some serious musical ass. Their sound was more sixties than their look, but their attitude was pure punk rock, evidenced by their first single, featured here, "Bang Me". Comparisons to other girl power groups like Detroit Cobras, Cocktail Slippers, and the Blackhearts are not unfounded.

    The ladies have kept on honing their hard edged sound, softening the edges just enough to show they've matured, without losing their raw intensity. Their latest tracks are all over the place, which is a nice change. Some are bits of bluesy R&B with vocals and rhythms that bring back memories of Mary's Danish, while others are floorstomping garage rock numbers with a certain Knack like power pop quality.

    The Platforms -- Bang Me

    June 19, 2009

    Mod-A-Day: The Peasants

    These Peasants are the Irish power poppers of the early 80s, not the California pop-punk band. That's about all I know other than that they only produced one EP of very sixties sounding power pop in 1981 on Homestead records. In fact, so sixties sounding that on first listen you will swear that it was recorded in the late 60s. Each song is a Zombiesesque, Beatlesish, Turtleslike bit of pop goodness. None more so than the song here, "I Can Help."

    The Peasants -- I Can Help

    June 18, 2009

    Mod-A-Day: Dennis Brown

    I'm not a big reggae fan. I've always preferred the more upbeat and dancable ska sounds. But when you combine the smooth island sound with soul music there is something special in the mix. Dennis Brown, the "crown prince" of reggae, did just that -- and as a teen-ager. He was a verifiable reggae sensation in the seventies before he was ever of an age to do anything remotely adult. In 1978 he sang "Money in My Pocket" and it was silky smooth. His career was set by that and other international hits, and he continued to maintain his status as a senior statesman in the reggae music world. Sadly he died of a drug overdose in the late 90s, barely 40 years of age.

    Dennis Brown -- Money in My Pocket

    June 17, 2009

    Mod-A-Day: Vinyl Kings

    The Vinyl Kings have made a career out of crafting some excellent, sixties infused, garage pop music. Their finest release is actually a tribute to their biggest influence, the Beatles. The Vinyl Kings are a group, a large group, of producers, songwriters, and session musicians who have played with a variety of artists from Kim Carnes to Steppenwolf, Etta James to the Ozark Mountain Devils. Out of all that the group has put together some nice albums with a sixties pop and rock flavor.

    In 2002 they released A Little Trip an album of all original songs where each was done in the style of the Beatles. It might sound derivative or redundant, but surprisingly it isn't. Thanks to the superb songwriting and excekkebt musicianship what you have is arguably one of the best Beatles emulations of all time. These don't sound like Beatles songs, rather they are done in a style that you recognize. But instead of sounding like song we already know like the back of our hands, these songs are original and unique which is what makes the album work. That being said, the song here struck me as the most likely to have been penned by the fab four -- "Don't Worry About Me".

    Vinyl Kings -- Don't Worry About Me

    June 16, 2009

    Mod-A-Day: Baskervilles

    Out of New York comes one of the best indie pop bands on the scene today, the Baskervilles. The band shows glimmers of all sorts of influences from artists as diverse as Abba to the Beach Boys to the Bangles. Underneath it all is a great love and adherence to pop music, power pop to be sure.

    The band has been playing music for years, about 16 to be exact. The current, and sharpest line up has been together since the late 90s and began recording in 2000 what would become their debute. In 2004 the Baskervilles teamed with famed power pop producer Mitch Easter of Let's Active to turn those self-released songs into their full-lenght, self-titled first album. It was a delicious, jangly power pop gem.

    Then in 2008 they built on that for a second, poppier and yet lusher and more orchestrated album, Twilight. Where the first album was at times a diamond in the rough, Twilight was polished to a bright, sunny shine. The music was summery and bright, with some harmonized vocals, a few hints of disco, lots of strings, some well placed horns, all giving it a surprsingly simple and sophisticated sound.

    The song here, "Everybody Looks Not Everybody Finds" is one of the band's finest. The arrangement is full of indie swagger, yet with overtones of tight, sharp Britpop that drive the song along.

    Baskervilles -- Everybody Looks Not Everybody Finds

    June 15, 2009

    Modcast #131: Get The Mod Blues

    Welcome to Mr. Suave's Mod Mod World, modcast #131 if you can believe it. I don't know about you, but I've got the blues. The legendary queen of the blues Koko Taylor died a little more than a week ago, and that sparked me to dig out and revisit some my old blues, esepcially the British blues of the sixties, the early R&B. London's blues scene in the late 50s and early sixties spawned a number of bands and musicians that went on to great fame, many with very mod sounds - Rolling Stones, Georgie Fame, Them, the Animals, the Yardbirds and so on . And No doubt Ms. Koko Taylor was an inspiration to sixties mods who were blending the blues with rock, and jazz with soul, and creating radically new sorts of sounds. So, now it's time to get some mod blues.

    Koko Taylor -- Wang Dang Doodle
    David Bowie -- I Pity the Fool
    Georgie Fame & The Blue Flames -- Parker's Mood
    Rolling Stones -- Confessin' the Blues
    The Creation -- I'm A Man
    Small Faces -- Wham, Bam, Thank You M'am
    Yardbirds -- Smokestack Lightning
    Buddy Guy & Junior Wells -- High Heel Sneakers
    Ella Fitzgerald -- Sunshine of Your Love
    The Who -- Young Man Blues
    The Doors -- Roadhouse Blues

    Koko Taylor -- Wang Dang Doodle

    Ella Fitzgerald -- Sunshine of Your Love

    June 14, 2009

    Mod-A-Day: The Kick

    I don't know much about 80s mod band The Kick, but I know what I like. And, I liked what I heard immediately upon hearing The Kick's "Armchair Politician" the back side of their "Can't Let Go" single from about 1986. The band had the definite bad luck to be involved with Stiff's Countdown label and it seems they evaporated just as the label did. They made a number of appearances on various Countdown related compilation albums. Drummer Chris White evnetually went on to play with acid jazzters Mother Earth among others. Regardless of its title the song here, "Julie London", is not about rat-pack jazz pop singer, TV star (Emergency's Nurse Dixie no less!) and Mrs. Bobby Troup.

    The Kick -- Julie London

    June 13, 2009

    Mod-A-Day: Purple Hearts

    In 1977 Jeff Shadbolt organized his friends into a "band" called The Sockets with the sole intention of getting chosen to open a Buzzcock's gig. No matter that they could barely strum a chord or hit a note, the plan worked. In 1978 they changed their name to the more modish Purple Hearts and kept learning to play their instruments, kept gigging, and kept building a fanbase.

    The Purple Hearts threw themselves into the mod revival, and combined the energy of punk with sixties power pop more similar to the sound of The Jam then most of the other revivalists groups of the era. They didn't have the soulfulness of the Chords, or the radio friendly pop sound of the Lambrettas, and they weren't the scene leaders that Secret Affair became. Still, the band was adored by British mods and arguably one of the most popular bands throughout the mod revival.

    The song here, "Frustration" was their second single and was featered on their first fantastic, and beloved, album Beat That. The band soldiered on through the 80s even as the mod scene withered, mod revival bands fell apart all around them, and their members left periodically to play in other groups. They produced a second studio album circa 1985, Popish Frenzy, that didn't fare as well, nor catch the loving attention that Beat That had. Now here we are 30 years on and the group is reformed and scheduled to play the 100 Club June 21st with other shows to follow throughout the summer. I wonder if they'll make it to Seattle?

    Purple Hearts -- Frustration

    Purple Hearts -- Millions Like Us

    June 12, 2009

    Mod-A-Day: The Truth

    Just as The Jam were calling it a day and a lot of the remaining mod revival bands had split up, Dennis Greaves, former front man of bluesy punk band Nine Below Zero, put together a soulful R&B group called The Truth. Greaves soul and blues expertise helped to shape the band's sound which fit nicely into the 80s music milieu.

    Things looked good with the band producing a fistful of mod singles and EPs that were a single blessing amidst the mid-80s landscape of new romantic pop and glam rock. Early on there was the fun and dancable "The Sweetest Feeling" from the Five Live EP, and the jangly "Beat Generation" with its Monkees like sound, "Steppin In The Right Direction," "Confusion (Hits Us Everytime)" and a whole bunch more. Indeed, things were looking good.

    In 1985 the band produced their first record, an excellent long player, The Playground. It was a tightly produced, sharp sounding blend of soul and pop. With songs like "It's A Miracle" and "Is There A Solution" the band added a decidedly mod vibe to that sort of 80s sophistipop that The Style Council, Swing Out Sister, Everything But The Girl, Spandau Ballet and others were also dabbling with at the time. But, The Truth were by far the most sixties influenced. The album boasted a number of great soulful power pop songs like "Spread a Little Sunshine" (which wouldn't have sounded out of place on an early Style Council disk) and the song here, "I'm In Tune."

    But then something strange happened. They went in a totally different, and disgusting, direction. In the final few years of the decade Greaves and company went professionally insane producing the most hideous sort of mulletheaded glam rock you can imagine. Their fans deserted them. The albums were panned by critics. Sales were nil. The band faded away by 1990. Along about the turn of the century Greaves reformed Nine Below Zero and began doing some shows and producing new material. But the damage was done. I haven't heard any of it, and I suspect I'm not the only fan of The Truth who won't bother revisitng his other work. But, for one bright shining moment there was The Truth and their blissfully happy soulful sound.

    The Truth -- I'm In Tune

    June 11, 2009

    Mod-A-Day: Merton Parkas

    In 1979 when everyone and his brother was trying to put together a mod band to ride the revival, two brothers did exactly that. The Merton Parkas were founded by brothers Danny and Mick Talbot, and rounded out by Simon Smith and Neil Hurrell. The band has always faced a mixed reaction from mods. Most either loved them, or hated them, there seemed to be little in between.

    Like most of the mod groups of the day they started out covering loads of sixties R&B and soul songs, and did some pretty good covers, most notably "Band of Gold" and a surprsingly garagey cover The Monkees' "Steppin' Stone". They also did some really horrid covers like an almost completely soulless "In the Midnight Hour". Thier blend of pub rock, sixties soul and power pop helped establish them as mod favorites, but won them little critical acclaim.

    The band did release a number of decent singles, the most prominent of which was "You Need Wheels" which hit #40 on the UK charts giving the band a bona fide hit. The single here "Plastic Smile" lter appeared on their sole album 1979's Face in the Crowd. A year later the band was kaput. Simon Smith went on to play with Carpettes, Mood Six and The Wedding Present. But it would be Mick Talbot that really made something of himself first keyboarding for Dexy's Midnight Runners and then very sucessful number of years as the second half of the heart of The Style Council, and later moving into acid jazz with Galliano.

    Merton Parkas -- Plastic Smile

    Merton Parkas -- You Need Wheels

    June 10, 2009

    Mod-A-Day: The Primates

    The Primates were a little known garage rock revival band that produced only a single album. It wasn't the greatest, but it was fun. Loud, brash, caveman stompin' garage rock complete with the fuzzy guitars and screamy vocals. Couldn't find much on the band, but what more do you need once you hear "I Ain't Like You" -- and it's the truth.

    The Primates -- I Ain't Like You

    June 9, 2009

    Mod-A-Day: The Parties

    San Francisco modsters The Parties last year produced an excellent album of sixties infused power pop, garage rock. The hook all the songs hang on is their sixties vibe, created with solid drums and bass, 12 string guitar, and shared vocals. There's the folksy, twangy, jangle of the Byrds-like "Much Better", and more than a few of the songs -- "Yours and Mine", "Breaking Hearts", are stand outs -- drip with the mod and freakbeat influences of The Who and The Creation, which isn't a bad thing at all. The song here, "Gotta Get Out", is slow burner with some nice shakey g-verb. The best thing about The Parties is that they're making great music right now, and hopefully for a long time to come.

    The Parties -- Gotta Get Out

    June 8, 2009

    Mod-A-Day: Svengalis

    By all appearances the Svengalis are no more. The band broke out with a well-received single early last year, "Sting in the Tale" and were creating a lot of buzz with their Britpop sixties mixed style of power pop. The few songs recorded were tight, with sharp edged melodies that carried you effortlessly along. It wasn't hard to hear contemporary influences like The Libertines or Ordinary Boys, or looking even further back echoes of the Boomtown Rats. The song here "Soda and Cigarettes" was circling the blogs back in 2007, and should have been more than enough to garner more serious label attention. One wonders what happened to bring it all to an end.

    Svengalis -- Soda and Cigarettes

    June 7, 2009

    Mod-A-Day: Tell-Tale Hearts

    Think of early Yardbirds, or Them, and then add in the blues-styled agressive R&B of The Pretty Things or The Seeds. Got all that right there in your mind? Okay, that's The Tell-Tale Hearts. The San Diego band's original incarnation lasted just three short years 1983-86, the very height of the garage rock revival. And The Tell-Tale Hearts were in the thick of it with their raw, sixties styled garage punk. From the organ driven chorus of "Crawling Back to Me", to the harmonica laden bluesy garage rock of "It Came to Me", to the folksy pop of "Keep on Trying", the band's sound owed a lot to their influences, but was infused by the members own talent as musicians. The song here combined it all into one nice caveman romp, "It Is Not Me" has the harmonicas, the echoing, jangly guitars, the farfisa organ, and those intense and sometimes morose vocals that go from longing to screaming. This is garage rock as it was meant to be.

    The liner notes to their anthology High Tide summed it up best:
    "The wild-eyed singer snarled and leapt about like a monkey, all the while shaking a pair of maracas and banging on a cow bell, wine bottle, or beer can. The drummer hid behind a relic of a kit and pounded his tom-toms like they were tribal war drums. The tall, red-haired guitarist snaked about on stage, by turns stroking and stabbing at his instrument. The organ player, his hair completely covering his face, kicked at his amplifier and rolled on the ground, wrestling with a harmonica. And the long-haired bass player sneered at the crowd from behind a pair of sunglasses, looking positively wicked. There was certainly nothing on MTV which could have prepared them for this.”

    Tell-Tale Hearts -- It Is Not Me

    The Tell-Tale Hearts -- Crawling Back To Me

    June 6, 2009

    Mod-A-Day: Couple

    Do not, I repeat, do not search Google for "Couple Malaysian". Trust me on this one. Even if you love sixties influence power pop. Just don't do it. Maybe you enjoy power pop bands that combine irresistably sugary hooks and melodies, with a modern, indie guitar buzz. Combine those hooks with catchy lyrics, a dollop of new wave like synthesizers on occassion, and a whole lot of pop sensibility and you will get something that sounds like a power pop band from Malaysia with a new (and free) sophmore album, Teenage Disk Fantastic, just out. But, don't search Google "Couple Malaysian". I'm telling you. Even if you remember how good that first album, Top of the Pop, was, how the simple sixties sound was vibrantly recreated, and how the band seemed to have such intensity and love for the music. You still shouldn't search Google for "Couple Malaysian."

    No, if you want to hear some great power pop then check out Couple's Myspace page (named by Rolling Stone as one of the top 25 bands on Myspace), and track down their albums. You won't be disappointed by Malaysia's best ever power pop quartet -- hell one of the great power pop bands currently going on the planet. Over ten years in the South Pacific, and yet only now starting to get noticed in the states, and it's about time. Both albums are full of golden pop nuggets whether in English as most are, or in Malaysian. The song here, "Love You Yes" is just one such gem.

    Couple -- Love Your Yes

    Couple -- Now That I Can See

    June 5, 2009

    Mod-A-Day: The Untouchables

    Okay, busy day today so am just throwing up this classic bit of video from So Cal's one and only The Untouchables, mainstays of the west coast's 80s mod scene.

    The Untouchables -- I Spy For The FBI

    June 4, 2009

    Mod-A-Day: The Young Sportsmen

    Last year, for their second release Seattle's The Young Sportsmen produced If You Want It a fantastic piece of modern power pop. It's got all the requisite elements you want in a great album, and more. Influences both old and new can be heard throughout the album, from The Who and The Beach Boys to The Futureheads and Killers. They don't dwell too long with anyone influence, simply weaving them throughout to creeat their own fast, and at times furious, power pop sound. From the bass driven "Girl Parts" to the lush melodies of "Sunday in Dresden" band plays with intensity, and a certain refined passion that gives their sound a very sophisticated element. The song here, "Metropolitan" is buzzing bit of power pop that will leave you wanting more, much more. Word on the street is that the band called it quits at the end of last year, which if true is too bad for the rest of us.

    The Young Sportsmen -- Metropolitan

    June 3, 2009

    Mod-A-Day: Gravedigger V

    The 80s garage punk revival boasted a number of bands with unique characteristics and tight songs, but few of them had that certain something, that certain unearthly, primitive sort of sound that told you a garage band was getting down to the real nitty gritty. The Gravedigger V had all that and more, or less depending on how you look at it. Their songs were tiny nuggets of gold that had to be sorted out from the monstrously thick cavelike sounds they were sometimes buried in. The guitars were appropriately crunchy, and the drums methodically drove home a primal rhythm that belied the otherwise sense of speed and anxiousness the band gave off. But overall it was the vocals. Oh those vocals, truly spooky. There were screams, and there were shouts, and there was something sort of foreign and snotty that just fit the music well.

    The band, younger than most on the scene in those early days, never did see much of their material produced until after they'd broken up. They released one album on Voxx in 1984, All Black and Hairy, and the second album, The Mirror Cracked, didn't appear until 1987, long after they'd already broken up. Some of the members went on to work with The Morlocks, a very similar but more psychadelic garage punk act. The song here, "She Got", was the first I'd ever heard by the band when it appeared on the legendary "Garage Sale" comp in 1985, and it still strikes me as their best.

    Gravedigger V - She Got

    June 2, 2009

    Mod-a-Day: Steve Rinaldi

    London modster, Steve Rinaldi is a long time session player who's loaned out his ample musical skills to the likes of Squire, The Jetset and the reformed Secret Affair. So, it should come as no surprise that he has produced a couple of the best pop albums of recent years. In 2004 he dropped the deliciously soulful and sweet "What's It All About" with its leadoff track "Happy" featured here. Every track is an orchestrated bit of power pop with smooth, lush vocals and arrangements that are evocative of the late sixties heyday of such pop as The Foundations, Sergio Mendes & Brasil 66, and 5th Dimension. His second album, Bingo, appeared last year and didn't disappoint, delivering a whole slew of original material including two standout tracks: "Goodbye Steve McQueen" a jaunty pop song with blaring trumpets and a lively dancable vibe; and the title track "Bingo" that is a swingin', go-go instrumental.

    Rinaldi Sings -- Happy

    June 1, 2009

    Mod-A-Day: The Kickovers

    The Kickovers were the brainchild of Mighty Mighty Bosstones' guitarist Nate Albert who recruited Bosstones drummer and Weezer's bass player to round out the group. They played hard and fast pop-punk that was more power pop than anything else. The group only had one full length release, Osaka, and broke up a scant two years after getting together. Still they left behind one fun release stocked with a nice bunch of punchy tracks showing a range of influences from The Who to the Ramones to the Foo Fighters. The song here, "Black and Blue" was one of the the more power pop like on the album and boasts some catchy hooks and melodies and a memorable chorus.

    The Kickovers -- Black and Blue