Artists From New York/New Jersey
The Anderson Council – These Jersey boys have the most authentic, Creation-influenced mod-psych sound conceived by any band west of The Thames, and the band has both the smarts and skill to convey the sense of whimsy that defines late ‘60s British pop-psych. Their latest disc, Looking At The Stars, was well worth the wait!
Bubble – A tight, rugged power pop band whose 2000 CD, Bash Bish, sounds exactly as the title would imply. “Principal songwriter Dave Foster constantly gets it right, fashioning killer hooks into a collection of songs which demand the listener’s attention throughout and are guaranteed to provide a lot of pleasure to those of a pop inclination” (Luke Magazine). Not surprisingly, Bubble also excels at loving recreations of The Beatles repertoire, which they have been performing to sell-out crowds!
Changing Modes – The ensemble led by Wendy Griffiths and Yuzuru Sadashige, a pair of classically trained composers whose influences range from Bartok, Stravinsky to Nirvana, along with King Crimson & Sparks! Changing Modes creates unique, darkly complex art rock delivered with punk energy and prog-rock flair, all the while maintaining a melodic pop sensibility. Their latest CD, The Paradox of Traveling Light, is space rock at its finest, tossed liberally with hints of new wave punk and more chords than you can count! Fans of Zappa and The B-52s will love this band!
Diego Clare – A young singer/songwriter from California, currently living and making music in Brooklyn, NY. His recently released LP, Diegesis, features guest musicians from Joan of Arc, Cursive, The Good Life, and others, and intricately blends melancholy folk-pop with strains of orchestral pop and Beatle-esque melodies – pretty cool stuff!
Crazy Mary – Crazy Mary carries the flame for a time when downtown Manhattan was at its post-punk apex: gritty, smart, artful, edgy and sexy, before its soul was taken over by corporations. But true to the ideals of the era from which they emerged, the band remains fully engaged with the modern, eschewing sentimentality and nostalgia. Their latest album, Dreaming In Brilliant Color, carries their music forward and keeps their mélange of psychedelia, tribal music and Velvet Underground-inspired no wave very much alive and well. Check it out now!
Deena – She began her music career as co-founder of The Cucumbers, a leading band in the ‘80s indie pop scene in Hoboken, NJ, with reviews in Rolling Stone and People Magazine and videos on MTV (and who we were honored to have grace the IPO stage in 2006)! Deena’s songwriting has been called “direct and artful,” by
Dentist – An Asbury Park-based Surf-Rock collective that takes its cues from such West Coast predecessors of the genre as Best Coast, Wavves, and The Drums. As opposed to the overtly sun-kissed compositions of their Pacific coastline contemporaries, Dentist dresses personalized experiences from blue-collar beachheads and music haunts of their own seaside backdrop in a concentrated haze, providing a coarse edge to the outfit’s productions. Beware: their recently released self-titled full length is subtly addictive!
Josh Fix – Fans of Jellyfish, Queen, and ELO will all want to rush out to buy Free At Last, the latest CD by this New York artist (by way of San Francisco). Yeah, it’s really that good, and has been earning this young artist lots of attention from pop afficianados from coast to coast! Fix is someone who a major label should snap up, soon!
Eric Frisch – With influences ranging everywhere from the Beatles and the Beach Boys to Sam Cooke and the Four Tops to Bob Dylan and Jackie Wilson, Frisch combines elements of ‘50s and ‘60s pop music with a more modern sound, creating a unique call to the past while still pushing forward into uncharted territory. His latest CD, Goodbye Birdcage, rollicks and rocks while providing a symphony for the soul!
Gail George – A New Yorker by way of Sacramento, Portland and LA, George has been penning panoramic pop songs for a good long while. Her new CD, The Barrio Sessions with Early Times, was 11 years in the making, and will soon be unveiled to the eager ears of pop lovers everywhere, but you can come to her IPO show and hear a sneak preview! Her IPO showcase promises to be something extra special, as she’ll also be joined by her son, Michael Pinto, on drums.
The GO-NY – This classic band born of the late ‘70s/early ‘80s New York punk/new wave scene did their first show together in 36 years at IPO in 2009, and we’re excited to have ‘em back to do it again! Inspired by their idols, The Ramones, they broke onto the scene playing their first gig at the dear departed CBGBs in 1979, and spent the next four years playing all over the tri-state area before calling it quits. Their vinyl EP, Instant Reaction, is still a highly sought after powerpop collectible, but luckily for us, the good folks at Wizzard in Vinyl have re-released it along with some previously unreleased garage tapes as a retrospective CD. Definitely a show not to be missed!
Rorie Kelly – A small redheaded tornado of sound, Kelly cultivates a persona that is one part adorable, two parts badass rock ‘n roll. First-time listeners often comment, “I can’t believe that voice came out of that body!” Kelly writes catchy, melodic rock songs that she plays with enough passion to break guitar strings regularly—and goes right on playing without batting an eye. Fans of Fiona Apple and Alanis Morissette should check her out!
The Kennedys – In a career that now spans two decades, New York duo Maura and Pete Kennedy have traversed a broad musical landscape, surveying power pop, acoustic songwriting, organic rock rooted in their early days in Austin, and a Byrds-inspired jangle that drew the attention of Roger McGuinn, Steve Earle, and Nanci Griffith, who they supported on her recent tour of the US and British Isles. Their latest release, Dance A Little Closer: The Kennedys Sing The Songs of Nanci Griffith, is a limited edition CD available only via their website and at their shows – so don’t miss their IPO showcase!
Doug Khazzam – One of the main men of local ‘80s sensations, Buddy Love, whose recent CD, Now & Then, offers a cool mix of re-issues and new recordings. Khazzam keeps getting better with age, as his high octane shows with the band over the past few years at IPO New York will attest! This is a special solo performance you will not want to miss!
Lily Sparks – Flanked by glitter guitars that alternate between crunch and wail, lead singer Niamh’s got a set of pipes that can go from fragility to fury in a heartbeat. This band plays hard-rocking, toe-tapping songs that’ll make you want to shout and sing along. Check out their debut EP, Cooper Cobra, and discover why Women of Substance Radio called them “a tight band following in the footsteps of Heart and 4 Non Blondes who knows how to ROCK”!
London Egg – This totally groovy band blends the chic of swinging London with the modern mod rock energy of their New York home turf. Fans of artists such as The Rolling Stones, The Small Faces, T-Rex, and The Jam will dig both of their CDs, including their latest, If It Takes Forever, produced by the legendary Kurt Reil of The Grip Weeds…so you know they’ve got to be good!
Andy Mac – With catchy melodies, unforgettable hooks and an earnest blend of heartache amid desire, singer-songwriter Andy Mac presents a unique spin on the typical melancholic male artist. Discovering how to mask his vulnerability through charming lyrics and harmony-coated pop-rock tunes, Mac speaks to his fans with sincerity and wisdom. It’s no wonder that Mac has recently had his music featured on several 20th Century Fox Television shows, MTV, and XM Radio. Check out his latest album, Struggle Fantastic, and watch for new music soon!
meyerman – A band who strive for crunchy power pop goodness in all they do – and succeed quite nicely! Their long awaited debut CD, who do you think you are? was mixed by Kurt Reil of the Grip Weeds, and was hailed as one of the best powerpop releases of 2011! If you like Badfinger, Big Star, Cheap Trick, Teenage Fanclub, and The Replacements – and let’s face it, what powerpop fan doesn’t? – then you will love meyerman!
The Modulators – Their reunion show at IPO New York in 2009 meant a lot to me personally, as in the early ‘80s I used to hang around guitarist Joe Riccardello as he managed the quintessential northern New Jersey record store, Vintage Vinyl. Joe is responsible for turning me onto artists like R.E.M. and Marshall Crenshaw, and when I found out he was a member of a Crenshaw-inspired band called The Modulators, I couldn’t wait to buy their first 45 (“She’s So Cynical”). They have the distinction of playing The Dirt Club more than any other band, and their excellent album from 1985 is available as a reissue on CD by Kool Kat! Not ones to rest on their laurels, they’re back in the studio, with a new disc out soon! They’ve floored IPO audiences from New York to Boston to Liverpool every time they’ve played, and I can’t wait to see ‘em do it again!
Freddy Monday – A Long Island-based singer songwriter with numerous TV and film credits, Monday certainly knows his way around a good hook. His song “There Were Times” is featured in the soundtrack of the recent Steve Jobs biography movie, Jobs, and his latest CD, Everything Anyhow, shines with sparkling melodies that can’t help but make you feel good. He’s currently recording his fourth studio album, so watch for it soon! Fans of artists from Brendan Benson to The Monkees to Marshall Crenshaw will want to check him out!
Gianni Paci – He may be young, but Paci has already amassed significant critical acclaim. Tiger Beat writes, “[Gianni] will be bursting onto the mainstream music scene soon,” while Mike Ragogna of The Huffington Post suggests, “[Gianni’s] indie pop/rock meets ’60s roll makes for a Buddy Holly-played-through-a-Rolling Stones-amp experience.” Performer Magazine just recently featured him on their cover. A student of Musicology at NYU, Paci is no stranger to learning from the greats, and has already shared the stage with the likes of Ace Frehley (KISS), Steven Adler (Guns N Roses), Mike Starr (Alice In Chains) and The Butthole Surfers. His debut album is slated for release next year, so watch for it!
The Peaces – Concentrating on the three-minute song and the six-part harmony, The Peaces are here to refresh, renew and remind you that tunes that make you feel good are a reward. Their latest CD, Is, Are, Was, Were was one of the best of 2007, and we can hardly wait for their next one!
Jana Peri – She has had two critically acclaimed CDs: , produced by Daniel Rey (Ramones) features “Go Ahead,” (also on International Pop Overthrow – Volume 7) and a self-titled EP, which boasts “Dating Sucks.” In 2009, Jana released her single “I Hate The Holidays (But I Love Spending Them With You)”and 2010 saw two new ones: “Ballerina Of The Bowery” by Gar Francis (Doughboys) with drums by Kurt Reil (Grip Weeds), as well as Jana’s own, “Gallery Whore.” Jana also sings with Loser’s Lounge.
Matthew Pop – Matthew Pop is an artist who you’ve probably heard a dozen times but couldn’t pick out of a lineup. Still, Pop has had his music featured in a number of popular MTV shows, in film, on NYC radio, and has even been the opening act for Regina Spektor. This prolific songwriter whose songs sound like a cross between Weezer, Superdrag, and The Beach Boys, has so much sweet pop-dom to offer that his two latest releases are compendia of his work: last year’s Lights Out: The Best of Matthew Pop, featuring 20 of his “greatest hits,” and the recently released Matthew Pop Trash: a collection of rarities, demos, and live tracks. Definitely an artist well-deserving of powerpop stardom!
The Rousers – Do you dig the rock? Discover the new standard for old school hard rock ‘n roll. The Rousers, NYC rockers baptized at Max’s Kansas City/CBGB’s, were born to bring it with already-classic sounds you will love forever after. Their long-awaited (and very aptly named) CD, Playing the Rock and Roll for You!, was worth the wait!
The Sharp Things – A Brooklyn-based, classic orchestral pop and rock collective with eclectic influences including Mark Eitzel, Scott Walker, Jimmy Webb, David Bowie, Burt Bacharach, Marvin Gaye, The Who, Radiohead, Randy Newman and The Beatles (among many others). Their soon to be released album, Adventurers Inn, blends classical instrumentation with pop melodies – definitely not your average indie rock band!
Sky Picnic – A cornucopia of ‘60s fueled psychedelia fattened up for the modern age. “June Sunshine,” the lead single from their soon-to-be-released LP, Her Dawn Wardrobe, has been described as a celestial gallop that only hints at what is in store, as Sky Picnic has begun to introduce elements that blur musical genres, having created songs tinged with jazz grooves, sing-along psych-pop and fuzz riffs. Pure psychedelic bliss!
Sonny Lee & The Layovers – A band with a plan to keep it sneaky simple: make a little noise, rattle some glasses, pound some tables, and tip some chairs..and in the process, put a smile on your face with their brand of indie rock meets twangy powerpop. Fans of artists such as Steve Earle, The Rolling Stones, REM, and The Smithereens may want to sit up and take notice of this one! They’re making their IPO showcase the release party for their new CD, for which we are truly honored!
Tenterhooks – A new ensemble formed by long-time friends Lenny Zenith (of Jenifer Convertible and Minor Planets) and James Pertusi (also of Jenifer Convertible, Ditty Committee, Missing Teens, and The Sharp Things – see above). Influenced by such noteworthies as Big Star, Guided By Voices, Lemonheads, and New Pornographers, they produce thoroughly harmonic catchy power-pop informed by years in the garage and glitter hi-tops. A debut EP is in the works, and may be available just in time for their IPO showcase!
The Thigh-Highs – Part garage, part powerpop, and totally fun, The Thigh-Highs are unabashedly influenced by ‘60s AM radio, and have been described as “Big Star on different drugs”. Their ‘60s tinged 12-stringed and Farfisa-ed upbeat and somewhat goofy originals span the themes of sea monsters and UFO-run department stores to Brooklyn social anachronism and the search for love in all the wrong websites. Sound intriguing? Then come check out their IPO showcase!
The Turnback – As their name might imply, they take much of their inspiration from the past, but these guys from the boroughs and environs of New York have a sound that is also sure to appeal to fans of modern indie rock jangle and psychedelic garage pop. Check out their debut CD, Drawn In Chalk, (as well as the movie to which the CD serves as a soundtrack, Drawing With Chalk), and you’ll hear what we mean!
George Usher and Lisa Burns – Described by The Village Voice as “one of New York’s best pop craftsmen,” Usher has numerous critically acclaimed CDs to his credit, both as collaborative efforts with others and with his own George Usher Group. Diagnosed with Cancer in 2010, Usher found he wasn’t able to use his hands or play instruments for over two years due to chemo treatments. During that time, he composed 12 sets of lyrics full of reflection and reverie that Lisa Burns has put to music. The result is a new song-cycle, The Last Day Of Winter, which will soon be released. Burns has long been known in her own right for her fusion of country and roots rock influences with her love of ‘60s girl groups, and has developed a reputation as a gutsy, sensitive and honest singer. Her 2009 CD, Channeling Mary, includes several songs co-written by Usher. Usher is just returning to performing live, alongside Burns and their band, and we are honored that IPO will be among their first performances!
Zombies Of The Stratosphere – The duo of J and A Zombie continue to churn out gem-like compositions with maddeningly infectious tunes and obscure lyrics, as they have on their latest CD, Ordinary People. Following in the tradition of their idols, Ray Davies, Elvis Costello, and Brian Wilson, their sound is evocative of classic Britpop wrapped in a cloud of gorgeous yet sometimes quirky orchestration.
U.S. Artists From Outside Of New York/New Jersey
The Lannie Flowers Band – Although he and the band hail from the great state of Texas, they’ve done what no other artist in the history of the LA Music Awards has done…namely, taking home four awards from last year’s event in November! Flowers’ latest studio CD, New Songs, Old Stories, picks up where his earlier disc, Circles, left off, but rocks even harder, and the band’s latest, Live In NYC, shows why you must see them in person! Badfinger-esque in-your-face guitars and vocal harmonies blend with softer shifting harmonies more reminiscent of XTC, but that fans of artists from The Raspberries to The Velvet Underground will be sure to appreciate! We also appreciate that he and his band have played the IPO festival in many cities throughout the world and continue to do so, with no sign of slowing down!
Tim Lee 3 – As one of the main men of The Windbreakers, Lee has cranked out many a fine jangle pop tune in his day, and is still going strong! His latest power trio features crunchy three-chord jangle with a touch of blues, punk, and classic rock! Check out their latest disc, Devil’s Rope, and hear for yourself! One of Knoxville’s most prolific powerpop bands, and Lee is certainly one of the genre’s classic songwriters!
Milkshake Jones – Power poppers extraordinaire, Milkshake Jones channels the best of ‘60s pop, alt-country and modern rock into literate, hooky pop music that goes in your ear and straight to your heart. Lonesome Sky, the Harrisburg, PA combo’s first collection of new songs since 2007, is set for release later in 2014, and we can hardly wait!
Oberon Rose – An underground psych-rock band from Connecticut, led by the songwriting prowess of Tim Oberon. Their 2012 debut disc, wunjo, has drawn comparisons to The Posies, The Zombies, and The Kinks, to name but a few! Check it out now!