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August Album Reviews: Bloody Red Baron
GUEST POST: Mike Baron
Mike Baron (aka Bloody Red Baron) was the longtime album reviewer for Pop Geek Heaven. With the closure of that legendary power pop newsletter, we are very happy to host his latest round of album reviews here at Remember The Lightning.
Scott Gagner—Reverse (Self-Released)
Scott composed most of these pieces on piano and the choice of chords shows it. Which isn’t to say you couldn’t find those chords on a guitar, but guitar composers hew more closely to a well worn rock path. “Friend Like You” shares a Salim Nourallah/Timmy Sean approach, with subtle bridges and hooks that embed themselves in your brain, and a touch of mariachi in the horns.
“My Glasses” stuns with magic melody, the closely chosen compatibility of the Hushdrops or Blank Pages. This song could be longer. “Never Could See Any Other Way” is Beatlesque, appropriately recorded at Abbey Road with the same pianos they used. The intricately orchestrated “Jesus In Reverse” is dreamy and oblique with that trumpet shining like sunlight. “Christine Movie” is sooo seventies, with CS&N harmonies and Cippolina style guitar.
The remaining songs are slower and more personal, like Salim Nourallah’s latest, Nuclear Winter. “Christine McVie” could be a Fleetwood Mac song, right down to the guitar solo.
Dan Kibler—Idiomatic (Kool Kat Musik)
This sounds primordial, ur power pop handed down through the ages, effortlessly melodic, eminently hummable, embedded in our collective memory. Most of these songs advance on acoustic guitar, highlighting solid song structure without elaborate guitar solos, although there are a few, as on “Mystery Girl.”
“Rail Me Down” is a mix of acoustic and electric. It burrows its way into the limbic system, like Ed Ryan’s recent album. Songs like “Don’t Go For the Money” sound effortless, erasing the listener’s consideration of technique. The one two punch of “I Don’t Like You” and “I’m Still Here” are anthemic and iconic, waiting for some smart producer to use them as theme songs. “See You There” builds an air of menace out of mostly major chords. “Fear What You Know?” relies on a simple, unforgettable guitar motif, while “Words” rises on elegant keyboards, first piano, and then organ.
The Foreign Films—Magic Shadows (Kool Kat Musik)
Bill Majoros has been making sui generis power pop since 2007 when Distant Star arrived like an alien mothership and stunned the power pop world with its sound and vision. Majoros’ voice is both intimate and commanding.
Magic Shadows continues his series of robust chamber-pop rock as in the down and dirty “Cosmic Lover,” with its ZZ Top drums and booming bass, like a beautiful woman in combat boots. High singing bass returns in “Midnight Movies” and “Into the Light,” with its Beatlesque backing chorus, recalling the stunning “Cinema Light” from Distant Star.
“Daydream In the Sun” is an epic mini-suite encompassing Beach Boys, Roy Orbison, and the Drifters. The beginning sounds like “Little Surfer Girl” but the whole song is in tune with Brian Wilson’s more ambitious tracks like “Rio Grande.”
Looking For More Great New Guitar Pop?
Check out the latest installment in S.W. Lauden’s Guitar Pop For Now People series.
Links to the previous installments included in the article below.
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