Aimee Mann

Several years after the breakup of ‘Til Tuesday, the Boston new wave band that scored big with “Voices Carry” in 1985, vocalist Aimee Mann launched her unhurried solo career with the mightily impressive Whatever. Receiving assistance from producer and multi-instrumentalist Jon Brion (of the Grays), as well as Roger McGuinn and drummer Jim Keltner, Mann…

Cheepskates

The mercurial Cheepskates began life as an anomaly on New York’s garage-rock scene: when most of their peers were scouring exurbia for vintage paisleys and vinyl (the more primitive the better, on both counts), this low-key quartet was creating some of the most carefully crafted pure pop to escape from those Seed-y halls. Run Better…

Adam Schmitt

After warming up as a member of such Champaign, Illinois-area combos as Pop the Balloon (with future Velvet Crush-er Ric Menck), the Farmboys and the Elvis Brothers, Adam Schmitt very nearly crafted the perfect pure pop album on his first try with World So Bright. Getting assistance from a couple of drummers (one of them…

Chris Von Sneidern

After serving (unrecorded) stints with such Bay Area pop stalwarts as Flying Color and the Sneetches, Syracuse, New York native Chris Von Sneidern unleashed Sight & Sound, the first of his remarkably beautiful pop masterpieces, in 1993. Using his guitar and pen to fashion pretty, Badfinger-esque songs — the desperate “Bad Black Lonesome,” the Merseybeat…

Wondermints

Los Angeles is home to many pop-oriented artists, both old (the Plimsouls, 20/20) and new (Sugarplastic, the Negro Problem). The best of the current lot, however, may be the Wondermints. With a sound that’s firmly rooted in mid-to-late-’60s California pop (there’s an endorsement from Brian Wilson in the debut album’s booklet) with faint echoes of…

Sex Clark Five

The totally unique (not to mention hard-to-define and often downright weird) Sex Clark Five is a quartet from Huntsville, Alabama. The strangely intoxicating Strum & Drum! is a catchy mélange of rapidly strummed guitars, airy, Shoesy vocals (courtesy of guitarist/songwriter James Butler and bassist Joy Johnson) and songs (20 of ’em!) that typically clock in…

20/20

20/20/Look Out! is a most welcome reissue of the first two releases by these Los Angeles (by way of Tulsa, Oklahoma) power pop purveyors. The 20/20 LP stands proudly as one of the genre’s best (and most unique sounding, thanks to Earle Mankey’s imaginative production trickery), with scads of tuneful songs from singer/guitarist Steve Allen…

Rooks

There have been countless Beatles imitators over the years, but few artists have demonstrated the ability to build on the group’s tuneful legacy with enough originality to add their own twists and shouts. New York’s Rooks, led by the immensely talented Michael Mazzarella, is one of the rare exceptions. The Connecticut-born writer/singer/guitarist/producer gets able assistance…

Material Issue

Fans of Chicago’s Material Issue cite the late singer/guitarist (and early Green member) Jim Ellison’s seemingly effortless knack for writing brisk, unforgettable hard-pop tunes. Detractors point to his annoyingly affected British accent and that his songs (while enjoyable) can seem a bit too calculated. There’s something to be said for both arguments, but there’s no…

Critics

The Critics fit into the long line of great Illinois power-pop combos, following a road paved by Cheap Trick, Shoes, Off Broadway and others. This talented trio (vocalist/guitarist Kevin Mantegna, drummer Marty Winer and bassist Todd Rusin) worked as the house band for Danny Bonaduce’s Chicago-area radio show before recording Braintree with a little help…

Greenberry Woods

Benefiting from three equally talented singer/songwriters (Ira Katz and twin brothers Matt and Brandt Huseman), Baltimore’s Greenberry Woods push all the right power-pop buttons on Rapple Dapple, co-produced by Andy Paley. The bouncy “Trampoline” kicks things off in fine fashion and sets the stage for what follows: piles of gutsy guitar, sweet harmonies and more…

Spongetones

Originally proud altar boys at the Church of the Holy Mersey, North Carolina’s SpongeTones — Jamie Hoover, Patrick Walters, Rob Thorne and McCartney lookalike Steve Stoeckel — have evolved from the zesty Beatlish originals of their first two releases to producing lush, superbly crafted pop-rock that owes a debt to other British Invasion acts (Searchers,…

Chopper

Connecticut singer/songwriters Steven Deal and Robert Dietrich are Chopper. With a revolving assortment of bassists and drummers, the guitar-playing duo has released three full-length albums of hook-filled pop visions. Each disc is as rewarding as it is different. Recorded as a trio, the 12-inch 4play contains four songs, including “Caitlin Cries” and “Nice Girls (Don’t…

Bill Lloyd

Although his original claim to fame was as a country songwriter (and half of the hip country duo Foster and Lloyd, who recorded for RCA in the ’80s), Bill Lloyd has always been a true popster at heart. His solo recordings are influenced equally by early Big Star, Anglo-pop and Everly Brothers-styled country; in addition…

Someloves

Criminally underrated Perth (Australia) pop king Dom Mariani first came to prominence in the ’80s as a member of the garage/pop combo the Stems, whose best recordings can be found on the Australian-only Buds CD. After the Stems splintered (singer/guitarist Richard Lane went on to form the punk-pop Chevelles), singer/guitarist Mariani put together the Someloves…

Sneetches

Led by singer/guitarist Matt Carges and singer/bassist/guitarist Mike Levy, San Francisco’s Sneetches were one of the most tasteful, consistently tuneful pop bands on the American scene. Echoes of the Zombies, Left Banke and Easybeats (they’ve covered songs by all three) abound; simple, uncluttered arrangements let their like-minded originals’ substantial charms shine through. Demos made as…

Candy Skins

Named for a Fire Engines song, Oxford, England’s Candy Skins provide consistently pleasant if far from earthshaking pop’n’roll on Space I’m In. The eleven originals — and a needless cover of Stephen Stills’ “For What It’s Worth” — are all crammed with jangly guitars, hummable melodies and Nick Cope’s slightly edgy lead vocals. The quartet…

Contributors

These folks either wrote reviews that appear on the site or wrote for Trouser Press magazine. If anyone listed below cares to E-mail us with a link you’d like added, just let us know. And ditto if anyone is AWOL from this list. Grant AldenDavid AntrobusJem AswadTroy J. AugustoMichael AzerradCary BakerMichael BakerEmily BeckerJohn BergstromArt BlackJohn…