Saturday, April 26, 2008

Stable Sun-Enthusiasm

No matter how hard I try, I just won’t get tired of listening to The Sun Sawed in 1/2. I’ve been in this state for more than a half of a year now. For me, that is a long time. Usually my favourite band changes at least once a month. And, yes, I had that huge Cars thing a while ago, but I listened to The Sun during that time, too.

I listen to The Sun Sawed in ½ every day and it sounds fresh and new every time. After finding the endless delights of power pop music, I’ve been in love with several other great power pop bands including The Posies, Wondermints, Fountains of Wayne, Super Deluxe, Big Star, The Rubinoos, Weezer, Cherry Twister, Jellyfish, and so on. Of course, I’m still very much in love with all these bands, but with The Sun it somehow feels a bit different. It’s like my love towards that music is more stable, more steady and regular, and more active than what it is towards some other bands, like The Posies.

I definitely love The Posies. I’d really consider The Posies to be one of my ten (maybe even five or three) most important bands ever. However, I rarely listen to them. I surely listen to some Posies every now and then but it’s not that often or that much. This is mostly true of all the other bands I mentioned. When I find a new favourite band, it goes like this: I fall in love, the music feels new and exciting, I may not listen to nearly anything else for a couple of weeks. At some point comes the moment when the enthusiasm goes away. I just don’t feel like listening to that music so much anymore, I’ve listened to all the songs so many times, I feel like it’s time to check out some other stuff.

This has never occurred with The Sun, although if I look at the calendar and think of how much I’ve listened to this music, I already should’ve got tired of The Sun. I haven’t. What is this?

I’ve been thinking about writing more about The Sun for quite some time. That’s why I’m going to write about my thoughts concerning each of The Sun’s albums. I consider this therapeutic and great fun. Also, when you write down your thoughts, you usually end up writing things you never even had thought of before.. Man, that’s exciting!

It would also be cool to hear other people’s thoughts. Is there some artist/music you just can’t stop listening to? How long does it usually take you to finish the most intensive listening period of a new favourite band/artist? How often/how much do you listen to those bands when that intensive period is over?

Until next time.. What is The Sun’s secret? How come, according to my profile, I’ve listened 90 times to a song called Beholder And His Eye.. To be continued.

The Sun Sawed in 1/2 at MySpace

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Per & Marie

Somehow I knew this was going to happen.. Today, I ended up listening to Roxette’s greatest hits (and it even wasn't the first time). This compilation, A Collection of Roxette Hits: Their 20 Greatest Songs! features many familiar songs from this Swedish pop duo.

Roxette has been around since the mid-80s. Their most recent new studio album Room Service came out in 2001. I was only 13 years old at that time, and I definitely was too young to notice that this music was actually quite topnotch. Luckily, it’s never too late to discover good music, and I can now dance along to both The Look from 1988 and The Centre Of The Heart from 2001 as well as enjoy any other Per Gessle’s amazing composition. I’m really just starting to realize how talented this man actually is.

Happy pop with lots of interesting influences, sung beautifully by Marie Fredriksson and Per Gessle - that’s exactly what I’m looking for. Sleeping In My Car, How Do You Do and ballads such as Wish I Could Fly are irrefutably good. Also, I still have lots of Gyllene Tider to check out. Ah, those Swedes are so good. I almost feel like cheering for them every time there is a Finland vs. Sweden ice hockey match.. But yeah, that’s almost, I definitely won’t be seen commit treason any time soon.

I guess my next target is Abba. That’s one awesome group, too. Unfortunately, I will have to study my law books first..

Roxette at MySpace

Roxette Official Web site

Monday, April 14, 2008

They Shoot Square Dancers, Don’t They?

Sometimes song titles already tell you whether you’re going to hear dead-serious music or not… This disc has amused me quite a lot recently. It’s another release from John Borack’s power pop book, and it’s Bamboo Lounge (2001) by Sparkle*Jets U.K. (U.K.? Why U.K.? – I just don’t get it…).

This album really could be described as a divided personality. About half of the material is traditional, absolutely sweet power pop sung and written by Michael Simmons. The other half is Susan West’s energetic and quite unconventional and wild tracks. While Simmons and West pursue very different styles, that contradiction helps in keeping this album interesting through all 14 tracks.

Nearly everything on this album is fantastic. My favourites include.. well, I guess it’d take less time to mention the songs that aren’t my biggest favourites, but that wouldn’t make any sense.. I’ll just say that She May Be Nice, Sorry, and Beautiful Girl are awesome Simmons songs and Monster, Consult Your Physician, and They Shoot Square Dancers, Don’t They? are awesome West songs.

Here’s also a nice discovery.. From band bio:

Robbie Rist: The sparkle*jet least likely to realize that he's a sparkle*jet. But that's okay. He's in about 200 bands at any given moment, which is why there are at least 200 bands on the planet at any given moment which completely kick ass. And it's all because of the Bob.”

I guess in a couple of years I’ve found all those 200 bands (all accidentally) and written about them to this blog..

Sparkle*Jets U.K. Website

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Sweeter Than Sugar

One of the coolest things during the past few days has been 60s bubblegum pop. Listening to this music makes me understand how much it actually has common features with power pop. Catchy songs and great harmonies with utterly sweet and somewhat nasal singing – that’s exactly what some of my very favourite power pop is all about.

All those features also appear in the music of The Ohio Express, a 60s bubblegum/garage band that partially consisted of studio musicians and partially of real band members. The Ohio Express reached good chart positions, and their most famous and successful song was Yummy, Yummy, Yummy.

I’ve been listening to Yummy, Yummy, Yummy - The Best of The Ohio Express. It’s a nice 14-song compilation with awesome tracks. This music is so good that I always end up wondering: “Oh, did it end already?” Songs like Sweeter Than Sugar and Nothing Sweeter Than My Baby are so much about sugar and sweetness that I simply can’t help loving this stuff… My other favourites include Nighttime and 1, 2, 3 Red Light. She’s Not Coming Home is a more melancholic track, and it’s gorgeous.

Man, I am so going to listen to more of 1910 Fruitgum Company, The Lemon Pipers, The Archies and who knows what! (I also accept recommendations.)

The Ohio Express at

The Ohio Express at MySpace

Monday, April 7, 2008

Kool-aid, Sandwiches and Chips for All the Shoulders

Jellyfish is one of my all-time favourite bands. Although they weren’t a very long-lived band, they created something uniquely fresh that will continue influencing pop music for a long time. Jellyfish’s music is happy and timeless pop of high quality. I also have to give Jellyfish credit for guiding me towards listening to more psychedelic-sounding pop (and power pop generally).

I find it impossible to decide which one of Jellyfish’s two albums is better. They are so different from each other. Spilt Milk (1993) is astonishing with its awesome, polished sound, hilarious Queen-references and huge instrumental variety. On the other hand, Bellybutton (1990) always appeals to me with its better-balanced appearance and great songs. If I had to pick some favourite tunes from these albums, I would have to say “all of them”.

Also, when I found Jellyfish in August 2004 I found my #1 favourite singing voice, and that, of course, belongs to Andy Sturmer. I was very convinced about this state of facts until I found a band called The Sun Sawed in ½. Since then, I’ve been slipping towards passing the status of favourite singer to Sun’s lead singer Doug Bobenhouse, and I’ve actually already passed it to him, but listening to Jellyfish always makes me have doubts over my choice. I guess I should just keep two #1 favourite singers. It’s quite difficult to compare Andy and Doug, although their voices bear some serious resemblance..

Also, where on earth is Andy Sturmer? He has surely been doing lots of music-related things, but, I mean.. Where is his solo career? As far as I’m concerned, I think a person with a singing voice like that should be singing all the time, recording that singing and releasing it. A cappella would be just fine..

Geez! Andy really seems to have come up with some solo material, e.g. a cartoon theme for Transformers. I'll check that out right away.

I’ve surely checked out Jason Falkner and Roger Manning’s solo work, The Grays, and a bit of all kinds of other Jellyfish-related music. A huge majority of that stuff is awesome. But, something important post-Jellyfish material is still missing..

The recent Jellyfish tribute album might also be worth checking at some point. The most important thing is, though, that Jellyfish always sounds fresh and new when I listen to it. That’s not something that happens with all bands and albums. When I haven’t listened to Spilt Milk or Bellybutton for a while and listen to them again, I’m always amazed how fresh they sound.

I wish there could be a Jellyfish reunion someday.

Jellyfish at MySpace

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Power Pop in Swedish!

The day before yesterday, I made a huge discovery. I certainly had heard the name Gyllene Tider before but for some reason I never found out that their music was actually great pop-rock, power pop in 80s style! I started listening to their music at MySpace and it sounded so good that I wanted to hear more of that stuff, lots of it. You can hear Farfisa organs in this music, and one of the best things about this band is that the singing language is Swedish!

The reason I never checked this band out before was probably that I knew Gyllene Tider had something to do with another Swedish band Roxette, and Roxette is something that I don't find mind-blowingly interesting (although I have to admit that I haven't listened to their music very much). Per Gessle is a part of that band, and as Roxette is very famous these days, he is the most famous member of Gyllene Tider.

Although most Finns probably aren’t very much fond of Swedish language, I really like Swedish. I’ve always enjoyed it. It’s a bit more difficult than English, and it’s great fun to listen to (and try to speak it yourself…). Swedish is a beautiful language, great for power pop, too!

Sommartider is Gyllene Tider’s most famous song. It’s played on Finnish radio every summer, but I haven’t heard the original version too many times. It seems like they like to play the cover by that some newer band – the original is of course much better. There are lots of Gyllene Tider songs that I instantly loved: Skicka ett vykort älskling, Ljudet av ett annat hjärta, (Dansar inte lika bra som) sjömän, and Flickorna på TV2 are all fabulous songs. Their cover version of The RivierasCalifornia Sun (Tylo sun) is also totally fabulous. Gyllene Tider have dozens of great songs, I haven’t heard a single one I don’t like!

It’s great to find bands like this. I only wish I had more time. It’s gonna be busy with university entrance exams this spring, once again. Still, it’s amazing to have great Swedish pop to listen to during breaks!

Gyllene Tider at MySpace