IPO Los Angeles 2017
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Artists from Los Angeles/Orange County
Akward Talker – An LA quintet who know their way around a catchy melody and a pretty harmony, Akward Talker draw influences from ’70s power pop & glam rock and ’60s rock n’ roll to create a unique blend of upbeat danceable tunes with darker edgy undertones. Fans of Jefferson Airplane or Slade will dig ‘em!
The Armoires – Led by the paisley-clad duo of Rex Broome and Christina Bulbenko and hailing from Burbank, CA, The Armoires have turned heads worldwide with their unique harmony-driven, jangly songcraft, blending the sounds of SoCal legends like The Byrds, X, and hits-era Fleetwood Mac with a lyrical sensibility that’s all their own. It’s on display on their acclaimed debut album Incidental Lightshow, with more to come on a follow-up release later in 2017. Renowned as community builders on the global pop scene, they’re also the founders of the Big Stir: Power Pop & More concert series, which has blossomed into a record label and touring company, which they used to turn their IPO Liverpool appearance into a whirlwind month long tour of the UK, alongside fellow Los Angelinos, Plasticsoul (see below) and a cavalcade of the UK’s finest pop bands!
Baby Lemonade – IPO is proud to host a rare appearance by one of the most iconic bands of the LA neo-psych pop scene of the ‘90s! Led by Mike Randle and Rusty Squeezebox, they gained notoriety as LOVE, the band of ‘60s legend Arthur Lee, with whom they re-created the classic LOVE album, Forever Changes, and toured the world from 1993 until his passing in 2005. Throughout this time, they also continued to perform and record their own music, both with Baby Lemonade and as solo artists, culminating in a 2008 retrospective limited edition 14 track CD, somewhat appropriately titled The Best of Baby Lemonade. The disc features cuts from the band’s classic albums 68% Pure Imagination, Exploring Music and High Life Suite as well as an exclusive live recording of Love’s “The Good Humor Man…”, but they are even better live, so this is one show you will not want to miss!
Patricia Bahia – Patricia Bahia (pronounced ba-hé-yah) is a Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter and recording artist and ovarian cancer survivor who creates catchy piano-based pop songs that celebrate life’s struggles and triumphs. Her music resonates with cancer survivors and regular folks alike, who find inspiration, solace, and hope through her infectious melodies, expressive voice and soulful lyrics. Fans of Aimee Mann, Joni Mitchell, and Paul McCartney will want to check out her latest full-length album, Save Your Heart!
Jason Berk – A critically acclaimed singer-songwriter who comes to the west coast (he splits time between Los Angeles and San Francisco) by way of New York, Berk has proven himself to be a musical tour-de-force, teaching himself guitar, bass, keyboards, drums, ukulele, mandolin, and banjo, and garnering nationwide radio-play. His classic musical style has drawn comparison to such greats as The Beatles, Randy Newman, The Beach Boys, and Elvis Costello, to name but a few! Check out his latest album, Everything Old Is New Again, and his IPO showcase to see and hear what we mean!
The Bognar Brothers – Nick & Bobby Bognar have long been known, both separately and together, for their clever lyrics, catchy hooks, and the enthusiasm with which they play and interact with their audiences and debate which of them is the handsome one. They’re joined by Garner Knutson (the brother from another mother, and Bobby’s long-time band-mate in The Piper Downs), to bring you poignant yet hilarious pop you can actually dance to if you so choose…let the fun commence!
Rob Bonfiglio – IPO audiences may recognize Bonfiglio as one of the main men of Wanderlust, who played the very first IPO in 1998, and who got back together in 2012 to release a great power pop album, Record Time. Bonfiglio’s latest solo album, FREEWAY, embraces a confluence of styles and textures, ranging from beautifully orchestrated soft pop to muscular power pop, and funk-edged Philly soul. He’s a veritable one-man band, playing all the instruments, following in the grand D.I.Y. tradition of artists like Paul McCartney, Todd Rundgren and Prince…and like those artists, he’s pulled off a mighty difficult trick, delivering a cohesive and dynamic sound full of wily invention and innovation. Check it out now!
Brian Jones Was Murdered – IPO is proud to host a rare reunion show by Bakerfield’s classic punk-pop quartet! Their debut album, Death of a Popstar!, was released on Sparkletone in 1997, and draws on influences such as The Jam, The Buzzcocks, The Plimsouls and The Beatles, (the brand new reissue will be available at their IPO show!) but they’re even better when seen live as their in-your-face vocals really hit you…in your face, so don’t miss them!
Chas Castell – Hooked by the Brit pop sound as a teenager in the early 1990s, English-born Chas Castell is a 7-foot tall, LA-based singer/songwriter who fuses the guitar driven styles of artists like Radiohead and Oasis, the lush acoustics and orchestrations of Damien Rice and Ed Sheeran, with the classical songwriting of Paul McCartney, Billy Joel, and Burt Bacharach. In 2012, Chas and his brother Dave formed The Castell Brothers, blending the above influences with a heavy dose of Americana and sibling harmonies. In the same year, Chas and Berklee Grad, Jessica Mellott, formed Mellott (see below). Whether you love driving alt rock, classic piano pop, or poignant orchestrated pop, you will want to check out Chas’ latest solo album, Take A Breath, and his IPO showcase!
Daisy House – Gaining rave reviews for their latest album, Crossroads, and nods from the quintessential “cool kid” and scene-maker Rodney Bingenheimer as one of his featured “new bands,” Daisy House are Doug Hammond on guitar, bass, vocals and keys, and Doug’s daughter Tatiana Hammond on vocals. Drawing influences from The Beatles, Fairport Convention, Elliott Smith, Byrds, REM, Nick Drake, The Mamas and Papas, and Joni Mitchell, “…Crossroads is so delightfully removed from 2017, it’s practically cutting edge. It’s nostalgic without living exclusively in “the good old days.” An eye on the past and one on the future. Remember folk-rock? Daisy House do. And they’ve made it irresistible.” (Rushbo, Bigplansforeverybody.blogspot.co.uk)
Danny De La Matyr – An LA artist by way of Dallas, TX, De La Matyr has been making a name for himself as and in-demand guitarist/singer (playing for Rhett Miller, Jesse Malin, Lukas Haas, and Luther Russell). His debut album,
David Divad – Produced by the ubiquitous Fernando Perdomo (see below), David Divad’s recent album, Healing Hands, offers a unique blend of upbeat sunshine pop, orchestrated baroque pop and dramatic glam-pop, and their latest single, Golden Symphony, turns the baroque arrangements up to 11! Fans of ELO, Queen, The Association, and fellow IPO-er Brandon Schott (see below) NEED to check them out!
Diamond Hands – The debut self-titled album by this duo comprised of Jon Flynn and Joel Wall has been gaining much well-deserved attention from premier power pop labels, such as Burger and KoolKat, and cognoscenti of the genre. Drawing comparisons to such greats as The Raspberries, Nilsson, McCartney, and The Kinks, “…they have an uncanny knack for melody and retro-influenced instrumentation all under 3 minutes” (Powerpopaholic.com). Check ‘em out now!
The Dons – A favorite of many in the local scene in the early ‘00s, The Dons were known for their solid live performances, pitch-perfect harmonies and excellent songs. Their debut album, Dawn Of The Dons, finished in the Top 20 of the Audities “Best of 2002” poll, which is no mean feat! It’s been over a dozen years since they last played IPO (or anywhere, for that matter!), and we’re thrilled to welcome them back for a special reunion appearance!!
Dragster Barbie – THE quintessential LA underground punk-garage-surf-pop-girl group of the ‘90s, Dragster Barbie is made up of the songwriting and guitar goddess prowess of Amy Hartman backed by the driving rhythms and harmony vocals of Teresa Cowles on bass and Kelly Callan on drums. After a way too long hiatus, they’ve taken up where they left off – charming and rocking your ass off in equal measure – and IPO is glad to host one of their rare reunion appearances!
The Flower Machine – With a particularly idiosyncratic approach that blends psychedelic pop with early 1970s rock, the band is closer in spirit to the work of Syd Barrett and Dutch freak-beat pioneers The Outsiders and Golden Earrings than anything made past 1978 or so. Their 2010 Rainbow Quartz album, Lavender Lane, was conceived as a psychedelic manifesto for a lost generation, with its 1960s production techniques, random blocks of descending sixth chords, and lyrics that hover half-way between utopian existentialism and imagistic delirium. Their recently released opus, The LSD EP, continues in similar vein, adding a heavy dose of mellotron and baroque pop orchestration. We can’t wait for the full length album, for which the EP is just a preview!
The Galaxies – With all the power of Pop and all the edge of Rock, The Galaxies’ music is a unique mix of melody, harmony, beat and full-out fun that really rocks!! Each member brings with him knowledge and love of ‘60s pop, ‘70s rock, and today’s energy and excitement! After just one listen, we dare you to try getting the songs on their latest CD, Here We Go!, out of your head!
Gentle Brent – After a couple albums under his own name and as the Pinecones, Brent Randall is now using the moniker Gentle Brent, but he’s still playing many of the instruments on his own (with help from a few friends here and there). A little less orchestral this time around, Brent is leaning more toward jangly power pop territory – think Harry Nilsson or Paul McCartney meets the Heavy Blinkers, Flashing Lights or even Jigsaw’s own Michael Knight. His latest album, Just Dandy, has friendly, bouncy AM-styled hits galore, and with eleven of ’em in under half an hour, you’ll find lots of wonderful vocal harmonies and the catchiest songs you’ve heard in a while!
Honey and Jude – Motown loving, spicy-food-eating, duet singing, hair champions, pop duo Honey and Jude are bringing something that’s ‘twice as nice’ to the musical world of teens, pre-teens, and excitable soccer moms. Born and raised in Southern California, Honey and Jude are so LA, it’s silly. Like something right out of “Grease,” their Danny and Sandy-esque charm keeps things fun and fresh, and the songs on their debut EP are absolutely infectious!
Zach Jones & The Transatlantics – With an encyclopedic knowledge of yesterday’s music and an awareness and appreciation for today’s, Zach Jones’s music combines the raw energy and style of the ‘60s British pop explosion with ‘70s power pop and the soulful expression of R&B that poured from Motown & Stax. While paying tribute to the music he loves, yet expanding beyond tradition in sound and arrangement, Jones has created a fresh musical melting pot of modern rock, pop, and soul. His latest album is titled Love What You Love, and we’re fairly certain that IPO-ers will love Zach Jones & The Transatlantics!
Kalina & Kiana – A poetic pop duo whose sibling harmonies were first heard while they were still buckled into their car seats. School talent shows and experimentation with different instruments eventually landed Kalina on piano and ukelele, while Kiana settled in on guitar, mandolin, banjo and harmonica. Their pre-teen band, The Raymies, toured the country and was courted by various major labels, and as they’ve grown, they’ve only gotten better! If clever lyrics and catchy hooks matter, then these are your girls!
Corey Landis & The Attacks – Whether or not he chooses to admit it, Landis typifies the recent resurgence of gifted twenty-somethings that evoke the “golden” singer-songwriter age of the ‘70s. The ubiquitous melodies of Elton, Joel, Springsteen, Cohen, Waits, Zevon and Newman hover over Landis’ shoulder like older siblings, and he uses those influences to create his own brand of rollicking power pop….and the band adds the perfect touch of rock orchestration! Check out their self-titled debut album and IPO showcase to see and hear for yourself! BTW, if you’re a fan of That ‘70s Show, and remember the episodes with a young Red Forman…that was Corey!
Justin Levinson – Inspired by the music of ‘60s greats such as The Beatles, The Beach Boys, and The Zombies, Levinson’s music offers a unique blend of Beatlesque melodies and modern indie rock/pop. His songwriting prowess has earned him quite a few accolades, including Billboard Song Contest Winner, International Acoustic Music Awards (Best New Male Artist), and a nomination For Sirius Songwriter Discovery of the Year. His latest album, Yes Man, is a “must have” for lovers of classic California sunshine pop!
The Living Dolls – Mix power pop, rock, psychedelic, garage, mod, and punkv arena rock from the ‘60s, ‘70s, ‘80s, ‘90s and ‘00s, and you’ll get an idea of the sound of The Living Dolls! They’re an alternative blend of old and new; somehow familiar yet strangely unrecognizable. Their self-titled CD has garnered rave reviews from their home in the beautiful San Fernando Valley to Ohio to Sweden, and points in between!
Sam Marine – An LA-based singer/songwriter by way of NYC and Vero Beach, FL, Marine pens and performs catchy guitar driven Americana heartland-style rock. The songs on his recently released album, Big Dark City, will appeal to fans of Tom Petty, Paul Westerberg, Bruce Springsteen, REM, Drive By Truckers, and the like!
Mason & The Jars – Led by 21-year old singer/songwriter/guitarist/producer, and all-around musical phenom, Mason Summit, this is a band to watch for great things to come! Summit has been playing around LA since the tender age of 13, and has developed a sound blending an eclectic group of influences such as Elliott Smith, The Beach Boys, Wilco & Elvis Costello. He’s released three full length albums of original material, including last year’s Gunpowder Tracks, to growing acclaim and recognition. Revered Americana authority No Depression describes him as a “pop prodigy,” while Parcbench names him “one of the most exciting songwriters out there.” Mason produces and hosts Mason’s Noise Parlour, a long-running quarterly series at Beyond Baroque in Venice, presenting the words & music of other young artists, and attends the USC Thornton School of Music, while also hard at work on his fourth album.
Math and Science – Quirky, subversive, and fun are just a few of the adjectives to describe the unique musical stylings of this project led by the inimitable Mr. John Wolf. Math & Science pools everything it remembers from the shining moments of ‘60s and ‘70s rock to produce new rock/pop gems that are extremely evocative, while also retaining a palpable originality. Wolf’s vocals remain as intimate as ever atop a foundation of grooves echoing the Beatles, Velvet Underground, and Tom Petty. Their latest CD, Make It Up, channels The Rolling Stones and The Cars, but will also appeal to fans of Zappa and The Kinks and anyone else who’s cool, so check it out now!
Mellott – The collaboration of Chas Castell (see above) and Jessica Mellott: He brings a love of the moody side of rock; she delights in radio hits from her childhood. Together they create hook-laden, melodic alternative pop songs, showcasing Jessica’s big vocals and Chas’ guitar work and harmonies. Mellott’s mission statement is to deliver joy with their music and performances. They are currently working on a new EP with Grammy-winning producer Robert Cutarella, who has worked with everyone from Sting, to Joss Stone, to Celine Dion, and we’re honored that they’ve chosen their IPO showcase as the release party for the EP’s first single, Shooting Stars!
Mod Hippie – A loose collection of LA musicians and friends, the band has recently released their first LP, Tomorrow Then, on Karma Frog Records, and it really rocks! Longtime band members Doug McGuire and Connor Claxton are joined by Teresa Cowles, Mike Schnee, Eric Negrete, Probyn Gregory, and Karma Frog main man, Adam Marsland to create some of the finest moody psychedelic rock we’ve heard in quite some time!
New Maximum Donkey – “New Maximum Donkey is poised and ready to make a charge at the world of music with a brand of power-pop that is all their own, fueled by a wry sense of humor and rich melodies that have you singing along by the 2nd time through the disc.” (Jeff Johnson, CDReviews.com) Said disc, Square Root of All Evil, will appeal to fans of artists as diverse as The Ramones, UB40, Frankie Lymon, Jet, and The Banana Splits! One of the most entertaining bands we’ve ever had at IPO!
JOE NORMAL & THE ANYTOWN’rs – Rising out of the factories of “Anytown, New Jersey” and arriving in Los Angeles, where his band The Hutchinsons made quite a name for themselves, JOE NORMAL recently formed his explosive new band, The ANYTOWN’rs, with Bassist Tony Babylon and Drummer Tony Snow. Their combination of both East & West Coast attitude and finesse is a lethal dose of power and pop that will surely win over the rest of the states between “Joisey” and DTLA whom are craving real, honest, no bullshit rock n’ roll. They effortlessly blend the melodic sensibilities and brilliance of classic British Pop and the roots and urgency of early American rock n’ roll with the heart and insight of a singer-songwriter, drawing comparisons to Paul Westerberg, Paul McCartney, and The Who.
Todd O’Keefe – If you thought that classic singer/songwriter/storyteller guitar pop died in the ‘60s, then you clearly have not heard the songs of this Santa Barbara-based gent! Todd has worked extensively as a session musician, performing and recording with Ray Davies, Jeff Beck, Frank Black from The Pixies, Elvis Costello, Social Distortion, and Rusty Anderson from the Paul McCartney band. He was also the main man of the much beloved late ‘90s and early ‘00s band, The Green & Yellow TV, and a member of Hollywood Records artists, The 88. Although clearly influenced by folksy troubadours Paul Simon and Neil Young,
O’Keefe also draws musical inspiration from classic pop songwriting teams
Goffin and King, Dozier-Holand-Dozier, and Leiber and Stoller, making for music
that is rooted in traditional folk, but crafted with pop sensibilities. His debut solo CD, Uptown, was released earlier this year – check it out!
Old Rage – Don’t let the name fool you, as this trio is anything but old! Comprised of Anthony Rescigno (son of on Michael “Raz” of The RAZ band, with whom they will be sharing the stage, see below) on drums, Quentin Nichols on bass, and Jack Bruce (no, not that one!) on guitar and vocals, they combine the youthful energy with righteous rock n’ roll rage. Think Dead Kennedys or The Buzzcocks meet The Offspring…or better yet, just come check out their IPO showcase!
Pacific Soul Ltd. – We are honored to welcome this latest collaboration of three noteworthy musicians: Adam Marsland, Norman Kelsey, and Teresa Cowles, who first appeared at IPO across the pond in Liverpool in 2015, to do their thing once again at IPO LA! Together they weave American Beach Pop and ‘70s R&B sounds into an exciting musical collaboration that must be heard to be believed! Their recently released debut full length, The Dance Divine, is aptly named, as it is indeed divine, and likely to get you up and dancing!
Fernando Perdomo – Re-located to LA from his former home of Miami Beach where he led Dreaming In Stereo, whose churning style of music was coined by band and press alike as Progressive Pop, an eclectic mix of ‘70s Progressive Rock and ‘90s power pop! He’s also a label head (Forward Motion Records) and producer extraordinaire (the latest album by pop legend Andy Pratt, among others – including a few fellow IPO performers!), and a member or guest of more bands than we can count! His brand new album, The Golden Hour, was recorded at the legendary Ardent Studios in Memphis, where he worked with Big Star engineer Adam Hill to recreate the magical sounds of the 70s. All 13 songs were written in the months prior to recording so that everything was fresh and had a unique life to it. The album is set for release mere days after his IPO appearance, so we’re especially looking forward to seeing and hearing him perform some of the songs from it as preview of the pop goodness to come!
Leslie Pereira & The Lazy Heroes – A three-piece punk/pop/pub rock band whose tight catchy melodies have drawn comparisons to artists such as The Pixies, The Pretenders, Throwing Muses, The Breeders, and Sonic Youth. Their recently released debut full-length album, Fight For Now, was recorded and produced by world renowned producer, Earle Mankey, who has produced artists such as Concrete Blond and the Runaways. They’re also a lotta fun live, so don’t miss their IPO showcase!
Sarah Pigion – With a silvery voice and an ear for colorful arrangement, Sarah Pigion has the gift for quieting a room with her honest and unique songs. She crafts her indie art songs from the triumphs and pitfalls of the human condition with a voice that is both pure and haunting, interweaving influences that blend her Kentucky roots, the American songbook, and alternative rock. Her latest EP, aptly named The Living Room Sessions, was inspired by her many living room shows and recorded entirely in her home.
Plasticsoul – Celebrating the much-anticipated release of their third and most rocking album Therapy (on Big Stir Records), LA-based Plasticsoul are a hook-propelled American spin on the history of British rock from The Beatles to the Bunnymen to Oasis, blessed with the powerful voice and sharp-edged tunes of front-man Steven Wilson. Expect Therapy to follow in the footsteps of the band’s prior releases, both of which won multiple Album of the Year awards and rave reviews. With a formidable and propulsive live act that’s pure rock and roll energy and a deep catalogue of finely crafted and emotive songs, Plasticsoul is currently at the height of their considerable powers. Check them out and pick up a copy of the album if you don’t already have it!
Popdudes – This Orange County combo led by Sparkle*jets UK (see below) main man Mike Simmons and drummer/pop-journalist/author John Borack , are sure to please with a multitude of cover tunes done in their inimitable fashion…along with some groovy originals! A revolving cast of supporting players that reads like a Who’s Who in the LA power pop underground scene adds to the fun!
Punch Punch Kick – An energetic dose of power-punk-pop ear candy is in store for anyone who attends their IPO show! “What The Kids Don’t Know,” the single off their debut self-titled EP, which was produced by Linus of Hollywood, was recognized by The Deli LA as “…all-around likable, boasting a straightforward hook that morphs to the rhythm of their vocal harmonies like a good old-fashioned pop rock song should. Think of a more bubbly Surfer Blood mixed with the tight guitar dynamics of the Cars and, of course, the youthful, self-referential naivete of early Fountains of Wayne.” Since then, they’ve taken the scene by storm, recently playing to sold out crowds at The Troubadour, backing national acts such as Ozma and Nerf Herder, and releasing a brand new self-titled full length that is just as catchy as the EP!
The RAZ Band – A band who proudly proclaim they are older than your parents, and who have been rocking and rolling for over 30 years! The band is built around Michael Raz and Jeff Hutchinson, who have been playing together since their high school days in New Jersey, but are now based in LA, and often features some of their long-time pop and rock heroes, such as Joey Molland (of Badfinger) and Jim Vitale (who has toured with Joe Walsh) as members of the band! Their latest CD, Madison Park, was named 2015 Album of the Year by Roadie Crew Magazine Editor Airton Diniz, proving that – like fine wine – some things only get better with age!
The Regal Peaches – “LA’s The Regal Peaches are some kind of costumed maniacs, switching instruments and bending genres in indie-pop songs that are just bristling with quirkiness…” (OC Weekly). The mixture of sunshine pop, power pop, and country cow punk (and lots of cool stuff in between) on their self-titled EP is completely infectious, and we can’t wait to see and hear them do this stuff live!
The Relevant Elephants – “…[G]ararge rockers The Relevant Elephants bring twisty guitar riffs and ear-worm vocal hooks to a fusion of 90s nerd rock and modern garage revival” (Baeblemusic). Some of the songs on their debut full length, Paper Walls, also lovingly name check Boston area landmarks, such as Fenway Park, but Boston’s loss is definitely LA’s gain, as they now make their home on the west coast. Those who come to their IPO show should prepare for a powerful performance and songs that just will not get out of your head!
Jack Rivera – If you like authentic ‘60s influenced garage in the vein of The Beatles, The Kingsmen, and The Troggs, look no further than the music of Jack Rivera! He makes his home in LA, but he’s toured the world, building an ever-growing fan base within the underground garage scene, so we’re excited to have him play IPO for the first time in his home town!
Ruby Free – Any project led by the one and only Mr. Rick Hromadka (of Maple Mars fame) is sure to be good, and Ruby Free does not disappoint! Featuring Hromadka and his wife/choirgirl, Lisa Cavaliere, the songs on Ruby Free’s debut album, Introducing Ruby Free meld all kinds of psych, softpop, and early ‘70s radio pop influences, from Brian Wilson to McCartney & Wings to ELO to The Steve Miller Band! Their brand new disc, Shades, adds a touch of bubblegum, and is absolutely infectious!!
Brandon Schott – A singer/songwriter/producer who wields a voice that comforts you like an old friend through warm melodic pop songs that cut to the bone. His music embraces everything that is California sunshine-folk-harmony-pop mixed with his penchant for quirky instrumentation – such as kazoos – against a backdrop of pure pop orchestration complete with strings, horns, and crystal clear harmonies! His latest release, (revisited), is a nostalgic collection of songs that fell outside the grooves of his full length LPs over the past 15 years – outtakes, b-sides, internet only singles, remixes, soundtrack work etc., lovingly sequenced to tell its own story and play as a record would, one that carries its own reflective through-line.
Morty Shallman – Creator of the world’s first Novel with Songs, Last of the Zacharys, this dapper, affable Angelino is known for his cutting-edge mashups of pop songs and pulp fiction. Fusing elements of disco, dance pop, indie pop, alt-rock and EDM, with soaring melodies, intelligent lyrics and classic pop song craft, Shallman serves up a glowing succession of catchy tunes and infectious beats that will brighten the playlists of listeners, dancers, youtubers and radio programmers alike. His brand new EP, Pop Fiction, a neo pop/indie noir concept thriller, has been called “A truly groundbreaking accomplishment in conceptual music and art” (Screaming Match Productions) – check it out now!
The Shamus Twins – Yeah, you’re right, there aren’t any real twins in this band, but their sibling-like harmonies, intelligent lyrics, unique arrangements and infectious songcraft will make you forgive their nom de faux pas. If you like loud guitars, harmonies, jangle, and twang, you’ll want to pick up both of their excellent CDs!
Ken Sharp – IPO was honored to host the official release show last year for Sharp’s latest CD, New Mourning, and we’re just as honored to have him back at IPO again this year, as this gentlemen keeps reinventing himself and getting better and better with each release! None other than Eric Carmen has said “With his new CD, Ken continues to explore the essence of power pop, this time with a harder edge, and some fine guitar and vocal work from Rick Springfield. He’s also found a new depth and confidence in his lyric writing, his voice and his production on this new recording. It’s his best work yet!”
Shplang – They’ve long been mainstays of the L.A. music scene, have lots of excellent CDs, including their most recent release, My Big Three Wheeler, and have a very cool, unique sound as well, with swirling psychedelics meeting solid pop sensibilities. One minute they’re sounding like the Strawberry Alarm Clock, the next: The Stranglers. Intrigued? Check ’em out!
Sitcom Neighbor – They’re a band who wear their late ‘60s and early ‘70s Brit-pop sensibilities proudly on their sleeves. Here’s what CD Baby has to say about their self-titled debut: “Quarter and thinly slice one Apple (green, red or white label, 1968 vintage approx) add one cup Kinks, one teaspoon XTC and a pinch of Nilsson.” Yup, pretty much! Their 2012 opus, Charm, flew to the top of my best of list that year, and their brand new one, Shag, with its stick-in-your-head melodies and classic ‘70s radio pop feel, is a strong contender to do the same this year!
Sparkle*jets UK – We’re very eagerly looking forward to a reunion performance by one of our all time favorite local acts! It’s been a while since they’ve played, as leaders Mike Simmons, Susan West, and Jamie Knight have been focusing their efforts on passing on their vast musical and production knowledge to the next generation at the Huntington Beach Academy for the Performing Arts, which they founded and run. Their combination of unabashed playfulness with rockin’ toughness, courtesy of a mash-up of influences from ELO and Teenage Fanclub to The Jackson 5 and Stiff Records-style new wave/punk, brings out the kid and music lover in all of us! The vinyl re-release of their groundbreaking 1998 debut album, In, Through, and Beyond is imminent as of this writing – there will only be 100 copies, so don’t miss it or their IPO reunion showcase!
Steve Stoeckel and Bruce Gordon of Pop Co-Op – Any project involving these two legends of the power pop scene has got to be good and Pop Co-Op certainly lives up to our expectations, based on the songs on their debut self-titled album! Stoeckel’s main band, The Spongetones, have long been a primary influence cited by many a young power pop band, and Gordon’s previous project, Mr. Encrypto, was responsible for some of the coolest and quirkily sparkling pop tunes to grace IPO CDs vols 5 and 6. Together, they bring us a combination of power pop, rock, and (just a little) psychedelic and alt-country influenced by artists such as The Beatles, XTC, Squeeze, Beach Boys, Fountains of Wayne, Big Star, Cheap Trick, and (of course) Spongetones. We can hardly wait to see and hear them play!
Thorcraft Cobra – Canadian cold meets California cool in this power duo consisting of Billy Zimmer, formerly of The Brown-Eyed Susans, and Tammy Glover, who has spent the past few years touring the world as the drummer for Sparks! Together as Thorcraft Cobra, they “…have perfected the seemingly lost art of combining big, radio friendly hooks with big, classic rock guitars” (LA Weekly). Fans of artists such as Radiohead, Sparks, Jason Falkner, Raconteurs, and Cheap Trick should check out their brand new album, The Distance, and their IPO Showcase!
Russ Tolman Band – Tolman is one of the main men of True West, one of The Paisley Underground’s most beloved bands, whose “guitar poetry” will never be forgotten, nor will landmark albums like Drifters. We had one of those rare, unforgettable “pinch me” moments at International Pop Overthrow, when the original line-up of True West performed together for the first time in 20 years at IPO Seattle in 2006, and we’re always in for something really special when Tolman steps out in his current hometown performing under his own name! His recently released album, Compass amp; Map, a 20 song deluxe six-panel digipak CD retrospective covering 1986 – 2013, with a with 16 page booklet, is also pretty special, whether you’re a long time fan or looking for a good introduction to his music.
Twenty Cent Crush – Our 20th IPO LA celebration just wouldn’t feel complete without Twenty Cent Crush, a perennial fan-favorite of IPO attendees from coast to coast in the late ‘90s and early ‘00s! Sounding like the illegitimate love children of The Replacements, Cheap Trick, and The Beatles (or at least like they love their music), this long-standing band is comprised of good friends that share a love of rock n’ roll and great songs with hook laden, pop sensibilities…and who couldn’t love that?!
Wednesday Week – What? Another reunion show at IPO?? Yes, it’s true! One of the LA pop scene’s most respected bands in the mid ‘80s, Wednesday Week featured the guitar and lead vocal talents of Kristi Callan (more recently known as the leader of Dime Box Band), her sister Kelly Callan (also of Dragster Barbie, see above) on drums, husband David Nolte on lead guitar, and Heidi Rodewald (who is currently making her mark on Broadway) on bass and vocals. They were introduced to the world via the legendary 1983 LA compilation, Warf Rat Tales, and went on to release an EP and two albums of their own, featuring their patented mixture of country twang inflected pop melodies and new wave punk energy. Their classic album, What We Had has been reissued on CD on Noble Rot Records (a subsidiary of Collector’s Choice Music), with the Betsy’s House EP included (the first time Betsy’s House has been available digitally!) and more (23 tracks, total!). Although Rodewald isn’t able to be part of this reunion show, David and Kristi’s son, James, will be filling in, making their IPO reunion show an extra special family affair that you will not want to miss!
The Wild Young Hearts – Full of youthful rebellion, loud guitars, and big pop hooks, The Wild Young Hearts are here to make rock n’ roll fun again. Their recently released album, Hoodlums, will appeal to fans of Weezer, Blink 182, The Beatles, The Strokes, Green Day, The Clash, and The Gaslight Anthem! Check it out!
The Yellin’ Bells – IPO is proud to welcome this band, featuring the combined talents of singer/songwriter Arwen Lewis and her dad, Peter Lewis, one of the main men in San Francisco psych legends, Moby Grape, whose self-titled album was ranked as number 121 in Rolling Stone’s “500 Greatest Albums of All Time” in 2003! Look for their set to include a collection of Moby Grape classics, as well as some of Arwen’s own brand of psychedelic, folk, and jazz inflected rock n’ roll.
U.S. Artists from outside of Los Angeles/Orange County
The Bobbleheads – An absolutely engaging band from San Francisco who’ve created, as they put it, a “niche of niceness” with their “bubblegum flavored indiepop”, in which can be heard musical influences ranging from Flower Power Pop to experimental chamber music! Their Automatic Fun CD still ranks as one of the good feelin’ CDs of The New Millennium, and their latest, Make Yourself Happy, is even better, and more good feelin’!
Cait Brennan – A singer-songwriter from Phoenix, AZ who has been receiving lots of great press, and deservedly so, as her unique brand of glitter glam soulful rock n’ roll sung straight from the heart is truly special. Plus, you gotta love anyone who can channel Roy Orbison, Elton John, Freddy Mercury, John Lennon, and Etta James in the space of a single set! Her new album, Third, on Omnivore Records, the follow up to last year’s critically acclaimed Debutante, was recorded at the legendary Ardent Studios in Memphis – check it out!
The Hard Way – Fueled by manic, artfully crafted pop songs, The Hard Way play rock n’ roll with a major emphasis on vocal harmony, driving guitars and big-ass drums. Their third and latest studio album, Day 5, is their best yet, combining influences as diverse as The Posies, Soundgarden, The Pretty Things, and AC/DC! One of Olympia WA’s finest!
The Jeremy Band – The eponymous band led by one of the most genuine, nicest people on the pop scene, as well as one of the most prolific pop artists around. His gentle, John Lennon-influenced pop is as spiritual as it is melodic, and you can hear this for yourself on all of his CDs. This Kalamazoolander and his band can stake their rightful place in the IPO Hall Of Fame!
Blake Jones & The Trike Shop – Hailing from the unlikely hamlet of Kingsburg, California, this ensemble uses just about every instrument under the sun to create some bizarre, witty, quirky, yet ultimately melodic sounds, and have become an IPO fan favorite from LA to Liverpool! Their latest CD, Teasers from the Whispermaphone, is a rollicking romp through a Seuss-ian soundscape painted by Frank Zappa! Definitely something a little bit different!
Leisure McCorkle – We’re always grateful when this gentleman makes his way to IPO (all but one this year, so far!) all the way from Charlotte, North Carolina! Fans of Joe Jackson and Graham Parker will love his sturdy rock n’ roll, as he possesses a voice so strong that he really doesn’t need a microphone! Check out his classic CD, Jet Set Baby, and his recent disc, 5000 Light Years Beyond The Speed Of Sound, and you’ll know what I’m talkin’ about!
LuAnn Olson And Randell Kirsch – LuAnn Olson and Randell Kirsch wooed each other by writing songs back and forth in the early eighties, co-founded the band Show Of Hands (IRS Records, 1988) then started having babies. Six children, a mountain of songs, a smattering of releases later, and after sharing Randell with The Beach Boys touring band for eleven years, they’ve merrily returned to their favorite road, writing, recording and playing live together.
Reverse Order – A dynamic alternative rock band from New Jersey with an undeniable edge that you will never forget, and that landed them in the quarter-finals on America’s Got Talent!. Through an impressive live show, and songs that are steeped in infectious catchy melodies, Reverse Order has made a powerful impact not only in the US, but internationally, performing in multiple countries including Russia and Mexico. They are also the creators (and stars of) “Reverse The Trend,” a government certified 501c.3 non-profit Anti-Bullying initiative speaking to, and performing for, thousands of students a day as part of a 35-week national tour, which is very cool!
Rollo Time – They describe themselves as just a bunch of guys who’ve played music together over the years, who finally got together and recorded a bunch of songs. Said songs can be heard on their latest CD, Victims of the Crown, and will rock you out in the classic power pop tradition. Think Mathew Sweet, Cheap Trick, Guided By Voices and XTC all rolled into one, and you get the picture! One of the finest examples we know of neo-classic power pop, Chicago style!
Steve Rosenbaum – If you like sweet jangly power pop (and who doesn’t? – whether or not they admit it!), you will LOVE the music of this gent from San Diego! Fans of Big Star, The Raspberries, and The Plimsouls – to name but a few – should check out his songs on IPO volumes 18-20, and come to his live show!
Suite 100 – Hailing from north San Diego County, Suite 100 is a mix of sing-a-long melodies, lush arrangements, thoughtful lyrics and pure pop sensibilities. Exploring intricate, lavish and sometimes haunting territories, their long-awaited sophomore album, The Only Cure For Gravity, harkens back to the days when you would throw on headphones and listen to an album in its entirety. Seamlessly crafted, each song is led into the next with a vignette that enhances or foreshadows the ensuing track. Eschewing the theory that lush harmonies and arrangements are for critics alone, Suite 100 also backs up their songwriting with an energetic live act that is not to be missed…so don’t miss the special acoustic version of said act at IPO!
Super Buffet – Inhabiting the nexus of driving garage rock and earnest indie sensibility, Super Buffet evokes a spirited pillow fight between King Kahn and Jonathan Richman while “96 Tears” plays in the background. Super Buffet is about bringing short, sharp, sing-able songs to the masses or whomever shows up. Check out their recent El Dorado single and IPO showcase to see and hear for yourself!
The Tearaways – They’ve been putting out sweet harmony-filled ear candy and crunchy power pop gems since 1981, and are still going strong! They performed on the Arsenio Hall Show after their 10th year performing at the Mathew Street Festival in Liverpool, where they’ve become a much anticipated regular act. Listening to their recently released album,
Jesse Vaz and The Velvet Reign – Vaz may be familiar to some as the lead singer and co-founder of Tramps In Stereo, whose recent Perfectly Broken CD melded ‘80s new wave influences with classic guitar rock. His solo project with his new band, The Velvet Reign, is even better, offering up an unabashedly retro feel-good blend of power pop and glam that fans of T Rex, The Beatles, and ELO will surely enjoy! We can’t wait for a debut CD!!
Spygenius – Inspired by bands like The Beach Boys, The Beatles and Robyn Hitchcock, Spygenius offer ultra-melodic music with a light ‘60s influence. The London-based four-piece play original guitar-based pop for people with an appreciation for harmonies and clever wordplay….and who among us can’t appreciate that!? A fifth Spygenius album is under development, but in the meantime, you can experience their unique brand of jangle pop madness on their two-song digital album, Highway Code Revisited! Their IPO LA showcase is billed as “The Spy with the Golden Armoires,” as the main man and mad genius behind Spygenius, singer/songwriter/guitarist/vocalist, Peter Watts, and his sultry side-kick and bass player/vocalist, Ruth Rogers, will be joined on stage by Rex Broome and Christina Bulbenko of The Armoires (see above) in a power pop extravaganza for the ages!