IPO Philadelphia 2017
Graham Alexander and Co. – With a style that’s incredibly eclectic and signature, Graham Alexander’s life has been dedicated to performing, composing and producing music from an early age. (He formed his band over 15 years ago, while they were all still in middle school!!) Alexander’s upbringing brought in an incredibly diverse palette of pop artists and styles, from Glenn Miller, Frank Sinatra and American folk music of the early 20th century, to Bob Dylan, The Beatles, Michael Jackson, and 2Pac Shakur. Critics and fans alike lauded his 2011 debut album for its neo-retro sensibility coupling irresistibly catchy songs with organic and incredibly detailed production. Said album is now available in a 5th anniversary special re-issue package just perfect for discovering this modern pop cult classic! Alexander is also the owner of The Vault, and we’re grateful to have both his venue and his talent be a part of IPO!!
Brenyama – The brainchild and collaboration of Maki, from Miki City Japan, and Richard, of Highland Park, NJ, Brenyama delivers ultra fun power pop music with a touch of ‘60s garage and ‘90s alternative. Produced by Kurt Reil at The House of Vibes, their recently released album, Euphoria Love, includes 12 tracks aiming to capture the fun and simplicity of early rock ‘n roll with the buzzing raw energy of power pop. Check it out now!
Rich Cox – He’s been making music, performing, writing and recording for over 30 years, and is also passing his penchant for a great pop hook and a catchy melody down to the next generation, teaching K-8 at a local private school and also offering voice and music lessons. With a large body of work both released and (as yet) unreleased, if you like Fastball, Fountains of Wayne, The Beatles, or Paul Simon, you owe it to yourself to investigate him further!
The GTV’s – After local garage rock heroes Mondo Topless called it a day in 2011, keyboard man and group leader Sam Steinig wasted no time launching a new project, and the GTVs show he’s taken his love of cool sounds from the past and headed out in a new direction. On their debut album, Sh’Bang!, released by Teen Sound Records, the GTVs start with the raunchy guitars and booming drums of vintage garage rock and fuse them with classic soul and R&B influences, with Steinig making like Booker T. Jones, Alan Price, or Felix Cavaliere on the Hammond organ. The latest incarnation of the band (Patrick Crowling: Bass, Ron Wandover: Drums, and Vince Duane: Guitar) can hold down the backbeat, heat up the dancefloor, or push these songs into high gear as the situation demands.
E. Joseph and The Sparrows – One of the regular band monikers of local composer singer songwriter, Ed Neenan, who also has been known to appear as a solo artist, as leader of his other regular project, The Phantom Heart, or playing keyboards and guitars in other local acts, such as Wooden Hez and Stellarscope. His sweeping cinematic compositions with psychedelic flourishes will appeal to fans of Prince, Pink Floyd, Bowie and The Who – check out his recently released GloryGram vol Three EP and his IPO showcase to see and hear for yourself!
Chris Kudela – A high-energy singer-songwriter who delivers lyric-driven power pop that speaks to both the head and the heart. His influences run the gamut from early favorites, such as KISS, Zeppelin, and The Clash, to a more mature and varied palette including artists such as The Replacements, Big Star, Elvis Costello, and Neil Finn, as well as alt-country and bluegrass. His 6-song EP, Write It Over, will appeal to fans of any of the above and anyone who likes hook-laden indie-rock!
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 power pop releases of 2011! If you love Badfinger, Big Star, Cheap Trick, Teenage Fanclub, and The Replacements – and let’s face it: what power pop fan doesn’t? – then you will love meyerman!
Nixon’s Head – These local garage-pop torchbearers released their latest opus, MOd!, as part of a double CD with local rivals (and label-mates) The Donuts, who countered with POW! Stuck on a station on the car radio, somewhere between AM and FM, from 1967 to 1979, Nixon’s Head packs 19 songs in 38 minutes, culminating in a 14-song medley on the folly of playing in the same band for over 30 years. “The Head” is currently working on its next album, with songs set to debut over coming shows, and we’re excited to hear a preview at their IPO showcase!
The Paper Jets – Eschewing the epic bombast and hard-edged emo-punk that often defines the state, The Paper Jets deliver their own brand of pop-based alt-rock that combines elements of Big Star, Weezer, The Beach Boys, Ben Folds, and Spoon. The result is an eclectic, melody-focused sound with the power to move, both physically and emotionally. Their critically acclaimed debut album, We Are All Strange Friends, earned them a spot in Jersey Beat’s Top 20 NJ Albums of the Year in 2013, and they’ve since been nominated (twice!) as the Best Alt/Indie Rock Band at the Asbury Music Awards. They are currently working on a new full-length album, tentatively titled Everyday Forever, which we can hardly wait to hear!
The Peace Creeps – A Philadelphia-based psych/garage-rock and power pop outfit whose latest album, Time Machine, has been described as “Elvis Costello meets The Beatles with a helping of Faces/Stones – like looseness and a sprinkling of ’60’s era psychedelia.” (CD Baby) Need we say more? (Didn’t think so!)
Smash Palace – With their 10th CD, Extended Play, Smash Palace continue to do what they do best… ‘60s jangle rock, ‘70s rock swagger, ‘80s power pop, ‘90s Brit-rock all rolled into a contemporary style that’s all their own. It’s like listening to songs you know but haven’t heard before. It’s the sound of a band that’s the real deal; a dedicated outfit that’s paid its dues and continues to create some of the best melodic rock ‘n roll you’ll ever hear. As a testament to this fact, the sound engineer mixing them when they played IPO Liverpool at The Cavern Club in 2005 was heard to exclaim “These are great!” Zip Records label owner Art Herman apparently agreed, as he signed them shortly after seeing that appearance! But wait…there’s more…acclaimed local singer songwriter Cliff Hillis is now also part of the band, adding his vocal and guitar talents for an extra helping of harmonious jangle!
Snap Infraction – Chin Music, the debut EP from this Philadelphia-area duo, is a tight collection of five original hook-heavy songs drawing on the band’s wide array of influences and culled from a dizzying array of up to 50 (!) original songs and demos. Written over a span of ten years, and recorded mostly at home in the span of ten months, the EP is a straight-forward rock record with a nod toward the classics: Beatles, Stones and Zeppelin, without relying heavily on any particular influence.
SOMERDALE – A power trio to the core, SOMERDALE are all about great songwriting with hooks galore, written by and for power pop lovers of all shapes and sizes. On their recently released third full length album, Shake It Up Maggie, they throw on the wall the introspective songwriting of Badfinger, the frenetic energy of The Who, the gorgeous harmonies of The Beatles and the quirky playfulness of Fountains of Wayne, and end up with what you might expect – a very fun, very catchy, slice of well crafted ‘70s-tinged pop music!
The Successful Failures – No Depression magazine dubbed The Successful Failures as “one of the hardiest and most prolific outfits on the planet” playing “instantly infectious melodies that tread the line between power pop and Americana without wholly committing to either”. The band first burst onto the scene in 2005, and continues to showcase their versatility, seamlessly marrying power-pop, garage-rock, classic country and un-affected rock ‘n roll with roots-inflected rock and winsome, harmonic, pop. Their sixth full-length release, Ichor of Nettle, is set for imminent release (and should be available by the time of their IPO Philadelphia showcase), so watch for it!
U.S. Artists From Outside The Philadelphia Area
Coke Belda – One half of the duo Cokeroque, a multi-band-tribute (Jellyfish, The Rembrandts, The Posies, Toy Love, Squeeze, Roxy Music and many others), this gentleman from Pittsburgh (by way of Spain and Germany) is also an artist to be reckoned with in his own right. His debut album, simply entitled Coke Belda I, features gentle jangly powerpop melodies, intricate instrumentation, and a host of chord changes that fans of Jason Falkner, The Merrymakers, Paul McCartney, and the aforementioned artists to whom he pays tribute as part of Cokeroque will love! His next offering, Nummer Zwei, picked up right where the debut left off, and his most recent release is a sparkling Bee Gees tribute disc. How cool is that??
Leisure McCorkle – We’re always grateful when this gentleman makes his way to IPO (several of them!) 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 release, 5000 Light Years Beyond The Speed Of Sound, and you’ll know what I’m talkin’ about!
The Slang – A DC-based alternative/power pop rock band who write and sing about common topics from their uncommon perspective. Their talents have earned them invitations to several premier music conferences including MPMF, NXNE, IPO and CMJ, and their songs have been used in several mainstream outlets, including HBO, USA network, and Troma Films. Their latest album, Night and Day, was mixed and produced by Russ Long (Wilco, Sixpence None the Richer), and will appeal to fans of those bands as well as Killers, Muse, and other fine purveyors of hard-hitting atmospheric indie-rock.
Starbelly – Beloved power poppers, they’re one of the finest bands ever to emerge from the Baltimore pop scene! Their debut CD, Lemon Fresh, is considered a power pop classic, and their most recent, Everyday And Then Some, is gorgeous from start to finish. Fans of Velvet Crush, Big Star, and Badfinger, take special note! We’re always honored to have Starbelly at any IPO festival they choose to play!
Dave Rave – He began popping very powerfully indeed a near quarter century ago as part of the legendary Canadian bands Teenage Head and The Shakers, and has often been referred to as “The Canadian Nick Lowe.” A recent CD, Live With What You Know, was nominated for a Grammy, as was one of its songs, “Anne Marie.” In addition to being one of the most entertaining and hardworking power poppers around, he’s also extremely versatile, often displaying his jazzy/bluesy side on several collaborations with fellow Canadian singer/songwriter, Mark McCarron, including their latest Memphis Midnight, and recently showing a flair for ‘60s inspired soft-pop jangle on Radio Rave,, his latest release with The Governors! From 2010 to 2014 he played 50 IPO festivals in a row (yes, you read that right), and he still plays many of them…and we look forward to many more. Thank you, Dave!!