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Tag: Power-pop

Quick Hit: Sam Vicari


I don’t think I’ll ever tire of cheery power-pop with crunchy guitars, effervescent melodies, and heartfelt angst. Sam Vicari‘s Giving Up is a testament to the undying power of the charming genre, combining Death Cab for Cutie-esque vocals with the clanging guitars and big drums of an old-fashioned guitar-rock trio. Of the ten songs on the record, only two make it above 2:30 and break 3:10. (Holding to that 2:20 pop song form hearkens back even earlier in pop’s history.) I don’t think there are any instruments on the record except guitar, bass, drums, and vox–sometimes simple purity is the best.

But there’s nothing retro or nostalgic about Giving Up; instead, Vicari delivers fresh, modern pop nuggets like “All and Everyday,” “Looking for a Warm Heart,” and “October” in rapid succession. If you’re into summery, cheery guitar-pop, Sam Vicari’s Giving Up will thoroughly satisfy you. Crank the windows down and the volume up.

The Powerchords – …Think I'm Gonna

My immediate reaction the first time I listened to …Think I’m Gonna by The Powerchords was that I wasn’t very sure I liked it. Before I listened to it a second time, I expressed that sentiment to my friend and editor, Stephen.

Stephen: My apologies. I recant my previous statements and submit a new one – this album is actually pretty awesome.

Hailing from Chula Vista, CA, The Powerchords are on Single Screen Records – a label I have done several reviews for and have been very pleased with. But considering the releases by Visions of a Dying World and The Red Feathers that I had reviewed before lay in the folk-rock arena, I wasn’t really prepared for The Powerchords’ brand of pop-punk, which is probably the reason I was initially turned off by their sound.

But then I gave the album a couple more listens and found that the short-and-sweet, punk rock style was right up my alley. Guitarists Jon Hammer and Seo Parra seem to have a lot of fun with producing the shrilling, catchy riffs and driving crunch of the power chords that drive the band (hence, the band’s name is appropriate). Bassist Craig Barclift is often pounding away with Parra and Hammer on the riffs and the chords. Combined with the catchy lyrics and the high-pitched vocal stylings of Hammer, the band comes off as carrying the torch first lit by The Buzzcocks.

Unfortunately, due to the brevity of the songs and the lack of variation in the formula, it’s hard for many of the songs on the album to stand apart from one another. When listening to it as a whole, it might feel like several of the songs just bleed into one another.

That said, some of the tracks such as “She’s A Virgin” or “Bad Guys” stand out for the sheer catchiness of the lyrics. And to this Wayne’s World fan, “Tia Carrere” was enough to put a nerdy grin on my face.

My recommendation is that if you like old school punk in the vein of The Buzzcocks or The Ramones, you really can’t go wrong with The Powerchords.