Ten songs and bands you might have missed or forgotten about.

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The 90s could turn out to be the last great guitar rock decade. It came barreling in with the barbaric yawp of Grunge, and departed on the sleek machines of Nü Metal. In between, rock fans were treated to a stylistic smorgasbord encompassing Pop Punk, Power Pop, Alternative Rock, Riot Grrrl, Ska Punk and Brit Pop—among countless other Frankengenres.

Twenty years on from that musically-diverse decade, certain commercially-successful 90s guitar groups have emerged as obvious standard-bearers. …


Five books written from inside the legendary NYC punk band.

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Liverpool had the Beatles. New York had the Ramones.

They were four leather-clad misfits with bowl cuts playing an irreverent brand of revved-up bubblegum music. This in-your-face response to the bloated arena rock dominating the airwaves in the mid-70s was so groundbreaking—so elemental, primal and urgent—that there really wasn’t even a name for it yet. Writing fast songs about beating on brats with baseball bats, sniffing glue and turning tricks at “53rd & 3rd,” the Ramones stripped rock ‘n’ roll down to its snotty teenaged roots and became the forefathers…


The late 70s power pop band is still getting “discovered” 40+ years later.

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20/20 was an LA-based group with deep Oklahoma roots. Songs like “Yellow Pills” and “Remember The Lightning” from their self-titled debut album have made them a favorite with power pop fans ever since.

Dick Clark’s 1980 American Bandstand interview with 20/20 presents a young band on their way up. Fresh-faced and outfitted in stylish New Wave gear, they have everything a guitar pop group needed to top the charts—chops, looks and killer hooks. The appearance was in support of their self-titled, debut album (Portrait Records, 1979) which has become a cult classic over the last 40 years, constantly being “discovered” by successive power pop generations. …


The Minneapolis alt rockers are much more than a 90s one hit wonder.

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Minneapolis Via Los Angeles

Sometime in the mid-80s, my high school bandmates and I fell hard for three Minneapolis bands: Hüsker Dü, the Replacements and Soul Asylum. We’d heard some of this music before, but those three groups suddenly coalesced into our own holy trinity as we struggled to find a sound for our “first serious band.” We probably set the bar a little too high for ourselves, but in terms of early influences we could have done a lot worse.

All three bands were rooted in punk rock, but shot…


More Time At Home Means More Time For Reading

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There aren’t many positive things to say about 2020, but there were some great rock books published this year. Here’s a brief list of a few favorites.

Remain In Love by Chris Frantz

Talking Heads has always been an interesting band on the surface, but this career-spanning memoir takes you down into the creative machinery that drove their impressive musical output. Part love letter to his bandmate, collaborator and wife, Tina Weymouth, and part detailed expose, Frantz explores the band’s legacy and his complicated relationship with frontman, David Byrne. …


My unhealthy obsession with Fountains of Wayne’s third studio album.

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Record Store Day is a strange proposition in 2020. So I haven’t participated in many RSD events this year, at least until I heard Real Gone Music was re-issuing Welcome Interstate Managers. The two LP, gatefold set represents the first time this Fountains of Wayne masterwork is available on vinyl. That was reason enough to get a power pop fan like me out (a few days after Black Friday crowds dispersed, thank you very much) to happily plunk down $40 for an album I’ve already listened to hundreds of times this year.

Let me explain. Late last year, I co-edited…


Baby Lemonade/LOVE guitarist releases his first solo album in 16 years.

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“Power Pop? Yep. Alternative Rock? Sure. Garage Rock? Why not. Soul? Sometimes!”

Congrats on the excellent new collection. Why is now the right time to release Rough Mixes & Demo Pyxis, Vol.1?

Well, quite a few folks have reached out to me asking what I’m up to, including the label that distributes our catalog. They were like, “You got anything?” So, that got me thinking.

Also, about a year ago, I was staying with a friend in London for a few days and he’s a DJ and he will just play record after record—like, all day long! One night, I played…


The Sanglorians frontman talks about the band’s first album in seven years.

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You describe your music as “heavy power pop,” which seems accurate. In your mind, what does that description mean?

I’m glad you think so! You’re an important style arbiter. You helped me form an opinion about power pop. For me, it’s all about the attitude, and the spirit in the songs. The Beatles crystallized it, and they’re still the greatest, most consistent top-liners ever. No one will surpass the bar they set for pure melodic ingenuity, but it’s fun to try! They are my musical DNA — the…


“All I Ever Wanted” review, plus a “Murder A-Go-Go’s” excerpt.

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As you might imagine, I read a lot of rock bIographies. One of my recent favorites is All I Ever Wanted: A Rock ’n’ Roll Memoir by Go-Go’s bassist/guitarist, Kathy Valentine. It’s a compelling read from the first couple of pages, especially in the chapters dealing with Valentine’s wild childhood in Texas. There was a lot of ink spilled over Flea’s 2019 coming-of-age book, Acid For Children, but I think Valentine gives him a run for his money in the street cred department. Together, those two autobiographies offer a confessional glimpse at the kinds of colorful personalities that populated the…


An American rock & roller checks in from his home base in Spain.

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It’s been almost 20 years since The Leftovers got together. What’s your perspective on your old band and the early 2000s pop punk scene?

I’m always a bit amazed that people still continue to be interested in and listen to The Leftovers, actually. I’m really proud of the last couple albums we recorded, On the Move and Eager to Please, and the experiences we had shaped my life going forward in music. We had a lot of great adventures on the road and met so so so…

S.W. Lauden

Essays: “Go All The Way: A Literary Appreciation of Power Pop.” Crime: “That’ll Be The Day: A Power Pop Heist” + “Good Girls Don’t” (swlauden.com).

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