#10 The New Fidelity - Tiny Slivers (The New Fidelity, 2007)
"Are you a mod or a rocker?" the reporter asks Ringo in A Hard Days Night. "I'm a mocker," is the Liverpudlian reply.
Welcome to The New Fidelity, mockers of the highest order.
The eleven tracks on this album flow over the listener in wave after wave of British invasion pop splashed with a bit of California sunshine. The result is bright, happy, and incredibly infectious. "2nd Once in a Lifetime Girl" and "Blue Eyed Girl" are classic singles that seem to scream for 7 inches of vinyl. "Right Track" is a slice of Box Tops type soul expertly done. "She's Electric" is a terrific rock number that gives a nod to 90's Manchester, without the pointless meandering of the real thing. Indeed, The New Fidelity have the virtue of always getting to the point. For example, when in the great track "Sweetness" they sing the line, "...you know that I could smash him with my Fender Telecaster," I'm pretty sure they mean it.
#9 Myracle Brah - Can You Hear The Myracle Brah? (Rainbow Quartz, 2007)
I'm assuming Andy Bopp is not the world's most patient person. This album sounds exactly like Bopp got so fed up waiting for Matthew Sweet to record an album like his 90's masterpieces he decided to do it himself. Don't get me wrong, the songs here are all Myracle Brah but there is little doubt in tracks such as the awesome "Big Mistake" and the rootsy "Run to the Voices" there are Sweetish overtones. Highlights abound on this album; "No More Words," "Best Friend," "First Kiss," and the bouncy piano number "Hurry Now" are all first rate. The absolute top of the pops is reached on the smash and screaming fury of "Big Kids Wanna Rock," and the perfect "Walking on Water."
#8 Bill Lloyd - Back to Even (New Boss Sounds, 2004)
Power pop vet Bill Lloyd sure knows how to write this type of stuff, and how to stamp his own style upon it. I'm sure he has his sources of inspiration, but it all comes out sounding like 100% Lloyd. There is nothing wrong with that, particularly when he produces an album's worth of top drawer material. The title track sets the tone and spirit of the album with its theme of equilibrium. The country flavored "Dancing with the Past" and the rocking "Dial Nine" follow up with energy. "I Got it Bad" and "For the Longest Time" lend an introspective air to the proceedings. "Kissed Your Sister" serves up some humor in a catchy way. "Me Against Me" sounds like early Smithereens. "The World is a Different Place Without You" can lay a claim at being the prettiest song of the decade. Great, great stuff.
#7 The Lackloves - The Beat and the Time (Rainbow Quartz, 2004)
"Its a mighty fine day for taking over airwaves," croons Mike Jarvis on "The Radio's Mine" the first track on this stellar album. The rest of the album proves this is Jarvis' world, we just live here. "Still Missing You" is a pop sing along which will have even the most tone deaf person chiming in despite themselves. "If Ever I" is a gorgeous Beatles inspired tune which has caused me to throw in a "Besame Mucho"-ish "cha cha cha." "Misfits Collide" is a great song with a lyric seemingly inspired by repeated listens to the Posies' Dear 23. "Do You Love Someone?" and "Excuse Me, Use Me" dial up the rock quotient and are simply a gas. The album is unfailingly inventive and inviting beginning to end.
#6 Greg Pope - Popmonster (Octoberville Records, 2008)
This album can only classified as a first degree power pop assault on the listener; the only type of assault, I must add, where the victim asks "More please?" From the Big Star meets Matthew Sweet opener "Sky Burn Down" to the slightly dreamy and bitter finale "Backwards" Pope throws everything he's got onto this record. The overarching theme is the trials and tribulations of the power pop music maker. "I Got a Life," "Playing Nashville," and "Rock and Roll Dream" each touch on tough aspects of living such a life, but with such truthfulness it never even threatens to devolve into "woe is me" bullshit. In fact Pope seem to understand this intuitively, as can be seen on the best track of the album "Burden," which has a classic repeated refrain, "So who can I dump this on?" This is a super fine album which, as far as one man band albums go, can rank right up there with Rundgren's Something/Anything?.