Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Non-Brit Britpop

Spirit Kid, self-
titled, RPL Audio

Emeen Zarookian's Boston
combo serves up a particu-
larly persuasive brand of
power-pop, like Badfinger
on helium, while the piano-
filled "Wait a Minute" cap-
tures the charm of peak-era
Harry Nilsson or Paul Mc-
Cartney. His first full-length
plays like a more well scrub-
bed version of From Bubble-
gum to Sky (a good thing).

Click here for "My Imagination" and here for "You Lit Up for Me."

Blackmarket, St. Vincent Decor,
Mine and Yours Records

This Lake Havasu, AZ trio plies a bright brand of pop-rock
that would provide a better fit for commercial than college
radio (so it's unfortunate that the former ignores most in-
dependent releases). It isn't slick, so much as smooth in
a Britpop way, like Los Hermanos Gallagher with a lit-
tle Franz Ferdinand on the side. St. Vincent De-
isn't the most original CD I've ever heard,
but it's a solid release that improves on their
last long-player and offers some nice acous-
tic interludes, such as "Catch and Release."

Click here for "Tongue Twister," here for "10 and 2,"
and here for my review of Elephant in the Room.

Makaras Pen, self-titled, Projekt Records [6/15/10]

A traditional creature in Hindu mythology.
-- origin of the band's name

Born in Buffalo, this able four-piece combines the hard (the band)
with the soft (Emma Willis's vocals). See also: Lush, Curve, and
the Cranes. It's an old trick, and Makaras Pen sounds like a
throwback to a decade or so ago (the press materials des-
cribe them as "female-fronted shoegaze renaissancers").
The group's first album offers a competent interpreta-
tion, but this genre has never done much for me.

Endnote: For more information about Spirit Kid, please
click here or here; for Blackmarket, here or here; and
for Makaras Pen, here. Image from Planetary Group.

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