Nick Piunti — 13 in My Head
(Sugarbush Records SB700, 2014, CD / LP)
by Jon Davis, Published 2015-01-24"Power pop" is an interesting term to use for a musical style. "Pop" can bring to mind all sorts of horrors from "You Light up My Life" to "Feelings" (reaching back to the 70s), but like any genre, pop music has gems as well, such as (speaking subjectively, of course) "Without You" or "Imagine." Many listeners who fancy themselves outside the mainstream when it comes to musical taste look down on pop music, and simply insist a song like "Imagine" isn't really just pop — it's something more rarified, with some different label attached. But that's all sophistry. The simple truth is that there's nothing inherently wrong with pop as a style of music; like any style, there's good and bad. "Power pop" basically traces its origins to The Beatles: good melodies and catchy tunes played with a rock beat. (Of course, The Beatles weren't alone in this — The Beach Boys, Small Faces, The Byrds, and others were in the mix as well.) Big Star are a great example of how power pop can be unpopular, managing to avoid mainstream success in spite of having all the pieces in place. Modern proponents of the style like Matthew Sweet, Michael Penn, Teenage Fanclub, and so on manage cult followings but generally not multi-platinum sales. Finally getting around to the artist at hand, Nick Piunti got his start back in the 80s with a band called Dwarf (later called The Take), and 13 in My Head has all the best qualities of power pop in copious amounts: catchy melodies, a great voice, a knack for clever lyrical turns, guitars both jangly and crunchy, energetic arrangements. All with a little touch of psychedelia that keeps it interesting. In a better world than ours, Nick Piunti would be a superstar, and music nerds wouldn't have to be ashamed of liking him. The next best thing is to listen to him in this world and enjoy the pleasure of a superb craftsman doing his thing.
Related artist(s): Nick Piunti
Harold Budd RIP – Harold Budd, one of pre-eminent American composers of avant-garde and minimalism, has died of complications from the coronavirus. Budd came to prominence in the 70s, championed by Brian Eno on his Obscure Records label, with music that blended academic minimalism with electric jazz and electronic music. Much of Budd's best known work was done in collaboration with other artists, including Eno, Daniel Lanois, Robin Guthrie, Andy Partridge, John Foxx, Jah Wobble, and many others. » Read more
Audion Is Back in Business – Our esteemed colleague Alan Freeman has restarted Audion Magazine after a seven year hiatus. The new incarnation is available online on their Bandcamp site. Audion's history goes back to 1984, and included 58 issues up to 2013. Issue #59 is available now, and #60 is in the works. » Read more
Romantic Warriors IV – Krautrock (Part 2) Is in the Works – Zeitgeist Media, the people who have brought us the great series of documentary films chronicling the history of progressive rock, are working on the second installment of their examination of German music. Krautrock 2 will focus on artists from Münich such as Guru Guru, Amon Düül II, Xhol Caravan, Kraan, Witthüser & Westrupp, and Popol Vuh. » Read more
Simeon Coxe RIP – Simeon Coxe, best known for his experimental electronics in the band Silver Apples, has died at the age of 82. The band's 1968 debut album set the stage for both German electronic music and experimental punk music a decade later. Coxe died on September 8 from pulmonary fibrosis. » Read more