Exposé Online banner

Nick Piunti — 13 in My Head
(Sugarbush Records SB700, 2014, CD / LP)

by Jon Davis, Published 2015-01-24

13 in My Head Cover art"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.

Filed under: New releases, 2014 releases

Related artist(s): Nick Piunti

Latest news

2017-10-18
Phil Miller RIP – Sad word reaches us today of the passing of another of the great musicians of the Canterbury Scene — guitarist Phil Miller. His distinctive sound added greatly to Matching Mole, Hatfield and the North, and National Health, and he also contributed to albums by Caravan, Dave Stewart $amp; Barbara Gaskin, and many others. He was 68. » Read more

2017-10-13
Moonjune to Distribute Tony Levin's Back Catalog – It has been announced that Moonjune will now handle distribution for Tony Levin's catalog of releases. These great albums will now be a bit easier to get hold of, so check out the site and see what you're missing. The veteran of King Crimson and Stick Men worked with a host of great players on these albums, and we've reviewed most of them over the course of the years. » Read more

2017-09-26
Bandcamp Shines Light on Niches We Like – Bandcamp has developed into one of the best places to discover new music, and even a lot of old music is showing up there. In addition, their staff has been producing periodic articles spotlighting some interesting stylistic areas. On 20 September, they published one called "The New Face of Prog Rock" which bears checking out. » Read more

2017-09-06
Holger Czukay RIP – Holger Czukay, a musical experimentalist without boundaries who has been involved with expanding the sound palette of rock music since the late 60s, has died at the age of 79. After studying with Karlheinz Stockhausen in the early 60s, he became fascinated with the possibilities of rock music, and was a co-founder of the pioneering group Can. He leaves behind an impressive body of work both as musician and producer. » Read more

2017-08-22
John Abercrombie RIP – Another of the greats of jazz guitar has left us. John Abercrombie plied his way through a beautiful series of albums on the ECM label as well as bringing his talent to bear on albums by many of jazz's greatest artists. From his early work in the group Dreams to Gateway and outstanding work with Billy Cobham, Jack DeJohnette, Kenny Wheeler, and many more to his own trios and quartets, he brought a unique instrumental voice to the world. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Glass Hammer - Perelandra – It's terribly sad to me that many people's impression of "progressive rock" goes no farther than Yes, Genesis, or their countless soundalikes. I don't want to be too hard on that...  (1996) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues