DOUG GILLARD (ex-Guided By Voices, with special guests)
To any honest Guided By Voices fan, Doug Gillard was the real reason why the band ever flirted with mainstream success. The lone GBV member with real chops, Gillard made Robert Pollard's bedroom anthems seem like plausible arena-rock. But Salamander, Gillard's solo debut, surprises not just because Gillard plays all the instruments -- and does it well -- but because his songwriting is as sharp. Gillard always had an unorthodox sense of structure in Cobra Verde and GBV, something like a classical rock Frank Black, full of unexpected left-turns that made for an eminently rewarding listen. From the T-Rex chug of "Going Back (To You)," to the brilliant Bacharach knockoff in "(But) I See Something," Salamander easily stands as one of the best guitar albums of the year. Gillard has not only come out from Pollard's shadow with Salamander, he's created one of his own. (Matthew Lurie, Harp Magazine)
THE BIGGER LOVERS (Yep Roc Records)
Philly group the Bigger Lovers keep true their vision of Anglo-toned, intelligent power pop on their third album, This Affair Never Happened...and Here Are Eleven Songs About It. And thankfully, the group still possesses the flashes of blindingly pure, intelligently melodic guitar pop that marked 2002's excellent Honey in the Hive -- in fact this album even exceeds that high-water mark. The Bigger Lovers succeed at both ends of the power pop spectrum, able to knock of cheeky, pastel-toned quirk like "Slice of Life" at the one end and earnest, spine-tinglers like "Peel It Away" at the other. Music criticism is often guilty of hyperbole, overt enthusiasms and overstatement -- but rest assured that the Bigger Lovers are one of the best bands trolling the timeless power pop landscape in the new millennium. That's no hyperbole. (Erik Hage, All Music Guide)
Judging from the wealth of sixties bands evoked throughout Hello, Hello, The A-Sides must spend more time at their Ouija boards and in old folks' homes than in their practice space. They hit the expected notes, cribbing Beach Boy charm and Kink-ed confidence, not to mention more than a touch of Beatlemania, but to their credit, The A-Sides pull it off better than the majority of their peers. (Splendidzine)
AGE RESTRICTION: 21+
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Added by theoreticalgirl on May 20, 2005