Power Pop fans love hooks – so here’s the hook. New Shoes and vintage 20/20. Two of the genre’s celebrated bands, the Shoes and 20/20 have CDs coming out this summer – one from the archives and one with new tunes.
First up is 20/20. The short-lived band, led by Steve Allen (no, not the rock-hating TV host) and Ron Flynt, came out of the both the mid-70s Tulsa scene that spawned Dwight Twilley and Phil Seymour as well as the late ‘70s L.A. scene populated with groups with Paul Collin’s Beat, the Plimsouls and the Knack (whose recently released 1978 live album really rocks). 20/20 released two albums (the self-titled debut and Look Out!) on Portrait that the music-loving folks at Real Gone Music have combo’d up with some non-LP singles tracks. This jangle-fest blast from the past comes out July 31. Both Allen and Flynt have gone on to play some really fine post-20/20 music – Flynt in Austin and Allen in Nashville – that also is worth checking out.
The Shoes are one of those magical names in Power Pop circles. The Illinois-based band started making music back in the late 70’s, rising from homemade recordings to label efforts for Elektra. Along the way, the group created gorgeous pop tunes that felt timeless then and still feel timeless today. However, the Shoes never rose above cult hero status. Now the group, based around founding members guitarist/vocalist Gary Klebe and the Murphy brothers bassist/vocalist John and guitarist/vocalist Jeff, have a new album, Ignition, slated for a Aug. 14 release. It’s their first CD of new music since 1994, but it picks up where they left off.
Along with the album (which has been in the works for several years), there’s also a book coming out on the group, Boys Don’t Lie: A History of Shoes, written by PurePopPress.com’s managing editor Moira McCormick, that looks at the group’s influential past and vibrant present.
By the way, I thought it was worth noting too – although outside of this power pop theme – that Real Gone Music also is releasing a twofer from the band Clover. Clover (for those you studied their album credits or are students of late ’70s/early ’80s rock) were the Bay Area band that basically backed Elvis Costello on My Aim Is True (why? I don’t remember the reason) and then formed a good deal of the News (as in Huey Lewis & The…although don’t hold that against them). Their members also went on to work with the Doobie Brothers, Lucinda Williams, and others. So Real Gone has paired up the two albums (Clover and Fourty Niner) that the band made for Fantasy way back in 1970-71. It’s been described as “country-psych” and “Creedence-esque country rock.”