International Pop Overthrow, Volume 22 , featuring your very own Emperor Penguin, is LA Weekly’s album of the week. Here’s what they say:
When David Bash founded the International Pop Overthrow traveling festival in 1997 to pay tribute to Jim Ellison, singer with power-pop band Material Issue, he couldn’t have known that it would still be going strong 22 years later. After all, it’s a bit of an oddball event. The “pop” it refers to in the name doesn’t have much to the music we consider pop today — the boy bands and manufactured stars of the world. Rather, it’s going back to earlier definitions — ’60s beat groups and psych-rock, and of course the power-pop inspired by the likes of Big Star and Cheap Trick.
Every year, they put out a compilation album featuring many of the performers from that year’s tour, usually unsigned and underground artists with a few exceptions. This time, those exceptions include fine tracks from Jason Falkner (Jellyfish, The Three O’Clock)’s band Bird Street, Canadian Music Hall of Fame inductee Dave Rave, The dB’s main man Peter Holsapple, power-pop veteran Van Duren (who recently was the subject of an excellent biopic), and The Tearaways (featuring Blondie’s Clem Burke).
The latter contribute one of the album’s best songs, “The Wrecking Crew” — a tribute to the L.A. session musicians responsible for some of the most iconic music in history. This song does them justice, expertly executed and the hook is relentless.
“Hooks” are a big theme here; bands are artists with names that will be alien to most contribute unforgettable songs. Young L.A. band the Velvet Starlings’ “Bitter Pills” is certainly one, but there are many. It sometimes feels like they’re trying to outdo each other — Brooklyn-born, L.A.-based Michael Faherty’s “Clark Gable” is a Marshall Crenshaw-esque slice of poignant power-pop. Blake Jones & the Trike Shop’s version of the James Bond theme “Goldfinger” sticks out because it’s so damn weird, but even that is wonderful.
We could go on, but this is a three-disc album that you just need to tear into and discover amazing new things. Then track down the previous years’ albums. Then get yourself to a show next time IPO tours.
The album is available here.