The now-closed Not Lame Recordings specialized in producing and distributing power pop rock. While most of their releases were relatively little known, the music really popped out of the speakers—guitars jangling, vocal harmonies swirling, and rhythms driving forward down sunny freeways.
Not Lame flashed in my mind recently as I listened to Track a Tiger’s A Southern Blue. Sure, the band’s on Futureappletree/Deep Elm and doesn’t have a Not Lame connection. Sure, the band’s more often compared to Low, Wilco, and Yo La Tengo, while noting the Americana/AltCountry undertones. However, on A Southern Blue, when things get cranked up a bit more, as the boy-girl vocals bounce around lightly, that’s when the power pop thought crossed my mind. “We Tried to Hide” works its way up to big, strutting guitar chords. “Now She’s Fine” floats on pop bubbles while keeping enough charge in its step that really enters the frame on a nicely placed slide guitar. Like a pulled back version of the Cars, keyboards and beats propel “You’re Pretty Tall for a Girl” forward. Other power tracks here include “I Won’t Leave Your Love Behind” and the intriguingly catchy “Meet Me at the Western Gate.”
Not Lame Recordings may not exist anymore, but Track a Tiger gets you realizing that there’s still plenty of power pop out there. If you like what Wilco does to bring a twang and drawl to their approach to rock that’s also informed by pop and soul, then you will certainly find something for yourself on A Southern Blue.
Meanwhile, you can also head over to Pop Geek Heaven where Not Lame dude, Bruce Bordeen, is crafting a great little space for power pop. You can sign up for a free membership, grab free music (including a Not Lame sampler), and be well-informed on all things in the indie power pop world.