Charmed I'm Sure:
One of the key albums of the early days of the '90s power pop renaissance, the Blow Pops' 1993 debut is one of those rare contemporary power pop records that both salutes its '60s and '70s influences and delivers the songs with a crisp freshness that makes it sound like more than another attempt to be the next Raspberries. Plasticland's John Frankovic produced the album with little of the over-the-top mannerisms of his own band (though he does sneak a little lysergic glitter onto a few tracks), keeping the songs front and center. Those songs, by either Mike Jarvis or Tim Buckley, are uniformly sparkling, with catchy guitar riffs, singalong choruses, and the sort of clever arrangements that reveal new facets on repeated listens. The opening "Wake up Mary" is the most immediately catchy tune, but the album's real highlight is the closing "Under the Big Top," a knowing nod to the age of "A Quick One While He's Away" and "Excerpt From a Teenage Opera." The Blow Pops connect four songs into a perfect little miniature rock opera, with sound effects and clever links and interludes. It's a commendable bit of experimentation and easily the most fun tune on the whole album. Charmed, I'm Sure (the title is a wink at Charms candy, makers of the bubblegum-filled lollipops known as Blow Pops) can be difficult to find, but it's well worth the search.
American Beauties (1995):
Milwaukee quartet the Blow Pops were one of the great indie power pop bands of the early '90s, but they broke up after only two albums, too soon to really benefit from the Internet-spawned growth of the underground power pop scene that started around 1995. Although they can be difficult to locate due to their limited distribution, the Blow Pops' two albums are revered by many fans of the style.
The Blow Pops formed in late 1989 when singer/guitarist Mike Jarvis (once in the Chicago pop-punk band Green) and guitarist Tim Buckley (formerly of local legends Wobble Test, and not the late folk-jazz singer) joined with bassist John Daniels and drummer Nick Randazzo, and released their first single, "Stop!" backed with "I Know Nancy," the following year. Daniels was replaced in 1991 by Jack Rice, formerly of the excellently named the Mighty Deer Lick. The quartet's first album, Charmed I'm Sure, came out on the Pittsburgh garage rock indie Get Hip in 1992. A masterful blend of hooks and harmonies produced by John Frankovic of Plasticland, Charmed I'm Sure (a punning nod to Charms, the candy company that makes the bubble gum-filled lollipops known as Blow Pops) even contains "Under the Big Top," a four-part extended mini-opera in the manner of the Who's "A Quick One While He's Away."
The Blow Pops broke up in early 1995. Jarvis, Randazzo, and Rice went on to form the Lackloves, a superb power pop band that fulfills much of the Blow Pops' promise. Buckley moved to Richmond, VA, and followed a surprisingly different musical path, forming the neo-psychedelic, almost space rock Maki.
Here are the Blow Pops with two real great Power Pop albums and a 7'' of the nineties. This is first class Power Pop. Don't miss it. Charmed I'm Sure is in m4a because i downloaded the album from the internet (but i can't remember where. Thanks to the original uploader.) I post both albums separate.
Frank American Beauties
Charmed I'm Sure