Jangly guitars? Check. Catchy melodies? Check. Broken hearts and vocal harmonies? Check and check. Three discs filled to the brim with three hours and forty-five minutes of pop (power and otherwise) recorded in studios and bedrooms all around the world. After a couple of volumes on the Del Fi label, more than a decade on Not Lame, and another seven volumes on Bruce Bordeenâ€™s purpose-built Pop Geek Heaven, IPO bestowed its annual compilation (which became a triple-disc affair with volume five) on Omnivore with volume twenty-one. The latest collection, featuring bands that have played the annual IPO festival, and some that have not, is a solid entry in the series. 69 tracks that include a few luminaries (Bird Streets, Peter Holsapple, Van Duren, Kimberly Rew, and others), and a load of bands you may not have heard of.
There are too many highlights to name them all, but standouts include the joyously wordy verses and harmony choruses of Peckerâ€™s â€œThey Painted With Their Fingers,â€ the Popdudesâ€™ dance floor-filling cover of the Wondersâ€™ â€œDance With Me,â€ Wolf Circusâ€™ compassionate indie pop â€œI Will Answer,â€ the Posersâ€™ Beach Boys-tinged psych â€œThe Time and Place,â€ the magical mix of Rain Paradeâ€™s drone and Simon & Garfunkelâ€™s duet harmony on Harrison Clockâ€™s â€œDivine,â€ the catchy rhythm guitar on the Brothers Steveâ€™s delicious bubblegum â€œShe,â€ the Knack tribute sounds of Japanâ€™s The Sharona on their original â€œOh My Girl,â€ the full-throated harmonies and drippy guitar of Three Hour Tourâ€™s â€œLonely Place,â€ the Pat Benetar power of Slybootsâ€™ â€œThe Fall,â€ the twin lead guitars and emotional rebirth of the Jeremy Bandâ€™s â€œJoy Comes in the Morning,â€ the grungy psych of the Anderson Councilâ€™s â€œLord Cornelius Plum,â€ the aptly named Zombies of The Stratosphereâ€™s groovy cover of Billy Nicholls‘ (and Dana Gillespieâ€™s) â€œLondon Social Degree,â€ and the Last Hurrahâ€™s set-ending â€œSaturday in the Sunshine.â€
Most of the tracks are rabbit holes into band websites, Facebook and Bandcamp pages, YouTube videos, digital downloads, CDs, vinyl singles, scene reports and info on related bands. This set is both a sampler of each bandâ€™s wares and a link to their catalogs; itâ€™s a great spin on its own, but even better as a guide to bands youâ€™d like to get to know. IPO founder David Bash and with his wife, Rina Bardfield, distill hundreds of audition tapes to select acts for the festival, and distill the festival lineup even further to fill these three discs (which, incredibly, fit into a standard-sized jewel case). The four page booklet includes band lineups, production credits and website URLs, but no background info – this is left for the listener to discover. But the music is great, and will motivate you to find out more about your favorites, of which there will be many. [Â©2020 Hyperbolium]