Reviews: A Selection of Power-Pop
Reviews: Don't Kill the Messenger
REVIEW: Its Happening Now
The perfect fall-into-winter record, It’s Happening Now bathes listeners in the warm glow of tremendous, acoustic-based songs evoking mid-’60s folk-pop aesthetics. Lovely melodies, nimble acoustic guitar playing, and emotive vocals combine for an affective experience from a contemporary music master. This is Bill Lloyd’s finest hour, by far.
- Alan Haber, Pure Pop Radio
“It’s Happening Now” is a refreshing collection of quieter, well-crafted compositions, long on melody and wry observations.
- Ken Paulson Americana Music News
Whether toiling in the country trenches with Foster & Lloyd or flying solo with his own pop-oriented material, Bill Lloyd has always been all about the song. Nowhere is this more apparent than on his latest release, "It's Happening Now"---it's a 20-track smorgasbord of acoustic-oriented, low-key delights that showcases Lloyd's ample melodic gifts as well as his way with words.
- John M. Borack Contributing Editor, Goldmine Magazine
Every single one of these songs I would be pleased to have written, let alone performed so well.
- Paul Myers Author, Songwriter and Recording artist
Not one good song on here, They are all great! And keep in mind, I hate everything!
- Les Bohem, Screenwriter, songwriter & former member of Sparks and The Gleaming Spires
REVIEW: RESET2014 - NoDepression.com
It’s a cold December night in Nashville. The Wildhorse Saloon, generally a tourist destination, a sort of Hard Rock Cafe with a twang, is filled this night with a venerable who’s who of Nashville rockers and groovers. They are here to see Ray Davies, lead singer and songwriter of The Kinks -- rock and roll royalty, a true rock and roll innovator and survivor. The thing about this kind of Nashville show is that virtually the entire room is VIP. The house is packed with countless musicians, songwriters, producers, and industry players. Ray Davies is no namedropper, but there is one name on his mind: he calls out from the stage for Bill Lloyd.
Bill Lloyd is as diverse as Music City itself. In addition to being one of the godfathers of Nashville’s rich alternative pop-rock world, he enjoyed mainstream country success as one-half of duo Foster and Lloyd in the 1980s, as well as being a prolific songwriter, having written mainstream country hits for the likes of Trisha Yearwood, Martina McBride, and Sara Evans. Lloyd is equally gifted as a guitar-slinger, having done session and side work for artists such as Davies, Cheap Trick, Poco, and Marshall Crenshaw. When Cheap Trick performs their famed Sgt. Pepper Live shows, they call Bill Lloyd.
NO DEPRESSION Blog's Review of "It's Already Tomorrow"
In a better world than this world we live in, every music fan, musician, and songwriter would be hip to Radney Foster and Bill Lloyd. I think that the fact that a decent amount of folks do dig them is a credit to how talented these guys are. I’ve always thought, or more likely wished, that cream would always rise to the top. As I’ve learned over the years, sometimes God-given talent does, sometimes it doesn’t, and sometimes it makes strange appearances, such as some of Radney’s songs being hits for artists like Keith Urban and Sara Evans. If you go to Youtube, you’ll find many a cover version of Radney and Bill’s songs posted on there, all the way from a guy sitting in his living room with a funny looking guitar to a full band doing a song. That certainly says something. It’s proof to me that I’m not the only guy or girl being moved by their songs, blasting their cds loud in the car, or being inspired by them to write my own songs, make my own cds.
By Carl Anders
The sun's out, I'm driving along the quays in my Ford Focus with the window down having a cigarette and even though smoking in my car is officially illegal under the new smoking ban, I don't care. The day's a good one and Paparazzi is proving to be the soundtrack of the day.
And why wouldn't it be? Both Hoover and Lloyd have a remarkable pedigree when it comes to music and in particular pop, having served over 20 years in the business ultimately coming together to co-write, produce and perform paparazzi.
Comparisons can easily be drawn with all the classic pop and influences on the record, from the Beach Boys to early Elvis Costello, but this record is closer to more contemporary interpretations of pop, in particular its more reminiscent of Summerteeth than of the Beatles say, though with a healthy dose of Big Star.
Each track is a valuable lesson in making music for all of us. Girlfriend/boyfriend gone? All alone? Instead of sitting there staring at the empty bottles and writing songs whilst wallowing in your own self pity, why let a broken heart stand in the way of foot tappingly good pop music?
And there you have it, the themes are familiar to us all but the presentation of the songs is the ultimate symbol of perfect pop representing the stage when you realise the sun is out, you're over it and it's time to get back on the scene.
Stick it in the car, crank up the volume and tell me I'm wrong.
By Rick Cornell
It takes all of, oh, 1.8 seconds for Jamie Hoover and Bill Lloyd's Paparazzi! to grab you, as guitars gallop out of the gate in full-on hook mode. Just a quick side note to literalists and professional contrarians: guitars, in fact, can gallop and chime and ring and caress and a whole bunch of other things, all of which Paparazzi! demonstrates by song #4. It's exactly the kind of album you'd expect from the meeting of two pop music A listers such as Hoover (member of Charlotte's legendary Spongetones, in-demand producer, musical cohort of Don Dixon and Graham Parker, and so much more) and Nashville's Lloyd (formerly half of the Everly-ish duo Foster & Lloyd, architect of one of the best pop records of the '90s in Set to Pop, and, well, so much more). And rounding out the gathering of royalty on Paparazzi! is guest drummer Dennis Diken of the Smithereens. The best of a uniformly glorious bunch of songs is "Screen Time," which comes off like "Killer Queen" as re-imagined by two extremely talented Anglophiles from the US South, with the femme fatale in question de-lethalized down to a drama queen. As a bonus, the pair's writing is frequently as agile and clever as their melodies, with the minor-twist title of "The Bucks Stop Here" just one example. Based on Hoover and Lloyd's habit of cowriting by mail and telephone, it's tempting to label this collaboration Pen Pal pop. But with a nod toward Paparazzi!'s title, let's go with Picture Perfect pop.
Pop Culture Press Issue 58, Spring & Summer 2004
By Kent H. Benjamin
The ever prolific Bill Lloyd returns with a new album in partnership with Jamie Hoover of the SpongeTones, as well as the Smithereens' Dennis Diken on drums. The result is pretty much a marriage made in heaven. Between them, Hoover and Lloyd have contributed to something like 50 really great records, and this is easily one of the best for both of them -- a dozen songs and every one's a classic. Lloyd is one of the absolute masters of the jangly guitar sound, and a shared love of the Beatles is quite evident on this record. Sometimes the pair channels post-Beatles masters like the Dwight Twilley Band on "The Buck Stops Here" (with a riff resembling "I'm on Fire" and patented Phil Seymour-style backing vocals). On cuts like "It Coulda Been Me," the similarity is to a great Foster and Lloyd track, "Really Not Alone" goes straight back to the Beatles, like some long-lost Help outtake. The really great thing about it is that the pair, long-time friends -- though I don't think they've worked together much in the past -- sound like they've been in a band together for years. It's really good to see this finally out at last (Bill sent it to me last spring); after living with it for a while, it feels kinda like a pop masterpiece. If you like upbeat pop music with flawless arrangements, and a fresh, feel-good vibe, this one's pretty much unbeatable.
The Rage published: 08 April 04
By Lucas Hendrickson
If one were inclined to dig deep enough, one would probably find these prophetic words etched into the primary education transcripts of both Bill Lloyd and Jamie Hoover: "Plays well with others."
For those in the Nashville power pop know, reciting Lloyd's resume is a tad redundant. Foster & Lloyd. Feeling The Elephant. Set To Pop. Freedom Speaks. Standing On The Shoulders of Giants. And now The Long Players, soon to be Nashville's newest must-see recurring musical happening.
Hoover's credentials are equally impressive, anchoring Charlotte, N.C.-based power-popsters The Spongetones since their inception in the early '80s, as well collaborating with producer Don Dixon and guitarist Bryan Shumate in The Van Delecki's.
Hoover and Lloyd had been fans of each other's work for years. Mired happily in the influence of The Beatles, XTC, Jellyfish and anything else that came across the aural path, they decided to team up to flex their collaborative creative muscle. Musical workout partners, if you will.
Enlisting Smithereens skinsman Dennis Diken, Hoover and Lloyd have crafted a dozen power-pop gems, sparkling in their guitar work, harmonies, hooks and the occasional flash of snarkiness. Whether the song calls for "sing pretty" or "sing like you've got sand in your throat," both men can pull it off. Be it a stomper like Screen Time or a lamenter like It Could Have Been Me, every element fits just so, but without the annoying shine that tends to inhabit mass-produced so-called "pop" these days.
If there were a School of Pop, Hoover and Lloyd would both be full-blown tenured professors with students thumb-wrestling for the chance to get into one of their classes. This is one Paparazzi you won't mind hanging around your car.
They come bearing a long, rich power-pop heritage, so a collaboration between Jamie Hoover (Spongetones) and Bill Lloyd (Foster and Lloyd) is something to savour. Paparazzi’ subsequently bears a hefty weight of expectation, yet from the first snatch of a drum roll it transpires all too quickly that this is a partnership carved out at the gates of power-pop heaven. As ever, this is a sound indebted heavily to the hooks’n’harmony traditions of luminaries McCartney and Big Star, yet Paparazzi’ rarely falls away from a territory that’s rich in originality and as quirky as it comes. It’s only the first step on a creatively lucrative journey, but Paparazzi
POPISM radio show; Serbia & Montenegro
By Goran Obradovic
Considering all the (by) projects involving these two guys, they could easily make a double V.A. comp, chockfull of influences spanning from rootsy American tradition, through Brit-invasion and new-wave-ish power-pop, to the most contemporary guitar-driven soundscape. Both being all-round studio wizzards, it comes as natural that they’ve done it all by themselves, except for a little help from their Smithereen-friend, Dennis Diken, on the drum stool. The overall impression is that this could be a commercial pop record, with the strength to invade the charts, but an option not to release it through some of the major labels, makes it sure actually, that it will end up on the shelves of only true pop fans first and then Š who knows. Some of the highlights include the Spector-cular production of Warner-era Costello-ish opener “Show and tell the world, the “spongetoned” mid-’60s Lennonism “Better left alone” (complete with the “She loves you” guitar coda), not unlike The Rooks using the same trickery, the moody/jazzy “maccaronies” of “I can’t take it back” or the Jellyfishin’ stickiness of “Still not over you” as well as some folk-rocking twang of “Really not alone” and “It could have been me”.
Paisley or not, this is pop music of the highest order, that could set some standards on the contemporary (power) pop scene.
Americana UK magazine (UK review of Paparazzi)
Jamie Hoover & Bill Lloyd “Paparazzi” (Paisley Pop 2004) This collaboration between long-term Spongetone JH and BL and featuring Smithereens drummer Dennis Diken, sounds exactly as you are imagining it. Dead on harmonies, huge chords, tight playing, power pop wearing its influences on its tight trousers. These are true craftsmen; you can imagine them having their sandwiches out of a metal lunch pail after spending the morning nailing together the huge guitar break on ‘The Buck Stops Here’. The hard hats come off for ‘I Can’t Take it Back’ - handle with care, broken heart, minor chords, softly sung. The Move, REM, Big Star, oh, and quite possibly the Beatles can be discerned on songs (especially ‘Really Not Alone’). These boys could knock together an album for you in a week, remodel your band in a few days, immortalise your thoughts as quickly as you have them. No pretence or pretensions just music for the sake of it - www.paisleypop.com DC
Swiss Paparazzi review
by Robert Pally
7 out of 10
Wenn zwei ausgewiesene Songwriter und Musiker wie Jamie Hoover (Spongtones) und Bill Lloyd (Solo, Foster & Lloyd) sich zusammentun, darf man schon etwas erwarten. «Paparazzi», dass die beiden praktisch alleine eingespielt haben, nur am Schlagzeug sass Dennis Diken (Smithreens), ist denn auch eine Ansammlung von 12 vielschichtigen und stimmungsvollen Songs. Mit einem Hintergrund, der von den Beatles über Tom Petty bis hin zu den Traveling Wilburys oder den Byrds reicht, haben Hoover & Lloyd aus dem Vollen geschöpft. Hoover brachte wahrscheinlich mehr den Pop-Hintergrund ein, während Bill Lloyd, der mit Foster & Lloyd Countryrock spielte, vielleicht für die leichten Country-Tendenzen zuständig ist. Songs wie «Show & tell the world», «Better left alone», «Screen time» oder «It could have been» dürfen sich mit dem Material von Petty oder den Traveling Wilburys messen lassen. Während «Really not alone» neben den Beatles keine schlechte Falle macht. Und «Still not over» und «Walking out» sind veritable Power-Pop-Songs. Ansprechendes Songmaterial haben Hoover & Lloyd, jetzt fehlt ihnen eigentlich bloss noch der Bekanntheitsgrad.