Thursday, September 15, 2011

The power pop of Tommy Keene: no expiration date

Posted By on 09.15.11 at 12:13 PM

Tommy Keene
  • Tommy Keene
In certain respects the music on Behind the Parade (Second Motion), the latest album by pop-rock veteran Tommy Keene, could have been made at any time in the past three decades or so—with classic power pop like Keene's, that's kind of the point. Strong melodies supported by crunching guitars seem to have an appeal that's impervious to pop-music trends and even technological developments. (The instrumental keyboard fantasia called "La Castana" is the album's rude exception).

In the 80s Keene scored a contract with Geffen Records and got a short-lived promotional push that ultimately failed. Though he went through a recording drought in the first half of the 90s, he never gave up his love for power pop, and in recent years he's been on a tear—he's putting out records at a solid pace, touring regularly, and writing some of his catchiest tunes. So while nothing on Behind the Parade is going to start a revolution, its pleasures are abundant and the craftsmanship of Keene's writing ought to stand the test of time; the new album is as good as anything he's done in the past 15 years. Below you can check out the opening track with its unexpected trumpet part.

Keene headlines Schubas tonight, playing with frequent collaborator Sally Crewe—a UK expat who lives in Austin and makes music just as hooky as his. Also performing is Doug Gillard (Guided by Voices, Death of Samantha), who's been collaborating with Crewe.

Tommy Keene, "Deep Six Saturday"

Today's playlist:

Dan Tepfer Trio, Five Pedals Deep (Sunnyside)
Steve Lacy, November (Intakt)
Les Mangalepa, Endurance (RetroAfric)
Samy Izy, Tsara Madagasikara (Network)
Angles, Epileptical West: Live in Coimbra (Clean Feed)

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