In this episode, SLUG Managing Editor Alexander Ortega plays tracks from each album on his year-end top-albums list. SLUG published genre-based lists this year, and Ortega wrote about the “Top 5 Teary-Eyed Power Pop Albums” of 2015 for the December ’15 Top 5 Albums Issue. Notably, 2015 felt full of power pop, and we want to give you a taste of this veritable feast in this episode. The power pop albums in this list consist of Young Guv’s Ripe 4 Luv, Dick Diver’s Melbourne, Florida, Warm Soda’s Symbolic Dream, EZTV’s Calling Out and Nic Hessler’s Soft Connections:

Young Guv’s title track, “Ripe 4 Love,” casts a spell over listeners via frontman Ben Cook’s high-pitched, dulcet vocals. This track’s chorus may be the trick for a dance with the apple of your eye, as Prince-like groove shakes things up. Ripe 4 Luv stands as the most experimental power pop offering of this year.

Melbourne, Florida hit the scene on more of an indie pop beat compared to the other power pop albums. “Waste the Alphabet,” however, is definitely more on the power pop end of Dick Diver’s third album. Bask in the jangle that Dick Diver offer in this track.

“I Wanna Go Fast” recalls The Strokes in the best of ways on Warm Soda’s Symbolic Dream. The track kicks out a lo-fi rock n’ roll feel with slick, half-sung vocals, and the guitars radiate with electricity.

EZTV’s “Pretty Torn Up” speeds things up on Calling Out. The backbeat’s ostinato allows the guitars to do whatever the hell they can to serve the track, and singer Ezra Tenenbaum delivers bittersweet feels in the song and throughout the debut.

Nic Hessler: slayin’ it. “Soon You’ll See, Kristine” exhibits songwriting akin to Morrissey, but Hessler’s vocals distinguish him as a force to be reckoned with. This track is the climax to an album with bold and dynamic instrumentation.

Here’s to hoping for copious amounts of good power pop albums in 2016! For a mid-tempo rock n’ roll listening experience, put this “Top 5” list in your ears.


Thanks for listening to SLUG Mag Soundwaves. Send us suggestions of what you’d like to hear on the show by emailing us at soundwaves@slugmag.com.

Executive Producer: Angela H. Brown
Lead Producer: Gavin Sheehan
Associate Producers: Alexander Ortega, Christian Schultz, John Ford, Henry Glasheen
Theme Song: Temples
Art Design & Logo: Nicholas Dowd
Technical Designer: Kate Colgan

Interviewers: Alexander Ortega
Music This Episode Dick Diver, EZTV, Nic Hessler, Warm Soda, Young Gov

Discover more:

Episode #329 – Telepanther

Episode #329 – Telepanther

In anticipation of SLUG’s February Localized Reunion show, Brice Obuko of Telepanther recounts his memories of various Salt Lake venues as they once were 20 years ago. … read more

Episode #328 – Spirit Prison

Episode #328 – Spirit Prison

Once he got clean, Jade Whitlock’s old band, Prozac, seemed to him like a childish portrayal of drugs and alcohol. His life wasn’t like that anymore, and so the band dissolved, he took a break, and, eventually, found the means to start making music as Spirit Prison about his newfound stability. … read more

Episode #327 – Horrible Penny

Episode #327 – Horrible Penny

Horrible Penny’s first album, Shades of Green, channels lead vocalist Alllyson Katana’s romantic voice—young and thoughtful, worthy of being spoken and heard.  … read more

Episode #326 – Acacia Ridge

Episode #326 – Acacia Ridge

With a new single and currently over half a million streams on Spotify, Acacia Ridge’s lead vocalist Christian Mayfield talks about what went into their debut album and the way they’ve managed to successfully navigate the opaque waters of Spotify’s algorithmic promotion. … read more

Episode #325 – Ben Ra

Episode #325 – Ben Ra

Ben Ra’s journey—from making his own beats in 2012 to entering the Salt Lake scene, from releasing a popular single to, eventually, falling into burnout—has all become a sturdy foundation for the talented artist, one whose creative aspirations lie outside of just music. … read more

Episode #324 – The Waldron Brothers

Episode #324 – The Waldron Brothers

The Waldron Brothers formed after an upbringing spent playing live music with their family band. Their psychadelic sound grows from that past, but it also distinguishes them from their young work through its emphasis on self-reflection. … read more