Though I know very little about the band itself, the imagery Man Called Noon uses in their name is very interesting to me. That it comes off sounding something like a reference to character in a Clint Eastwood spaghetti western almost makes sense as the band’s music has the defiant air of rebellion about it that I like while retaining a coolness which is sure to draw people to their music. I am guessing the title may refer to the picture on the CD of a down and out man playing guitar in an alley, While it seems to have little to do with the music, there are undercurrents in every song regarding the struggles of the everyman to succeed in life, in love and to find happiness while still retaining a healthy self-image and not succumbing to the temptations and problems life throws at you. As someone like Bruce Springsteen sings of the life of the everyman so do the musicians behind Man Called Noon, albeit in their own way. Led by Tony Giamichael (lead vocals, guitar) and Brian Sonnek, (lead guitar, background vocals) the band boasts a solid one-man rhythm section in producer/engineer Mike Burns (drums/bass). The trio is bolstered by Katie Dingle who adds some atmospheric cello to a couple of tracks.
Shazam – Meteor
Not only does this new album from rockers The Shazam mark the long-awaited return of one of the best power pop groups of the past twenty years or so but it also marks the return of THE best power pop label ever, Not Lame, if only temporarily. Two great treats in one! Seems the great folks behind Not Lame have decided to partner with The Shazam on this new CD but have no plans to revive the label outside of this release. Boo! Then again, if there was ever a reason to bother to start (or revive, as in Not Lame’s case) a label it is for a band as deserving and overlooked as The Shazam. For over a decade now, this powerpop juggernaut led by guitarist/songwriter/singer Hans Rotenberry have been at the forefront of the New Power Pop which sprung up in the mid-’90’s thanks to pioneering bands such as Jellyfish, The Posies and The Smithereens – bands who took the combination of melody and guitar bombast The Beatles, Badfinger, Big Star, and early Who represented and decided to bring it forward while giving it a much-needed kick in the ass with some modern technology and post-punk attitude. That the band hasn’t become more of a household name is very unfortunate as their distinctive blend of arena rock with razor-sharp pop hooks should have been the perfect bridge betwen the kind of FM hard rock fodder listeners have suffered through for over thirty years and the alternative rock of the mid-90’s and beyond. In fact, if Fountains of Wayne, Weezer and Foo Fighters were combined, it would sound like The Shazam.