International Pop Overthrow 13 - Better Late Than Never

Overall, IPO 13 is a damned fine collection, with the many high points making it a more-than-welcome addition to any pop fans' music library.
Publish date:

by John M. Borack

David Bash's International Pop Overthrow franchise celebrated its 13th year in 2010, which meant a 13th compilation of all-over-the-map tunes from acts who played one of the venerable pop festival's many stops throughout the US and UK. Making my way through the behemoth-like three-disc sets of recent years has become somewhat of a daunting task, but after spending some time digging through volume 13, I unearthed many treasures deserving of pop fans' attention.

Image placeholder title

IPO has branched out and broadened its sonic palette since the fest's inception in 1998; rather than simply focusing on jangly, toe-tapping power pop sounds, the festival lineups (and the CD's) also include everything from slammin' punk and synth-flecked indie rock to garage pop and singer/songwriter missives (and from eight countries, yet). This is mostly a good thing, as it's prevented IPO from being pigeonholed as a festival for cultists - plus there seems to be a little something for everyone. Of course not everything is top-shelf, but that's certainly to be expected for a 66-track comp, right?

In any event, here are some short, random observations on some of the artists/songs that stood out on IPO 13:

The Royalties: Nice modern power pop tuneage with just enough quirkiness to make it memorable.

Susannah Blinkoff: Oh Susannah, I'd like to hear more of these cute vocals combined with those edgy-yet-catchy guitars.

The Mayflowers: If Jellyfish (the band, not the free-swimming members of the phylum Cnidaria) was Japanese and influenced by the Beatles' "Getting Better," it'd sound like this. Which is a good thing.

Deadbeat Poets: Hey, they borrowed the "You Really Got Me" guitar riff! Or was it "All Day and All of the Night?" No, wait...."Hello, I Love You?"

Chris Richards and the Subtractions: "I, Miss July" adds up to classic-sounding power pop. (Subtractions...adds up....get it?)

Ulysses: Gary Glitter, meet T. Rex.

Stephen Lawrenson: If Matthew Sweet ever needs an understudy, this could be the right man for the job.

The Dirty Royals: Speedy tempo, lots of harmonies. Very nice.

Nushu: One of the shining lights of the L.A. pop scene offers up one of their hookier, punchier numbers. Lisa Mychols and Hillary Burton - you rock!

The Romeo Flynns: Not unlike the E-Street Band meeting Michael Stanley in someone's garage. Whether that's a positive or negative depends on what you think of the E-Street Band and Michael Stanley.

Matthew Pop: With a last name like Pop, it's gotta be good, right? The crunchy guitars and the "woo-hoo's" help make it so.

The Roebucks!!: They have exclamation points!! I don't know why!! They also have an undeniably catchy, mid-tempo swagger about them!!

The Beat Rats: Rough and tumble Merseybeat madness. Wonderful.

The Shamus Twins: I was reminded of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. For sham(us)...

Maxi Dunn: Beautifully atmospheric, perfectly sung.

Popfilter!: Imagine Queen if Queen was really, really mediocre.

The Stanleys: "What Are We Gonna Do?" might be the best thing here. It's classic, powerful pop that is highly reminiscent of '70s-era Midwest power popsters The Boys. Turn it up.

Rob Bonfiglio: A winning, soulful, piano-based tune.

Skick: Supercharged female-fronted punk rock.

Jeremy Morris: The Nicest Guy in Pop flies like a Byrd...

The Pondhawks: Imagine a peppy Gerry Rafferty listening to "Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting."

Tiny Volcano: More Jellyfish (not the hydrozoan or hydromedusae) crowned with a Queen-like guitar solo.

Golden Bloom: Pretty, mid-tempo sunshine pop sounds.

The Secrets: Hypnotically catchy garage-pop.

Zoe Scott: Has an "Every Breath You Take"/"Missing You" (John Waite) vibe.

Agony Aunts: Bouncy, quirky and cool. A highlight of disc 3.

Cosmo Topper: Seriously weird sh*t here. Brown acid, anyone?

The Sunchymes: See Golden Bloom.

Blue Cartoon: A smooth little number from this veteran IPO combo.

The Kings: A potential radio smash in waiting, this one.

Hijinx: Snappy tune, great band name.

The Afternoons: "I Want it Anyway" is what it's called, and it's probably the second-best track here. Love that sweet guitar jangle.

Susan Hedges: A grating, '80s-influenced dance number. Ugh.

The Romeros: Sloppy punk with sax = no bueno.

The Ringles: You gotta give these guys credit for shamelessly appropriating the opening guitar figure from "Stairway to Heaven" for their own wannabe epic - but I guess a bit of turnabout is fair play, since the Zep dudes certainly "borrowed" many a riff back in the day...

Overall, IPO 13 is a damned fine collection, with the many high points making it a more-than-welcome addition to any pop fans' music library. Great way to discover many heretofore unknown acts, too. Visit for more info on both the CD's and the festival.

Weekly Showcase


Heritage Auctions

2021 May 1 - 2 Entertainment & Music Memorabilia Signature Auction - Dallas #7238