The Trampolines: Between the Lines

RIYL: Toad the Wet Sprocket, Gin Blossoms, The Hooters

If you are a fan of well-produced, well-written, harmony-drenched power pop, you may have found a new favorite band in Denver’s the Trampolines. Back with their second album and first since 2005, Between the Lines, this trio delivers a solid set of material that deserves to be heard by those who champion the type of stuff that came out of the Aware Records camp and what today passes for AAA (adult album alternative). Think Train or Toad the Wet Sprocket, with throwback flavors from bands like the Hooters and the Eagles. Don’t let lofty comparisons like that make you skeptical either, because this stuff is as addictive as that bag of chips you pick up at a truck stop when you’re really hungry – and maybe that’s just it, that we’re all starved for good, melodic rock. Frontman Mark Sundermeier and his band mates have not only written extremely catchy material, but they also deliver it with conviction and with some exceptional vocals. Right from the start, the harmonies and guitar tones on “The Need” are very Toad-esque and then some of the other standouts are the breezy “Shelter” and “Green Lights,” as well as the rocking “Letter,” which effectively marries fuzzy guitar with some nice driving piano. If you’re into any of the acts mentioned here, you need to do yourself a favor and check out The Trampolines, stat. (self-released 2009)

The Trampolines MySpace Page


Dexter Freebish: The Best of (The Other Side)

Dexter Freebish was one of those dot com-era bands that bridged a gap between alt-pop powerhouses that were slowly fading (think Toad the Wet Sprocket or Hootie) and those that were embracing their independence like never before (The Clarks, Better Than Ezra). There simply isn’t ever a place on any musical timeline where good, melodic pop/rock doesn’t have a place, and this five-piece Texas band is proof of that. Dexter Freebish released two albums beginning with 2000’s A Life of Saturdays, which included their John Lennon Songwriting Contest entry, “Leaving Town.” But after breaking up in 2005, lead singer Kyle (who mysteriously has no last name) and the rest of the band got back together for some shows, and found out there is still a market for their catchy fare. EA Sports, along with a publishing arm of Nettwerk Music, decided to release this greatest hits collection, The Best Of (The Other Side), including four new tracks, and history is being made before your very eyes, or something. The big “hits” are all here, including “Leaving Town,” “Prozak” (which actually WON the John Lennon contest) and “Higher,” and some of the newer stuff is pretty decent, in particular the stunning piano ballad “Walk on Water.” For the most part, Dexter Freebish is a decent band with nice, hooky songs, but they aren’t going to keep tastemakers up at night figuring out who heard them first. (LABEL: Electronic Arts)

Dexter Freebish MySpace Page