AN OPEN RESPONSE TO DON VALENTINE'S ARTICLE "FUTURE OF POWER POP" 

Don Valentine hosts a blog called, "I Don't Hear a Single". TSH HQ read his article on the future of Power Pop, which can be seen here:

https://hearasingle.blogspot.com/2021/06/the-future-of-power-pop.html?fbclid=IwAR2JLCPoavBet5BVCXBVdB-hu9YsbhJBzVUjWmagXCA_TRMaGJWto7Hkjwc

Frank Gradishar of TSH has penned an open response:

An Open Response to Don Valentine’s Blog “The Future of Power Pop” 

Let me start by saying, I appreciate Mr. Valentine’s opinions and appreciate his intellect on the topic. Being an independent “artist” myself, I think there are a few points that need to be stated in support and opposition to this article. 

“You can love The Beatles and new Power Pop artists, the two aren’t mutually exclusive.” 

I could not agree more with Mr. Valentine on this point. The overt bias of many power pop fans towards artists that emulate the Mersey sound is certainly annoying, and suggests a remarkably limited view. 

I also cannot stand the “Is it Power Pop?” question and debates which seem to pop up on many websites and FB group pages with alarming regularity. 

I will cite Rick Springfield on a recent Sirius radio show of his, who stated, in summary and not verbatim, “Power Pop is about good songs, played by real musicians, with guitars, and hooks, and melodies and harmonies.” That seems good enough for me. 

There are boatloads of great Power Pop artists who are not the Beatles, The Kinks, The Small Faces, The Raspberries, Jellyfish, Badfinger or Big Star. Take a look at Velvet Crush, The Odds, Tommy Keene, Teenage Fanclub, The Smithereens, XTC, Cheap Trick, Urge Overkill, Gin Blossoms, Fountains of Wayne, Material Issue, Sloan, The Jam, and a slew of modern acts, a list too long to add here. 

“I Have a Load of Time for David Bash…” 

I do too. I appreciate Mr. Bash’s tireless dedication to champion and highlight modern Power Pop bands and artists, including those he invites to play his annual IPO and those he asks to be included on his IPO Compilations. 

While I see Mr. Valentine’s argument that it might be nice if Mr. Bash could pay artists that are invited to play IPO, I would suggest that Mr. Valentine misses the mark somewhat. While artists are not paid for their appearance at IPO, I was always happy to take part because there is a true value to the exposure getting in front of like-minded music fans who attend the shows. Those folks will hopefully dig my band, maybe tell a friend, buy a CD, or listen to our streams. 

On the topic of paying to be included on the IPO compilation, I see no issue there. Again, it’s all about exposure. If I have spent thousands of dollars recording a single, EP or album, why would I balk at paying $300 to have my song included on such a release? 

We have been fortunate to be included in other compilations, such as those curated by Bruce at Not Lame and Wayne at Ice Cream Man Power Pop and More. Bruce's was a CD, and we were not asked to pay anything. But I would have! 

“The problem is the pluggers…” 

Mr. Valentine took aim at Radio Candy. Based on my personal experience, this attack is unwarranted. 

In short, from my experience, Marc Platt who operates Radio Candy is a good guy who runs a business to help bands promote their songs for a fee. I do not see an issue here. It’s all about marketing and getting your songs heard, by whomever, wherever and in whatever format the songs might be listened to. Mr. Platt was honest an up front with me about what he does, and he promised me no results, no chart placements, or anything else. What he does for my band is rather simple. I pay him to send ours songs to people in hopes they will play the songs. He does not promise those folks he sends the songs to will listen or even play them. But again, if I have shelled out the money for recording a sing or EP, in whatever format, CD Vinyl, why would I not spend a few hundred dollars to get a song out to people? Could I spend hours tracking down email addresses to send my songs to? Absolutely! Do I want to? Nope. Time is money. 

So when an indie artist pays to have his or her songs plugged or push, I see it as an investment in his or her art. Are they rich? I don’t know. Do they have “rich parents” as Mr. Valentine suggests? Maybe. And what if they do have rich parents who support their endeavors? 

I should note, that my band, Thrift Store Halo is a passion; a hobby. I am a lawyer by trade, so I can afford to indulge my hobby and pay folks like Mr. Bash and Mr. Platt, to assist me in promotion. I am sure many folks cannot afford to or do not want to pay for this type of promo. Fair enough. But why spend all your time making music, recording and releasing that music, and not spend a little extra to get more people to hear it? 

On the issue of indie/internet radio there are many great ones out there, including, but not limited to those run and operated by Boris Boden, Jim Prell, DJ Gidget, Jeff Shelton, Alan Haber, Wayne L. Ford, Rick Boucher, Gerard Girard, Di Kulka, Rick Warhall, Simon Edwards, Brian Blum, who all, I suspect are not getting rich from their stations. 

On the topic of indie labels, Pravda Records and Pravda Music Publishing has been great to work with all these years. Also, Kool Kat Musik demands props! 

“…there is something fishy about such a chart” 

Thrift Store Halo has been included on indie radio/internet radio charts many times. I find that flattering. That said, I do not claim to know how the charts produced by several internet radio stations are generated. I suspect Mr. Valentine does. 

What I find interesting about this article is that Mr. Valentine failed to disclose to the reader that his blog, I Don’t Hear a Single, had its own chart, which was part of the RIA, which he attacked in his article. His station, was, based on information and belief, actually operated for a time by Mr. Platt. So, I wonder if his attacks on Radio Candy are personal on some level? 

I have never paid to be included on any chart. I have not seen any drop off in number of followers because I have said thanks to a radio station for playing our songs. Perhaps others have. But I do pay, gladly, for the assistance of folks like Mr. Bash and Mr. Platt. I will continue to. 

In the interest of full disclosure, I should note, I have sent Mr. Valentine each of my band’s releases, and he has, to the best of my knowledge, never listened to them and he has not reviewed them. However, I have zero issue with that fact, or with him. He is passionate about music, and he reviews and champions the artists he likes. No harm in that whatsoever. Many other reviewers whom I sent music to, have. 

In conclusion, I love Power Pop, and I am happy to be in a band that has been part of the Chicago Power Pop scene for over 25 years. In the end, it’s not about blogs, reviews, internet radio, internet radio station charts, reviews, write-ups, social media, pushers or bloggers. It is about the music. 

Based on what I continue to hear being produced and released by so many artists, the future of Power Pop looks bright.

Frank Gradishar
Chicago, Illinois 
July 1, 2021

"If I Go" Surpasses 50,000 Spotify Plays!  

Greetings! We’ve had little to post about in the last, oh, 15+ months, but we’re here to share a bit of a milestone…our track "If I Go" off our LP, World Gone Mad (which would have been a really fitting title for these times) has surpassed 50,000 plays on Spotify! 

Thanks to the early efforts of Kenn Goodman at Pravda Records/Pravda Music, “If I Go” (a rather non-commercial, little retro-shuffle tune) was featured on the TV shows “Smallville”, "Pensacola Wings of Gold" and MTV’s “Parental Controls.”  

  In total, TSH songs have been played online over 175,000 times. Not quite the number of plays big-time artists generate, of course, but we’re massively grateful to everyone who has listened over time. 

It’s been a long meandering journey for TSH over the last 23 years, and in some respects we’re proper slackers...a few years of activity followed by multi-year gaps of inactivity. But, with the world opening up again, our golf skills woefully lacking, a massive backlog of songs piling up, you will likely be hearing from us again soon. 

We hope you’re well!

2021. 

It's Springtime in Chicago. Vaccines are getting in arms. Trump is a nagging, far too recent memory...The world is on the mend. 

It should follow therefore, that TSH would finally get back to it. But, while songs continue to pile up, and texts and calls are being answered, little of note is happening. There's dust on basses and drums remained zipped in cases.

The quarantines and shutdowns gave life to plenty of new releases, we're sure, but we're not really paying that much attention. It's not apathy. We do care.

Restrictions are easing, but still we're inert. It's not lack of interest or of confidence, per se. Perhaps we're just acutely aware that more important and pressing things are jockeying and vying for our attention. And yours.

If you're reading this...and let's be honest, you're probably not, we're not going anywhere. We're like those work clothes that you haven't had to wear in 13 months. We might not fit like we used to, and we're not sure we're even remotely still in style - if we ever were. But, we're not getting carted off to Goodwill just yet. Because, someday, maybe sooner than later, we're going to decide it's time. 

So, our friends, we will see you again, when more doors are thrown open, hugs can be freely given and the masks go the way of Sansabelt trousers, NBA sneakers by Kinney Shoes and Sizzlean, TSH will still be here, pandering our Chicago-brand style of Power Pop.

Some things never go out of style.

"IF I GO" Surpasses 45,000 Spotify Plays!!  

NICE!!! Our track "If I Go" (featured on the TV shows Smallville and the "Pensacola Wings of Gold" thanks to our friends at Pravda Records) off our World Gone Mad LP has surpassed 45,200 plays on Spotify! Not quite the million it deserves, but we're grateful nonetheless...THANKS TO ALL WHO LISTEN! 

2020.  

HELLO from TSH HQ! Needless to say, 2020 has, thus far, been a total shit show on many levels. While a ton of new songs have been written, TSH has remained on pause.

We look forward to starting up again later this year and with any luck we will have a new release ready in 2021. In the meantime, stay safe, sane, and healthy out there! 

Happy New Year!  

Happy 2020! We're enjoying an extended hiatus over the holidays, but wanted to thank everyone for all the support in 2019. Special year-end thanks to Boris Boden for placing our "Consolation Prize Fighter" EP at No. 27 in the Secret Weapon Radio Show Top 40; Rick Warhall for naming our track "Once" on his Chasing the Essential 2019 best of show (#222); and The Power Pop Shoppe for including the band on its list of cool Chicago bands! MASSIVE THANKS to these folks and all who listened, downloaded tracks, came out to our shows and bought CDs!

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Previous events

New Duncan Imperials w/ Thrift Store Halo

Fitzgerald's Nightclub, 6615 Roosevelt Rd., Berwyn, IL 60402

We're thrilled to be opening for the trashier-than-ever New Duncan Imperials! Both NDI and TSH are celebrating the release of new records on Pravda Records / Pravda Music Publishing!

2019 marks NDI's 30th Anniversary and TSH's 25th, which just goes to show some things (like fine wine, trousers, hair tonic, music and musicians) get better with age! If you know anything about TSH's early days, you'll recall that TSH opened for NDI several times in the 1990s and the shows were always a blast! This show at Fitzgerald's will certainly be no exception. It's gonna be just like the "old days"!! Also, it is highly likely this will be the last TSH performance for quite some time, so we hope you'll come out for a night of insanely good live music at a killer venue!

Details:

Doors open at 7 pm, general admission, no reserved seating. Under 21 ok if accompanied by parent or guardian. Seating/Standing Room based on sales, i.e. more tix sold = less furniture; call week of show for updated info. Parking on the street with no permit restrictions or meters; DO NOT park in business or mini-mall lots or you will be towed. We do not serve food, but you are welcome to bring in takeout or order for delivery. For updated info on how sales are going, check out our Facebook page: FitzGerald's Nightclub

Thrift Store Halo Record Release Show!

Ballydoyle Irish Pub, 5157 Main Street, Downers Grove

Join us as we celebrate the release of our new "CONSOLATION PRIZE FIGHTER" CD! Early 8:30 PM showtime, no opening act, no cover, children welcome with parent(s)!

Apr19

Thrift Store Halo at International Pop Overthrow Fest Chicago

Livewire Lounge, 3394 N. Milwaukee, Chicago, Illinois 60641

We're happy to announce that Thrift Store Halo will be performing as part of the International Pop Overthrow Music Festival Chicago again, this year being hosted at the awesome LiveWire Lounge Chicago! Massive thanks to David Bash for inviting us to return. If last year's event is any indication, it's going to be a great fest and one epic night of killer, indie power pop!

We will be celebrating Lance's Birthday and playing tracks from our forthcoming new EP, "Consolation Prize Fighter" out soon! We hope you can join us!

For more info on the venue: http://livewireloungechicago.com/

Cover: $10

Lineup for Friday, April, 19th:

8:00 Waiflike 8:45 The Unswept 9:30 Collectors 10:15 The Spindles 11:00 Thrift Store Halo 11:45 BingBong

A Benefit for Andy featuring Thrift Store Halo

Ballydoyle Irish Pub, 5157 Main Street, Downers Grove

Frank G's good friend and fellow Benet Academy alum (Class of '91), Andy Stout was diagnosed with a brain tumor on June 4, 2018. Andy underwent immediate emergency surgery on June 5th to remove a dangerous glioblastoma the size of a large lemon. He is the is the incredible father to 2 young kids, Rowan (7) and Callum (5). He has dedicated his life to raising his children, as well as teaching acting and participating in TV shows when he had the chance. Unfortunately, given his current medical hardship, Andy cannot continue working and has no income to pay his medical expenses, not to mention helping care for his 2 amazing kiddos.

So, to help out, Thrift Store Halo and friends, Jameson Shakes, are hosting a fundraiser with the proceeds going to help Andy with medical bills and insurance deductibles.

Thrift Store Halo live in Bartlett w/ Cliff Johnson and the Raine!

Bannermans, 858 S IL Route 59, Bartlett, Illinois 60103

Thrift Store Halo returns to the stage at Bannermans in Bartlett, Illinois, in support of Cliff Johnson (the voice of the incomparable Power-Pop band, and Atlantic Records recording artist, Off Broadway) & the Raine!! TSH will perform one 90-minute set commencing at 9:30 P.M. on Saturday, September 17th!

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