Milwaukee quartet the Blow Pops were one of the great indie power pop bands of the early '90s, but they broke up after only two albums, too soon to really benefit from the Internet-spawned growth of the underground power pop scene that started around 1995. Although they can be difficult to locate due to their limited distribution, the Blow Pops' two albums are revered by many fans of the style.
The Blow Pops formed in late 1989 when singer/guitarist Mike Jarvis
(once in the Chicago pop-punk band Green) and guitarist Tim Buckley
(formerly of local legends Wobble Test, and not the late folk-jazz singer) joined with bassist John Daniels and drummer Nick Randazzo
, and released their first single, "Stop!" backed with "I Know Nancy," the following year. Daniels
was replaced in 1991 by Jack Rice, formerly of the excellently named the Mighty Deer Lick. The quartet's first album, Charmed I'm Sure, came out on the Pittsburgh garage rock indie Get Hip in 1992. A masterful blend of hooks and harmonies produced by John Frankovic
, Charmed I'm Sure (a punning nod to Charms, the candy company that makes the bubble gum-filled lollipops known as Blow Pops) even contains "Under the Big Top," a four-part extended mini-opera in the manner of the Who
's "A Quick One While He's Away."
Following another single, 1993's "My Carrie" backed with "Bleary Eyes" (both tracks showed up on the CD version of the next album), the Blow Pops recorded their second and final album, 1994's American Beauties
. Produced by Jeff Murphy
, American Beauties
is a little crunchier than the harmony-heavy, lightly psychedelic debut. (More Who
, that is.) The songs are every bit as strong, however.
The Blow Pops broke up in early 1995. Jarvis
, Randazzo, and Rice
went on to form the Lackloves, a superb power pop band that fulfills much of the Blow Pops' promise. Buckley
moved to Richmond, VA, and followed a surprisingly different musical path, forming the neo-psychedelic, almost space rock Maki.