The Return of International Pop Overthrow: David Bash’s International Pop Overthrow traveling festival is a national, nay international, treasure, yet it remains the case that not enough people know it.

We wrote about the CD set that accompanies the tour back in 2019, the last time IPO took place for obvious, global reasons, and said that: “The ‘pop’ it refers to in the name doesn’t have much to the music we consider pop today — the boy bands and manufactured stars of the world. Rather, it’s going back to earlier definitions — ’60s beat groups and psych-rock, and of course the power-pop inspired by the likes of Big Star and Cheap Trick.”

Blaine Campbell (Brett Callwood)

That remains the case and, though we’ve had to wait three years to enjoy the 23rd installment of both the tour and the album, it’s been well worth the wait. As is the norm, Bash assembled a stunning and diverse array of talent that span the traditional definitions of pop, with a keen eye on rock & roll.

The album, available from the website listed below, is the gift that keeps on giving. And honestly, we’re still coming to grips with how good the 2019 edition is!

There are 68 songs spread across three discs, and no filler. There wasn’t any last time either, and that’s essentially miraculous when you’re dealing with this number of tunes. Sure, there are highlights. Oxford, UK, group Jodie and the Jerms, for example, shine with the song “Counting Dreams.” Liverpool lady Sue Hedges is another UK artist worthy of more attention ofter hearing her “Songs in a Different Light.”

Some of the songs have an edge, others are impossibly sweet, but all are gloriously infectious and there are really too many to mention but we’ll give a shout out to Your Academy’s “Miss Amphetamine” and Golden Richards’ “Shake Your Hair.” Really though, just dive in.

The Los Angeles installment of the tour is over for another year, but we were delighted to check out some awesome bands on Friday night at the Redwood Bar & Grill, the penultimate night of the L.A. stint. Blaine Campbell, who appears on the album with “Happy Faces” performed, and he played that song and more alongside his band the California Sound. Laurel Canyon vibes blend with Beach Boys sunshine. A California sound indeed.

We loved the Drool Brothers — a wonderfully goofy trio who seem to pull from, in turn, Zappa, Primus and Beastie Boys resulting in a rock & roll sound that is as fun as it is zany. The Popravinas were equally impressive but in an entirely different way, recalling the golden age of radio while retaining a contemporary bit of something.

Ultimately, we can sit here all day and list bands that performed at IPO 2022, or that appear on the new album. But the reality is that it’s all good. Get the CDs and, for god’s sake, make sure you attend one of the shows in the future. San Francisco is the next stop, but we sure hope there’ll be an International Pop Overthrow 2023.

The Return of International Pop Overthrow: Visit internationalpopoverthrow.com for all of the info.

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