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Wolf Colonel

Portland, Oregon's Wolf Colonel is primarily singer-songwriter Jason Anderson, who grew beyond his solo guitar dorm room performances, gathered some friends, plugged in, and started rocking out. Though Wolf Colonel now plays live with a full band, Anderson records the bulk of his studio albums on his own. The first full-length, 1999's Vikings of Mint (K Records), contains 15 glimpses of power pop rock heaven. This "attention deficit punk" captures all of the fun and the rambunctious silliness of big arena rock posturing and distills it into a purer form. Anderson may have been a singer-songwriter, but these songs have more in common with the muscular rock power of Thin Lizzy than the wussy self-indulgence generally associated with the s/s tag. The featured "Moral of the Story" is one of the longer songs on that album, clocking in at just under two and a half minutes. Halfway through, the song breaks into a big fat proggy rock bridge leading into a triumphant chorus that just begs you to sing along with Anderson's ultra Elvis Costello-meets-Blake Schwarzenbach (of the late great Jawbreaker and the currently great Jets to Brazil) straining croon. "The Emperor in the Sky," also from Vikings, is a little slice of fuzzy pop bliss, with harmonies straight out of a Guided by Barber Shop Quartet song that are guaranteed to make you swoon.

In 2000, K released The Castle, featuring "The Almond Gorilla." Once again, Anderson delivers toe-tappin' melodies, sun-drenched instrumentation, and wryly sweet vocals, all wrapped up into two and a half minutes of power pop bliss. In addition to the two Wolf Colonel full-lengths, K also released a seven-inch EP (simply titled Wolf Colonel) in 1999.

Wolf Colonel captures the irrepressible energy and enthusiasm that you hear in only the greatest rock and roll, featuring the kind of perfect chord progressions, well-placed guitar solos, and sweet harmonies that put smiles on everyone's faces. You'll want to savor these songs, but before you can learn all the words, the moment will have passed. You'll just have to listen again.