Numero Group Unleashes Power Pop And Endless Smiles

By Tankboy in Arts & Entertainment on Oct 2, 2012 5:40PM

2012_10_buttons_champaign.jpg The Numero Group recently reissued Yellow Pills: Prefill, their 2005 CD collection of forgotten power pop gems, in an expanded 2-LP limited edition they now call Buttons: Starter Pack. It was meant both as a reminder that while the label is well known for unearthing amazing soul and R&B you never even knew existed, they also had a knack for uncovering shoulda-been classics in other genres as well, and as the set up for a brand new power pop collection dedicated to our section of the Midwest, Buttons: From Champaign to Chicago. These two discs also serve the purpose of introducing the world to the Buttons imprint at large, since it's under this umbrella the Numero Group will continue to release their amazing power pop discoveries into the world.

Buttons: Starter Pack opens with Luxury's "Green Hearts" and plants the collection's flag solidly in that late '70s and early '80s era as new wave gently nudged it's way into simpler rock and/or roll. Toms' "(I Wanna Be A) Teen Again" exemplifies this further as its T. Rex riffs meet the Bay City Rollers and head for the dance floor. And then something like "Not Easy For Me" by the Bats comes through like a barn burner that could have rocketed to the top of the charts, mixing endearing sentiment with a winning melody punctuated by an early pop synth line. When you listen to all of these you seriously are left scratching your head and wondering what happened: why weren't these hits?

That question continues through the 19 songs on Buttons: From Champaign to Chicago that flew under the radar of the Billboard charts. It's no secret that the Midwest has turned out some of the finest power pop out there, and from Zion's Shoes to Oak Park's Off Broadway to Chicago's Material Issue it's obvious our little state has been a major contributor to that legacy. And this collection just shows how deep those precious veins of melody run through our part of the country, drawing together little heard tunes churned out by bands that may have never hit it big on the national scene, but certainly struck gold at least once in their songwriting cycle. You probably won't recognize a single band on this compilation, and afterward you may be hard pressed to remember the names of every group within, but we guarantee these tunes won't fade so quickly from your memory.