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Wash. Post SXSW Recap

A SXSW recap appears in today’s Washington Post Style section, written by Joe Heim; Mike gets a brief mention, as being among D.C.-area attendees.

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Washington Post Reviews “This Time”

…in the Weekend section today MIKE SHUPP “This Time” Private Mind (washingtonpost.com)… didn’t even see it… and a nice little sound clip in Post Haste 202-334-9000 (press 8107). Some great publicity for the Velvet Lounge show this Tuesday

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The Washington Post

The Washington Post
January 9th, 2004
MIKE SHUPP “This Time” Private Mind

Washington Post review 1/9/04

There’s nothing complicated about Mike Shupp’s approach to power pop, nothing to dim the appeal of the jingle-jangle guitar work, the clipped, hammered rhythms or the crafty construction of three-minute odes and laments. On “This Time,” big hooks trump big ideas time and again.

Yet the former Big Bang Theory guitarist nevertheless has something to say, mostly concerning the ins and outs of relationships, and his lyrics tend to be as thoughtful as they are concise. His most intriguing songs neatly summarize personal history and lingering tension in a line or two, creating a love-hate dynamic on “Good Again” or swiftly setting the mood for “All Over Town,” a tale of obsession, sorrow and humiliation. Shupp’s sharp pop instincts are an even bigger plus, though, which is why a song as sad as “Came to This” packs a rhythmic punch, or why “She’ll Come Around” is likely to bring Marshall Crenshaw to mind. Shupp does a lot of multi-tasking here, playing guitar, bass, keyboards and percussion while getting a big, booting assist from drummer Chris Zogby. But “This Time” never sounds as if it were pieced together in the studio. More often than not, in fact, it’s like listening to a power-pop band having a good time in real time.

Appearing Tuesday at Velvet Lounge. • To hear a free Sound Bite from Mike Shupp, call Post-Haste at 202-334-9000 and press 8107. (Prince William residents, call 703-690-4110.)

— Mike Joyce
( January 9th, 2004 )
Copyright © 2004 The Washington Post All rights reserved

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Tommy Keene’s Pop With Fizz, at Iota – Wash. Post

The Washington Post
SEP 8th, 2003
Style Section C.03

There’s a certain melancholy to most power-pop, reflecting a bittersweet memory of the days when jangling electric guitars ruled the Top 40, and few power-poppers are more wistful than Tommy Keene. That’s on his recordings, though. In concert, the Bethesda-bred Californian banishes regret with crashing guitar chords. Even such pensive tunes as “Places That Are Gone” and “Long Time Missing” — both of which the singer-guitarist and his trio played Saturday night at Iota — become celebrations…

…opening the show was Mike Shupp, a veteran local power-popper who still lives in the area. Aside from a slight rasp in his voice, the singer-guitarist didn’t deviate significantly from the sound of his recordings. That made his performance less dynamic than Keene’s, but it was still a pleasure to hear Shupp play his tuneful songs, the best of which should air regularly on the phantom Top 40 in every power-pop fan’s mind.

— Mark Jenkins
( September 8th, 2003 )
Copyright © 2003 The Washington Post All rights reserved

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The Washington Post

The Washington Post
Mike Shupp “The Key” review
Mike Shupp The Key (Private Mind Records)

Three years ago, Mike Shupp released his first solo album, a solid set of made-in-Virginia pop-rock. For its follow-up, Shupp traveled to Illinois, where he recorded with producer Jeff Murphy, whose Shoes helped define power-pop. Although Murphy’s contribution may not have been crucial – Shupp wrote the songs and played all the instruments except the drums – “The Key” shimmers even more appealingly than its predecessor.

Shupp was a member of Big Bang Theory, a local dance-rock band, but as a solo performer he’s abandoned funky rhythms in favor of such folk-rock mainstays as ringing guitars, high harmonies and heartbroken lyrics. He’s even appropriated the title of a classic Records tune, “Starry Eyes,” for one of his own songs. As such titles suggest, “The Key” doesn’t bust any precedents. But such buoyant songs as “Head on Straight” and “Right Through Me” compare well to the work of Shupp’s models.

— Mark Jenkins
( February 2nd, 2001 )
Copyright © 2001 The Washington Post.  All rights reserved.

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The Washington Post – ‘The Key’ To Success

Nightwatch
9:30 Club Pays Tribute to Image-Maker

By Eric Brace
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, February 2, 2001; Page WE06

WHEN the 9:30 club opened at 930 F St. NW on May 8, 1980, fliers announcing the event signaled the club’s eclectic and artistic side. They were designed by a young artist named Mark Holmes, and for the four years that he created posters, ads and monthly…

…‘THE KEY’ TO SUCCESS

What a great triple bill at IOTA on Saturday! Mike Shupp, Mark Helm and Scott McKnight. Each was in a prominent Washington band in the mid- to late ’80s (though none was the frontman). Each has been working solo for several years. Each has released an excellent new CD.

McKnight (who sometimes performs in my band) was in the Neighbors, Helm (then known as Mark Whiteis-Helm) was in Radio Blue and Mike Shupp was in Big Bang Theory, the only band of the three to have been signed to a major label (MCA), a deal that sadly went south soon after it was made.

Let’s check in with Shupp, whose next gig after Saturday is Feb. 17 at the Millennium Music Conference in Harrisonburg, Pa., where he hopes to grab some record executive’s ear and get a well-deserved record contract.

His release, “The Key,” is the second CD he’s put out under his name, and it’s as fine a slice of melodic rock and power-pop as I’ve heard recently. “It’s really just me and my drummer, Chris Zogby,” Shupp says. “He and I went to record with [former Washingtonian] Jeff Murphy at his studio in Zion, Ill., last year, and we did the whole thing there. I did the bass and all the guitars and vocals. We got to work really quickly like that, which was good, considering the tight budget I was on.”

This McLean boy played with Big Bang Theory from 1988 to 1992, then formed the bands Greenhouse and Nickel before deciding that his name alone said all that needed to be said. His first CD, 1997’s “October Sun,” was one of my favorites that year, and he promises the next one won’t be as long coming as “The Key” was. “I’ve already got an album’s worth of new stuff,” Shupp says, “and I want to start working on it sometime this summer.”

Meanwhile, he’s hired radio and media promoters to get the word out on “The Key,” and he’ll be playing around as much as possible with Zogby and current band mates guitarist Lee Wilhoit (who happens to be my housemate) and bassist Tony Flagg.

• To hear a free Sound Bite from “The Key,” call Post-Haste at 202/334-9000 and press 8114. (Prince William residents, call 690-4110.)

— Eric Brace
( February 2nd, 2001 )
Copyright © 2001 The Washington Post All rights reserved