September 1, 1994 |
Jules Shear is a power-pop hall of famer. The longtime cult hero, who headlined the Troubadour on Tuesday, mines a wealth of classic '60s pop devices, creating a world where taut, throbbing verses, soaring choruses and arching bridges trace the contours of emotional ups and downs (in Shear's case, mainly downs). He's an uncommonly sophisticated craftsman in the style, fashioning hooks that have substance as well as catchiness and bringing an elegance to sound that's often simplistic.
May 8, 1992 |
It took 16 years, but Jules Shear finally has achieved something that even cultlevel rockers like himself usually enjoy from the start: recognition in his hometown. Shear, 39, lit out from Pittsburgh in 1973 and headed to Los Angeles as a 20-year-old aspiring pop-rocker. While he hasn't attained mass success as a recording artist, he has earned the sorts of credits that usually make one a big deal in the eyes of the folks back home.
May 7, 1992 |
Jules Shear is one of those "does-that-ring-a-bell?" names that even avid pop fans may not be able to place. But millions of listeners would readily recognize his work. The Pittsburgh native wrote two fetching Top 10 pop hits of the mid-'80s, Cyndi Lauper's ballad, "All Through the Night," and the Bangles' wistful harmony showcase, "If She Knew What She Wants."
March 8, 1992 |
JULES SHEAR "The Great Puzzle" Polydor * * * 1/2 It's tempting to drop bad puns about "sheer greatness" in synopsizing the strengths of Shear's "Great Puzzle." That might be a bit misleading. This album--which, as the title suggests, is yet another agreeably vain attempt to make rhyming and rhythmic sense of that most senseless of subjects, luv --is more likely to sneak up on you than bowl you over. Its greatness is more in its afterglow.
July 17, 1989 |
Wearing a colorful vest over a blue T-shirt, his wavy dark hair framing his hound-dog expression, singer-songwriter Jules Shear looked a bit like a young, thin Arlo Guthrie as he gave a rare solo performance on Friday at McCabe's. An appropriate resemblance: In this setting Shear's writing revealed some of the same Bob Dylan influences of young Guthrie, especially in the staccato meters and dense, evocative imagery. But enough of that nostalgia.
April 30, 1989 |
If you knew that Matthew Sweet (who opens for Toni Childs at the Palace on May 11) is a product of the much-hyped alternative music scene of Athens, Ga., you'd hardly be expecting his new album, "Earth," to be filled with lucid lyrics about love, with pop hooks and harmonies. It has considerable mainstream commercial potential, and makes much use of synthesizers and drum programming. In other words, it's not exactly R.E.M.-like. "I was in bands in Athens and I was on records that have 'the Athens sound,' " says Sweet, who has since moved from that musical mecca to the shores of New Jersey.