The Pop Underground

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The Pop Underground
EP by Andrew McMahon
Released April 30, 2013[1]
Recorded 2012-2013
Genre piano rock, indie rock, electronic
Length 15:05
Label Left Here Music
Producer Tony Hoffer
Andrew McMahon chronology
People and Things
(2011)
The Pop Underground
(2013)
Singles from The Pop Underground
  1. "Synesthesia"
    Released: April 2, 2013

The Pop Underground is an EP by Andrew McMahon, marking his first official debut as a solo artist separated from his prior bands Something Corporate and Jack's Mannequin. It is produced and mixed by Tony Hoffer. It was released on April 30, 2013.

The EP's title first appeared in a post McMahon wrote for the Huffington Post, in which he speaks of his accomplishments as an artist under the radar.

I am proud that night after night and album after album, a mass of humanity I now refer to lovingly as the pop underground, come together and sing. Whether it's in theaters and concert venues around the world, in the privacy of our own homes or the constantly shifting landscape of social media, we are a scrappy tribe and we stand for something: Music that is found, shared and cared for despite access to traditional outlets; music that lives virally and through word of mouth; music that tells a story that people want to retell.[2]

Track Listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Andrew McMahon and Mark Williams, except where noted. 

Standard Edition
No. Title Length
1. "Synesthesia"   4:21
2. "Catching Cold"   4:01
3. "Learn To Dance"   3:17
4. "After The Fire"   3:26

Recording[edit]

The Pop Underground, with the exception of "Synesthesia" B-Side, "Sister Golden Hair Surprise", recorded by Jim Wirt at Crushstone Studios, Cleveland, OH, was recorded by Tony Hoffer at The Hobby Shop in Highland Park and Sound Factory Studio B in Hollywood, with additional recording done by Mark Williams in his Brooklyn-based studio from late 2012 to early 2013. [3]

The album was co-written by Williams and Andrew McMahon, with Williams taking part in pre-production and arrangement, with Hoffer producing and mixing the final EP.

The EP's electronic sound, McMahon told AOL Music, came from his working with Williams, with whom he wrote the EP's songs in-studio, a departure from McMahon's normal writing process, with allowed him access to elements not typically available to him whilst writing. "Learn To Dance" was the first song written for the album, and as such, states McMahon:

[it] in many ways it set the tone for the EP's subject matter, as well as our approach in the studio. [4]

Release and Reception[edit]

"Synesthesia"
Single by Andrew McMahon
Audio sample
file info · help
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Confront Magazine 4.75/5 stars[5]
Diffuser.fm 6/10[6]
Melodic 3/5 stars[7]
Modern Vinyl 3.5/5 stars [8]
Sputnikmusic 3/5 stars [9]
The Stylus 3.5/5 stars [10]

As a preview for the EP, McMahon began performing select songs of his new material while on tour, promoting the track "Learn To Dance" on January 9, 2013 on a supporting run with fun. and premiering the EP's first single, "Synesthesia", on March 13, 2013 during the first show of his first headlining run.

"Synesthesia" was first made available for streaming by Under The Gun Review on March 31, 2013, [11] and was officially released on April 2, 2013. On April 25, 2013, Billboard exclusively premiered "After The Fire" on their website.[12] On April 26, 2013, AOL Music premiered "Learn To Dance" on their blog. Lastly, on April 29, 2013, Alternative Press premiered "Catching Cold".[13]

On May 3, Under The Gun Review premiered the Synesthesia B-Side, "Sister Golden Hair", on the website.[14]

The album was released on April 30, 2013, both digitally and physically. The physical release is notable, like its single, "Synesthesia", for only being physically on 10" vinyl. [15]

The EP itself has received mixed to positive reviews, with reviewers often criticising it for its short, 15 minute running time, and noting the album's musical departure from McMahon's earlier work. It was, however, also almost unanimously praised for its upbeat, poppy sound. Confront Magazine gave the EP 4.75/5 stars. Modern Vinyl and The Stylus, however, both gave it 3/5 stars. Diffuser.fm gave the album 6/10. Lastly, Melodic and Sputnikmusic gave the album 3/5 stars.

Personnel[edit]

  • Lyrics - Andrew McMahon and Mark Williams
  • Keys on "Catching Cold", Vocals and Piano - Andrew McMahon
  • Pre-production, Arrangement, Keys, Programming and Guitar - Mark Williams
  • Drums - Jay McMillan
  • Additional Guitar on "Catching Cold", Programming, Production and Mixing - Tony Hoffer
  • Additional Guitar on "Synesthesia" and "Catching Cold", Guitar on "Learn To Dance" - Jeremy Hatcher
  • Bass on "Learn to Dance" and "Synesthesia" - Mike Wagner
  • Art Direction and Design - Frank Maddocks

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ableson, Jon, Alter The Press! press release, retrieved 2013-04-25 
  2. ^ McMahon, Andrew, Huffington Post Online, retrieved 2013-03-14 
  3. ^ McMahon, Andrew, New Beginnings, retrieved 2013-06-08 
  4. ^ Malach, Maggie, AOL Music Blog, retrieved 2013-04-25 
  5. ^ Payette, Melissa, Confront Magazine Review, retrieved 2013-06-08 
  6. ^ Kellmurray, Beth, Diffuser.fm Review, retrieved 2013-06-08 
  7. ^ Wippsson, Johan. "Andrew McMahon - The Pop Underground - EP". Retrieved 2013-08-08. 
  8. ^ Lantinen, Chris, Modern Vinyl Review, retrieved 2013-06-08 
  9. ^ Flynn, Nathan, Sputnikmusic Review, retrieved 2013-06-08 
  10. ^ Wood, Brandon, The Stylus Review, retrieved 2013-06-08 
  11. ^ Shotwell, James, Under the Gun Synesthesia Stream, retrieved 2013-06-07 
  12. ^ Lipshutz, Jason, Billboard Magazine, retrieved 2013-04-25 
  13. ^ Whitt, Cassie, Alternative Press, retrieved 2013-04-29 
  14. ^ Shotwell, James, Under The Gun Sister Golden Hair Stream, retrieved 2013-03-05 
  15. ^ McMahon, Andrew, The Pop Underground: Andrew McMahon Store, retrieved 2013-03-05