Various Artists

Smoking Popes Tribute

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When people hear there is a Smoking Popes tribute record out, their first reaction may very well be incredulity. This is certainly understandable, because the Smoking Popes only released two full-length albums and neither one was much of a hit. Once you realize that there is a push underway to make sure every band who ever recorded a note of music is feted with a tribute record, it begins to make more sense. Seriously, the Smoking Popes were influential in a small way. Along with Weezer, they were one of the few post-Dookie bands to add more pop than punk to their mix of punk-pop and became a source of inspiration to many of the melodically inclined emo bands. Some of them are to be found on the roster of pop-punkers paying tribute here. The big names are the Red Hot Valentines, who cover "Rubella"; Saturday Supercade, who tackle "I Love You Paul"; the musically adventurous Bad Astronaut, who cover "Megan"; and the Ataris, who do "Pretty Pathetic." The rest of the lineup is more obscure, but one might say that is a fitting testament to the relative obscurity of the Smoking Popes. One odd thing about the record is the presence of former Smoking Popes drummer Mike Felumlee, who contributes a version of "Don't Be Afraid." Most bands or artists being tributed tend to steer clear of the process -- it seems wrong somehow to be paying tribute to yourself. No matter, the record is a well-chosen and played tribute to the music and career of the Smoking Popes and fans will no doubt be thrilled.

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