Bill Popp & the Tapes

Insides

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Bill Popp reached an even higher artistic plateau with his more polished second album Insides. The CD's standout track is clearly "Freedom's Blood," a poignant and riveting reflection on the Chinese government's slaughter of students in Tienamen Square in 1989 that gets its point across without preaching. But almost as appealing are such melodic yet rockin' gems as "Zippora," "Stone to Throw" and "Sidewalk Dance." While the rough edges that characterized much of Popp This have decreased, the influence of punk and new wave remains evident. Part of what makes Popp's music this convincing is the fact that he's so darn unapologetic when it comes to his 1960s influences. There's nothing even remotely contrived about Insides, which was undeniably one of the most honest and captivating rock releases of 1996.

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