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In the desolate landscape of “modern” music, quality songwriting has been de-valued and the obtuse and esoteric is routinely passed off as innovation. But every once in a long while, an original record cuts through the fog to remind us that there is no substitute for killer hooks, whipcrack musicianship and three minute miracles. This year, that album is dig the new sounds of tenniscourts and it is exactly what we’ve all been waiting for. tenniscourts. One word—lowercase, if you please. This exciting new band is the direct descendant of power-pop greats like the Jam, the Buzzcocks and Cheap Trick, yet with an indisputably unique voice all its own. The 13 songs on “dig the new sounds” span all that makes pop music great—from the anthemic chorus of “Forever True” to the sugary confection of “Swimming Pool,” from the propulsive waltz of “27b” to the staccato handclaps of “Nicotine Nights,” this is the sound of a band that knows their way around a pop song. And let it be said, for the record, that is no small thing. tenniscourts is the brainchild of one Wes Hollywood, well known to all Chicago rock fans for his Wes Hollywood Show combo, a fixture on the local scene for nearly a decade. The WHS released 4 CDs, culminating with the widely acclaimed Moonraker. As time went on, Wes noticed the widening gulf between the loose indie rock sound that was prevalent at the time and the succinct and economical pop songs that increasingly dominated his catalog. Deciding to follow his own voice rather than those around him, Wes formed tenniscourts out of the ashes of the WHS and released a self-titled CD in 2007. A hundred shows and a few lineup tweaks later, the group fully coalesced. Now joined by Spencer Matern’s effortlessly melodic basslines, the tasteful keyboard playing of Chris Thomson and the propulsive drumming of Tom Shover (Brown Betty, Fondly), Wes finally has the perfect accompaniment for his delirious pop masterpieces. -David Singer (Sweet Science Records) Old Wave favorite Wes Hollywood is back with tenniscourts (the band and the album), reminding us once again why we love real powerpop so damned much. Smart guitars, wailing lyrics, singers in glasses dissecting modern boy-girl longing. Wes and the boys sound like our post-punk heroes might sound if they were still young and relevant. This is one of our most anticipated discs of 2007. Can't wait to spend this summer on the tenniscourts. -Dan Klass Read more on User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply.