New Haven native Michael “Spike” Priggen’s guitar-hooked pop songs are so catchy, you’re not sure what the titles are because every single lyric is so quotable. On the opening track, the verse goes “I know everything,” while the chorus wonders “Maybe it’s wrong to be right.” “Little Star” says “You know I’m not that smart/And you know I’m not that strong/And how could I be precious/When you bought me for a song?,” a sentiment continued on “Everyone Loves Me But You,” which begins “You think that you’re so smart…” Spike’s last disc was an all-covers project, so it’s thrilling to hear 11 Priggen originals in a row, his guitar, vocals and keyboards backed by the rocking yet reverent rhythm section of Scott Yoder and Brian Doherty, with guest appearances by Cheap Trick’s Bun E. Carlos and guitar great Mark Spencer. This instant pick-me-up keeps you up by varying the arrangements from alt-rock to alt-country to power pop. The angry-dad cover cartoon by Hate ’s Peter Bagge and cryptic album title cinch its irresistibility. —Christopher Arnott
TV Neats and the Excerpts , Pop As Can Be and Dance City All the Way (Wizzard in Vinyl).
Neat! Even more Spike Priggen! This Asian import collects 15 songs by his late-‘70s outfit TV Neats, plus one by the Excerpts (co-starring Hamden-raised popmaster Jon Brion). A bonus disc captures TV Neats live at New Haven’s ECA Arts Hall in early 1981. These peppy, propulsive pop tracks (with titles like “Dear Abby” and “I Said Oh No”) are an important document of the shaping of the local scene, as well as a snapshot of pure-pop Priggen before he deepened his sound via Hello Strangers. —C.A. Link