Archie Powell & The Exports
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Archie Powell & The Exports

Chicago, Illinois, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2009 | SELF

Chicago, Illinois, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2009
Band Rock Pop


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"mySpoonful of new music: Archie Powell & The Exports"

for fans of: Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, The Thermals, Elvis Costello

why you should check them out:
Archie Powell & The Exports is a down and dirty, rock and roll dance party of a band. Insanely energetic and lively, Powell leads the Exports with a saunter and a smile, not letting his down-and-out lyrics get in the way of good time melodies. Brimming with dangerously addictive power pop hooks, foot-stomping rhythms, and buzzing guitar riffs, this Second City act has two well crafted rock albums under their belt and a rabid fanbase eager to see what 2013 brings.

background check:
The son of a Chicago Symphony Orchestra violinist, Archie Powell has been writing rock songs since high school. Behind his black-framed glasses, Powell looks like a cross between an uncombed Buddy Holly and an unshaven Elvis Costello, though lyrically Powell may have more in common with Bruce Springsteen's blue-collar blues. Forming the Exports shortly after college, Powell and his three compatriots started crafting a retro-garage pop vibe in and around their native Chicago. In 2009, their first, free digital release, Loose Change EP, expanded their audience to a national level. The band's 2010 full length debut, Skip Work, was a instant hit with fans and reviewers, both for Powell's rousing nature and the Exports raucous noise. More than anything, Skip Work was an album that promised a band on the verge of awesomeness.

Archie Powell & The Exports made good on that promise with 2012's LP, Great Ideas In Action, a record of smart sardonic lyrics and tightly wound riffs, as catchy as they are compelling. Drenched in reverb and swelling with classic pipe organs, the album crafts a dustier retro vibe, yet still packs enough angst and wit to keep an urgent and infectious hold that never lets up. Recently seen on numerous "Best Of" lists for this last year, Great Ideas In Action is just as the title says, and one of the most fun rock records of recent memory. Yet, even with all this praise, Powell and the Exports are still considered overlooked in many critics eyes, meaning they're ripe for you to discover here and now. Don't overlook this band, they might just become your new favorite.


"CMJ 2012: 30 Must-See Artists"

A Wisconsin-based rock outfit influenced by Tom Petty and Elvis Costello, Powell & his Exports pair crunchy guitar riffs with great song titles like "Skip Work," "Piggy Bank Blues" and "You Might Be Cruel (Or I Might Be Dumb)." It's party rock that is, in fact, rock music.
- Fuse

"2012's overlooked musical gems"

The number of albums getting released each year has been increasing, so it makes sense that the number of albums that go largely ignored by radio and the mainstream music media would be on the rise. In fact, this was one of the toughest years in the past decade to rank the best overlooked CDs.

More than ever, many of the best albums of 2012 were ones that didn't show up on the Billboard magazine charts or the shelves of big box retailers. Here's how I rank the best overlooked albums for 2012:

(1) Archie Powell & The Exports: "Great Ideas In Action" (Good Land Records) — Calling a CD "Great Ideas In Action" invites ridicule if the music doesn't deliver the goods. Nothing to worry about here as Powell and his band crank out one rocking pop gem after another. For fans of energetic power pop, your ship has come in with "Great Ideas In Action."

- The Columbian

"Best of Rock and Pop 2012: Chicago Bands Rocked the Charts"

Best Power Pop

Archie Powell & the Exports, Great Ideas in Action
There was a time when Chicago was the pop punk capital, when bands like Fall Out Boy, Lucky Boys Confusion, and others were primed for the big time with crafty arrangements and catchy choruses. Archie Powell & the Exports emerge from this lineage and blend it with elements drawn from Elvis Costello and the Replacements. Great Ideas in Action puts this band on the map and could put Chicago back there, too.

- Chicago Magazine

"2012 IN REVIEW: The Blurt Top 75 Albums"

51. Archie Powell and the Exports - Great Ideas in Action (Good Land)

WE SAID: Amped up by what seems like a boundless supply of energy applied with equal amounts of enthusiasm, Greet Ideas In Action barely contains its fervor and becomes all the more intoxicating as a result. Without even the slightest pause between songs, Powell and company exude pure adrenalin as they take their headlong plunge into boisterous celebration, from power pop to ‘50s rock to just plain hi-nrg stuff that keeps accelerating until you're out of breath.

- Blurt

"Photos: Top 10 Local Albums of 2012"

Like fellow Chicagoan Ferris Bueller, Archie Powell & the Exports played hooky on its 2010 debut "Skip Work." The band's sophomore album, in contrast, is anchored by songs that touch on the difficulties of landing a job in a down economy ("Job Fair") and the ways day-to-day life can gradually grind people down ("Metronome"). Instead of moping, however, Powell and his mates transform even their most mundane, soul-crushing experiences into hummable power-pop gems. Feel free to sing along. - Redeye Chicago

"Top 10 Albums of 2012 so far"

No. 5 Archie Powell and the Exports, "Great Ideas in Action"
( June 26, 2012 )
Once again, the Chicagoans teach nearly every other band trying to craft a hit with a mind of its own that catchy doesn't have to mean stupid, and topical doesn't have to mean boring. Crank it up, shout along, think about it later. - Chciago Redeye

"Archie Powell & the Exports Great Ideas In Action"

If Cheap Trick ever think of calling it a day - and after 40 years it doesn’t look like that will be happening any time soon – Archie Powell & the Exports are perfectly suited to take their place on the power pop throne.

On Great Ideas in Action, the group’s third record and best release, they have perfected the three-minute pop song, with sardonic wit and hooks sharp enough to snag anyone. Along with Cheap Trick, Archie and the boys tend to draw inspiration from folks like Elvis Costello, Material Issue, The Replacements and plenty of cheap beer. The influences aside, the band is far more than simply a glorified cover band, carving out their own deep, niche in the genre thanks to thoughtfully smartly funny lyrics (“Shooting Spree” being one of their best) Hell even the album title is a reference to Calvin & Hobbes.

I’m not saying Robin Zander and crew don’t still have it going on, but watch your backs. Archie Powell & The Exports is coming up quickly.

- Innocent Words

"CD Review"

You may not have heard of Archie Powell & The Exports before, but this Chicago group has just put out one of the catchiest rock and roll albums of 2012 with their second release Great Ideas In Action. Building on an infectious run of upbeat drums and guitars that call to mind The Replacements and early Elvis Costello the band exudes in tales that flirt with the equal dangers of “Crazy Pills” and “Shooting Sprees”.

There is a writer’s appeal to Archie’s lyrics as lines like “Keep your head above or be subdued/You know your halfway dead no matter which you choose” on their most timely song “Job Fair”. However, they never sacrifice catchiness for seriousness as can be seen on “I Need Supervision with the lines; “You oughta know, why I compete, riding shotgun from the bucket seat/It just goes to show, that I wish you’d stay, I need my privileges taken away”.

The choruses and verses meld as Powell talks about friends down and out on Vicodin in “Sticky Buttons” or not deserving his bachelor’s degree on the hugely swelling title track. Impressively the band manages to consistently produce upbeat danceable rock numbers behind any trial and tribulation. Ryan Export on keys adds to this bouncy feel as does Adam and RJ on the low end; keeping things bubbling positive while making being left behind on “All The Same” and giving up the dream on “Only So Much You Can Do” not sound all that bad.

The band that Archie Powell & The Exports instantly bring to mind is The Hold Steady. They both display a scaled down sense of bar band freedom and flashes of musical noir, but these Midwesterners are more then Craig Finn disciples as they lean toward the pop side of things instead of big arena rock. Fans of upbeat, intelligent, rock and roll can’t let Great Ideas In Action pass them bye. - Glide Magazine

"Archie Powell & The Exports"

We get a lot of records sent to us here at The A.V. Club. Fortunately, we end up liking some of them. In Playlisted, we share our latest recommendations.

Album: Great Ideas In Action by Archie Powell & The Exports (out now on Good Land Records)

Press play if you like: The Features, Elvis Costello And The Attractions, guitar-driven power-pop

Some background: With an EP and now two LPs under their belts, Chicago’s Archie Powell & The Exports are taking grander strides to achieve success on a larger stage. While the band’s previous LP, 2010’s Skip Work, felt featherweight at times, Great Ideas sounds powerful, with cranked-up electric guitars and heftier production courtesy of Milwaukee-based producer Justin Perkins. “I Need Supervision” starts quietly before a swirling organ and shimmering guitars send the song soaring into a classic pop “na na na” refrain. “Job Fair” begins life as a stomper, channeling the angst of a 20-something drifting through life with gallows humor—“Keep your head above or be subdued / You know you’re halfway dead no matter which you choose”—before the anxiety explodes into a chorus driven by buzzsaw guitar. The title track pays homage to the Pixies courtesy of Powell’s opening howl of “Where is my mind” and a gigantic hook that rides that song’s coattails. The band clearly isn’t afraid to wear its influences on its sleeve but when the results are this good, it hardly matters.

Try this: The rave-up “Crazy Pills” rides a driving organ riff to frantic heights, with Powell howling above chugging guitars and pounding drums. His lament has an edge: “Your little problem’s that you’re soaked in gin,” he sings, adding, “I’m sick of begging you to take the reins / wish I could chalk it up to growing pains.” It’s acerbic in a Costello vein, carrying a bite to match the sharp music.
- A.V. Club

"Archie Powell & The Exports – Great Ideas In Action (Good Land)"

Archie Powell comes across lyrically as a higher brow Dave Pirner, fond of simile but more poignant than silly partnered with fun rhymes. His storytelling is focused, relatable, and chock full of sharp wit. Pirner is the not the only Minneapolis singer that Archie Powell draws comparison to. His voice and exuberance recalls that of Paul Westerberg. With the sophomore effort to the solid debut, Skip Work, the band really is making a name for itself. “Metronome,” tells the tale of what most of Generation Y feels in their mid-twenties in words that most of us would not have thought to choose. The feeling that life is just “ticking away like a beat from a metronome”, aimlessly time goes by without making any real impact. The theme continues on but takes on different perspectives. “Crazy Pills,” goes heavy on the rhyming and goes wonderfully off the rails a bit to re-frame the old “you can’t succeed without trying” adage. The keyboard providing an excellent backdrop really elevates this great track. They serve as a welcome soul organ element. “I Need Supervision,” could be the theme song to me at 20. Riddling my life with poor decisions but without the wherewithal that Mr. Powell sings of to know that I need to be stopped. “Job Fair,” is self-explanatory and topical while “Only So Much You Can Do,” is a raucous pep talk.
Powell & The Exports have served up a fine brand of soulful, catchy rock. Great Ideas In Action grows on you more with every listen.
- Big Takeover

"Top bands at Chicago street fests 2012"

Archie Powell and the Exports, 3:15 p.m. June 3 at Sausage Fest
( May 9, 2012 )
(Sheffield Ave., Addison to Waveland)

Chicago rockers have raked in great reviews for the new "Great Ideas in Action," and there's a reason: It's one of the best, catchiest albums of the year so far. - Redeye Chicago

"Archie Powell & Exports – Great Ideas in Action + mp3"

Great Ideas in Action is a great idea in action. I don’t care how cliché that sounds; it’s just the goddamn truth. The follow-up to 2010’s Skip Work finds Archie Powell & the Exports capitalizing on the numerous instances of genius found across their debut effort while still maintaining their ability to be a flat-out fun band.

Powell’s keen ability to deliver catchy power-pop hooks – the aspect of the Exports’ music that initially drew me to the band – still rings true across Great Ideas in Action, but the stagnant repetitiveness that plagued the middle chunk of Skip Work is gloriously absent. Classic Export tracks like “I Need Supervision” and “Job Fair” are juxtaposed by “You Might Be Cruel (Or I Might Be Dumb),” a fantastic new wave waltz, and the album’s title track has a laid-back feel uncharacteristic of the band’s output up to this point.

The element that really makes Archie Powell & the Exports is the impeccable and tasteful use of keyboards. While they often hide fairly low in the mix, the keys are featured at crucial times, like in the aforementioned “You Might Be Cruel (Or I Might Be Dumb).” The organ patch in “Sticky Buttons” breathes new life into a very standard descending chord progression and cadence.

I’m a sucker for power-pop, I’ll admit, but my bias towards the genre does not render my praise obsolete. Archie Powell & the Exports channel artists from Elvis Costello to Fountains of Wayne to the Replacements to Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin, and channel them admirably, adding their own compositional twists along with Powell’s signature blunt, sardonic lyrics. Great Ideas in Action was produced, engineered, and mixed by the great Justin Perkins, so every nuance is music to my ears (funny how that idiom works out), and the title is supposedly a Calvin & Hobbes reference; anyone who can name the strip in question is entitled to free Export shows for life.

So while you’re rifling through all of your old comic book treasuries trying to find the answer, download and listen to the album’s opening track, “Metronome” below and be sure to stream Great Ideas in Action in its entirety at their bandcamp.
- Playground Misnomer

"Archie Powell & the Exports - Great Ideas In Action"

Great Ideas in Action, the third album by Chicago-based rock act Archie
Powell & the Exports, brims with power-pop hooks at every turn-most of them
arriving courtesy of Powell's own ultra-melodic guitar work. The surging,
post-garage-rock organ riffs of keyboard man Ryan Export (who shares a
surname with the rhythm section) add a touch of early Elvis Costello to the
proceedings, while an ever-escalating energy level makes the whole thing
feel as urgent as a real-time news crawl. Powell's arch, brainy lyrical
style adds extra bite, as he grapples with the twists and turns that life
can hold for a young man, employing black humor as a key weapon in his
attitudinal arsenal. (Not at all insignificantly, the record's title is
derived from a Calvin & Hobbes cartoon.) On the title track, Powell sings,
"It's not conducive to much joy and jubilee," and while that might be true
of the thematic content, there's visceral pleasure aplenty to be found in
the band's pedal-to-the-metal dynamics and Powell's seemingly endless supply
of earworm melodies.-JA - Billboard

"Archie Powell & The Exports and The Gilligans"

Archie Powell & The Exports “Great Ideas In Action”
Without missing a beat Archie Powell moves to the next level in the story arc from Skip Work, in the bouncy opener “Metronome” where he opines “Life is A bitch, for me all the folks you know…” Powell has a bit more acid in his lyric and distortion in his riffs this time. “Crazy Pills” and “Shooting Spree” take aim at the lost generation of 20 somethings with rotten job prospects. Fans of early Elvis Costello and Green Day with its roaring, kicking, defiant indie rock will love this.

The album keeps hammering along with loud precision on “I Need Supervision” but by the albums mid-point it starts to get a bit tiresome, although “Job Fair” is a spot on rocker about the frustration of careerism, with fuzz organ and guitars across a driving beat. Without a slower tune to be heard, its best to take this album in small doses, as the punk-pop approach wears thin, otherwise it’s the perfect soundtrack for todays slacker-in-training.

7 - Powerpopaholic

"Meet and Greet: Archie Powell & the Exports"

Where a lot of guys and girls let the daily grind wear them down, Chicago’s Archie Powell and The Exports makes a party. The band’s second and latest album, Great Ideas in Actiona–a title borrowed from Calvin and Hobbes–takes some of life’s most frustrating moments and wraps them in a web of smart, straight-forward, pop-infused rock ‘n’ roll (For example, not since Eddie Cochran first sang “Summertime Blues” has being unemployed sounded as entertaining as it does in the Exports’ “Job Fair”). The songs are infectiously catchy, but like the works of timeless tunesmiths such as Elvis Costello, T. Rex, et. al., it’s a welcome infection, unlike when you hear that canned crap through the speakers at your local Walgreens on a Tuesday and by Saturday you’re ready to smash your brain with a hammer just to make it go away. If you find it totally impossible to have fun while listening to this band, you may have to face facts that you’re a complete and utter bummer of a human being.

ManBQue met up with Powell just before showtime at the release party for Great Ideas In Action at the Subterranean in Chicago. The singer/guitarist took a break from blowing up about a million balloons for a celebratory drop to talk with us about how keeping things simple and inclusive often results in the best music and/or beer. He also filled us in on a little-known tour phenomenon hereafter referred to as “the taco blessing.”

ManBQue: You’re from Milwaukee originally. Does that make you a bona fide beer expert?

Archie Powell: No. I am an equal opportunity beer enjoyer though. I know a little about most beers. I work at a beer bar, so I professionally keep my beer knowledge at a respectful level without being a snob about it. My least favorite question is when people walk in and ask, “What’s good?” Well, a lot of things. If you like it, that’s all that matters. I’m all about craft beer, but usually I’m just drinking Schlitz. Keep it simple.

MBQ: That sounds a little like how one could perceive your music. It’s smart without being purposely over people’s heads. It’s still accessible. Do you take that kind of approach on purpose, or is that just who you are?

AP: It’s kind of who I am, but I do it on purpose because I make the kind of music that I want to listen to. I want it to be instantly accessible, but I also want there to be stuff below the surface that you can dig for without it being pretentious or obtuse or hard to penetrate. You don’t have to dig if you don’t want to and still enjoy it, but you can have the option. “Peelin’ the onion,” man. That’s the kind of stuff I appreciate the most, so that’s what I try to do.

MBQ: Many of your lyrics seem to be about things that a lot of people can relate to. Do you think relatability is something that is important in lyrics?

AP: I definitely see myself as an “everydude” kind of guy. I’m not really anything really special, just kind of middle of the road, and I think that comes across. It’s most important to me that a song can be instantly likable, and after I assess that’s what’s happening with something we’re working on, I wonder what kind of quasi-intellectual spin I can put on it secretly.

MBQ: Why secretly?

AP: Because I like everyone to be able to get it. It’s all about the party.

MBQ: There is a lot of excitement around your record in Chicago, and it seems very genuine, rather than just hype.

AP: Moving to Chicago turned out to be one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. The folks here seem to “get it,” and I don’t really know why. I don’t mean that in a weird way–I stand behind the material, and I think it’s good–but for some reason they just really like it here. Maybe it’s a Midwestern thing, like a Midwestern sensibility we have in common? I don’t take it for granted.

MBQ: Tell me about that time your band raised money for a lunch.

AP: In a nutshell, we have mixed feelings about Kickstarter [in regards to bands]. It’s not really a bad thing, but I - Manbque

"Record Review, Archie Powell & the Exports - Great Ideas In Action"

Life is a bitch for me and for all the folks you know," Archie Powell tells us in the first minute of his band's second full-length album Great Ideas in Action. It's a line that's not out of place on the record as a whole, as the frontman and his Exports offer up a set of tunes that mostly focus on how much things suck sometimes, from being unable to find a job to struggling to keep your artistic endeavors going. What makes this band--and record--great, though, is that all of the discontent is delivered in a way that actually makes you feel really damn good. They might be reminding us of all that's not right in the world, but they're doing it while providing a smirk and a shot of adrenaline.

As with 2009's Loose Change EP and 2010's Skip Work LP, the Exports' stock-in-trade here is three-minute amped-up power pop with choruses designed to target, like heat-seeking missiles, the part of the brain that traps a hook in your consciousness and keeps it there for an extended stay. The only difference is that now they're doing it better than before. "Metronome," "Crazy Pills" and "Shooting Spree" make up an opening trio so solid that when I first played the record I feared it might be front-loaded (I found "Crazy Pills" especially grabbing, and it seems the band agrees since they chose the song for the first single and video for the album). But the quality of the material remains high throughout all 11 songs, each featuring a melody distinct enough to prevent it from blurring into the next.

On the edgy, shout-along track "Job Fair," the band tackle the aforementioned problem that too many can related to--finding employment, or even a clear idea of what to do for a living, hard to come by. Another highlight is the equally rocking "Only So Much You Can Do," which closes the record by taking on the trials of being in an indie band with tongue halfway in cheek: "So you say you're onto something and you'd like to see it through, but you're worked to the bone and there's only so much you can do" leads into a laundry list of indie rocker woes, from playing "for next to nothing in a next-to-empty room" to needing "more skinny jeans." Almost all of the other tracks on the record pack the same kind of punch, with only the kind-of-bluesy pop of "You Might be Cruel (or I might be Dumb)" slowing down the pace a bit midway through.

Great Ideas in Action is a consistently fun and entertaining record, and one of the year's releases so far that I've played the most. Those who listen to new music always hoping to discover new or out of the ordinary sounds probably won't be thrilled by it, but I can personally always get behind a straight-ahead rock record from a band that knows how to do it right. And Archie Powell & the Exports have definitely done it right. Hopefully as long as things keep sucking in the world, they'll keep being inspired to make music that makes it suck a bit less.

'Great Ideas in Action' is out on May 1st, and you can currently get "Metronome" and "Crazy Pills" as free downloads on Archie Powell & the Exports' Bandcamp site. You can also take a listen to "Crazy Pills" below and stream the entire album over at AOL Spinner.
- Windy City Rock

"Rockin' Our Turntable: Archie Powell & The Exports"

Now, Bruce Springsteen is frequently touted as writing the blue collar rock of the working man, and that may be so, but Springsteen was never quite the "average working man." He's been in bands since he was a teen and had a record deal in his early twenties. If anything the man is the epitome of the artist who can make poetry out of every day travails he might not have necessarily suffered through himself.

Well, so can Archie Powell & The Exports. Only they turn the whole thing on its head to create a big ol' party out of it. Powell likes slinging out huge strings of lyrics and barely a syllable stays in a single melodic plane before sliding up or down in a manner that makes him feel like confidant and ringmaster. It's a neat little trick. And behind him The Exports—who indeed have separate last names but have adopted the uniform Export surname when banded together—create a rollicking racket that sounds like they're crashing into each other but is in fact a racket constructed with great care and forethought, impacting upon one's ears with maximum effect.

The band's sophomore effort Great Ideas In Action—available tonight at the band's record release show at Subterranean—takes the promise of their debut, douses it in gasoline and bourbon and then gleefully lights a match to ignite pandemonium. This is party music. This is the cry of the oppressed sluiced by equal parts of despair, infectious humor and a triumphant cry of "whatever!" This is the kind of album where keyboards aren't synths but great tumbling rolls of pipe organs played in the cathedral of the stained sleeve. There's dirt crumbling out from fingernails and it's interfering with the pick-ups on the guitars and the basses and while Powell's tongue is at times so firmly in cheek it might pop out the other side you still get the feeling that his molars are grinding said tongue to bits at the same time.

This is the album that will hold the door politely for you and then boot you in the ass as you pass through ... and then buy you a beer to make up for it.
- Chicagoist

"Archie Powell & the Exports, "Crazy Pills", Great Ideas in Action"

Because these Chicagoans are driven by keys — not the fey, Phoenix-come-lately kind, but the raucous Cheap Trick kind. And because of the sublime "whoa-oh, whoa-oh, whoa-oh" breakdown.

- Esquire

"Archie Powell & The Exports — Great Ideas in Action"

I’m merely assuming here, really, but it’s my presumption that a youngster growing up predisposed to keys — be it a) an instrument they were driven to understand by an assertive parent who, as well, was grandfathered into the ivory tickling scene by their own parents, to b) a noisemaker they decided to pick up one day for something as unassuming as, say, church band — probably imagined that the recognized height of their talent, the holy summit of where the fruits of their labor would guide them, would be head organmaster at a ballpark not unlike Wrigley. I mean where else — kindly skipping over Elton John and like kin — do keyboard swamis get to bust out rockin’ organ solos on a near nightly basis (when baseball season is active, of course)?

Thank god, then, for bands like Archie Powell & The Exports, who prove on their new one that an organist’s true home isn’t at a half-witted baseball game, but on stage, under the lights, as one piece of a totally wacky foursome that just blows through and around a room with remarkably wild uproar.

After awhile, I found I’d recruited “Crazy Pills” and “All the Same” to something akin to a permanent repeat list. I was, at least, listening to both tunes way more than the rest of the album. And I have to think it’s the keys, which just soar on these tracks in particular, that greatly influenced my persistent jaunts from track two to track eight, back to two and so on. Archie even reserved some room — albeit brief, but I’ll take it — for a mini keys solo on “All the Same.”

Stepping away, I’ve noticed that a fair amount of the music I’ve been into lately has some kind of a keyboard situation. Two of the three bands I went to see Saturday at Saki’s Record Store Day in-stores — Bare Mutants and The Runnies — use ‘em effectively. As do Outer Minds. As do Grandeurs. As do Hollows, which I wrote about a few days ago in this space.

In my head, keys might be the new violin. It’s the latest instrument with a sense of, you know, quirk, that I seem to really respond to and like. I’m positively delighted to see bands I’m not yet familiar with setting up keys and stand in a room.

What distinguishes Archie Powell for me is how heavily dependent they can be on keys; you get a sense of that culture on Great Ideas in Action. You also see it at their live show, which, though experienced by me just once, is a happening perhaps best described as an event that oscillates somewhere between two poles: ruckus party and barbaric disorder.

I’m relatively new to Archie Powell, but think I’ve realized in my time with them that the guys have attained commendable success. Their early March show at Township was packed, and after a release party at Subterranean this week, they’re embarking on a month-long tour of the U.S. — engagements in Canada, too — armed with their blaring and bold new album.

I write this, really, because the finale on Great Ideas in Action, “Only So Much You Can Do,” is like open letter by Archie Powell intended for bands that aren’t cutting it. What I can’t decide is whether its words — you need time to release, you need more skinny jeans, you need massive machines, you need internet schemes, you need some kind of plan, you need work on the band, you need merch for the stand, you need help with your brand… — are to be read as a source of encouragement — an imparting of wisdom from a band that seems to be working hard to make it — or as something analogous to underlying sneer.

Whichever the case, I’ll allow Archie and his Exports to act as stand-ins for a king addressing his flock, as speaker box from some heightened platform, because of an album as aggressively boss as this one. They’re confident and in control. I’d like to think, you know, that what they’ve put together on Great Ideas in Action — loud hooks, mostly, and offensively enthusiastic catch — is the agent that propels them even further along an already elevated track.

- Chicago Tunes

"Album review: Archie Powell and the Exports, 'Great Ideas in Action' (out May 1)"

**** (out of four)

Catchy songs don’t just materialize out of thin air. Yet local rockers Archie Powell and the Exports crank out clever, crazily infectious songs like it’s no big deal.

Following the great “Skip Work” with another terrific chronicle of everyday problems, APATE gives voice to frustration with remarkable precision. Whether it’s others’ lousy work ethic (“Shooting Spree”), a competitive job market (“Job Fair”) or simply the grind of a schedule that becomes a routine (first single “Metronome”), the record dares you to tap your feet as you shake your head with just how right on Powell’s observations are.

Don’t listen to “Great Ideas in Action” unless you can handle having most of the songs stuck in your head, with the rare double-threat of singable lyrics that actually mean something to you. In “I Need Supervision,” childish competiveness suggests an inability to grow up, while closer “Only So Much You Can Do” provides a levelheaded wake-up call to frantic, unsatisfied youth, courtesy of Chicago’s smartest, most likable cynic.

In concert: 9 p.m. April 27 at Subterranean - Redeye Chicago

"Archie Powell & the Exports"

How hard is it to write a catchy, radio-friendly, pop-rock song? Deceptively hard, as innumerable bands and reality show contestants have found out. That’s why Archie Powell And The Exports are so damn impressive. “Crazy Pills,” the first single off the band’s brand-new record, Great Ideas In Action, is an instant classic. It’s got shredding, sing-along choruses, as well as those classic organ backlines that are all over modern rock radio. The song’s pure rocking nature might be even more impressive because Archie Powell—the person, not the band—is the son of a violin prodigy who was in both the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Milwaukee’s orchestra. This might just prove that songs are just songs either way, whether they’re by Mozart or the Steve Miller Band. - AV Club

"Archie Powell And The Exports On 'World Cafe: Next'"

With simple melodies and sardonic lyrics, Archie Powell and the Exports' new album, Great Ideas in Action, may well be the soundtrack to this summer. The group released its first EP (Loose Change) in 2009, and its debut album, Skip Work, followed a year later. Skip Work was praised for its addictive hooks, lyrical wit and sophistication. Buried beneath catchy, raucous rock 'n' roll, the album's emotional content reflected the nervous energy and anxiety that the band members say they felt graduating college.

On their second album, Archie Powell and the Exports sound more self-assured, but Great Ideas in Action retains the youthful quality that made Skip Work so endearing. It seems that the band has settled into its groove and focused on perfecting its craft: the sort of self-aware, semi-serious songs that demand comparison to early Weezer and Elvis Costello. Hear "Metronome" and "Bending over Backwards" on today's episode of World Cafe: Next.

"Chicago's Hottest 30 Under 30"

As the frontman in Archie Powell and the Exports, Archie is used to taking the lead. The addictive quality of his band's fun, good times-fueled indie rock got our attention, and Archie's performance prowess is undeniable. With frequent shows at home and on tour, Archie and band aren't afraid of hard work. Anyone repping the local music scene this well is alright by us.
- Refinery 29

"Sink your teeth into a better Taste"

Archie Powell & the Exports: Full disclosure: Soul Asylum is the main musical performer on this day. Whatever. With Archie Powell & the Exports, you get one of those bands you have trouble believing are as good as they are. Rock and pop take themselves too seriously, or not seriously at all. So you get earnest bands, or tweenyboppers. Where's the witty, beautifully played pop-rock that will bring to mind a performer such as Elvis Costello in his heyday? Right here, from this Chicago outfit. Yes, you've heard it before, but find me a performer about whom that can't be said. The point is the execution, and this band does it with grace and style. Tempos are up, choruses are singalong. One of the best bands at Taste, period. - Chciago Tribune

"New Video : Archie Powell & The Exports : Enough About Me"

This one’s been floating around for a little while and really starting to grow on me. Archie Powell & The Exports might sound like a classic hard bop combo, but the Chicago-based quartet specializes in precocious guitar pop in the vein of Elvis Costello, or even his mentor, Nick Lowe. Powell’s full-length debut, Skip Work has been on slow boil since its release, and the band has been winning converts with their tight, high-energy performances. Enough About Me was the lead single from Skip Work and the song nicely summarizes the band’s MO, but with a follow up video reportedly on the way, we figured it was about time to get this one out there. - My Old Kentucky Blog

"#10 on Top Ten of 2010"

Anyone who's read RFC is probably at least slightly familiar with Chicago's own Archie Powell & the Exports. This summer was nothing less than a Powell love-fest, with RFC debuting the band's single, reviewing their record, and hitting their album release bash at the B eat Kitchen. The debut release from the quartet is an album I've been awaiting since the 2009 release of their Loose Change EP and I was more than a little pleased to find that the full length did not disappoint. Skip Work hits hard and fast, slowing down for almost nothing and featuring more than a few choice cuts. If you're not familiar with Powell and his superb backing band, now's the perfect time to let the Exports into your life. In a year heavy with kitschy indie and chillwave, Skip Work's straight up rock attitude, which takes cues from Costello and Westerberg with a bit of The Strokes tossed in, is a breath of fresh air. - Radio Free Chicago

"11 local bands for 2011"

Questionable advice, and a surfeit of other humorous one-liners punctuate the narratives on Archie Powell & the Exports' "Skip Work" (Team Cool), a contagious pop-rock debut that follows in the strong Midwestern tradition of singer-songwriters such as Ike Reilly and Paul Westerberg. A former Wisconsinite, Powell inhabits the ragged-but-right mold of an aw-shucks transplant trying to make sense of his new surroundings by expressing frustrations and restlessness via tunes equally at home in a basement or neighborhood pub. The band's rib-sticking hooks and feel-good choruses are ideal for wasting time, shouting aloud and yes, playing hooky. - Chicago Tribune

"Song of the Day"

Weezer suck these days, so someone needs to come along and inherit their once great power pop mantle.

Archie Powell & The Exports have the potential to do that, which they show on their Skip Work debut album. It came out last October, and "Enough About Me" can be found on it.

The tune's got a hooky chorus, catchy guitar riff and a guitar solo Rivers Cuomo would probably dig. What's not to love? - ChartATTACK!

"#5 on Top 15 local albums of 2010"

With a sound that nods to the likes of Elvis Costello and Paul Westerberg, Powell excels at detailing the range of problems that crop up as people enter their early 20s, including shifting friendships ("Mattson Is a Flake"), career uncertainty ("Piggy Bank Blues") and teenage love dissolving amidst grownup responsibilities ("Follow Through"). - Metromix/RedEye Chicago

"Band of the Day: Amber Valentine reviews Archie Powell & The Exports "Skip Work""

I was exposed to rock and roll at a young age. I knew the words to Tom Petty and The Heartbreaker’s “Refugee” when I was well under the age of five and one of the saddest days of my youth was when my dad told me that, during moving from Missouri to Michigan, we’d somehow lost our copy of Buddy Holly’s Greatest Hits. The first cd I ever bought was Abbey Road at eight. I saved up my three-dollars-per-week allowance until I had enough scratch to get my own copy of The Beatles’ legendary disc and, sure, my parents had multiple copies (Vinyl, tape, probably 8-track as well) but how cool was it to have my own?

Since then, I’ve expanded my horizons and all but left rock behind in the process. Yeah, I’ve still got the Traveling Wilburies in my iTunes library but I’m sad to say that these days, Jenny Lewis’s cover of “Handle With Care” gets more play than it’s original predecessor. Perhaps that’s why I’ve taken such a shine to Chicago foursome Archie Powell & the Exports. I came across the band shortly after both myself and Powell had moved to the city and was, at the time, going through a huge David Bazan phase. The band, it ends up, had just released a free five song EP on their bandcamp and who am I to refuse free music? Immediately, I was reminded of the bands that got me into music in the first place (Petty, Westerberg) but with a twist of the modern bands that Powell and I both cut our teeth on in high school (The Strokes, Weezer) and that mix kept the band’s sound from being a stale rehash of The Replacements’ Let It Be.

Even after the hearty reception the band’s EP received in my household of one, I must admit that I was slightly apprehensive to hear the band’s debut. Why? Well, because while every song on the band’s Loose Change EP was catchy bits of audible bliss with lyrics that, to a girl who had just moved to the exact city Powell talked about in “Moving To The City”, struck a major chord, I couldn’t help but feel that ten plus songs like that had overwhelming odds of growing stale.

This, however, was not the first time I’ve been wrong.

Skip Work is Archie Powell & the Exports to the extreme. These kids are ready to make a splash and they are not playing around. This isn’t kid’s stuff. This is a band that’s all in, diversifying their sound on more than a few tracks and releasing an album that includes not only the catchy bits of Loose Change, but also some songs that are shockingly different for the Exports.

The albums starts out with “Milkman Blues”, a minute and a half long tune that gives you the impression you’ve just popped in a much folkier CD than you actually have. When the song abruptly stops, only to punch your eardrums with the opening notes of lead single “Enough About Me”, it’s as evident to fans of Powell from his debut release as it is new recruits that this band is worth your time, more now than ever. Stand out track “Fightning Words” is a perfect example of this. Admittedly, being used to Powell and company’s straight up rock sound from the previous year’s EP, I hated “Fightning Words” at first. The verses are a spitfire assault of megaphone shouted lyrics while the chorus is signature Powell, megaphone tossed aside. The abrupt juxtaposition of the two versions of Powell present felt jarring, to say the very least but within days, the song had not only grown on me, but quickly became one of my favorite tracks on the album, a song that when I tell people “You need to hear this band!”, ends up being the track I tell them to “wait for” because “this is worth hearing.”

Of course, this isn’t to say it’s all about Powell. Sure, he’s a hell of a front man but without the Exports, his talent wouldn’t shine half as much as it does. You see, Archie Powell & the Exports are sort of like the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers. Alone, they have spandex and mad ninja skills but together, they can transform into Megazord and that’s when you know some ass is about to get kicked. This, of course, is the proverbial ass of your eardrums, not the ass of Rita Repulsa, but regardless, ass? The Exports are kickin’ it. I never understood when people described a tune as a “bassist’s song” until I heart Okkervil River’s “Lost Coastlines” and goodness, am I ever glad that Okkervil River’s Patrick Pestorius came into my life because without him, I don’t think I’d truly understand the value of Adam Export (Yes, that’s totally his real last name) in Archie Powell & the Exports. Adam’s passion for his craft is showcased song after song and when the Exports bust out their rock numbers, Adam is just as prevalent of an asset to the band as is Powell himself.

I feel as if one of the biggest reasons the Exports shine so thoroughly, however, is keyboardist Ryan Export (Where the heck did Powell find all these kids with the last name Export?!), who adds an alt-country flair to Skip Work‘s best tune, swoon-worthy album closer “The Darndest Things”. Elsewhere, Ryan adds an appealing spice where a lesser band w - Indie College

"Vinyl Candy and Archie Powell and The Exports"

Archie Powell & The Exports
"Skip Work"
After giving us a catchy Loose Change EP, Archie Powell and The Exports have earned our attention with their clever lyrics and garage pop aesthetic. Skip Work is a most satisfying full length extension and the tunes like "Enough About Me" have a quick bouncy tempo and a killer baseline hook that that sets the mood. There is a sense of pure pop fun throughout the album that is captured on the following track, "Fighting Words" and "Moving To The City" refers to the band's relocation to Chicago. The songs are both cynical and optimistic at the same time. Kind of like Weezer meets America with a dash of Elvis Costello, the song "Skip Work" is an driving anthem that's perfect for these tough times. Another highlight is "Follow Through" with it's honky tonk rhythm and layered pop prodcution. Every song sticks, although the lack of tempo variety or ballads is something that could be improved upon. But if you don't nitpick here you have a truly celebratory study in dynamic arrangement and steadfast pop craftsmanship.
8 out of 10 - Powerpopaholic

"Introducing Archie Powell & the Exports"

If you’re not familiar with Archie Powell & The Exports, “Enough About Me” is a great start. It tells you everything you need to know about the natives: They’re just a foursome of lookers from your own backyard that love drinking a cold beer and playing a good rock song. You won’t find kitsch here, nor any irony- Everything you hear from Powell and the Exports is genuine, from the earnest lyrics that occasionally border on Costello-esque snottiness to the well rehearsed power chords, hard hitting drums, and stellar bass line.

The appeal of genuine, high-quality American song craft has apparently fallen by the wayside in recent years, much to the chagrin of young midwestern songwriter, Archie Powell. An emphasis has instead been placed upon ironic chic, chintzy underground appeal or some forced desire to innovate upon an art form that may have reached its limits of expansion and deconstruction. He can’t help but feel a little out of sorts with the whole situation.

“I’m just not particularly concerned with any of that. I am of the belief that what people really enjoy, what really stands the test of time, are well-written songs that folks can remember two minutes after the damn thing ends and your lunch break is over.”

The aforementioned message was made abundantly clear with the release of the band’s first effort, the Loose Change EP: an internet-only gratis download that instantly expanded their audience to a national level. This initial warning shot garnered much critical praise with writers favorably plugging their gritty pop aesthetic and relatable sardonic lyricism. Building upon the acclaim of their EP, Archie Powell & The Exports continue to fight the good fight for all that is great in the world of rock and roll: clever, memorable tunes that dig deep in your brain and move in to stay (with or without your permission). Care to inquire about those credentials? Skip Work, their debut full length, is evidence enough. The material bears many faces with raucous garage rock, pop sensations and slow burners abound. All of which are held together by a pervasive sense of dark humor and twentysomething restlessness.

“Most of these songs were written around a time when the band was relocating to Chicago, so there’s sort of a sense of urgency throughout the whole record. I think that the idea of fresh experience comes through when you hear it. It’s a pretty straightforward look at big changes and greener pastures.”

Powell’s take feels apropos. The release of Skip Work sees the band exploring plenty of new territory such as the loose and strong sonic treatment of Milwaukee producer Justin Perkins and the addition of recent drum recruit RJ Export. The aforementioned atmosphere of change and discovery resonates with honesty, making the album a loud and clear proclamation on behalf of the underdog and everydude in all of us.

Dig the vibe. The album simultaneously invokes visions of The Replacements, Elvis Costello and Weezer without missing a beat, yet still manages to take on a character and aesthetic all its own. Everything gels, everything sticks.

You can discuss the fine points until you turn blue in the face, but at the end of the day, Skip Work is a rollicking celebratory study in dynamic arrangement and steadfast pop craftsmanship. - Pop Culture Madness

"Archie Powell & The Exports' 'Skip Work' Plays Hooky From Today's Standards, Clocks Into Yesteryear"

If Archie Powell had never started following me on Twitter, my life might be completely different right now.

I would have never followed his link to Myspace nearly two years ago, and never heard "Loose Change," which led to me wanting to listen to "Mattson is a Flake," which led to me loving his music and following him back, which led to me getting to know him and his band, the Exports (deep breath), which led me to regular updates about their music, which led to me befriending fellow music journalist Amber Valentine, which led to me texting her a picture of my cleavage and telling her about the time I got kicked out of the Girl Scouts, which led to her asking me to write a review of Archie Powell & the Exports' debut album, "Skip Work," on Radio Free Chicago.

Okay, so perhaps not all those things are directly connected, but suffice it to say, for however Archie found me (a little-known journalist in rural Washington state) in the first place, I am grateful.

I'm tempted to go on the record as saying I am AP&E's biggest fan, but I know I'd have at least a couple of ladies here at RFC to contend with (I will continue to believe it in my mind, however). And frankly, once everyone else in the world hears this album, well ... they'll ALL think they're the biggest fan because they will LOVE IT THAT MUCH. I worry that I might be overselling the boys a bit here, but it's easy to get carried away. Not only are they all very talented and attractive, they are charismatic, funny, interesting, masters of self-promotion, probably using some subliminal method of brainwashing, and fueled by tacos and beer. Really, with all that, how can you not adore them?

"Skip Work" is a labor of love from the indie-pop quartet — a dozen energetic songs about making the move from Wisconsin to Chicago, life as a starving artist, and how exhausting relationships can be. The sounds of rock 'n' roll pioneers Chuck Berry and Ritchie Valens converge on AP&E's debut with the alt-rock tone of their own generation. You can even hear how listening to the Beastie Boys on the way to and from recording sessions had an influence on their tunes, with metrical echoes of "Paul Revere" during Archie's fuzzed-out verses in "Fighting Words."

However, it must be noted that despite taking cues from styles that have been around for decades, AP&E sounds like nothing but themselves. Every song on "Skip Work" is a song you know you've never heard before, and that speaks to both Archie's songwriting skills and the band's instrumental abilities. To innovate by defying innovation — why, that's gotta be a massive challenge for a musician, yet AP&E succeed at it like it ain't no thing at all. It's like their rock and roll souls have been around longer than they have, and they're just doing what comes naturally.

Ryan Export brings some sweet ragtime piano on "Piggy Bank Blues" as Archie sings the poignant observation that "It doesn't matter if you've been to college or not/ ’Cause rock and roll is just a pyramid scheme." Adam Export leads in with crunchy bass on the single "Enough About Me" (the music video of which showcases a fair portion of their talents and attractiveness), a song which is almost too much fun, banished from my car right now because it's unsafe to dance and drive.

What can I say, I'm a sucker for a great hook.

The title track is anthemic, a sugary concoction of crashing drums, lively organ riffs and a pretty bitchin' guitar solo. For songs such as "All Tuckered Out" and "Follow Through," the band turns down the heat a bit to sing about feelings, all Gin Blossoms-style (for those uncertain, that's a compliment). AP&E chose the most perfect note to end on, with "The Darndest Things," a barroom jingle that would go down best with a shot of bourbon and a friend already buying the next round. - Radio Free Chicago

"Archie Powell & the Exports At Arlene's Grocery: Thursday, October 7th 2010: Wolf Shirts Are Out"

Archie Powell and the Exports are a pop smart, little bit grungy, garage rock band with catchy tunes and snarky lyrics—think Weezer meets They Might Be Giants. This type of no frills alt-rock has not been on my mind since the nineties and I was curious to see how it would fare at Arlene's Grocery Thursday night: the average ear is so inundated with synthetic sounds and heavy-handed production, could it still excite? By the end of the show, it was clear that the recipe still works.

The band played a quick forty-five minute set and though there were a number of Archie Powell first timers in the small crowd, the band had won them over by the end of the show. Their songs are fun and catchy and Mr. Powell’s voice oozes the sort of nerdy ennui that works so well with songs about aimless twenty-somethings. Mixed in with songs from their new album Skip Work was a cover of Tom Petty’s “I Need To Know,” which allowed the band to show a more aggressive rock and roll sound than their own material does. Another song was a little bit country and Mr. Powell showed himself capable of adapting a slight twang.

The band sounded great, was very sharp, and achieved a much fuller and heavier sound live than they do on their recordings. The guys look the part, with Powell being the image of disenchanted youth and his band mates the sort of rock band-next-door types. Powell and the bassist were chatty in between songs and seemed to understand the mood well. The bassist won me over when, hawking the band's t-shirts, he prophetically declared that, “Wolf shirts are out, deer and whale shirts are in.”

It was refreshing to see a show where the band looked like they were honestly enjoying themselves.

It was fitting that Archie Powell and the Exports would be the band to do so; their songs are fun, occasionally thought provoking, and catchy. Worth a look. -

"Review: Archie Powell and the Exports "Loose Change" [EP]"

The new EP from Archie Powell and the Exports, "Loose Change", is loose, raw, and...downright fun. Each song has a core of pop, but Archie Powell and the Exports cover it with enough grit that it is almost disguised. The result is an exciting foray into what I would classify as modern roots rock.

Lead off track "Moving To The City" exemplifies their style - a hook-filled chorus flanked with Wilco-esque attitude. On "Mattson Is A Flake", the low end is cranked up in the chorus, pounding on your ears and demanding your attention. Most of their songs follow a similar dynamic, making this tactic a bit of a trademark for the band - the EP only has 5 songs, so it doesn't get old. The title track is another highlight, with some old country piano accenting the verses until that trademark low end guitar tone comes crashing in during the chorus. For you fans of 50s cover tunes, they end things with an upbeat, acoustic-based cover of Bobby Freeman's "Do You Want To Dance".

Archie Powell and the Exports are taking alt-country to a whole new level of cool, putting a more aggressive and modern spin on the genre. If you enjoy Wilco, Uncle Tupelo, Son Volt, or gritty pop rock of any kind, you owe it to yourself to invest a little time in checking out this EP from Archie Powell and the Exports. The price is right..."Loose Change" is being offered as a FREE download on their MySpace page!

iPOD-worthy: 1, 2, 3 - Bill's Music Forum

"Archie Powell and the Exports Lose Change EP"

Chicago native Archie Powell and The Exports are more than plain ole' rock and roll, it's a mini party in a 5-song EP. Powell opens things up with the rootsy "Moving To The City" which is a bit like Wilco or Old 97s poppier tracks. "Loose Change" is another good follow up that works in a hummable chorus and a punchy beat. Other other songs here are also clear winners including "Mattson Is A Flake" which reminds me of Ben Kweller with a Weezer styled chorus. On "Piggy Bank Blues" he mentions "Rock and Roll is just a pyramid scheme..." So to prove Powell's not part of any scheme, this the EP is a free download, so you have no excuses. Highly recommended for sure.
8 out of 10 - Powerpopaholic


Despite claims to the contrary, I’m not convinced the August Teens are any closer to releasing their debut record than they were when they formed over three years ago, and Kyle Motor stubbornly refuses to break the Motorz’ extended hiatus. In their absence I was ready to crown Archie Powell & the Exports the new kings of Madison power pop. I was . . . until I found out they moved to Chicago in August. But Loose Change is so good, and such a perfect, shining example of what makes power pop great, that I am more than willing to let them rule from afar.

[...] At least that is what I think happened. On both their MySpace and their very entertaining website (which has features like the webisode “Ask Brian (While He’s in the Shower)”), [...] they turned the catchy level up to eleven. [...] Ryan Export’s bouncy keyboard proved to be the magic ingredient.

Too often keyboards come off sounding cheesy, but here it rumbles effectively underneath urgent opening track “Moving to the City” and slowly moves to the front through the course of their four original tunes, until it is carrying the melody on “Piggy Bank Blues.” Rather than the usual power pop subjects of girls and cars, they prefer to discuss their aspirations and the economic shortfalls of being a musician. It would seem “Moving to the City” predicted their relocation to Chicago, though it almost seems they had no choice as each line of the chorus ends with a mission. “Gonna play my hand,” “gotta make a stand,” “gonna pay my dues and say goodbye,” and “gonna find my ground and resupply” are all reasons they had to be moving on.

“Loose Change” continues in the same vein, though in this case it sounds more like a case of needing to get away than having a destination in mind. “Piggy Bank Blues” is an honest assessment of how being in a band usually takes more than it gives, especially monetarily. “Six years going and it’s time to assess if we’ve taken all there is to take, feeling apathetic and I gotta confess I think we’re never gonna catch us a break,” captures the futility inherent in being in an unknown band, though the damning line is probably “It doesn’t really matter if you’ve been to college or not, because rock and roll is just a pyramid scheme.”

You’re probably wondering how I know this is perfect power pop. Easy. Other than their brilliant cover of Bobby Freeman’s “Do You Wanna Dance,” every song is three minutes long, plus or minus nine seconds. There are hints of a host of influences, from Weezer to Wilco, but their infectious melodies and easy rhymes make Archie Powell & the Exports instantly memorable. It’s probably a good thing they moved before I got too attached. - Local Sounds Magazine

"If you still gonna tell me that I'm set to drown, I'm gonna tell ya that I'll be OK"

My time in Chicago is fairly limited. My brain's been busy thinking of all the things I want to do before autumn sets in and I pack my bags for Cincinnati.

[...] I want to see Archie Powell and the Exports live.

Quickly becoming my favorite Chicago based band, Archie Powell and the Exports deliver a wonderful, catchy brand of poppy indie rock that's hard to resist and hey, the guys are dang cute. That's always a plus because, as we've discussed before, cute guys who make good music are basically the best kind of cute guys around.

I've found myself drawn to Archie Powell's vaguely alt-country, incredibly charming melodies and relatable lyrics because, hey, I'm dead broke and disillusioned in Chicago too! But even if you're not, Archie Powell will probably appeal to you. For instance, my former roommate is down in southern Illinois at college but she'll no doubt be drawn to Archie Powell if only for the O.C. reference he tosses out in "Mattson Is A Flake".

Something for everyone? Possibly. Check out the video for "Loose Change" and find out for yourself.

Even better than a video however is the fact that the Exports have graciously put up their entire Loose Change EP for free download. - The Hot Half Life

"A Couple of Words about Archie Powell and the Exports"

I don’t have much to say anymore (in general) but that won’t stop me from saying something about Archie Powell and the Exports.

Fans of Weezer and vintage Elvis Costello should check out their new record, Skip Work, which is slated for an October release. However, if you pre-order it here they are promising a special early delivery. We recommend you do based on the strength of last year’s Loose Change EP and the track below.

Here’s the video for their new single “Enough About Me.”
- Atlanta's A-List

"Chi-Tunes: Local bands to know"

“Skip Work”
Team Cool Records
**** (out of 5)

There's a definite us-against-the-world vibe permeating Archie Powell & the Exports’ debut full-length. “If you're still gonna tell me that I'm set to drown,” Powell sneers on the rocking “Moving To the City,” “I'm gonna tell you that I'll be okay.”

Nodding to the likes of Elvis Costello and Paul Westerberg, Chicago-based Powell and Co. sway between booze-fueled numbers like “Enough About Me” and breezier fare like “Loose Change.” The band particularly excels at capturing the unease of entering your 20s and struggling with a range of newfound problems: changing friends (the “Jessie's Girl”-like “Mattson Is a Flake”), uncertain career decisions (“Piggy Bank Blues”) and teenage love dissolving as grownup responsibilities encroach (“Follow Through”). Lyrically astute and driven by a nervous energy, there's never any doubt that Powell will overcome these hurdles. Witness the album-closing “The Darndest Things,” where buried beneath an avalanche, Powell resists the urge to give up and instead constructs a great, underground snow palace.
--Andy Downing, Special to Metromix - Metromix Chicago

"Archie Powell & The Exports – Skip Work"

Chicago based Archie Powell & The Exports are set to release their first debult LP Skip Work. With one EP under their belt, the group has already started to gain some great attention. I have no doubt that when this record gets released, you’ll be hearing a lot more about them.

Skip Work puts a great amount of attention to the songwriting. I hate putting on a record, and walking away from it not remembering a single phrase of what I’ve just heard. This doesn’t happen with this LP. Each song follows a fairly standard ABABC form but remains fresh and solid throughout.

The group has recently set out on a tour in anticipation of the release and will be stopping by TT the Bears (audio warning on click) in Boston this Tues. Oct 5th.

The Elvis Costello comparison is one hard not make with Archie Powell & The Exports. And this sure as hell isn’t a bad thing. After giving a few spins of Skip Work I felt the dying need to go back and give a listen to Armed Forces. It might rest on the treatment and sound of Archie Powell’s vocals, but the rest of the group and the songs completely add to the influential reference.

I’m an instant sucker for an album when the group gives good attention to the opening track. ‘Milkman Blues’ is a great lead into the record. A few steps, a door close, and then a quick acoustic gtr/vox verse kicks you right into the full band grooving away on a 1:35 track lyrically setting the tone of the record’s title.

What follows this opening track is nothing but pure pop perfection. A quick ending cut straight into the heavier ‘Enough About Me’ sets the tone for what you’ll experience over the next 35 minutes.
- Dyson Sound

"Archie Powell & The Exports Decide To Skip Work"

Archie Powell & the Exports are a Chicago quartet -- actually led by a young gentleman named Archie Powell -- that specialize in that certain blend of slightly twangy Midwestern pop-rock. Their Loose Change EP brought the group to our notice with its finely crafted songs and exuberant attitudes and they've only improved on what was already a successful formula with their new full-length Skip Work.

The album's twelve songs chug along cheerily along at a gratifying pace, and the Powell's delivery makes you want to sidle up and buy him a beer. The group's vice is clearly it's own, but there's a clear playfulness in the songs' delivery. When they snag a T. Rex riff you find yourself smiling along at the band's wink as they turn it on it's head and slam it into a rave-up of a chorus. In fact the most remarkable thing about this album is that there ain't a stinker of a melody in the whole collection. Every tune is a winner, plastering a smile across even the most frowny mug, making Skip Work a true pleasure to listen to over and over again. Their EP had us wanting more and the band delivered far beyond our expectations.

The band is kicking off a mini Midwest and East Coast tour with their CD release show at Beat Kitchen tonight, so we suggest you show up, take in some fine local tuneage, and send the band off with a bang.
- Chicagoist

"Chicago's Archie Powell & the Exports"

Who are Archie Powell & the Exports?
The appeal of genuine, high-quality American song craft has apparently fallen by the wayside in recent years, much to the chagrin of young midwestern songwriter, Archie Powell. An emphasis has instead been placed upon ironic chic, chintzy underground appeal or some forced desire to innovate upon an art form that may have reached its limits of expansion and deconstruction. He can't help but feel a little out of sorts with the whole situation.

"I'm just not particularly concerned with any of that. I am of the belief that what people really enjoy, what really stands the test of time, are well-written songs that folks can remember two minutes after the damn thing ends and your lunch break is over."

The aforementioned message was made abundantly clear with the release of the band's first effort, the Loose Change EP: an internet-only gratis download that instantly expanded their audience to a national level. This initial warning shot garnered much critical praise with writers favorably plugging their gritty pop aesthetic and relatable sardonic lyricism. Building upon the acclaim of their EP, Archie Powell & The Exports continue to fight the good fight for all that is great in the world of rock and roll: clever, memorable tunes that dig deep in your brain and move in to stay (with or without your permission). Care to inquire about those credentials? Skip Work, their debut full length, is evidence enough. The material bears many faces with raucous garage rock, pop sensations and slow burners abound. All of which are held together by a pervasive sense of dark humor and twentysomething restlessness.

"Most of these songs were written around a time when the band was relocating to Chicago, so there's sort of a sense of urgency throughout the whole record. I think that the idea of fresh experience comes through when you hear it. It's a pretty straightforward look at big changes and greener pastures."

Powell's take feels apropos. The release of Skip Work sees the band exploring plenty of new territory such as the loose and strong sonic treatment of Milwaukee producer Justin Perkins and the addition of recent drum recruit RJ Export. The aforementioned atmosphere of change and discovery resonates with honesty, making the album a loud and clear proclamation on behalf of the underdog and everydude in all of us.

Dig the vibe. The album simultaneously invokes visions of The Replacements, Elvis Costello and Weezer without missing a beat, yet still manages to take on a character and aesthetic all its own. Everything gels, everything sticks.

You can discuss the fine points until you turn blue in the face, but at the end of the day, Skip Work is a rollicking celebratory study in dynamic arrangement and steadfast pop craftsmanship.

Archie Powell & the Exports Live
Oct 1 - Beat Kitchen - Chicago, IL
Oct 2 - Small's - Hamtramck, MI
Oct 3 - Bullfrog Brewery - Williamsport, PA
Oct 4 - Mojo 13 - Wilmington, DE
Oct 5 - TT the Bears - Boston, MA
Oct 6 - The Court Tavern - New Brunswick, NJ
Oct 7 - Arlene's Grocery - Manhattan, NY
Oct 8 - Brighton Bar - Long Branch, NJ
Oct 9 - Dogfish Head Brewery - Lewes, DE
- LA Indie Music Examiner

"SEE & HEAR: Archie Powell & The Exports"

"Enough About Me" is one of those songs that just jumps right in and doesn't mess around -- just a straightforward rocker. It's the kind of song that you throw on and instantly has you energized. With vocals that recall They Might Be Giants, Archie Powell weaves fun, witty lyrics over excited guitar riffs, distorted bass, and drums that call for a pair of air drumsticks. It's a delicious slice of garage rock-meets-powerpop that sounds like The Replacements, Elvis Costello, and They Might Be Giants decided to form a band.

It's hard to deny infectious rock 'n' roll with enough pop sensibility and wit to keep you returning for more. Meet your new weekend soundtrack. Go from Friday to early Monday morning with a band that'll be with you every step of the way, through the good and the bad times.

"Enough About Me" is rather indicative of Archie Powell & The Exports' overall sound. So, if you're digging this track, you're bound to enjoy the rest of the band's music. The song comes from the band's new album, Skip Work, which is out October 5th. - Mixtape Muse

"RFC Exclusive: Archie Powell & The Exports Single Premiere"

Last summer, Chicago's own Archie Powell & The Exports released their debut ep, Loose Change, a rock and roll romp that was just as influenced by Elvis Costello and the Replacements as it was a throwback to '50's and '60's acts with a sound that's sorely missed in today's scene, especially the local scene of Chicago. Now, Powell and company are about to release their first full length and this blogger thinks they're perfectly poised to make quite the splash.

Today, you've got the first crack at the quartet's first single, "Enough About Me", which the band's giving out for a listen exclusively here at Radio Free Chicago.

If you're not familiar with Archie Powell & The Exports, "Enough About Me" is a great start. It tells you everything you need to know about the natives: They're just a foursome of lookers from your own backyard that love drinking a cold beer and playing a good rock song. You won't find kitsch here, nor any irony- Everything you hear from Powell and the Exports is genuine, from the earnest lyrics that occasionally border on Costello-esque snottiness to the well rehearsed power chords, hard hitting drums, and stellar bass line. - Radio Free Chicago

"The Onion"

Archie Powell & The Exports recently popped up in Madison. With a voice and some charming songwriting, AP&E is aggressive pop with acoustic guitar, organ and electric piano, and an agreeably shuffling rhythm section. The band already has a five-song EP, Loose Change, out as a free download, and while it has a bit of an edge on it, it’s mostly about slowing down and letting the songs breathe. Tunes like “Loose Change” and “Piggy Bank Blues” draw on Archie Powell's affinity for Tom Petty and Paul Westerberg, and he shows some promise of his own in the innocently catchy choruses and lyrics. - None

"Loose Change Review"

If their name is any indication, Archie Powell & The Exports float somewhere between pure indie pop and dirty bubble gum pop. Back in June the band released their debut ep for free via bandcamp, and I simple cant’ stop listening to it. The ep title track, “Loose Change” is somewhere between Weezer and Van Halen, but the band has made it clear that they are not hunting for comparisons. The highlight of the ep for me is the surprising piano drops in the middle of “Mattson Is A Flake”, they are well placed and well performed. So, they don’t want comparisons and they don’t want your money, so what do they want? I imagine they just want you to listen and nod, and perhaps crack a smile. - The Deli Chicago

"Live Review"

Archie Powell & the Exports
October 22, 2009; The Frequency

Just when I thought I had finally found a band to fill the power pop-sized space in my heart left by the Motorz, I found out Archie Powell & the Exports had moved to Chicago. [...] the Exports substituted a keyboard for the second guitar and started cranking out the catchy. My first two encounters with the band had been brief (a smidgen of a tune caught from outside Montmartre when I was leaving after an August Teens show) or drunk (a High Noon happy hour which I saw but didn’t really remember, as happy hours tend to go). Tonight they were the band I had come to see.

We had worked pretty hard to talk our friend Bill into coming to the show. Since he’s the biggest power pop aficionado I know, I knew he would like the Exports. We were right. The set contained all the original songs from their terrific recent EP Loose Change that’s available for free download from their website (check it out!). The title track is a perfect slice of power pop deliciousness, a bouncy romp through the streets of Chicago, while “Piggy Bank Blues,” with its brilliant line “It doesn’t really matter if you went to college or not, ‘cause rock & roll is just a pyramid scheme,” leans more heavily on the keyboards. While keys often come off as cheesy in rock bands, in this case they are the magic ingredient.

The only song from the EP that didn’t make the set list was their excellent cover of Bobby Freeman’s “Do You Wanna Dance?” But that was OK, since they seem to have an entire arsenal of awesome covers and they ended the night with two of them. The second was the timeless hit "Gimme Some Lovin'" but it sounded very different from the Spencer Davis Band version. It was cool, but I'm pretty convinced Archie Powell only knew the chorus.

It’s hard to imagine a more adorable band. Powell is the kind of nerdy adorable guy you expect to see working for a software company, not fronting a band, while keyboardist Ryan Export looks startlingly like Jay Farrar. Bassist Adam Export is easily the most crush-worthy, tall and thin with a disarming smile and too much facial hair, though it is a little disturbing that he looks almost exactly like my cousin. Unfortunately this is going to be their last show for awhile as they hole up to record their first full-length. Now that I have really seen them, I will certainly miss them. But then again, I can’t wait to hear that new record. - Punk Rock Skunk

"The Wenatchee World"

I have some friends (I won’t name names, let’s just say pretty much all of them) who won’t listen to a band or musician I recommend no matter how much I praise them. Some I’ve been pushing for years. This is annoying to me, because I can’t stand the idea of such amazing music going unappreciated. Here’s my list of artists that (nearly) nobody knows, but everyone should.

3. Archie Powell & The Exports
I don’t know how, but Archie (who lives in Wisconsin) found me on Twitter. I’ve been followed by a handful of bands on that site, but there was definitely something special about Archie. Maybe it was the glasses or the snazzy thrift store clothing, but I had a feeling I’d like him, and I found I really enjoy his band’s modern day indie rock sound infused with some throwbacky pop style. You can download their “Loose Change” EP for free here. - .

"Loose Change Review"

(translated from Spanish)

Loose Change EP is the title of the debut album from Archie Powell & The Exports, a group from Chicago who play a musical style of Power Pop which is reminiscent of the sound of bands like Weezer or Nada Surf. The disc begins with the intense "Moving to the City," which combines equal parts melody and energy, a stupendous letter of introduction that manages to hook from the first listen. The rest of the songs included on the EP maintain a similar line, that is to say, powerful and catchy sounds with a touch of sensitivity that in occasions like in "Piggy Bank Blues" brings to mind the Beach Boys.

But the best part is that we could check it out ourselves, since the group allows you to download the entire EP for free on their official website. - Lito Music

"2009 End of Year List Accolades"

#2 - Madison B-Side Records (on Michelle's 13 Best list)

#6 - Absolute Powerpop's Top 15 EPs of 2009

#27 - Best of Globo Records Top 85

#10 - Random Old Records Blog (write-up below)
What would a music blog be without a year-end top 10 list? Not to fear, Random Old Records is a slave to habit and tradition, and here is my extra-special list of albums that blew my face off this year. I'm sad to report that music still pretty much sucks, though. Maybe it's the economy or political climate or whatever, but there's too much robotic, soulless disco-laptop-pop, too many phony-baloney early '70s cheesedick singer-songwriter copycats, and too many piss-poor bands using lo-fi production and put-on bratty attitudes to mask their obvious lack of song craft. It's pretty damning evidence about the state of music that Animal Collective's worst album to date (I've liked all the other ones) is #1 on most lists. It was released in January, for fuck's sake!

Luckily, the amount of bands playing good, old-fashioned rock n' roll skyrocketed in 2009. As computers suck all the emotion, spontaneity, and guts out of music, going back to the basics is an obvious reaction. While most people disappeared into their navel and got all introspective and shit, I reveled in pounding surf-rock drumbeats, handclaps, power chords, AM radio fuzz, Fender Twin Reverb, raggedy keyboards, raucous harmonies, and blunt bubblegum refrains. For the most part, my favorite albums of 2009 have the emotional depth of a thimble, but they sure as hell were a lot more exciting than everything else I heard. I kinda like singing along, dancing, and having fun, don't you? Without further babbling, here's the ten albums that really got my dander up this year.

10. Archie Powell & The Exports - Loose Change EP
The traditional music business model finally died a well-deserved death in 2009. Remember when record company and press hype combined with touring, videos, and radio play to break bands? That route has been failing ever since file-sharing became all-powerful, and good little bands like Archie Powell & The Exports are benefiting like crazy. Back when I was a kid, I waited for that big trip to the record store once a month to find the albums I read about a month before in the big-time rock magazines. Not anymore! I heard a track from this EP when I tuned into's Big Star Radio channel at work, downloaded it for free minutes later from their Bandcamp site, talked to 'em on Twitter, passed the good word onto some friends, and sure enough, they're playing Cincinnati in a couple weeks. As much as I blame the internet for diluting the rock n' roll talent pool, it sure makes it easy to discover the good bands sticking out like sore thumbs in the soup of mediocrity. This Chicago foursome takes its cues from the poppier side of the Replacements, the nerdy guitar crunch of good Weezer, and the best parts of early '80s radio pop and wraps it in an easy-going package that begs for repeat listens. These four originals and one cover makes one salivate for the upcoming full-length next year. Get in on the ground floor before it's too late!
Wenatchee World
- Albums on track for 2010

Now that 2010 has begun, it's time to stop looking back and start looking ahead. Several announcements have been made about albums making an appearance this year, and here I highlight my most anticipated so far.

1. Archie Powell & the Exports
You've heard their free five-song EP, and can't wait to hear more of that throwbacky pop. Well, you won't have to wait much longer. The foursome has nearly wrapped up production of its debut full-length release, full of upbeat music to please the masses. Release date not yet determined.
- Various


  • Mom's Still Mad (We Got Drunk Last Christmas) - December 2014 (Single) 
  • A Waltz For Old Jeppson (Carl's Theme) AKA The Malort Song - October 2014 (Single) 
  • Back In Black - May 2014
  • Only So Much You Can Do B/W Screening Calls - June 2013 (Single)
  • Job Fair B/W Erik Elects To Veto - October 2012 (Single) 
  • Great Ideas In Action - May 2012
  • Skip Work - October 2010



Heartbreak, shame, sorrow and guilt. In the case of Archie Powell, his new collection of songs prove that for him, no good crush gets requited. He and the Exports present Back in Black, an explosive set that marries the melodic, hooky addiction of their previous albums with a new heavier, noisy backing. Powell notes that the political songs on their critically acclaimed “Great Ideas in Action” got a lot of attention, but he felt that the more inwardly centered songs held up just as well. “I felt that the real strength of our body of work was with internal subject matter. Writing this album, I wanted to be bluntly transparent about sex and romance. I was really looking to be nakedly honest despite any discomfort or personal embarrassment it would invariably cause.”

With a desire to capture sound and spirit of their high-energy live show, the band set out for Chrome Attic with producer and like-minded soundsmith Jonathan Alvin (Santah, Surfer Blood), a soul brother with the chops and innovative outlook to help them realize their vision. Keen pop sensibility with harsh noise soundscapes compliment one another and lend a cohesiveness to a set of tunes that are otherwise markedly dissimilar.

Thematically, the lyrics speak of heartbreak, longing and infatuation -  they are presented in a sonically dischordant way, creating a musical dichotomy that breathes fresh air into a time honored rock n’ roll tradition. “I’m always looking for a twist, to make things musically interesting for myself” explains Powell, “I ditched any songs that seemed too pat, too easy, and focused on the ones that had a creepy feeling on the first listen, then became more relatable as you dig in. Conversely, I've also always loved the happy sounding pop songs that have weird, depraved subject matter. It's the same kind of rub.” The album has a lot of texture and depth, listening at low volume presents a very different experience from blasting it on high.

"Holes" takes about two and a half minutes to illustrate the ebb, flow, and irreversible rise and release of tension that most mismatched relationships take years to see through. Seemingly turned up to ten from the outset, the tune somehow continues to expand to vast spaces with dreamy guitar licks, buzz-saw synths and an infectious call from Powell for the applicable party to help him "re-organize, re-organize". Clearly unheeded, the tune reaches its inevitable climax only to have the rug pulled out from underneath on a dime, forcing the listener to literally "snap out of it".

A true pop pastiche of long-reaching array, "Tattoo On My Brain" feels like five songs at once while ultimately retaining the glue of a smart lyric and melody to hold it all together. Phil Spector, Dick Dale, Jerry Lee Lewis, and The Clash are all at the same party, and we're not sure if the host is Elvis Costello or Frank Black for all the syrupy hooks and ghastly noise served in equal proportion. 

Of all the songs on the record, "I'm Gonna Lose It" feels most quintessential. As much sweet and earnest as it is desperate and sexually repressed, the frustration of the lead character cuts through the mix clearest of all. With sentiments such as "I've got a feeling that you were never quite impressed / I guess it's not appealing to hear me say I loved you best" butting up against their more vulgar counterparts ("But now I'll never press you and tell you jokes or send you texts / Let alone undress you and bite your tongue or touch your breast"), the dynamic for the entire record is deftly summarized. And all the doo wop vocals certainly don't hurt. 

Archie Powell is the son of a violin prodigy who played in the Chicago Symphany Orchestra before landing as a permanent member of Milwaukee’s orchestra. He started playing guitar at 11 and writing “awful” songs at around 15.  Immediately following college, he and keyboardist Ryan started the Exports, bassist Adam joined after they recorded their first EP and they rounded out the permanent line-up with drummer RJ. The band’s first recorded effort was a digital freebie called the Loose Change EP that expanded their audience to a national level. It was followed by Skip Work, their debut full length, which drew praise from Boston Phoenix, Powerpopaholic and My Old Kentucky Blog among others. Great Ideas in Action followed in 2012, and critics from Esquire, Billboard and NPR’s World Café were impressed. 

The band began touring nationally in support of Skip Work, leaving a trail of empty bottles, broken hearts and hilarious tour videos in their wake. Great Ideas in Action took them around North America as radio play and press raves gathered speed. They hop in the van on a regular basis to continue their scorched earth tour policies promoting their current release Back In Black.

Band Members