Under the Tangerine Tree

Tom Curless has hit the jackpot on his fourth studio effort as Your Gracious Host..cranking the amps up on the pop machine, this is an excellent way to experience a sound which is solid and urgent, but yet still melodic. Imagine the Posies committed to cover the repertoire of more rocking Alex Chilton songs and you get the picture.

Powerpop action

I really love the new Your Gracious Host record  (1UP 2DOWN), although I find it a bit more restless and less pop oriented than their previous work.

International Pop Overthrow 2012

Fans of Teenage Fanclub, The Shins, XTC, The Association, and a host of similarly minded sounding bands will enjoy any of their discs, masterminded by former member of Autoliner, Tom Curless. Their latest, 1UP 2DOWN, is their most immediate, blending powerpop guitars turned up to 11 with their trademark harmonies and intricate instrumental arrangements.


Michigan bunch led by pop aficionado Tom Curless. On this, the band’s third record, they seem to do what they did on their first 2 (only better) That is create chiming, jangly pop songs with excellent playing and hooks a plenty. Usually in a Teenage Fanclub vein and well worth checking out.

Big Takeover

The Midwest has turned out good under-the-radar power-pop for decades (Cheap Trick even ascended to royalty), and Grand Blanc, MI’s YGH get the nod from the discriminating Not Lame and International Pop Overthrow crowds, helped by stated influences that read like our back issues page’s cover rundowns—names like Bob Mould, Posies, XTC, GBV, Teenage Fanclub, Replacements, etc. But like spawn of the more regional Shoes, Choo-Choo Train, Material Issue, and Chicago’s underrated Bon Mots, Tom Curless and Co.’s third LP actually prefers jaunty, lighter, acoustic-based breeze to spotlight his pleasant Emitt Rhodes/Beatles-bright lead singing and their CS&N angel harmonies. Curless writes well, too, like a young relation of uncles Beau Brummels, Cyrkle, Association, Monkees, Grass Roots, ‘70s Beach Boys, and the “I’m Alive”-era Hollies—with just enough Midwestern spit to make his trio hit and stick instead of playing wimpy AM pop.

Absolute Powerpop

Tom Curless is back with his third disc in a little over two years as Your Gracious Host, serving up more of the indie-flavored power pop we got on the first two discs. The standouts this time around are the Posies-esque "Decision Tonight", the dreamy mid-tempo "Episode in Contrast", "Surrender Me", which has a Well Wishers/Spinning Jennies vibe, and the Teenage Fanclub-influenced "Reach the Shore". Let's not keep this one a "sleeper"

Kool Kat Records

GREAT!!!!  WOW!!!!  Tom Curless (aka Your Gracious Host) keeps upping the ante with each successive release, and with "Sleepers Awaken" he's set a pretty high bar this time!  The sessions for the record were recorded in Michigan and Chicago at three different studios throughout most of 2010.  Enlisting the help of Brian Leach and John Ross (which reunites the most excellent late 90's/early 00's Autoliner of which Curless was a member), the results are eleven sparkling new songs that grace this brilliant (and best yet) third outing led by this mid-western pop machine.   You'll want to RSVP to Your Gracious Host" - AbsolutePowerpop.blogspot.com  "Episode In Contrast" sounds like it came right off William Duke's "The Sunrise and The Night"!   Can't say enough about this one! 

Pop Geek Heaven

#4- Falling off the Earth Curless' broad expansive view of the power pop landscape constantly surprises with fresh chords and unexpected hooks. There is not a single song based on first, fourth or fifth chords to be found.

Caught in the Carousel

Channelling the power and punch of everyone from Badfinger to Big Star, Michigan's Your Gracious Host has no shortage of catchy songs. The Michigan band's fifth long player is an eleven song workout that finds singer/songwriter Tom Curless at the top of his game.


....The musical styles shifts from heavy rock to new wave pop – occasionally within the same song. It works on “Tonight All You Will See” and the second half of “Invisible Girl.” Like a staged rock musical, some transitions are jarring and others mesmerizing.

Tom does hit his stride with the brilliant piano melody “Heart On The Table” with its layered composition and spacey chorus. “If You Have Your Doubts” and “Facing Me” are great songs and the instrumental “Train Passing” is pure magic too. It may take a few listens for this one to grow on you. But trust me it will.

Stereo Embers

The brainchild of former Autoliner drummer Tom Curless, Your Gracious Host has been steadily establishing itself as one of the most exciting power pop bands around.

The Michigan outfit’s new long player The Writers Of Our Destiny is a perfectly crafted concept album whose narrative centers around a bar-dwelling protagonist who’s both stuck in the past and worried about the future. “I live in a world within a world” he proclaims midway through the accompanying 14-page short story. Those two worlds find him navigating the mistakes he’s made and the choices he’s confronted with and the result is a maze of trains, portentous dreams and anticipated texts that ultimately deliver him to–where else?–Rochester.

And that Rochester is both mythic and literal. A swirl of lights, a staggering into its arms.

As for the music, Curless is a man who knows how to write a pop song and The Writers Of Our Destiny is loaded with them.

A twelve-song platter of big choruses and inspired verses, there are too many highlights to mention.

But just to name a few, “Trying To Remember” has all the whip of early Cars singles; the power and crunch of “Love Or Fear (pt 2)” is decidedly catchy and “Stop Complaining” is an energetic blast of jittery new wave.

Elsewhere, the jangling “If You Ever Have Your Doubts” is powered by a mighty call-and-response and the album closing “And In My Dreams” is as ethereal as it is percussive.