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Ponyoak (Out of Print)

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Album Review

Graham Smith is one of Chicago's prized resources, as far as indie-pop goes — under the name Kleenex Girl Wonder, he single-handedly writes, performs, and records some pretty wonderful pop. While some of the attention paid to Kleenex Girl Wonder is probably a result of Smith's young age and DIY attitude (his name is the only one to appear on the album — such is the extent of his involvement), his songs are exceptionally deserving on their own — there's nothing particularly innovative about his '60s-inspired pop, the songwriting is as catchy as anything to come along in quite a while ("Now I Got a Feeling," for example.) Even when he's just running along power chords and tossing out quick melodies, Smith's songs are little short of brilliant — right up there with early Beatles or Monkees tunes in terms of sheer pop appeal. And of course, Smith's indie-pop situation is rather charming — anyone who can create an album on his own and then title a song "Graham Smith Is the Strongest Man Alive" deserves some credit.


Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Graham Smith has gained a reputation in the Chicago indie scene for his staunch DIY ethic and his band Kleenex Girl Wonder's short lo-fi pop songs. Smith single-handedly writes, records, and performs all the band's material, with other band members occasionally turning up for live shows. It all began in 1996 when Smith was in high school in suburban Downers Grove, Ill. During his senior year, he put out the band's first two CDs, Sexual Harrassment and Graham Smith is the Coolest Person Alive....
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Ponyoak (Out of Print), Kleenex Girl Wonder
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