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Midwestern good-time rockers Archie Powell & the Exports join the likes of A.C. Newman and Ted Leo in carrying the power pop torch into the aughts. Singer/guitarist Archie Powell, son of a Chicago Symphony Orchestra violinist, took up guitar by age 11 and began writing songs four years later, but it wasn't until he graduated college that he formed AP&E proper. Keeping it simple, the band name was inspired by the Export brothers who rounded out the lineup: bassist/singer Adam; keyboardist Ryan; and drummer RJ. Their first recording, the Loose Change EP, arrived digitally and for free in 2009, expanding their audience to a national level, followed a year later by the heartstring-plucking debut full-length Skip Work. The following fall they returned to the studio, this time with Justin Perkins (Yesterday's Kids, Screeching Weasel, the Obsoletes), to record sophomore record Great Ideas in Action, which is scheduled for release in May 2012. ~ Chrysta Cherrie