Sunday, 22 April 2018
This year's IPO is almost upon us, just over three weeks away. I've moaned enough about the state of Power Pop and Gig Attendance in the UK lately, so I'll lead you over the barricades etc etc by attending most days apart from the Saturday and Sunday.
I will also be previewing artists who will be appearing in the three week lead up to the event starting midweek. This may be in the form of short interviews, a piece about them or a review of their current album. All will be appearing on here.
The other Reviews and Radio Show will continue as normal. The IPO articles will just filter in with at least one article a day. The full IPO Schedule can be found here.
I've already contact the relevant artists and will be back in touch with them from Tuesday onward. There will also be an interview with David Bash towards the end of the Previews. I'd like to make it clear that I'm not interfering with what David does in any way. I'm about promoting Power Pop in the UK and the local North West Scene.
Some of the articles will be in a longer form and appear elsewhere and the local North West bands will be featured on an additional site that I am not involved with.
Now this is in far more familiar territory. Nick Frater is from Croydon. I know that I moan about the frustration that more UK artists aren't coming forward to show that there are still great Power Pop and New Wave purveyors here.
I've only been to Croydon twice. Once was to visit Beanos and that was a whistle stop visit. I wanted to stay longer, but was with an older Music Fan who lived in the Smoke and was disappointed at the selection of Gentle Giant Offerings, so moved us on rapid.
The second time was whilst I lived in London Monday to Friday in the Mid Nineties. I spent a night with my great friend Rob Jukes. Rob is a top man, but all I really remember was that the Chip Shops didn't sell Pies or Gravy. What I do know though is that Croydon is not the Pop Rock capital of England.
That may be about to change though with this 7 Song Gem. Contained within is probably something of everything that I've been rattling on about in the last year or two. It's like a I Don't Hear A Single Sampler.
The absolute gem is the opener, Built To Last, which you may have heard on the Radio Show. It's so good that it's gonna appear again next week. It's all New Wave Harmonies, a bass driven melodic wonder of a song.
Away from the Built To Last Joy, Fruit Punches is Bossa Nova Psych Pop, whilst is More Than This is all Sixties Kitchen Sink Film Drama. You can imagine John Howard playing Piano on Hold On Caroline, it's Andrew Gold like.
Remoaner is all jaunty Glam Rock, Paperchase comes over as if Squeeze are covering The Seekers. It's left to the closer, Asking For A Friend, to reveal Frater's love of McCartney Pop. That could be Ringo on Drums.
Goodbye Kayfabe is an absolute joy of a listen. Right up our street. You can listen to and buy it here.
Plastic Knights hail from Vaprio d'Adda, about 20 miles from Milan in Italy. Following on from the If I single, the band have now released their debut album. It's a great 40 minute listen, although the album is more in Classic Rock territory than we usually venture.
Unclever Noise will probably be promoted as Indie Rock, but the material here is much more variety led than in that catch all genre. The Four Piece dabble with Grunge, Metal, even Prog, but all of it is melodic and beautifully played.
Everlasting is a sort of Funk bordering on AOR. But the nearest comparison that I can come up with is Muse, certainly on songs such as I Can't Breathe and Kaleidoscope. This wouldn't be a Muse of Gizmos and Gadgets or Voice Changers. The album is far more straight ahead than that.
If I is Soundgarden like and the album really doesn't feel like a debut. Plastic Knights seem to know what they want to achieve and it is at it's best when it isn't slowed down. Unclever Noise is a really accomplished opening album.
You can listen to and buy the album here.
We've had the Pop Punk debate on here in the past, so that's boring, if only would go beyond the label. The better bands are not wearing baggy shorts and backward caps, they are stretching out way beyond and can't and won't be labelled.
Many of these upcoming bands have more in common with Power Pop, New Wave and Pop Rock. Take Chicago's City Mouth! The five piece do not want to be Green Day, their influences, both old and new, are from far further afield.
The arrangements include unusual Brass and keyboard runs, played by Jackie Heuser. She also adds additional vocals which again adds to the variety. The seven songs here come in at just under 24 minutes, but there is so much packed in that the album feels really substantial.
Take the opener, Lay Awake, which was played on this week's radio show. It's 1:56 and packs a slow hand clap start and rock out end sandwiched between a superb trumpet riff. It's chock full of stuff in under 2 minutes. It's melodic joy.
The other end of the album has an anthemic much longer Stay Awake, very different to that opener, although there's a closing reference to it. In between, Anywhere But Here could be early 70's Prog, think of Lamb Lying Down on Broadway.
Don't get me wrong, City Mouth Rock and Boy do they Rock, but this isn't mindless, it's built on hypnotic riffs, unexpected arrangements and changes of direction at will. Special mention has to be made of the accompanying vocal arrangements. Hollows is one of the best things that I've heard this year.
You can listen to and buy the album for a paltry five dollars here.
Major Murphy's debut album is a double celebration. It underlines what a great label Winspear is becoming, a real mark of quality. More relevantly, the band offer up Pop Rock of the highest order, a hark back to the glory days of the 70's when this album would have sold oddles and oodles.
No 1 is a glorious 37 minutes. The ten songs offer up so many references to what has gone before, but essentially are the Grand Rapid Trio's own and throughout the versatility shines through. For all the influences that you hear, the album never veers into pastische or tribute.
There's a wonderful laid back feel to all of this, nothing seems rushed. Jacon Bullard's vocals are suitability fragile, providing a lead for splendid arrangements and Backing Vocals. The type of songs that Major Murphy produce don't lend themselves to noise and speed. That's not what they are about.
However when they do break out, it's when the album excels. The riff led closer, Lisa, Robbi And Me is a joy and the stand out Radi-Yum is pure Glam Rock, a real Bolan reminder. Normally I'd pick out more songs and references, but to be honest the whole album stands up as an entirety.
The band are a really tight trio that enhances the strength of Bullard's songwriting. No 1 is a corker of an album, a testament to band and label. You should buy it now, the Summer is almost here.
You can listen to and buy the album here.
Thursday, 19 April 2018
I Don't Hear A Single's Radio Show returns this week to liven up your lives. Number 40 brings you 16 New songs and 2 Archive Tracks.
Nice to have IDHAS firing on all cylinders again. The planned new 2 hour additional show is still a couple of weeks or so away. Delays are down to me.
The I Don't Hear A Single Radio Excitement is broadcast on KOR Radio at 8pm UK Time on Fridays, repeated at the same time on Saturdays. Due to increased popularity, a Monday Night Repeat has been added at 8pm.
You can listen to it here.
Also, a reminder that the show is archived the following week on Mixcloud. You can listen to the other thirty nine shows and two Xmas Specials here.
Here's this week's playlist :
01 The Motors - Love And Loneliness
02 The Supahip - Running Blind
03 The Stayawakes - Slumbers
04 City Mouth - Lay Awake
05 Simon Love - Golden Boy
06 The Covasettes - Wondering Why
07 Michael Simmons - No More Girls
08 The Penske File - Kamikaze Kids
09 David James Situation - Waste Of Time
10 Yachts - Box 202
11 Major Murphy - Who I Will Be
12 Blake Jones And The Trike Shop - Take A Look At The Stars
13 Caravela - Car
14 Annexe The Moon - Full Stop
15 Ocean Mind - Victim Of Gravity
16 Easter - Open Grave
17 Red Sun Rising - Left For Dead
18 The Wellwishers - Come Out And Play
Wednesday, 18 April 2018
Since I've returned to the writing chair, I keep getting surprises, most I knew where coming, some I didn't. Well I didn't know The Supahip's second album was on the horizon and so it would appear my Pop Rock credentials need renewing.
It's well known that I worship at the altar of Michael Carpenter. Australia hasn't been as abundant in the Power Pop / Pop Rock division over recent years. Music from Oz seems to have got have got more meandering or lowest common denominator. There are exceptions that I, as well as you, will readily name.
The Supahip's Seize The World remains one of my favourite albums from the Naughties. Songs that shot off in all directions but were centred around great melodies. So over a decade on, it's ace that The Two Sided Face has appeared.
The Supahip are a collaboration between Carpenter and Mark Moldre. Those not familiar with The Supahip might expect a slightly country folk tinged album, because the former can head that way at times and the latter's acoustic solo stuff certainly does. No No Not at all.
Four Arms and Got To Keep On Moving certainly fit that bill, but the album is largely a real melodic pop rocking joy. When I Started Falling Apart is jaunty Rock and Roll. Motor feels like Stealers Wheel, in fact quite a few of the songs do.
Both Running Blind and Domino are great examples of Psych Pop. Wonderful examples! The real standout though is the moody meandering closer, Time To Turn The Page. I wouldn't have chosen to wait almost 12 years for the follow up to Seize The World, but it has been worth that wait. The Two Sided Face is outstanding, it'll certainly be high on my end of year chart.
You can listen to and buy the album here. You should!