Saturday, 21 October 2017

Groovy Uncle - A Clip Round The Ear

The Medway collective led by Chatham's Glenn Prangnell return for Album Number Six and it's their best yet. This is Psych Pop at it's very best, more on the Pop side, say more the first incarnation of The Move than Pink Floyd. Having said that, Oil And Colour Man would fit comfortably on Relics.

Cardiff's Suzi Chunk is again present and this allows the album to be divided into two. When Suzi moves to the Mic Stand, it's more for Burt Bacharach type kitchen sink dramas and these work equally as well as the great Pop that surrounds it. An exception to this is Got Up And Gone which could be Jacqui Abbott in it's delivery and pace. It also has a great Pearl And Dean type ending.

The duet on Things I've Been Meaning To Say is wonderful, part Peter Paul And Mary, almost The Seekers. Above My Station is a charming little ditty with it's early Lennon like vocal. It's the Psych Pop that appeals most to me, but that's probably because it's been such a while since I've heard it done so well.

Mrs Saywell Says and Our Gary's No Fool are splendid affairs that you can imagine being in a technicolor film starring Michael Bates. The aforementioned Oil And Colour Man is a revelation of song.

The whole album takes you back to a more innocent age. Little Essays about a world before everyone knew everything. Not only is it charming, but it's also beautifully arranged. The vocals from Prangnell and Chunk are spot on. Both deserve a wider audience.

You can buy the album on vinyl from the band's website here. Ray at the excellent Kool-Kat has the release on CD here. A Clip Round The Ear is also available for download at the likes of Amazon here. The album and the band's back catalogue is also available on iTunes.

Friday, 20 October 2017

The Stanleys - The Stanleys

Power Pop is a broad church these days and away from the pointless arguments of what is and isn't, but this self titled debut is as good an example of what is as any around. I get a similar thrill listening to it as I did when I first heard the Somerdale album last year.

It's also nice personally to be back on familiar territory and first and foremost, Power Pop is what I do and I have in my hands, a possible album of the year for the genre. I know it isn't, but it seems ages since I've heard something so akin to the reason that I got into Power Pop.

Every one of these 11 songs get you singing along to the chorus, each hooks you and starts the feet tapping. I'd heard for a few months that this release was gonna be something special, a true Power Pop album. Well  it is!

This isn't Merseybeat, think New Wave 1978 - 1983 and the glory days of Not Lame. Not only that but there are plenty of Glam Rock influences. particularly on songs like Cigarette Glow. I'm constantly reminded of The Plimsouls And The Romantics, although What Are We Gonna Do? could have been written by Kimberley Rew.

At other times, I'm reminded of the likes of Michael Carpenter with the chimes and hooks on My World. Always is very Nick Piunti. Hefner is a glammed up version of The Knack. Everybody Dance is pure Chinn And Chapman Smokie.

The album doesn't let up for the first eight of the 11 songs. Then the Somerdale comparison kicks in with This Time Goodbye. Summer is Brit Pop Dodgy and the closing Kid's Gonna Rock is a real teen anthem. All this ignores Amy, the opening song and probably the best single that I've heard this year.

I try and make the I Don't Hear A Single Radio Show as varied as possible and so to devote over half of last week's show to the whole album is a testament to how good it is. The Stanleys may very well have grabbed the Power Pop Trophy back for Australia.

You can listen to and buy the album here.

Johnny Chastain - Plot Points To Nowhere (Free Download)

Lots of promise here from Chicago's Johnny Chastain. Plot Points To Nowhere is a very American album, not that is ever a problem. At it's best it is reminiscent of the likes of John Mellencamp, particularly when it rocks.

Now, Here And Nowhere and the title track are such examples. These two songs are very much on the road ditties and both roll along really nicely. Add to these, s great vocal on What I Might Have Said and variance of Upright Bass and Sax on Where Do We Go From Here and you have an album that is hard not to like.

The only problem is that there isn't enough of the up tempo, so the heavy reliance on the slow and acoustic, excellent though the playing is, makes the album that bit duller. Kid's Got Moxie even has an Aztec Camera feel and is another fine song.

I certainly don't want to appear too critical, there is surely a great future for Chastain, maybe the next album could rely more on the rockier songs. There's certainly lots of encouragement to make it worth listening to and as a free download , what have you got to lose?

You can listen to and download the album here

The Red Button - Now It's All This (2CD)

Seth Swirsky's last solo album, Circles And Squares was reviewed here. It remains one of the Top 10 visited posts here and that is a testament to how good the album is. During that review, his Red Button adventures weren't mentioned and I'm delighted to say that can now be remedied with this release.

The Red Button consists of Seth and Mike Ruekberg. 2007's debut album, She's About To Cross My Mind was refreshing departure from the Big Rock that was around at the time. It's a Power Pop Gem, all jangling and chiming.

Whilst that debut was very much in the McCartney Pop of the 60's, there was still plenty on it to update a more modern audience. I personally felt that it was very much in the territory of The dB's. Floating By is one of the great lost Psych Pop songs, XTC like in it's structure.

Can't Stop Thinking About You is a popped up Tom Petty jangle, Gonna Make You Mine is a Farfisa joy that you'd expect to hear as the opening theme in one of those mid to late 60's UK films for "the kids". There's so much great Pop here, particularly for Revolver fans. Loads of hooks.

The band followed up the debut album, with 2011's As Far As Yesterday Goes. Equally excellent, it wasn't just a sophomore release. It keeps hold of what made the first album great, but spreads it's wings a little more. Easier would grace any great Mid 70's Pop Rock of your choice.

Album Number 2 is if anything a slower more reflective affair that works beautifully. On A Summer Day could be 10cc. I Can't Forget is Classic Merseybeat. Running Away could be The Strawbs or Lindisfarne.

Marty Scott's revival of Jem Records continues apace and just reissuing these two fine albums would be more than enough. However there's more. a second disc contains six new songs and four Unplugged versions of songs from As Far As Yesterday Goes.

The six new songs leave you hopeful of a third album from the duo. With the exception of Solitude Saturday, these songs are even more Lennon McCartney like and the former could be Al Stewart. I really can't recommend this double disc affair any higher than just to tell you to get your wallet out tout de suite.

You can buy the album from today everywhere.

Thursday, 19 October 2017

I Don't Hear A Single Radio Show Episode 18

Back to normality after a week's break from IDHAS.

The I Don't Hear A Single Radio show is brought to you by the Number 18 tomorrow.

It's been a great week for new releases and such. So much so that only this week's opener is an archive track.

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 first seventeen shows here.

Reviews are back on here from tomorrow.

Here is this week's playlist :

01 Feeder - Buck Rogers
02 Third Of Never - Austerity
03 Shrug Life - First World Problems
04 Groovy Uncle - Our Gary's No Fool
05 UV Pop - Anyone For Me
06 Horizon Arcs - Fast Forward
07 Future Teens - In Love Or Whatever
08 Kris Rodgers - Rock N' Roll Radio
09 Avora Records - We Happy Few
10 Berwanger - The Astronaut
11 The Moms - Good Job
12 Robyn Gibson - 5D
13 Salto - Home Again
14 Takotsubo Men - Tony Szabo Destroyed Everything
15 Linda Perhacs - Crazy Love
16 Gentlemen Jackals - Waiting For The Day

Thursday, 12 October 2017

I Don't Hear A Single Radio Show Episode 17

The I Don't Hear A Single Radio show reaches the Number 17 tomorrow.

It's a Special Edition providing the opportunity to listen to one of the best Power Pop Albums of the year ahead of this weekend's review. The full self titled debut album from The Stanleys is exclusively played for your listening pleasure.

As if that wasn't enough, the front end of the show sees the return of Custard and Liverpool Express with possibly the reissue of the year.

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 and there are plans for some more US Friendly times.

You can listen to it here.

Also, a reminder that the show is archived the following week on Mixcloud. You can listen to the first sixteen shows here.

Here is this week's playlist :

01 The On And Ons - Not The Only One
02 Ian Person - Whatever It Takes
03 Skytone - Second Hand Shops
04 Custard - In The Grand Scheme Of Things (None Of This Really Matters)
05 The Two Tens - Streetlight
06 New Politics - One Of Us
07 Liverpool Express - Every Man Must Have A Dream
08 The Stanleys - Amy
09 The Stanleys - Cigarette Glow
10 The Stanleys - What Are We Gonna Do
11 The Stanleys - My World
12 The Stanleys - Always
13 The Stanleys - Hefner
14 The Stanleys - Everybody Dance
15 The Stanleys - Say You Will
16 The Stanleys - This Time Goodbye
17 The Stanleys - Summer
18 The Stanleys - Kid's Gonna Rock

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Liverpool Express - The Albums (3CD)

In the halcyon days of Anything Should Happen, Billy Kinsley was the ideal artist for what that Blog celebrated. He was involved in not one but two classic lost Pop Rock albums, added to his Mersey Beat standing. What more did you need? He is one of the mainstays of that genre, yet few of the general public laud him. Hopefully that's about to change.

Billy Kinsley was a founder member and vocalist (with Tony Crane) of The Merseybeats and left, excepting a brief departure in 1964, after their glory years were fading in 1966. He duly formed a vocal duo called The Merseys with Tony Crane, famous for the first cover of Sorrow which was a massive hit. Bowie would later also cover this McCoy's B Side.

His tie up with the equally excellent Jimmy Campbell in Rockin' Horse resulted in 1970's Yes It Is, an album that is still celebrated by the Power Pop Community. nearly five decades on. The band are held in the same esteem as say Badfinger, despite this being their only album. Indeed their only live outing was as Chuck Berry's Backing Band on his 1972 Tour.

After a period out of the limelight, but still touring, Kinsley re-emerged in Liverpool Express in 1975. Rapidly signed to Warner Brothers, their debut album, Tracks, has remained an album that fans have been waiting for on CD for a long long time. 

Containing the hit singles, You are My Love, Hold Tight and the superb, Every Man Must Have A Dream are essential listening. Tracks is an album that any lover of McCartney type pop should own. It warrants it's position in the Top 10 Pop Rock albums of the 70s. The album lit up 1976.

You've heard of Big In Japan, well Liverpool Express were big in South America, very big. Whenever we discussed Liverpool Express, the fans from Chile, Argentina, Brazil etc waded in with their thoughts. The album was heavily bootlegged over there. Here you have 3 Bonus B Sides to add to the enjoyment.

The two follow up albums Dreamin' and LEX are not quite as good, but are still highly sought after. Dreamin' appeared in 1978, it was a rushed recording in between touring. Like many debut albums, Tracks had a lot of material honed before the studio recording, Dreamin' didn't. It got lost in the Punk and New Wave adventures of the time. 

It's a really decent album and So Here I Go Again is a fine single, Dreamin' is a great song, but compared to Tracks, it obviously suffers. The addition of the single Don't Stop The Music as one of the three bonus tracks is a welcome one. That got a lot of play on local radio, but sadly did no more.

The third album, released in 1979 contains 3 covers amid it's nine songs. Games People Play is a really nice stab at Joe South's original and the Kinsley original I Want Nobody But You is great, but largely the times dictated that the band had served it's time. The two single B Sides are added to the original album here.

In 2002, Kinsley released a Greatest Hits which is now inessential, thanks to this set. A reformed Liverpool Express released a new album, Once Upon A Time in 2003, but the moment had gone.
Billy Kinsley still tours with The Merseybeats. 

I was really disappointed to discover that I'd missed out on an excellent Spencer Leigh, 4 part documentary on Billy on Radio Merseyside a few years ago. If anyone has a recording of this, please give me a shout.

I Don't Hear A Single largely concentrates on the new, but as a collector, I never lose touch with my past. I have to say of all the reissues this year, this one delights me most. All three albums and eight bonus tracks. Cherry Red have made an ageing man very very happy. 

You can buy the set here and everywhere.