Monday, 21 September 2020
You may have had an email today or read Ray's Facebook post. If not, then I'm delighted to say that Kool Kat will now be distributed in the UK and Europe by I Don't Hear A Single. It has been a continued IDHAS mission to bring down the costs of US Imports to the UK and Europe. This is just a quick post to tell you that Kool Kat Musik joins Big Stir in being distributed in these areas by us.
There will be a more official announcement later in the week which will be more all singing and dancing with links for you. In the meantime. here Ray's email is pasted below to explain ordering from Kool Kat. Big Stir is ordered from their own site and we just automatically deliver UK and European orders.
We hope to add more US labels as time progresses to keep Physical Sales from these great artists alive.
GREAT NEWS FOR ALL CUSTOMERS IN THE UK + EUROPE!!
We are all well aware of the ridiculously high postage rates to send CDs to the UK and Europe. These are uncontrollable costs set by the US Postal system – UNTIL NOW!! I am happy (and thrilled) to report that Kool Kat Musik has officially entered into an agreement with I Don’t Hear A Single to help fulfill orders to customers in the UK and Europe which will result in significant postage savings for you. ALL CDs ON THE KOOL KAT SITE ARE ELIGIBLE TO ORDER!
In order to accomplish this and to ensure accurate product fill/postage costs based on destination, a different ordering procedure will be necessary. Do not place order through the Kool Kat site. Orders are to be placed via email, preferably to me (email@example.com) or to IDHAS (firstname.lastname@example.org). No payment in advance is required.
At the time the order is received, product availability, total product cost and postage costs based on destination will be calculated. A PayPal Money request will then be sent representing the total amount due for your order. Please follow the same ordering procedure if you choose to have CDs sent to you without Jewel Cases. They will ship directly to you from Kool Kat Musik in the US at a reduced postage cost (vs. sending them with cases).
IMPORTANT NOTE: Though this process will result in additional delivery time to you with regard to allowing the products being sent from the US to get to IDHAS for shipment to you, it WILL ultimately result in significant postage savings. You can link to the new releases here.
You will see that titles are broken down into several categories (Top Sellers, New Releases, New CDs, Compilations, and Used CDs) with icons for each category to click to view all titles.
Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions!
For instance you can find the Best Sellers here.
Sunday, 20 September 2020
Croydon's finest, Nick Frater returns with his wonderful brand of Pop and seeing as the UK used to be the world's finest at this sort of material, it is particularly sad to note that Frater is one of the few exponents here in Brexit Land.
His signing to Big Stir would appear to be a marriage made in heaven as his brand of Pop Rock seems ideally suited to the West Coast label. However, bar a couple of Vocal Harmony driven songs, this album feels very British.
There also seems to be less Guitar and so the songs have the vocals at the forefront in true Singer Songwriter style. It does sound very 70's, but beautifully so. Fast & Loose can rock, but its gently and here his superb voice is showcased.
IDHAS has been a big supporter of Nick, simply due to his talent and you can read our reviews of his previous albums here. He featured in the I Don't Hear A Single Top 10 Of The Year in both 2018 and 2019 and Fast & Loose is sure to ensure that he will again.
It strikes me that he would never want to make the same album twice and having mastered the likes of Power Pop and Rundgren Territory etc, it feels like the right time to nail the Pop Territory of the 70s, particularly the tail end of Glam Rock.
I definitely wouldn't suggest that there is no variety here. Let's Hear It For Love is terrific Glam Rock and Cocaine Girls is a great cross between both UK and US New Wave. California Waits brings memories of Christie and Edison Lighthouse and may be the best song on the album.
Would You Like To Go is California harmony heaven, but it is the Singer Songwriter joy that rings home most. Moonstruck is so Gilbert O'Sullivan, That Ship Has Sailed is so Art Garfunkel, Luna is so Andrew Gold.
The album opens up with a wonderful Telstar like instrumental. That title track conjures up Cinematic mid 60's Psych. That may be Nick's next direction, it'd certainly delight me, In the meantime, I'll just admire his mission to keep Playdoh in business.
What you do have here is one of the great Pop Records of recent years on one of the best of the new crop of labels. Fast & Loose is another splendid album from a musician who can release an album a year without ever covering the same ground. Highly Recommended.
You can listen to the album here or here. You can find Nick Frater's website here and Big Stir's here.
Friday, 18 September 2020
I'm back into more familiar Pop Rock territory with Marshall Holland. It's been six years since the Marshall Holland And The Etceteras album, but Holland has none of his pop chops and that Pop covers a wide area of influences.
Our Fate is all UK New Wave, When The Rain Comes is all Monkees dabbling with a bit of Baroque Pop and A Hand Holds A Bird comes across all Neil Finn. These three opening songs reveal the variety on offer across the album.
Don't Do It is all jaunty Pleasant Valley Sunday pop whilst Look Into My Eyes is top notch Gentle Pop with an adorable keyboard background riff. This really is a chocolate box album of feel good pop, a welcome retort to what's going on in the outside world.
She Buys A Dress is so Elvis Costello And The Attractions with its Oliver's Army keys. Whatcha Gonna Do could be The Rubinoos on Ready Steady Go and the closer, A Dream Away is pure Gilbert O'Sullivan without his piano.
The stand out though may very well be the title track. Paper Airplane comes across all mid 1970's Pop Rock, think Jigsaw and Liverpool Express with more than a hint of Burt Bacharach. This album is a joy, Summer Pop for the upcoming Autumn.
It'll transport you to sun drenched beaches with a smile on your face. Paper Airplane is yet another example of a Mystery Lawn Music gem. Allen Clapp's base is certainly the mark of quality for music of distinction.
You can listen to and buy the album on Vinyl, CD or as a download here. The CD is also available at the excellent Kool Kat here.
After a really up and down year music wise, for obvious reasons, the last couple of months have exploded with a plethora of great albums. Brighton's, psych collective, Moon Attendant have been one of the best of the bunch with their debut album.
One Last Summer is a heady mix of Psych Pop. Psych Pop suffers at times when people see the word Psych, they can run as they do when they see the word Punk in Punk Pop. Like in any genre, there are good and bad and labels should only be a slight hint in what bands are about. I have to say that currently, Psych Pop is offering up the most innovative, interesting Pop around. You should try some.
Moon Attendant make it easier for newcomers in that the mix is very much this is psych, this is pop. Take the two opening tracks for instance. Blue is a synth led pop fest that keeps making me sing Can't Take My Eyes Of You, Hot Power is a 7 minute Psych Powerhouse of a song, an exceptional intriguing listen.
Elsewhere, Catch A Train is almost acoustic folk. wonderfully moody whilst Hammers could be Ray Davies and the arrangement is just top notch. The Telstar like organ on Don't Step Back matches the dreamy lounge beautifully.
It is the Psych Pop that really hits home though. I Would Like To Teach You is wistful joy and Sleepy Sleep is 65 - 70s UK Psych Beat at its best. Lucky Escape is a gentle strum that launches into a Psych Explosion. There's even an instrumental, Castles Burning, that comes across as Kraut Rock or Tangerine Dream.
There is so much here to like. The Pop will draw you in, but the Psych is what grabs you. The Analogue Synths provide an unusual touch. At times, the album sounds like a mix between The Coral and Strawberry Alarm Clock. One Last Summer is fascinating and truly wonderful.
You can listen to and buy the album here.
Thursday, 17 September 2020
As I prepared to review the new Gretchen's Wheel album, I realised that this is the only artist that I have reviewed every album of. There is a reason for this and that word is talent. Album Number 5 just enhances that opinion, Lindsay Murray could sing the Phone Book and make it sound interesting.
With the delicacy of her voice, she could make a mint joining the volume of female artists singing whimpering cover versions of well known, but irritating, songs on TV Adverts. Instead she chooses to provide inventive self written gems that use that voice in unexpected ways.
You can read my previous album reviews here and you'll note that I mentioned that her last album, Black Box Theory, appeared darker with less guitar. Well there's only a little of that here as Such Open Sky rounds up the things that she has been great at in the past and takes things on a notch. The Guitar is definitely back!
There is far more use of THAT voice here, whether it be alone or with some excellent backing vocal assistance. With help from the likes of Matthew Caws, Brendan Benson and Jon Auer, you can imagine the quality, but you are left in no doubt that this is a Lindsay Murray album.
Murray has always mastered the moodier songs, her voice is ideally suited to them, but here she stretches out, even more than her earlier work. Songs are beautifully arranged, vocally and instrumentally. The whole thing is a triumph.
The three opening songs are incredibly strong. You Should Know and Interloper, with Backing Vocals from Caws and Benson respectively, are just top notch. Heat Death is the type of trademark song that has made Gretchen's Wheel name.
Can't Shake The Feeling is the real favourite of mine. A wonderful unexpected riff and very modern pop, unexpectedly so. Shapeshifters has a killer chorus and there is also a wonderfully moody cover of Robert Pollard's Learning To Hunt on which Murray makes the song her own.
It is common for an artist to state that their latest album is their best yet. Please allow someone who is completely independent to tell you that it is. This the most fully formed Gretchen's Wheel album yet. It is a glorious selection of songs and oh THAT voice is still worth the admission alone.
You can listen to and buy the album on Vinyl, CD or as a Download here. There is also a current offer on a download of the complete Gretchen's Wheel discography that is too good to miss.
Wednesday, 16 September 2020
The Coral, as well as cementing their own reputation, has become a sort of Wirral Motown. As tentacles spread far and wide, the band are fast drawing up a Family Tree. Bill Ryder-Jones, Ian Skelly and now Paul Molloy have all taken slightly linked but very different solo directions.
Guitarist, Molloy may have provided the best album of the all. No stranger to the scene after spells in The Stands, The Zutons and his current venture with Skelly in The Serpent Power, the album was recorded in a two year period, during which both of his parents died.
With this in mind, you might expect a reflective, maybe morose, affair. There is none of that. This is a joyous album of glorious Psych Pop. It is very 60's in feel, but that Psych whimsy rings out in what has been a fantastic revival of the genre over the past couple of years.
The Fifth Dandelion has much in comparison with the current Medway led sound, but there is also great Pop bursting to get out and at other times, the album borders on Toytown. The only time that the album gets anywhere near The Coral is the Lounge Folk of Bring In The Night and that has a real Psych close.
Salad Days is great Glam Rock, almost Gilbert O'Sullivan, it is outstanding. Dungaree Day is Small Faces meeting The Beach Boys. The Return Of Cherry Pie could be Prime Time Pugwash and contrast all this Pop to the early Pink Floyd vibe of From Venus To Pale Blue.
The Swamp is in Bossa Nova Sci Fi Movie territory, Andromeda is almost Orgone Box and My Madonna is splendid Baroque Pop. The closer, Talacre Lighthouse, a place that I know only too well, is perfect Medway Folk.
Paul Molloy has served up one of the surprises of the year. An outstanding album that offers up a wide range of variety. It will be high up in the End Of Year List, if not the toppermost. You can listen to and buy the album everywhere.
Friday, 11 September 2020
The Audio Extravaganza returns with Volume 102. I know you'd expect me to say it, but I've listened to it a couple of times today and it sounds top notch. 22 songs in 77 minutes. Thanks as always to Jim Moody for his technical excellence.
A reminder that these episodes are compiled with great care. The aim is to produce a sort of modern day mix tape. Hopefully this will be the soundtrack to your day. If you use the Mixcloud player at the bottom of this page, each song title is shown as it plays. The playlist itself is also as the first comment on the Mixcloud Episode page.
You can listen to the previous IDHAS Audio Extravaganzas on Mixcloud here.
Here are the contents of Volume 102 :
01 Spice - All My Best Shit
02 I'm Glad It's You - Big Sound
03 The Successful Failures - This Girl
04 Wolf Parade - Under Glass
05 The Orange Peels - Something Strange Happens (2020 Remaster)
06 The Young Wait - Never Sleep 'til Regret
07 Tugboat Captain - Day To Day
08 Time Thieves - Way
09 Kekker - Doveroverland
10 Alpine Subs - Clear Blue Waters
11 Cloud Nothings - The Sound Of Everyone
12 Zipgun Bomber - Reflections
13 Sergeant Buzfuz - Your Time Is Tomorrow
14 The Total Rejection - Caravan
15 The Loft Club - Heard Her Say
16 Love Sport - Life's A Joke
17 Scenic Route To Alaska - Closer
18 The Foragers - Forever Changed
19 Prize Pig - The Line
20 Dungeon Of Skeletons - Valencia
21 Civic Green - There Is Always A Light
22 Blight - Legends
IDHAS Audio Extravaganza Volume 102 Mixcloud Link
Or Click Below