Sunday, 25 June 2017
You know that feeling when you are listen to an album and feel really smug. That winning 25 quid on the Lottery feeling when it doesn't make you rich, but you want to tell every one. Well my good fortune is completely chancing on the debut album from The Sunset Spirit. They tick a lot of my boxes.
I've been talking a lot about the tradition of great Pop from Scotland recently, well The Sunset Spirit are from Fife. I've also been bemoaning the lack of great Indie and Power Pop coming out of the UK, well From The Top is certainly an exception.
Finally, I have this urge every Summer to find albums that make you appreciate the season. I couldn't tell you why, it's just the custom. From The Top is one of the best Summer Pop albums I've herd in ages. It's a real sit in the garden album.
12 songs in 44 minutes and you get sad when it ends. There's plenty of comparisons here, but all roads lead to Pop. Ain't No Game and Just Jenny are Country tinged but in a way that Squeeze do Country, sort of Labelled With Love.
My Own Way has a 60's beat backdrop, but morphs into great late 60's California Pop. No Time Today and Youth Of Today remind me of the Scouse Pop of The La's and Cast if they had a keyboard player. You'd expect there to be a TFC comparison, especially with the Scottish connection and you have it with Can't See The Clouds For The Sun.
Stand Tall is all Bluetones or even The Monkees, but the stand out song is To Have It All and having not thought at all about next Friday's Radio show, I now have my opening song. From The Top is probably the best Pure Pop album that I've heard this year. Double Points because it's come so early in The Sunset Spirit's career. Excepting the lyrical depth of Chris Difford, this lot could become the new Squeeze.
You may be able to buy this elsewhere, but Amazon have it available for download at just over 6 dabs here. An absolute bargain!!
Saturday, 24 June 2017
Just before IDHAS appeared on the net, Sugarbush released this gem. Orgone Box's debut album remains in my Top 10 albums ever. A fantastic mix of Psych and Lennon Pop that enables you to hear something you hadn't noticed, every time you listen to it.
So few have come near to the excellence of that self titled joy, despite Psych Pop getting more and more acknowledged, nothing has the charm and sheer melody of it. Cotton Mather come closest. So it's fantastic to have this collection available.
The Lorne Park Tapes were Four Track Recordings fashioned in Bournemouth between 1992 and 1995 before the release of The Orgone Box. Whilst obviously a bit lo fi, these are wonderfully constructed songs.
The jingle and jangle and latter day Beatlesque harmonies are all present. Any of these songs would have been at home on that debut. Hard For Me is pure Power Pop, Star is all mood, In The Right Hands is Merseybeat.
All 11 songs are a pleasure to listen to, a bit more straight ahead pop than what followed. Last Ride On The Jets is the stunner, another of those Psych gems, he writes so easily. We keep hearing of new Rick Corcoran Recordings, to no avail so far, here's hoping soon.
This is yet another fine release on the magnificent Sugarbush label. Markus Holler, the SB Head Honcho, spent time in the band and was usually around the scene. It may be this connection that has got these songs released. We should just be thankful that they are in the Public Domain.
You can buy the album here.
After all this Radio Excitement, it's nice to get back to the usual this weekend. Although, the Blog is called I Don't Hear A Single, Singles are usually grouped together for review, but I have to make an exception for the new single from The Ragamuffins.
It's no coincidence that the first IDHAS Broadcast was led off by this. I consider The Ragamuffins to be the greatest thing to come out of the North West of England for a long time. David Jaggs is a great Pop writer. The band have so many different influences that it is easy to forget this.
Organ and Brass can take the band in many directions, at times a modern day Dexys. However, on the recent Big Stir Manchester show, Jaggs was not out of place amongst the California Pop. When the band strip down to pure Indie Pop, they excel.
The next album is well underway. Cause Of Causes is threatening to be the saviour of the genre and as the lead single, Oxygen tells you all you need to know. But trust me, when the album emerges it will encompass so many directions.
Oxygen is available as Name Your Price download here. I bemoan how the UK has forgotten how to make and celebrate Great Pop, The Ragamuffins are one of the exceptions to this and we should cherish and encourage them. Oxygen is a fantastic affair.
Friday, 23 June 2017
The first I Don't Hear A Single Broadcast has just finished. Repeated Tomorrow. All feedback welcome here or on the Blog Post. It is a work in progress and I'm happy to add spoken intros with a bit about the artist, but it would cut down the number of songs,
Plenty of new reviews to come over the weekend.
Here's this week's playlist.
01 The Ragamuffins - Oxygen
02 Boo Hewerdine - Satellite Town
03 Plasticsoul - My Heavy Soul
04 Caper Clowns - Pockets
05 Ulysses - Dirty Weekend
06 Ian McNabb - How She Moves.
07 Screamfeeder - Sonic Souvenirs
08 Octopus - Your Smile
09 Orgone Box - In The Right Hands
10 Ronnie D'Addario - Take In A Show
11 The Afternoons - Black Hearted Poster Boy
12 One Way Ticket - All Change
13 The Brigadier - Feels Like Something
14 The Smallest Creature - Vanity Vote
15 Brad Byrd - Highest Mountain
16 Papa Satch - Too Late Tomorrow
17 Bread & Butter - Stole This
Thursday, 22 June 2017
As previously mentioned on Facebook, I Don't Hear A Single goes into the 20th Century with a weekly show on KOR Radio. It'll be broadcast at 8pm UK Time on Fridays and repeated on Saturdays at the same time here. It's on something called the internet, I'm not convinced that will ever catch on, I'd have to get rid of my pigeons if it does.
It's all killer, no filler, see I'm getting the lingo already, poptastic mate. No chat, just an intro and outro from me. I've just completed the first show and you have 17 songs that are all relevant to what happens here.
I won't spoil the surprise of what's gonna be on there, but I will post a playlist with details on each artist after tomorrow night's show. The songs are from albums that have been popular on here recently, some that are to come and a couple of archive tracks.
The plan was always to have Audio content to supplement IDHAS, initially on Soundcloud. However, the way the Blog unexpectedly took off and time constraints delayed this. The I Don't Hear A Single show is one of three planned.
We always wanted to do a talking podcast that involved the whole musicsphere, not just the new and underappreciated and Interviews with artists and a special guest each week to join in the talking rubbish thing. That will be monthly and the first will be mid July to coincide with the first anniversary of I Don't Hear A Single.
There is also a 2 hour weekly radio show planned with song intros etc. That again will cover Power Pop and Pop Rock, but will be archive stuff, so expect a lot of Not Lame and IRS etc on the likes of that.
There's also a special currently in production on Scott Miller that will be broadcast before the year end. The concentration remains on the I Don't Hear A Single Blog. There hasn't suddenly been an explosion of activity, these things have been planned for a while. Now just seems the time to roll them out slowly but surely.
Finally there will be a cosmetic upgrade of I Don't Hear A Single in the next week. It's Summer, so we should stop staring at Black.
Monday, 19 June 2017
I like to think that I have a reasonable knowledge of J-Pop and I've seen Baby Shakes described as an American version of Shonen Knife. I don't see (or hear) that at all. If you want to go down that track, the similarities are far more like Seagulls Screaming Kiss Her Kiss Her. Certainly, Baby Shakes have a much bigger sound than a three piece, they rock far more and Live, they wipe the floor with most.
There is that Ramones vibe, but there's also a great affinity with Rock And Roll. Imagine perhaps a light metal version of The Go-Go's. There's a real Garage Punk feel to what they do. One thing is sure they just don't let up.
The riffs are certainly there, particularly on Come On, they are almost in Sweet B Side Territory on Do What You Want. Won't See Me verges on Mod Pop, Turn It Up comes up for air on the closer, Fade Away which borders on Bangles Pop.
I love Baby Shakes. I know what I'm gonna get and it's exactly what i want. Crap day at work, put the stereo on, play this and the evening looks full of opportunities. Not many do what they do better. New York's Finest. Highly Recommended!
You can listen to and buy the album here. You can also buy it on cassette from Burger Records site here.
Philadelphia's Cayetana bring their second album to town and it's as great as the debut, Nervous Like Me. Don't expect sweet sugar coated Girl Pop because the trio rock. There's a real drive to the album, with some particularly ace Bass playing from Allegra Anka.
They remind me a lot of The Muffs, not that I'm saying Ronnie should get a dress. Am I Dead Yet sounds like a Factory Records Production but then gets all grunge. The driving Bass on Mesa is so Peter Hook.
Cayetana have been lumped in with the Pop Punk brigade and you know how the label irritates me. The only song anywhere near that perceived genre is Easy To Love. The admirable thing about this trio is that they can slow it all down well on the like of Too Old For This, Dust and Side Sleepers,.
Phonics Failed Like Me comes across a bit Avril Lavigne and New Kind Of Normal sounds much more like it when it strays into Garage Rock and perhaps they should do that more. However this is a fine album, all attitude and that Bass Playing is fab.
You can buy and listen to the album here.