Saturday, 16 December 2017

The Garden Of Earthly Delights

Howdy Doody and welcome to the latest Garden Of Earthly Delights feature. Four bands that you should love and will spend the rest of the day wondering why you hadn't heard them earlier.

The Galileo 7 - Tear Your Minds Wide Open!

Medway would appear to be centre of all things Psych Pop at the moment. The storming amount of great mid to late 60's Pop that blasts out of Kent lately is vastly encouraging.  Tear Your Minds Wide Open! is splendid Organ driven Psych Pop.

Many can do this, few can do it well, The Galileo 7 have mastered the genre. They even sound like the live version Of The Move on The Habit Machine and Baggy Madchester on Nobody Knows Anything.

However, it's the Syd Barrett esque Psych that makes most of the dents and this is beautifully done with all four band members driving the sound forward. Particular mention should be made to Allan Crockford for some great guitar riffing and sterling vocals.

You can listen to and buy the album here.

The Green Ray - Half Sentences 

Fans of the magnificent Help Yourself will know that Ken Whaley and Richard Treece formed The Green Ray in the Nineties. I love Help Yourself and their connections with Brinsley Schwarz and Man in the 70's.

The Green Ray carried on that tradition and there is a sadness in these recordings. Ken Whaley died in 2012, a year before the sessions started and Richard Treece passed away in 2015, so his final recordings are here. Ken's brother, Simon switched to Guitar to finish Half Sentences.

The result is the band's fourth album and it is a fine affair. Coming in as a sort of laid back Man or a less trippy Jefferson Airplane, at times pre AOR Journey, it's a cracking chilled listen. It centres around the 10 minute opener, Planes Crashing Into Birds, it's the other 7 songs that set the direction. Some wonderful low key Guitar rounds everything up.

This is another release on the fantastic Sugarbush Label, setting the standard again in Vinyl releases. You can buy the album from Sugarbush here or listen to and buy the album as a download here.

The Red Plastic Buddha - Songs for Mara 

Songs For Mara isn't a new album, it was released in 2014, but it is the magnificent The Red Plastic Buddha's current album and this Chicago quartet show that the Psych excellence isn't limited to these shores. The band give a modern slant on Psych Rock, very much in the vicinity of The Luck Of Eden Hall.

So it's no surprise that Curvey guests as does Phil Angotti, so you are catching a drift of the quality here. The depth quota is high and although Psych Lovers will thrive on this, there's plenty for everyone else.

Cosmonaut is like Space Power Pop, A House Is Not A Motel could be Madchester, Stuck on Zero is Trippy to extreme. But it's the Psychedelic wonder that grabs you. She's An Alien is a fine opener, but it's the trippy splendour of Little White Pills that gets hold of me most. This is an ace album, a bit darker than the previous, All Out Revolution, but all the better for it.

You can listen to the album and buy it here.

The Warp/The Weft - Mapping An Absence

Poughkeepsie's The Warp/The Weft are not like any of the New York Bands that I normally cover. I suppose you'd call it Acid Folk, as though we need another label, so imagine that Fairport Convention had joined a coven and you get the drift.

This is wonderfully dark Electric Folk. The album even closes with a spot of Dylan Thomas. Some of the song structures compare to the likes of Renaissance, there's a lovely mix of the Electric and Acoustic.

Mapping An Absence isn't a laidback listen, but these eight songs are both gripping and intensely rewarding. It's almost like the 80's Indie Brigade have got hold of Folk and given it such a shaking that it thinks it's Psych. This is a really really good album. Well worth taking a chance on.

You can listen to and buy it here.

Thursday, 14 December 2017

I Don't Hear A Single Radio Show Episode 26 - Highlights Of 2017 Volume 1

Tomorrow Night's Radio Show has been dispatched to KOR as we celebrate 2017.

19 of my favourite songs of 2017 are gathered for your delight. Volume 2 covers the balance next week. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do and head off to discover more about the artists.

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 twenty five shows here.

Here is this week's playlist :

01 The Sunset Spirit - To Have It All
02 Nick Heyward - Perfect Sunday Sun
03 The Succesful Failures - All Wrapped Up
04 Pink Beam - Wrote Me A Letter
05 Pugwash - What Are You Like
06 Sparks - Missionary Position
07 One Way Ticket - All Change
08 Groovy Uncle - Our Gary's No Fool
09 Cait Brennan - Bad At Apologies
10 Ian McNabb - How She Moves
11 Chris Church - Something Completely
12 The Rationales - Ready To Go
13 The Singles - Sweet Tooth
14 The Stanleys - Amy
15 V Sparks - Death Of A Star
16 The Wild Young Hearts - My Oldest Friend
17 Mimi Betinis - Sound The Alarm
18 Lannie Flowers - Kiss A Memory
19 Captain Wilberforce - The Johnny Depp Memorial Cafe

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

The Cleaners From Venus - Martin Newell's Jumble Sale

In last week's Xmas affair, I compared Brian Bordello to Martin Newell, I could give him no greater compliment. I've fawned and waxed lyrical about Newell on this very Blog here and here.  So here is a third wave of fanboy stuff.

The Cleaners From Venus tapes are what introduced me to all things Newell and I've relished every minute since. So a collection of Martin's Demos And Outtakes is something to feast on. 17 songs from 1975 to this year are present and these recordings enhance his reputation more.

I've often wondered how Newell would have fared with a label giving him some cash and backing his adventures. He'd certainly with the likes Of Robyn Hitchcock and not only as an Indie Andy Partridge. The Cleaners From Venus have always been Lords Of Lo-Fi. These songs sound wonderful, even as 4 Track recordings or in some case mono tape to tape. He makes a 4 Track sound like a much more modern recording device.

The earlier songs reveal a different side to the Greatest Living Englishman (TM). Ain't No Silicon Chip and My Rocking Days blend perfectly with the New Wave Pop of the time. There's also some wonderful solo at the Piano stuff, most notably the splendid Moonraking, which is like a chirped up Peter Skellern.

English Girl On A Horse is so Hitchcock and the Psych Pop Morrissey pastiche of The Luxury Of Misery is hilarious. She's Got Talent is another laidback joyous song, all sing-a-longa-Newell. A great slice of Sixties Pop.

It's the trademark Psych Pop that grabs you most though. This is what garners the most XTC comparisons, very Oranges And Lemons. Scarecrow Hair And Saucer-Eyed is all Orgone Box and this year's Red Guitars And Silver Tambourines shows that no talent has been lost over the years. It's simply wonderful Psych Pop.

A collection of Martin Newell demos is far superior to most's Best Ofs. The man really should have greater acclaim. I think I'll start to build a plinth in anticipation now. You can listen to and buy the album here.

David James Situation - Aquarian Comedown

The debut album from David James Situation is slap bang in Classic Rock Territory. It's a cracking album in a genre that I avoid these days because it's littered with lazy derivative boring Blues Rock or  Bon Jovi wannabes.

Aquarium Comedown isn't any of those things. It feels very much like a 70's album, but there are hints of everything, Psych, Prog, Rock and a good bit of Jangle. In The End is like an Americana Blue Mink, yet Green Eyed Lady is all late 60's Kitchen Sink drama.

End Of The World could be The Strawbs or The Moody Blues. End Of The World could be Noel Gallagher, Things Remain is Pure Prog and Throw Me A Line so Rockpile. God (Must Have Tricked Me) is a real Pop Rock out with an almost Monkees feel.

There are some real hooks in the choruses and tons of variation, but the thing that stands out is the James's stunning Guitar playing. whether that's Acoustic, Jangle or full on Rock, there's a real adept touch here.

It is fair to say that despite all the changes in direction, Aquarium Comedown is at it's best when it Rocks. Great examples of this are Footsteps and the outstanding, Lay Off. We've been laughing at how bad the current Noel Gallagher album is, this is how a Rock album should be approached.

At well over an hour and 16 songs, the album is a little long, you can't grumble at the quality and the urge to get all this great stuff out there. But the album's low key start doesn't really do the rest of the content justice. Maybe, just maybe, the first two songs could have been left off to let Green Eyed Lady open the album in poptastic style. This is a minor quibble.

David Bash and I both agreed that early December Album Of The Year charts are too early. This has arrived later in the year, but has every chance of making my Top 10. It'll certainly be up for best Newcomer too.

You can listen to the album and buy it here

The Searchers - Another Night The Sire Recordings 1979–1981 (2CD)

There are lots of debates about what Power Pop is and isn't and of course they always end with everyone and no one being right. Power Pop is also a title that some artists love, others find it limiting and off putting to potential buyers.

The other great dispute is what band / artist started Power Pop. Many point back to Buddy Holly and The Beatles, others note the 70's and Badfinger and Big Star. I'm amongst the subscribers to The Searchers' When You Walk In The Room, even though Jackie DeShannon beat them to the song the year before.

Whatever your thoughts, people cannot dispute The Searchers contribution to Jangle Pop in those heady Merseybeat days. Seymour Stein couldn't believe that The Searchers were still not recording and subsequently these two albums remedied that.

The late 70's now is looked upon as a heyday for Guitar Pop. In the UK, Punk partly morphing into New Wave is seen as a glorious revival of Pop with Power. It certainly didn't feel like it at the time and was only a small part of what was going on musically, but the likes of Stiff, Rockpile and Squeeze returned to great Pop songs mainly about love lost or found.

It's easy to summon up hindsight to say how fantastic the scene was, when many of the bands now are lauded when they were looked upon as inconsequential at the time. As with Brit Pop, it's the undercard that was most interesting, the likes of The Motors and The Records.

Which brings us to the first self titled album, released in 1979. The band were as on form as ever, but looked largely to those New Wave talents for the songs. Hearts In Their Eyes, written by Will Birch and John Wicks, was a song by The Records. Switchboard Susan is a Mickey Jupp song that appears on Nick Lowe's magnificent Labour Of Lust. A song he still performs live to this day.

The jangle continued with Tom Petty's Lost In Your Eyes. Three Bonus Tracks are added to the original album. Love Melodies (Play For Today in the States) was the second sophomore album, released in 1980. This time The Motors' Andy McMasters has Love's Melody covered and there is a cover of Power Pop Classic, Big Star's September Gurls amongst another fine collection of songs.

Four Bonus Tracks are added to Love Melodies, including the previously unreleased,  John Hiatt song, Ambulance Chaser. Sadly, the albums didn't sell well and Sire passed on the option of a third album. It's a shame, because both these albums complement that UK late 70's wave of Power Pop beautifully.

Lots of jangle, singalong choruses and good time listening. This double disc is a worthy release and adds more credit to the Omnivore label. Omnivore mix the releasing of the new and old albums, beautifully. It would be great if a UK label could offer UK artists of similar stature to Cait Brennan and Chris Price recording deals.

You can buy the album everywhere.

Friday, 8 December 2017

Album Of The Year Radio Special

There are lots of plans for the rest of the year here and the regular Radio show is all mapped out. However this is your chance to participate in a Special and stamp your thoughts on it. Normally when Participation is encouraged, people run and hide or have to wash their hair. So if there isn't the input, we'll just not do this.

As you will be aware, I am doing an end of year Chart for the first time ever. However, there is an extra opportunity to choose 14 or 15 albums that are recommended by you. One per person, noting what your Album Of The Year Is.

You have to do a little something, apart from to obviously tell me your choice. You have to record a 30 - 60 Second Intro (you can do this on your phone) and email or send a message to me with your sound file.

I will then put out a Radio Special which features your intro and a track from the album. This is just a way of you being able to express an interest and participate. If we don't get enough suggestions, then we won't do it. If we get too many then I'll select the 15.

I hope plenty of you are up for it. Deadline for Submissions will be Sunday 17 December. Show you care about the artists you love!

Thursday, 7 December 2017

I Don't Hear A Single Radio Show Episode 25

In an unusually organised manner, the Radio Show has been dispatched to KOR as we hit the quarter century.

17 songs, all but 2 are new and the archive tracks feature a reissue and a new version of a song you'll know.

We continue weekly as always, but this will be the last of the year featuring new releases. The two before Christmas will be a Best OF IDHAS 2017 featuring songs you've heard on the show or read about on the Blog.

The final show of the year will be the unveiling of the Top 10 Albums Of The Year, with chatty bits to tell you why they were chosen.

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 twenty four shows here.

The response to the two Mixcloud Only Special Xmas Shows has been amazing. You'll see the first of those appear on Mixcloud before the end of the week.

Here is this week's playlist :

01 The Searchers - Hearts In Her Eyes
02 The Eskies - All Good Men
03 The Galileo 7 - Mystery Train
04 The Golden Rail - Metal And Shells
05 Kyle Vincent - Soon
06 The Spook School - Best of Intentions
07 Fits - Ice Cream On A Nice Day
08 David James Situation - Green Eyed Lady
09 Blaine Campbell - Keeping Your Distance
10 Scarborough - Let's Fall In Love
11 Clockwork Flowers - Out Of My Mind
12 We The Kings - Secret Valentine
13 Howie Payne - Thoughts On Thoughts
14 Vortex Surfer - Choices
15 Sci-Fried - Luke And Scotty
16 Ray Paul - I Need Your Love Tonight
17 Midge Ure - The Voice (Orchestrated)