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Friday 19 July 2024

Pontiac Flare - The Blueprint


I have always been a big fan of Strange Ranger and so I was always going to be interested in this solo project from Nathan Tucker and his Pontiac Flare project. The songs have great Power Pop at its heart, more the 90s version, but expands the three chords sound.. 

There is also a big jaunty feel akin to bands as far afield as The Lemonheads and The Rembrandts. All the materials required are present. Riffs, Jangle and hooks. Choruses matched with instruments such as organ which allows journeys into Classic Rock, Sunshine Pop and Pop Rock.

The album opens with After Yesterday, which is pure Prime Time Brit Pop to a tee. Get Your Feet Wet treads similar territory, but this time with a slight Teenage Fanclub tint. Both songs are big sounding anthemic affairs and Tucker does this incredibly well.

The Context and Couldn't Be Falling Faster are more of an Indie Guitar Pop sort. The latter Jangles lovingly A much more American slant prevails, an almost US TV Sitcom feel maintains the sheer catchiness of proceeding.

You Don't Have To Tell Me is more Classic Rock, West Coast maybe with a big hint of Americana, like a sped up Jayhawks. Dumbstruck has a wonderful Organ run and a real laidback feel, a little 70s Pop Rock, but also a Guitar line that is Classic Rock, even gentle Blues Pop.

You Remind Me Of Everything is the big closer, a ballad with an Embrace like instrumental, great Pop Rock. Overall, the album has more restrained slower moments than you might expect, bearing in mind, Tucker's background. But these work beautifully because they are so well performed and arranged, especially Can't Walk Away. The Blueprint is Pop Rock of the highest quality.

You can listen to and buy the album here.


Chris Cohen - Paint A Room


I was always a fan of Deerhoof, so I feel really guilty about missing out on Chris Cohen until now, his fourth solo album. Paint A Room is adorned with magnificent unusual inventive arrangements that make you beat yourself up more about missing out on his previous three solo offerings.

Falling somewhere between a less character focussed Ward White and a less 60s orientated Mark Bacino. There is incredible depth. Yet on listening to the opener, Damage, you wouldn't be castigated for thinking this is a Jazzy Lounge album with its complex instrumentation.

Then you hear the title track with its Flute arrangement than leads into a mellow almost Costello vocal followed by the jaunty 60s Folk of Sunever with its hint of Pastoral Psych Pop and you know you are in for quite a ride.

Laughing is very experimental but heads into what is almost Prog. Wishing Well instrumentally mixes Dream Pop, 80s like Gravitas Pop and a riff that Robert Tripp would not be ashamed of.  Night Or Day has a lightness that you expect to break into Jangle Pop, another fine arrangement, almost jaunty.

Physical Address again edges towards Jazz and Prog without ever losing its melodic sensibility. At times, it seems like Cohen has raided the instrument cupboard, but all add effectively and generously to the arrangement.

This isn't the crash bang Guitar pop that you might expect from us. It is an album that will take more than one listen, but it is absolutely hypnotic. Such depth and talent has to be admired greatly. It maybe shows that we have come a long way from our just Power Pop days, but I wouldn't have it any other way. Paint A Room is a total musical education.

You can listen to and buy the album here. It is available on Vinyl, CD and as a download.


Joy Buzzers - Shake On It!


I've banged on many times in the past about how close Pop Punk is to Power Pop. If you lose the robotic talky vocal for something more melodic, at times as if by magic, you have great Power Pop. Joy Buzzers' debut album is a great example of this. The songs become les aggressive and far more melodic.

I'm certainly not having a go at Pop Punk, we cover enough of it here to prove that. But Shake On It! is so much fun, surprisingly lyrically adept and not afraid to divert from the template. Riffs are aplenty and there is a real say what you wanna say then get off, something more bands should do. 

13 songs in 30 odd minutes is just dandy. You can listen to the album twice in just over an hour. People will bring out Weezer comparisons, when labelling the Chicago Trio, but truth be known, they are closer to a less serious Material Issue.

The longer songs work just as well as the shorter ones, they just have more to say or play. For example, Dusk is wonderfully different to what surrounds it, slower, darker, more Indie Rock.  Similarly, Bleed For You is a sped up joy, wonderful Power Pop.

Call Of The Wild has the urgency of the UK 1978 has Punk crossed over to New Wave. There's even Ska here, Brass and all on Naomi. The strength of the band is that they can mix the good time, this is us, witty stuff with songs of depth that belie their ages.

This week has been a real week of great debut albums. This is another as good as any of them. Beautifully performed Power Pop with a real sense of melody. In the wrong hands, this could have been woe is me Slacker Rock. This is exactly the opposite and thus absolutely splendid.


You can listen to and buy the album here. It is available on CD and as a download.


Thursday 18 July 2024

Gustavo Warnunk - Semi​-​Detached Tales Vol. I


You know that feeling when something catches you completely by surprise, well I've got it. Gustavo Warnunk is Brazilian and living in Muswell Hill. My initial inkling of this album was via a submission for Listening To This Week.

That song is wonderful and will appear on next week's LTTW and is so good that I went and looked if Warnunk had recorded anything else and yes he has. It is so pleasing because that was what Listening To This Week was partly intended to do. The finding albums has took a back seat due to the sheer monster that LTTW has become as an outright playlist.

The album is very 60s and the periods that we love from that decade. There is a real Psych Pop bent, but big feet are trod into Classic Rock, Folk Rock and UK Beat. As you'd expect there's lots of wonderful Organ accompaniment.

At times there is a Brut strut, Kinks-ish on Semi-Detached Tale, Trippy on Day/Night which has an ace Indian Psych chant, a Classic Rock strut and strum on Finsbury Park. There is a real Alt Noir film soundtrack vibe on Woodberry Down.

480 Lockdown is even great Pop Rock and Mathew Street is jaunty Piano Pop that turns into technicolor Psych Pop playfulness. Double-Decker Dreamer enters Toytown with great effect. Wood Song is the big closer and six and a half minutes long. It is magnificent Canterbury Prog, flute and all.

People know what a Psych Pop fan I am and there is delight here in such. But there is much more. With the exception of pure Pop, it is the 60s that I listen to most. A real surprise and an absolutely awesome listen.

You can listen to and buy the album here.


Secret Molecules - High Tide EP


Dordrecht's Secret Molecules' self titled 2022 album is a cracking debut album. We loved it so much that it made our Best Of Year. You can read the review here. The follow up EP is just as great, but in a different way as High Tide is much more Indie Pop for the majority of EP.

Having said, this will be one of the best things that you will hear this year. My only wish is that there were more, at least double what is on show. The back end also shows how varied they can be as the back end heads into very different directions.

The title track is wonderful 80s Indie Pop. Great vocal harmonies, lyrically adept and a tip top jauntiness, it is the ideal Summer Song. Whereas High Tide sounds very UK Pop, At The End Of The Day is more like the US Indie Pop variation of the genre. It also sounds a little Seekers at times.

Heaven's Band is equally melodic. Slower, but just as effective, maybe more 60s. Pick Up The Phone is an absolute gem with a quirky arrangement and a vibe that crosses the 60s, 70s and 80s. Much more Pop Rock than what has gone before.

That leaves Somewhere In Between which is splendid Country Pop, a real altogether now song. Secret Molecules are one of our best discoveries of recent years. All five songs here would grace anyone's playlist. Pop this great shouldn't be hidden away. Don't sit Secret Molecules in a corner.

You can listen to and buy the EP here.


The Hollywood Freeway Ghosts - Broken Doll


Freeway Bill will tell you that Rock n Roll is a young man's game. This isn't his 90s in bands that are looking for a Record Deal. However, a move to Luxembourg revived a yearning to return to performing, initially Cover Bands.

Broken Doll is an album that is a tribute to those Hollywood days, over three decades ago. Whilst centring around Indie Rock, there is great variety, with some unusual instrument additions, but the focus is largely on the Electric Guitar with some enormous riffs.

The album is not a solo album, but a collaboration with musicians from as far afield as the UK, USA, Netherlands and Argentina. The strength of the album is that it sounds as though everyone was in the same studio. 

Whereas Invited is Classic Rock mixed with a 90s College Rock feel.Try is more 80s AOR, but built around a big Power Pop Riff. Never Mind is prime time melodic Pop Rock, but adds unexpected Brass and a killer Rock Guitar solo.

Better Days adds Brass too, but in a more dominant all encompassing role, to a killer chorus and a slight Jangle at times. Love Sick Mind is my favourite track, a real Alt Rock riff that is slightly Psych Pop. More restrained than what surrounds it, but hypnotic.

Is She Watching borders on Madchester, allowing Little Broken Doll to close proceedings with another killer riff on a more Blue Collar All American Blue Collar Rock. Beautifully performed and arranged, Broken Doll is a cracking 7 song affair.

You can listen to and buy the album here


Monday 15 July 2024

Listening To This Week Playlist

Another 30 splendid songs to see you through the next 7 days. This week's LTTW feels a little more mellow at times.  I do hope that you can listen to all the songs across this week. The last listed is as great as the first and you have plenty of time to listen. This weekly playlist is solely for submissions, not the usual stuff that we dig out ourselves. 

All embeds open in new windows to aid scrolling. Links to the artists will also appear on I Don't Hear A Single Social Media sites over the next 24 hours. This will help you to discover more about the artists who appear here. 

A reminder about the previous IDHAS post. From next week, the Listening To This Week Playlist will be duplicated as a Mixcloud mix.  Thank you for supporting the new music from Indie artists as always.

Laughing - Will She Ever Be A Friend Of Mine?

Cherry Fez - Superexcited

Caddy - Someone Like You

Midwest Royal - Baby You're The One

Paul Molloy - Luxury Bunker

The Breaks Inc. - The Ins + Outs Of Always Being Sad

Desi And Cody - I Really Like You

The Glad Machine - So High

The Junipers - Annie Almond

An Overnight Low - Lady Londonderry

AJ Baragar - accountable (dying in submarines)

Soft No - Melting Timelines

Sputnik The Band - King Of The L.E.S.

The Duke Of Surl - The Bells

Summer Fling - Never Ending

Lucifer Sunshine - My Immunity

The Crystal Teardrop - Running Out Of Time

A Days Wait - Lay It Down

Peel - Love Phobia      

My Loving Tiger - Cupboard Wars

Christina's Trip - Swim

Big Bad Bobby and the Shoe Horns - Moving On

Ardy - You Only Love Me When You're High

Casual Male - Half Cut

Capture This - Empty

Mingo Drive - Color Blind Stories

Guest In The Car - Music For The Kids

Dear Misses - 1% Suckers

Third Time's A Charm - Fading Innocence

executive dysfunction - Holy City