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Friday 19 April 2024

The Reflectors - Going Out Of Fashion

Los Angeles's The Reflectors reach their third album. Their last, Faster Action featured in our Best Albums Of 2021. You can read the review here. The quartet know exactly what they are doing and when you are as good as this, why alter the format too much?

The new wave of Power Pop is a heavier scuzzier brand of the genre. The Reflectors want none of that. This is the classic late 70s UK New Wave / early 80s version that was adored by the more open to the new participants on Power Pop Facebook groups.

I have to say that my life become much less stressful when I stopped frequenting those groups, but there are still a couple of great ones around such as Power Pop Overdose and Power Pop Record and members of those particular groups will absolutely love this, just as I do.

The band are particularly great when the pace quickens. Silhouette and Going Out Of Fashion are great examples. The former gets a little Hey Hey Let's Go, the latter is very UK 1978, almost Punk and should translate wonderfully well live.

Living In A Dream gets all Rubinoos, Just Can't Get Enough Of It is in The Speedways territory and Space And Time even gets more than a little UK Glam Rock. Time Is All I Have opens with a crackerjack of a riff and has more in common with the Not Lame Days.

Both All The Way Down and I Gotta Run are more in line with the basic template, but both are great melodic catchy Guitar Pop. The band though are comfortable in whichever direction they head and Going Out Of Fashion is in now way 14 songs that are all similar. There is great variety and this is great Power Pop.

You can listen to and buy the album here.


James Sullivan - Vital Signs


I loved More Kicks, you can read the review of 2022's Punch Drunk here, and so now that James Sullivan has gone solo, it is interesting to see which direction he takes. Not only the direction, but More Kicks were such a great Power Trio, it is also interesting to hear the sound and vibe,

Sullivan was the leader of that particular trio, so you expect the songs to be great and they are. There are a couple of songs that you can imagine More Kicks doing, but this album is much more Indie and stripped back. This allows Sullivan to venture much further than the trio format.

There is a real Indie 80s vibe, the inventiveness and Gravitas Pop of say a Robin Hitchcock. The major surprise is that such a previously electric anthemic artist excels most on the Acoustic songs. La Rochelle is magnificent Baroque Pop that edges towards Psych Pop.

All I Wanna Do (Is Nothing With You) is a wonderfully gentle Acoustic, almost Americana song. There are also numerous surprises. Guilty As Charged is a cracking story telling song with a talking vocal and a fantastic Noise Rock accompaniment.

Back To The Start goes all Folky Dylan. Dronify is great 60s Psych. But there are also moments that you might expect bearing in mind Sullivan's past. Day Late Dollar Start is the sort of up and at 'em Guitar Pop that jangles and fuzzes melodically.

My Best Friend is another that nods to what was his major songwriting strength. The album is a little sparse instrumentally, but that suits the material. Vital Signs is an outstanding listen, different to most that is currently around. A real Indie songwriter album with a side order of unexpected arrangements.

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


Thursday 18 April 2024

The Dirty Nil - Free Range To Passions Deluxe Edition


Rather than tell you how great this album is all over again. My review from last year is below. The album sounds just as great as it did then. Now there is a link below of the newly released Deluxe Edition. The recent new single. Am I The Menace? and a rocked up cover of Total Eclipse Of The Heart. is added along with 9 Demos.

Incidentally, the band are in the UK for 5 dates from tomorrow and well worth opening your purse for. Should be a real Rock Out!

Ontario's The Dirty Nil offer up a raucous fourth album. Wonderful Pop Rock edging more towards Rock with a melodic swagger, the band are a perfect example of my preachy theme this year. The bands that are moving up the stairs most are Pop Punk bands that have matured.

Whereas, most progress is a move into a noisier Power Pop, The Dirty Nil have gone one step further, more akin towards potential Stadium Rock. Cheap Trick like in their appeal, if not exactly in their material, these four are a much rockier and noisier affair.

They haven't totally lost touch with their roots, Land Of Clover is wayward enough to remind you of past glories, but overall Free Rein To Passions is anthemic, riff laden joy, led by the top notch vocals of Luke Bentham. He has a voice that embraces the hooks, yet is equally at home with the loud.

Stupid Jobs gets all early Queen in shape and form and the title track even treads boldly into the Hair Rock of the 80s, all shouty attitude with an absolutely killer riff. Celebration also starts with some serious shredding, a little Extreme Pornograffiti in mood and more than a little Classic Rock.

Nicer Guy is a real "are you with us" anthem, pied piper like big Rock. Undefeated is well into Cheap Trick territory, splendid Pop Rock and the only time the band come up for air is on the closer, The Light, The Void And Everything when the Lighters come out for an Aerospace-ish corker of a song.

The Dirty Nil are a little noisier, a little rockier than you may be used to on here. But the album is a triumph and deserves a wider audience, hopefully appealing to people with a dozen cds to switch off Spotify. Beautifully produced, Free Rein is an absolute storm.

You can listen to and buy the the Deluxe Edition here.


Richard Turgeon - Life Of The Party


I like Richard Turgeon a lot. He specialises in Guitar led Pop Rock that leans towards Power Pop It is fair to say that when I first covered him in 2017 for his In Between The Spaces album, which featured in our 2017's In Between The Spaces, this brand of Pop Rock was around a fair bit.

I don't quite no way, because the genre is generally a great listen, but the intervening years have been less forthcoming. Maybe it's the demise of the Bloggers and Review sites that were around then or musicians have given in with how difficult it is to get coverage, yet alone make a living. 

Turgeon is even more impressive as he plays, records and produces everything himself and his albums always sound impressive, so well made and performed. There is a default template that is always spot on. All Alone, Forgiveness and Our Fair City are good examples of this. All contain riffs that resonate.

But there are also times when he lets go. The riffs get heavier and the songs noisier. This is when he is at his best. I've Got You Now and What Could Have Been sound chunkier and edge towards Indie Rock. Sweet As Pie even gets close to The Posies.

Turgeon even masters the great Pop Rock of the 70s with the closer, Don't Forget Me When You've Gone with its string arrangement and piano pop feel. The vocal arrangement is particularly excellent and shows a different side to the Guitar maestro and adds a belting nostalgic solo.

Life Of The Party is a cracking album, as are Turgeon's other six. With all the melody, harmony, riffs and vocal excellence, you tend to forget what a great guitarist he is. He never overplays, every guitar interlude suits the song and if you like melodic Guitar Pop, this is definitely the album for you.

You can listen to and buy the album here. The CD is available on the Kool Kat label here.


Tuesday 16 April 2024

The Flashpot Moments - Bombastic Fantastic


Having enjoyed 2022's So Far greatly. I feel guilty for missing out on 2023's mini album, Lucky Human Illusion, so I'm delighted to remedy my remiss with 2024 offering. Very Far was in our Best Albums Of 2022 and you can read the review here.

Although it planted its feet in Pop Rock, it wasn't afraid to rock out and venture into AOR and Classic Rock. Bombastic Fantastic heads into similar territory with a focus that is more on the AOR than the Pop without ever losing its melody or riff count.

The vibe is a little over the top, lyrically a little personal, but Tim Cawley never ever loses sight of the sheer catchy chorus led joy that constantly marks out his material. Reclamation is one of the opening songs on the current Listening To This Week Playlist and that gives you a good indication of what you are in for.

Having built up the Rock element, there are a couple of quieter moments that reveal that there is more here than meets the eye. Go Figure is gentle affair, almost Americana at times instrumentally with a weeping violin and a male - female vocal.

Feelgood Hit of The Winter starts gently, very 80s AOR with a big chorus and the Guitar constantly wanting to burst out. But the album is at its best when the tempo is high. A Phantom Taste rocks out of the blocks with its background riff. You sense that the song wants to blast without ever quite managing it.

Pull Spector is very Butch Walker or maybe more how Walker should be instead of the layered vocals and handclaps. Again the Guitar stands out and you realise that is the thing that grabs you most. You realise Commercial Rock can be addictive, if done this well.

You can listen to and buy the album here.


Monday 15 April 2024

Listening To This Week Playlist

We normally don't want to go over 30 songs and I don't think that we've ever reached that, although we've been close. So it is with a little trepidation and concern that this week we go with 32. It is largely due to the amount that were Friday releases as we don't add to the playlist until a song has been released.We did consider doing a Part 1 and Part 2, but felt that that would take away the focus of the recommends.

There is a real quality and variety here and so we felt that holding a couple of songs back would be unfair to the relevant artists.  There is no song preference in track order, just what we think flows.  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 all week 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. Thank you for supporting the new music from Indie artists.

The Gold Watch - Look Out Mars

The Flashpoint Moments - Reclamation

Ex-Giant - Dry Mouth

Tony Billings - Face The Fire (Single Mix)

Goddamn Wolves - Ah, Maria

Fallon Cush - Sweet Johanna

Plastic Tofu - Have Some Faith

The Soods - Astrid (Drive Away Slowly)

The Human Fund - Circa 1994

SMACKBEAT - Last Summer

Little Oil - Fig Leaf Crown

Corella - Lady Messiah

St. Jimi Sebastian Cricket Club - Soothing Nights

Eurekas - While The World Was Ending (I Was In A Rock & Roll Band)

Now Or Ever - Right Things AWAIT

Humdrum Book Club - 1997

Numb - Hello

Talkradio - Down

Oxsener - Disappointed

Jett Rose - YOU

Robbie Rapids - Dream Away (Reimagined Version)

Opt Out - Same Game

Lame Drivers - Become An Island

dapmuzyk - Rapture

Austin McGrath - Getting Real

High Tiny Hairs - Only Lonely

SMOON - So.. Sick

Oli Barton - The Light

Pluto The Racer - I Might Even

Rise Bailey Rise - Poster Boy

The Mosfets - Welcome To The Apartment Jungle

Work Wear - 64


Sunday 14 April 2024

R.E. Seraphin - Fool's Mate


Ray Seraphin still lives in his lo-fi Indie world and for that we are incredibly thankful. You can read our reviews of Tiny Shapes and Swingshift here and here. So it is now time to write about his new album and it is suitably splendid.

When I say Lo-Fi, it can be a bit of a misnomer as Seraphin songs generally sound as though they have been devised in a big soundscape and then scaled down. Fool's Mate also finds him as part of a band and what a band it is. The album feels more Indie Rock orientated and definitely lyricaaly, it is a much darker affair.

Joel Cusumano of Sob Stories is guitarist, Daniel Pearce of Red, Pinks and Purples is Drummer, Josh Miller of Chime School plays some incredible Bass and Luje Robins is on keyboards. Add in that Owen Adair Kelley of Sleepy Sun guests on Acoustic and Slide Guitar and Jason Quever of Papercuts records and mixes at his studio and you have quite a cast.

I've compared Seraphin to The Feelies in the past and there is still a bit of that here, but the album feels more UK Indie 80s and IRS, largely due to the band format. Seraphin's gentle, almost whisper though holds all together and so ensures that the change is not dramatic.

The man can also be incredibly melodic. The Indie Pop of What We Don't Know is a touching affair about his relationship with his wife, Hannah Moriah, who accompanies him on vocals. Clock Without Hands is probably as jaunty as Seraphin gets, which isn't really that jaunty.

The album also flirts with Psych Pop, most notably on Contraband. There is even an unexpected Twang on the opener, End Of The Start. There's even a Lennon's Double Fantasy vibe to Argument Stand and Virtue Of Being Wrong is instrumentally incredibly addictive. Fool's Mate isn't an album that will get you belting out choruses, more sitting back in full admiration.

You can listen to and buy the album here. The album is also available on Vinyl.