Wednesday, 19 June 2019

I Don't Hear A Single Volume 72

Another Edition of the Aural Showcase Delight that is I Don't Hear A Single's recommended current must listens. No Archive Track this time, just 19 fine examples of the thing we call Music.

There is a four second watermark at the beginning of each, this is because I'm using the software as a trial whilst Jim is out of action. If I do them permanently, I will find the best program to buy.

The playlist details are on here and by clicking the Mixcloud tab. You can listen to the previous IDHAS Audio Extravaganzas on Mixcloud here.

Number 72 is awaiting your attention. The playlist is as follows  :

01 Mounties - Heavy Meta
02 The Needs - Summerbore
03 Onesie - Customers
04 Big Nothing - Quiet One
05 Faux Co. - Prozac Spaceman
06 The Sunset Spirit - Tonight
07 Taylor Knox - Live It Up
08 Mothboxer - New Satellite
09 Amber Clouds - Whatever You Are Now
10 The Proper Ornaments - Crepuscular Child
11 Shonen Knife - Dizzy
12 The Shake Ups - Meddling Kids
13 The Prescriptions - She Is Waiting
14 Peter Bruntnell - Thief Of Joy
15 The Lunar Laugh - Another Casualty
16 The Successful Failures - Love You So
17 The Thin Cherries - Follow Sun
18 Jim Basnight - Second Street
19 Drugdealer - Lost In My Dream

IDHAS Volume 72 Mixcloud Link

More Kicks - I'm On The Brink EP

I haven't been covering as many EPs over recent times. The only reason is that there are so many great albums around and much less time. That'll change next month with the start of a Monthly EP feature as this has been a bit of an IDHAS weakness. Singles get covered by the Audio Spectacular Volumes and albums via here, so we need to sort in between.

I certainly hadn't planned to cover EP's during the June Review A Day thing, but I really wanted to tell you about More Kicks for a number of reasons. Firstly, I love these three songs and I've already played I'm On The Brink on one of the I Don't Hear A Single Volumes.

I've been a big critic of the UK Power Pop and Pop Rock scene, it's treated like the runt of the litter over here. Shindig thankfully cover a bit of genre, but it still appears very US-centric at a time that Europe is bursting out with talent. Indeed, More Kicks are heading to Spain as most decent bands who do Pop with a Guitar appear to be doing.

Apart from IPO in Liverpool which goes on too long and hoovers Power Pop up to leave the other 11 months empty, there's not much. The Music Industry is so London based, yet IPO doesn't do Liverpool, thank goodness for the Spygenius gang.

IDHAS were on The Speedways album early and it's really pleasing to see the band grow and that a second album is planned. I digress though, so back to More Kicks. The Trio are London based, but are a multi national affair, representing England, Poland and Brazil. Coincidentally, the band's drummer, Kris Hood is also the live Drummer of The Speedways.

I'm On The Brink is a fine EP, proper Power Pop. The title track has everything you'd want from a PP song, hooks aplenty. He's Gonna Let Down is a real mix of 70's New Wave Pop and the UK in 1964. Can't Fake What You Got is a sort of Mod Psych Pop.

Three very different songs promise lots for the future and hopefully the Brighton Support slot with Autogramm will bring a raft of new fans. This EP is such a refreshing listen and a special mention must go to the wonderful German label, Wanda Records.

The label has a reputation for Punk when there is far more to them than that, Wanda provide some real finds for those willing to look. The other joy of More Kicks is that they do the whole New Wave Power Pop thing. Badges, T Shirts, 7 Inch Singles can be bought at their Bandcamp site here.

You can listen to and buy the I'm On The Brink EP here. You bloody well should!

The Bishop's Daredevil Stunt Club - End Over End

Chicago's The Bishop's Daredevil Stunt Club have been going for around a decade now and if there is a centre of the mind circle that denotes the I Don't Hear A Single world, they'd be around it. I won't go into those boring Best Album yet quotes, but End Over End Excels.

Anything from the band's back catalogue does the trick, but the new album takes on far more than previous albums have. There's a danger of confusion when a band goes for variety, but there's no danger of that here, because the influences aren't the everyday Pop Rock ones.

I've already played the infectious Get Up Get Up on the IDHAS Audio Spectacular and that's amongst the opening four killer songs that set the tone here. Starpower is definitely in The Feeling's first album territory, The Henry Norman Hotel is City Boy before Mutt Lange decided that the drummer was the singer and Delusional Love is Vegas With Randolph without the Social Conscience.

Here Is Today is great mid 70's Pop Rock with a seemingly Pilot type riff trying to get out. Cupid You Lose is very Chris Church, Christine Your Mean has a Who like riff to it  Lifeguard should be on the Not Lame label and Burndown At Sundown is built around a sort of Black Sabbath like riff.

There's no drop of tempo across all ten songs. Hook follows Hook, but it's far more than traditional Power Pop. The arrangements are thought out, the production top notch, this is everything that you could ever want from a Pop Rock album. Totally Outstanding!

I'll add some songs here as they become available. In the meantime, you can buy the album everywhere and listen to it on the likes of Spotify.

Monday, 17 June 2019

Taylor Knox - Here Tonight

Toronto's Taylor Knox follows up 2017's debut album, Love, with more of the same and why shouldn't he? With the appearance of a Skater dude, he's sort of hit upon a Pop theme for people who don't know what Power Pop is and it works pretty well.

Think of a Sloan for the next generation. Having said that, there are more synths around than older Power Pop fans would usually stand for. The synth run on City At Night is very The Cars for instance. Here Tonight does generally Rock a bit, but gently.

Little Creature's intro is a bit Road To Nowhere, but the Pop contained within is really hooky and Live It Up is so Dandy Warhols. One In A Million has a Psych Pop feel that is desperate to get out and when I listened to The Trees, I could have sworn it was Sloan.

Many Here Among Us is very 70's Pop Rock and In The Night is very Liverpool 80's Pop, bordering on The Lightning Seeds. Happening is a Brit Pop album closer and Everybody Knows is Space age rap.

There's lots to like here and enough variation. It doesn't always work the Disco Funk of Blue Moon is a real no no of a song, it's really amateurish. But I'd rather listen to someone producing a great Pop album without nine writers per song.

Here Tonight is a cracking little listen. It'll be interesting to see how Taylor Knox's career progresses. I'd probably prefer to hear more Guitar and a bit more noise, but then again I would and there's nothing here to dislike, quite the reverse.

The album is available here there and everywhere.


Sunday, 16 June 2019

The Shake Ups - Meddling Kids

Indianapolis's The Shake Ups have been around for a decade and a half, but it's since 2013 that they hit upon a formula that mixes Power Pop and Bubblegum that appeals to both Kids and the Power Pop Community.

Very much like They Might Be Giants, their appeal takes them to School Education, whilst also being melodic enough to gather an Adult Following. After starting with My Little Pony, the band have more recently hit the Saturday Morning Cartoon following, particularly Scooby Doo fans. This has resulted in Meddling Kids.

The Shake Ups do deal in kitsch, but the fact that these are original songs, there is a fine line between Nostalgia and originality. The likes of Masters Of The Universe and Thundercats join in with the Scooby Doo fun.

There's a lot here to like, the Title Track borders on Psych Pop and as a stand alone song it's really good. Robot Arm is very TMBG, Friendship is all Rachel Sweet, Epic Summer Romance is a Bluesy Girl Attitude shout out. Cosmic Sandwiches is a 70's Pop Rock Ballad dedicated to Shaggy.

All the songs don't always work, but most do and it's at best when it's aimed at Scooby Doo. The cover of the Mystery Incorporated theme with Character Intros is great. The Shake Ups can play and this is better than a lot of more serious Power Pop.

Scooby Doo has gathered a lot of fans across it's 50 Years and most of the latter day incarnations have been spot on in gathering a new young audience. The album will appeal to all who have loved the cartoon throughout it's life cycle and also grab a fair number of Power Pop and Pop Rock fans.

The album is available everywhere. You can find out more about The Shake Ups here. Meddling Kids is a great listen, particularly when accompanied by a bowl of Scooby Snacks.


Peter Bruntnell - King Of Madrid

This is Peter Bruntnell's tenth album and although he's been very much in the Americana circle, his beginnings were more Psychedelic and his last album, Nos Da Comrade, saw a small scale return to his roots.

King Of Madrid moves that on full tilt, the Psychedelic is here, but the Pop is Poppier and the Jangle Factor is high. It's great to hear his dulcet tones again in an area that I'm far more akin to. I've never been that much of an Americana fan and as time as progressed, that genre has just got confused and dull.

King Of Madrid sounds very American and it's even more confusing for new converts to realise that the Spanish title nods are from a UK artist, whose studio is in Devon. The Americana past still gets referenced on the likes of Memory Hood which has a real Country Twang, but the Pop is almost Powered at times everywhere else.

Bruntnell has a wonderfully laid back voice and that can get caught in Easy Listening too much on slower songs. The voice is moody and relaxing, particularly on the title track, but excels when the tempo gets more upbeat.

London Clay is very Richard Hawley with a real 70's Pop Rock feel. National Library has a real jangle background, but it's Dinosaur's almost late Monkees like pace that will appeal most. Thief Of Joy is very Del Amitri.

I still yearn for him to plug his guitar in and pick up the pace a bit more, but this is a fine album. It won't Rock Your Socks off, but not everything should and King Of Madrid will certainly leave you feeling happier than before you started listening.

The album is available everywhere. You can find out more about Peter Bruntnell here.


Faux Co. - Radio Silence

Aaron at Powerpopaholic recommended Chicago's Faux Co, and he's spot on. There's not a wasted minute across Radio Silence's 30 minutes. The mix of 60's Pop, Psych Pop and 70's Pop Rock is right up my street.

From the opening Prozac Spaceman, a sort of Jangling Psych tinged version of The Hollies to the big Brit Pop closer, Get A Say, the album is a fine listen. There's more than enough to reveal that this is no patische with the modern touch brought to the production.

The Sun Will Come Back is very mid 70's Jigsaw in style and there's an excellent Brass arrangement to the swing of Set The Record Straight. Gimme Sumthin is Showband easy listening that hits a groove. You can imagine the Top Of The Pops Studio audience dancing along.

Maybe Is A Word is brooding 60's Psych Pop, It's Nothing, Really is very late Marmalade and Oh Mother Night has an American Graffiti vibe that could be on the soundtrack on any Late 50's / Early 60's Teen Movie.

I'm really looking forward to hearing far more from Faux Co. in the future. This is a really accomplished debut album. You can listen to and buy the album here.