Google Tag

Wednesday, 25 November 2020

Another Round Of Sessions

 


IDHAS is now ready to Bop 'Til We Drop for the rest of 2020 and we've put our poptastic clothes on and look very 1974 as ever. So now be the time to tell you about some of the stuff that is planned.  Don't Hear A Single doesn't get excited about Christmas songs, unless there is a particular twist or spin on them and that usually means at the very least, new songs. Another cover of something that is on Now That's What I Call Christmas is really just a Turkey Sandwich on the 28th December. We are more than happy to leave that stuff to people who are generally glad to cover it.

So our main focus around with Christmas will be via The IDHAS Audio Extravaganza. That means Live Sessions. After the massive success of those earlier in the year, we are planning some new ones to end the year.

We've made space for up to seven days of Live Sessions. Each day will feature two sessions, back to back, each lasting around 30 minutes. It will be however many days we can fill, so it could be anything from 4 - 7 days depending on interest and time. We are starting to contact likely candidates from the weekend and the compiling begins next week. We aim to finish the recording of shows by 19 December to allow us schedule the shows from 27 December. 

We are especially interested in artists who have had their albums covered on I Don't Hear A Single this year, but there will also be some big surprises. Feel free to contact us if you are interested and we will be contacting some of you directly. 

There will also be the usual end of year Audio Extravaganzas celebrating our favourites that we've played through 2020. This will be a 2 part feature. The second part will be broadcast on Boxing Day. On the week leading up to Christmas, there will be a special Sessions show featuring our favourite performances from the May performances. That will also include a special short set that we haven't broadcast before and believe you me, it is special.

Finally audio wise, there are another couple of surprises as pilots for things we may do next year. Both are very different and are a mixture of fun and music. 

There are are plenty of reviews to come before the year end and then the sit down to compile IDHAS's Top 100 Albums of 2020 can begin. That will be published as always in early to mid January. Finally, there are some other exciting things to tell you about before the year is out. 

Look out for the official (see how self important we are) announcement of the Sessions thingymajig later this week. Oh and for those of you who enjoyed our Radio Dependence Network Top 21 spoof, another is planned for this year.


Phew I'm glad all this is out in the open. Now I can go back to talking about lockdowns and Trump and taking photos of Bailey.


.....................

Psychotic Youth - Forever And Never

 


In 1985, amidst the legwarmers and short sleeve jackets, you could need to sell a million singles to get to Number 1. Much has changed since then, but thankfully Psychotic Youth haven't. Forever And Never is the band's 14th album and their Garage Power Pop still sounds as great as ever.

The IDHAS Review of 2017's The Voice Of Summer could easily be written for Forever And Never and that is what is so refreshing. Through all the 2020 nonsense, it is wonderful to listen to something that reminds you of how it should be. You can read The Voice Of Summer Review here





I've seen many comparisons to The Ramones during the band's lifetime and although there is a little of that, most of these descriptions are lazy because Psychotic Youth are far more melodic and have more in common with Glam Rock and New Wave if anything.

Indeed, if there is a difference here to the previous two albums, it is that there is less Dr Feelgood and more Chinn and Chapman. Ten O'Clock Postman is the killer song here, an absolute Power Pop classic, but there is much to be admired elsewhere.





Goodbye Summer is Late 50's Rock and Roll, Come On (And Give Me Something Good) is pure Undertones and Before You is another Power Pop gem. Can't Call On Me is more down and dirty and That's The Way A Woman Is could be The Cars.

The only real heads down affair is Detention and the closer, Picture Of You is a New Wave Joy.  17 songs in 43 minutes with hooks aplenty, big choruses and sprinklings of delightful Farfisa, what more could you want? There are many great things to have come out of Sweden, Psychotic Youth should  definitely be included amongst them.





You can listen to and buy the album here.


.......................

Sunday, 22 November 2020

Kool Kat Musik Weekly New Release Update



Welcome to the Kool Kat Weekly New Release Update. Kool Kat are distributed in the UK and Europe by I Don't Hear A Single as part of our aim to keep CDs available and affordable. The Kool Kat Links with each album take you to further details on each release..

Please place all UK and European orders by following the details here. Links to Kool Kat's Entire Stock can be found here. Without further ado, here are seven new additions to Kool Kat Musik this Week.


Jim Basnight - Jokers, Idols  & Misfits (Precedent Records) 2020      $13








Although recognized for his excellent original material, Jim chose to compile an album of 21 covers. What sets ‘Jokers, Idols & Misfits’ apart from most albums of its type is that the majority of songs are not merely paint-by-number doodles, nor are they misty-eyed nostalgic sojourns.  Jim’s own personality and identity figure strongly in each entry, permitting the material to shine with a reinvigorated spirit. 


Kool Kat Link


Bandcamp Link


Simon Felton - The Cost Of Living  (Pink Hedgehog Records UK) 2020      $11


                                                      



                                   

After a few years concentrating on other projects, comes “The Cost Of Living”, the latest collection of Simon’s trademark melancholy pop. There is certainly a British Invasion slice of life throughout and the album sounds as authentic as it can be. 80's English Pop at its very best.



Kool Kat Link


Bandcamp Link


Ryan Hamilton & The Harlequin Ghosts - Nowhere To Go But Everywhere  (Wicked Cool Records) 2020      $13   







                       
In the wake of a divorce, Hamilton took a US road trip and has used his experiences to inform this collection of songs. Stories of heartache, longing and the requisite amount of soul-searching that might be expected under the circumstances. Don’t expect rawness and fragility in these pieces however, they are mostly slickly produced and have a radio-friendly feel to them.  

   

Kool Kat Link


Bandcamp Link


The Nines - Reflections (Self Released) 2020      $15








The Nines are one of a very few reliable power pop artists who've produced consistently great music since 1998.   They clearly fall in the McCartney/XTC/Ben Folds realm, but the band has its own unique sound and a solid command of melodies and minor chord shifts.  Steve Eggers is one of the most underrated singer songwriters of the modern pop era.

                                

Kool Kat Link


Bandcamp Link


The Queue - Fallout (Kool Kat Musik) 2004      $12







       
Kool Kat's re-release of The Queue's 2004 debut effort that had Bucketful of Brains Magazine gushing. The album mixes a large measure of Crowded House with some Jellyfish and a dash of Brit Pop. Combining flawless melodies, expressive, passionate vocals and consistently outstanding harmonies ring out.

 

Kool Kat Link


You Tube Link


The Speeds - Sing It Loud (Kool Kat Musik) 2005      $10

  

  




In 2005, after two promising EPs, this Steel City trio finally delivered their solid, big-time poppin', 10 song full length debut on the Kool Kat label. This is top-notch Brit-inspired Power Pop that's chock full of crunchy guitars, hooks and terrific harmonies!  Unfortunately this record  fell under the radar upon release. Music like this is indeed timeless.


Kool Kat Link


Apple Music Link


Various Artists - Souvenirs: Little Gems Of Pop Vol. 3 (Sound Asleep Records Sweden) 2020 (Vinyl Release)      $26







(Due Mid December, Orders must be received no later than 25 November to guarantee delivery) 

For decades now, Sound Asleep Records’ head honcho Jerker Emanuelson has issued music compilations that have represented the organic side of power-pop and folk-pop. The Souvenirs series continues to mine obscure, little-known recordings and long-desired out-of-print 45s. Further details of the contents can be found by following the Kool Kat Link below.


Kool Kat Link


.........................

Thursday, 19 November 2020

Various - Ice Cream Man Power Pop and More Records Presents - Scoops (Free Download)

 


I love what Wayne Lundqvist Ford does. We meet in the middle in what we cover, but it's a majority middle. We also share a similar sense of humour, loving music and what we do, but cynical of the darker and chancing element that's around. I've often been asked why IDHAS doesn't cover his splendid annual compilation. I've been asked if it is jealousy or rivalry. It is neither.

I write reviews that are mainly 250 - 300 words long and include three song examples embedded in the post. It is nigh impossible to do justice to a 150 song compilation in such a writing format and how do you pick only three songs? My advice is download the whole thing and listen to it all gradually. There will be songs and maybe genres that you like and obviously some you don't. But you have a chance to hear what's new at your own leisure and to find new favourite artists. 





So I was delighted when Wayne told me that he was a planning a shorter interim version of the compilation and knew it would be a storming compilation that everyone could listen to in one go and Scoops is so much more than that. This is as good a compilation of new Indie Guitar Music as you will find and knocks the spots off most of the paid for offerings around. 20 poptastic gems await your lucky lugholes.

Amongst this score of delights are bands that I've covered, artists that are friends and songs that I've not heard. Power Pop may be the main focus, but the "and more" is certainly not. Hypnotic 60's Psych from Rob Clarke And The Wooltones, fine Synth Clappy Rock from Vix 20, top notch Glam Rock from Vix 20 and wonderful 70's West Coast Rock from Soulbird are "more" examples. There is also the stunning Psych Pop of Mythical Motors, all 46 seconds of it.





It is the Power Pop that resonates most though. The 60's Jangle from The Junior League, a joyful combination of Emperor Penguin and Orbis Max. Mythical Motors could drop the Mythical, as Ten O'Clock Postman is a Motors doppleganger, I can imagine Andy McMaster singing the lead. The Crushing Violets sound as great as ever. 


Picking three songs to embed is incredibly difficult, so I urge you to listen to the whole thing. I've chosen three faves, but you'll probably pick three different songs due to the quality on show. The compilation is free to download or you can download individual songs for a small price to help the artists. Scoops is superb, well done Wayne and all the artists included.




You can download or listen to the album here. If you like any of the artists, please investigate them more, then if you like what you hear you can buy something to encourage them to record more.


...................

Tuesday, 17 November 2020

The Loved Drones - Conspiracy Dance

 



It isn't often that I get to write about a great Psych influenced album by a Belgian based band that has a member noted as the keyboard player from a hometown band. When I tell you that that keyboard player went under the name of Professor Bubblekeys in a band called Poisoned Electrick Head, it may all seem a bit surreal.

It might also hint at days when me and a few others wound up potential hipsters by making up the names of bands to see who would say they'd seen them live. I talk about Brian Carney and The Loved Drones and this is the fourth album.





The previous three albums were largely instrumental. Conspiracy Dance marks Brian Carney adding vocals and lyrics. The result is a real change in direction. The Psych is still present, but the sound is far more Indie and this is matched by a sound that is very 80's in feel, if not in content.

Carney's lyrics are a mix of stream of consciousness and rhyming couplets. Sometimes, they are completely off the wall, yet at other times they are insightful and witty. This results in a strange but wonderful journey, that is never dull and revives memories of the likes of The Bevis Frond.





The Day That Bryan Gregory Died is an inspired storytelling affair that has a Baggy chorus, yet Headhand is a spoken word head fuck. The Last Night is a late night psych schmooze built on a killer riff, yet Empty could be an Indie Anthem.

Compare the aforementioned with Conspiracy Dance and My Name Is Sky, both of which could be Men Without Hats and are great 80's synth pop. Quarantine could be Primal Scream. The masterpiece though is the seven and a half minute pop explosion, A Firework Exploding, which reminds me of Pete Wylie, yet I couldn't tell you why. 





Conspiracy Dance is an amazingly good crossover album. If there isn't a genre called Indie Psych, we should start one. Inventive, gripping and very different to what's around, this is a top notch album. You can listen to and buy it here


.............................

Foxycontin - This Time You’re on Your Own

 


Foxycontin are a long established quartet from Philadelphia, but their debut album could easily be the sound of London or even Canvey Island in the back end of the 70s. There isn't anything complicated here, just good old fashioned New Wave Guitar Rock.

Quite often, I'm reminded of a more melodic Dr Feelgood. To some, it may seem that five of the dozen songs here being covers may show a lack of song writing depth. But I don't see that at all, their inclusion gives the impression of a live set and you can bet that their actual live set is a sweaty rocking joy.





These covers are not obvious ones with perhaps the exception of Fred Neil's well worn The Dolphins. Included is a faithful cover of Nick Lowe's Heart Of The City and a wonderful sped up, Punk cover of Sweet's Little Willie. 

I'd also add that the seven originals are the most interesting songs here. Most are very UK New Wave and all are sing (or even shout) along. There are welcome reminders of a Steve Nieve's Organ run on the title track.





Fine.Fine! is a cracking slice of R and B and Alive In Interesting Times is a Garage Rock mix of The Figgs and an 80's sleazy Glam Metal band. But You'll Never Listen is so Elvis Costello And The Attractions and even incorporates a brass section.

The Whole World Knows I'll Never Get Over It Now borders on The Knack. It's Starting To Show is a cracking New Wave Anthem, everything in the song is in the right place. It is almost The Rumour. Foxycontin have conjured up a no thrills album, full of melody and that is tightly played. It is a cracking listen.





You can listen to and buy the album here


...............................

Saturday, 14 November 2020

Kool Kat Musik Weekly New Release Update




Welcome to the Kool Kat Weekly New Release Update. Kool Kat are distributed in the UK and Europe by I Don't Hear A Single as part of our aim to keep CDs available and affordable. The Kool Kat Links with each album take you to further details on each release..

Please place all UK and European orders by following the details here. Links to Kool Kat's Entire Stock can be found here. Without further ado, here are seven new additions to Kool Kat Musik This Week.


Mike Browning - Never Too Late (Self Released) 2020      $8







"A dazzling debut, the disc demonstrates Mike’s gift for recreating heritage pop rock sounds while adding his own deft composition and construction skills to the show.  There is no doubt the songs on this disc would have been huge hit singles had they existed when AM radio was where it was at.  But good music is timeless, and these tunes indeed possess such a quality. Pure; playful and brimming with wide-eyed wonder, it’s the kind of record that makes you glad to be alive.” (Beverly Paterson)


Kool Kat Link


Bandcamp Link


Class Three Overbite - Rendezvous (Self Released) 2007      $11 






                                   

It's really no surprise that in 2007, when Mike Elgert and Brad Jendza, two highly recommended pop artists in their own right whose individual titles we carry, teamed up that they would deliver a heavily 70's-influenced, true pop lovers gem of a release!  "Every now and then, rock and roll will grace us with it's cool cousin who happens to love classy Bubblegum and Glam.


Kool Kat Link


Apple Music Link


Eddie & The Hot Rods - New York: Live (Angel Air) 2020      $15   







                           
Having reformed in 2000, this was the band’s third US tour for this line up of the Hot Rods and they were truly firing on all cylinders by this point, delivering a frenetic-paced, blistering set of “Greatest Hits” (along with a few choice covers) at Southpaw, Brooklyn on May 7th 2009.  Thankfully, the good This is essential stuff from a band sounding as youthful and hyper-energetic as the original Rods were when they came together in 1975.  

   

Kool Kat Link


Apple Music Link


The Great Affairs - Everybody Moves, Nobody Gets Hurt (Self Released) 2020      $11








The Great Affairs are back in business with the follow-up to 2018’s “Ten & 2”.  The skill on display here is that they successfully pull all the disparate threads of rock n’ roll together and make it so cohesive.  Like a compilation album, but all by one fantastic band, 

                                 

Kool Kat Link


Apple Music Link


The Mystery Lights - Too Much Tension! (Wick Records) 2019      $15     







       
The band's 2019 release about city-life stress, political mayhem and personal anxieties uses guitars, Farfisa, drums and bass to create a whirlwind of chaos within your mind. Mike Brandon’s vocals feel like daggers of passion with each relatable lyric sung. Though still drenched in that unique TML bluesy/rock ‘n’ roll sound, 

 

Kool Kat Link


Bandcamp Link


The Mystery Lights - The Mystery Lights (Wick Records) 2016      $15       






This self titled full-length debut album offers a splendid reaffirmation of the eternal verities of lo-fi psych-rock. The brittle garage-punk positively seethes with trebly guitars, reedy organs, waspish fuzzboxes and urgent drums.


Kool Kat Link


Bandcamp Link


The Alan Wauters Alliance - …this is my life (Cherry Bomb Records) 2005      $13      





Alan Wauters has a long and interesting musical career that spans several decades, as a session man with The Left Banke, The Standells, and The Birth of Spring. This CD from 2005 is a collection of his own tunes he created over the years. He has observed his surroundings throughout his career and it shows here big time! Features lead vocals and tight harmonies that borrow from British Invasion bands like The Beatles and The Zombies.



Kool Kat Link


Apple Music Link


.........................