Monday, 21 October 2019

Ben Vogel - Whistling After Midnight




The musical year has been a really strange one for me. Partly due to reaching an age, when you realise the musicians that you admired as a youngster are not mortal, but more about seeing scenes that you love fall apart due to the opinionated. There seems to be a world of Me Me Me and all about Me at the moment.

Just when you are completely exasperated with Power Pop and Pop Rock, an album comes along that shows that there is still hope. Whistling After Midnight is Ben Vogel's debut album and yet it sounds little like such. It's a fine listen indeed.








Vogel has recently moved from Austin Texas to Chicago, but this album feels much more Sunshine State. He describes the album as 21st Century Power Pop, but the album leans far more on classic UK and U.S. Pop Rock, It's the type of well written, beautifully produced offering that you hear less and less these days.

There are big hints of 70's Singer Songwriter, but also UK New Wave and 80's Easy Listening Rock. That's not to say that this is derivative, because it isn't. As the years clock on, it's virtually impossible to find something that a song doesn't remind you of.








Cassidy is the stand out song, it's very Nick Heyward, but the other nine songs stand up just as well. Lazy Saturday is Jangling Power Pop that stands up with any of the current crop that you care to imagine. Leave This Town is a Soft Rock Ballad. Say That You Will is a happier Steely Dan.


Early Morning Hours is pure Squeeze, Wasting Time reminds me of Donnie Iris. I Hope You're Happy Happy Now could be a Sun Studios recording. Beautiful Sun closes the album with a big constantly changing sort of Show song, hints of Jazz and Funk abound, almost mid 70's Stevie Wonder. Whistling At Midnight caught me completely by surprise. It's an absolutely splendid listen.







You can listen to and buy the album here. You can find out more about Ben Vogel here.


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Bill Lloyd And The Tallymen - 2GTRSBSDRMS - Live At Blackbird Academy



Bill Lloyd continues a lengthy excellent career, currently as a part of one of the greatest Label Rosters around, Spyderpop Records. Lloyd has mastered Country, Americana and Power Pop and it's probably no surprise that it's the latter that I love most.

His 2018 album, Working The Long Game and his work as one of the great cover bands, The Long Players will prepare you for what you have here. 2GTRSBDSRMS is an absolute revelation, Pop Rock done at it's very best.

I know people baulk at Live albums. listen to them once and file them away, but this is different. If ever there was a way to listen to Bill Lloyd, it is Live. Here, you get the very best method. The album was recorded Live In Blackbird Academy's Studio and so no annoying chattering.






The quartet, hence the two guitars, bass and drums reference, includes Pat Buchanan on Guitar and the recording is stunning. It's like listening to a full band studio album. The 10 songs are from his three Power Pop solo albums and all ten hit the spot.

It's across the album that you realise that this isn't necessarily Power Pop, it has more in common with Tom Petty than Big Star. There is also some exceptional playing, for instance the Guitar Solo on Mistakes Are made is so Mick Ronson.








Others may have differing opinions, but I think Boy King Of Tokyo is Lloyd's best album and best song and so it's only fitting that it opens up proceedings. Buy On Credit is a real Petty Rock Out, but the overall album feel is more Into The Great Wide Open.

Let It Slide is 60's UK Beat, Turn Me On Dead Man is Psych Pop and The Fix Is In is riff-o-rama Power Pop. I Went Electric is pure Graham Parker And The Rumour and Out Of The Picture is real shake your fist stuff, with a hint of early Costello.








You can buy the CD from Bill's website here or Kool Kat here.   The album is available at all the download emporiums including Amazon Music here. You can listen to the whole album or individual songs here.


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Wednesday, 16 October 2019

Mick Dillingham Interviews : Andy Bopp



I've been a fan of Andy Bopp for over two decades. I've become noted for Power Pop commentary, despite my tastes being far wider. As I think about what attracts me to Power Pop, those first two Myracle Brah albums are a fair testament.

Bopp's adventures since have provided equal enjoyment, but it is his solo career that has invigorated me most. His upcoming album, Maker, is an absolute revelation. Andy questions why someone would want to make the same album over and over and I feel the same way. I'll explain why in the album review that will appear later in the week. It's fair to say that Maker is more Bowie than Chilton.

For his latest interview, Mick talks to Andy about his career and Bopp also gives some brief thoughts on the new album.


What are your earliest memories of first getting into music?

"I started taking guitar lessons at age four. By six, I had an electric guitar and an amp. I got
frustrated with it and switched to drums for the next five years."


Which music artists first made you sit up and take notice?

"The Beatles, in particular the Help album and Rubber Soul. I was about five years old."


When did you start writing songs?

"My mother would sit down with me and we would make up songs on the spot. She sang and played the ukulele."







What was the first song you wrote where you knew you had something?

"Hard to say. Probably around the age of twelve. I started writing about then, but it took awhile to develop. The first good songs were about two or three years before Love Nut. There’s about three albums worth of material recorded prior to Bastards Of Melody. So, to answer your question, the first good song was called Crying."


Looking back on Myracle Brah, how do you feel about it now…highs lows, things you
might change now?

"Well, Love Nut just got dropped from Interscope and I was very mad about it. We never got a
fair shake. A few of the Eartsnop songs were meant for the next Love Nut album which was, of
course, rejected by Interscope.

So, I got an 8 track, mic pre and compressor and one good mic and started working. No lows as such. The highs were playing all over Europe. I played in Japan two years ago and didn’t realise that I had a small fan base there. I’m very proud of those albums."


How does the song writing process work with you?

"It has changed over the years. Early on it was always guitar oriented riffs, then lyrics. Now it's
more of a stream of conscience. I start writing anything in my book, regardless of quality and it
grows from there with numerous revisions. I never have a dry spell, because I don’t put pressure on myself. I just relax, breathe and let it work."







What would you say were your biggest influences?

"Well, influences are all over the place. British Rock of course, Coltrane, Miles Davis, Mozart,
Kate Bush, American Country, Cash, Hank Williams. Then there’s the American Folk of the 60’s
like Kingston Trio, Hoyt Axton, and American Civil War songs."


The recording process always seems a vital part of the whole with you…you don’t just record an album you produce it.

"The recording process is unlike what people think. It’s very painful for me to record. Obsessing
on every note etc. But it is magic and always a learning experience. Again, letting your
subconscious take over is creative in itself."


What does creativity mean to you in the day to day?

"On a day to day basis creativity keeps me alive."


Talk about the genesis of the new album. The difference between the you of today and the
Andy of twenty years ago.

It started out as an EP. I have a double album almost finished and was just going to put this EP out first in March, but then it became a whole different animal and grew to a full album.

It’s a therapeutic album for me. I’ve been struggling with depression for several years and I needed to get things off my chest. I think it turned out very good.

This is a more mature approach from twenty years ago. I try to develop everything as time continues. That's why in good conscience, I can't just keep putting the same album out."


What does creativity mean to you in the day to day?

"On a day to day basis creativity keeps me alive."







If you’re up for it a track by track breakdown would be cool.

Maker

"“Lay down before the throne”. It’s a confession and an acknowledgement. Example:
“manipulation was routine, till Eros fell on laser beams, protecting all the ways and means”

Years Upon Years

Time doesn’t stand still for anyone. Regret of knowing that I’m still not sure who I am as a
person.

In The Interest of Time Pt.1

A synth version and rewrite of track 7. O.U.T. means out

Cigarette

Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda, regret and pain. “I ran until I fell into the drink”

Idle Hours

A very disturbing story about a man who works in a sideshow of a travelling circus. His trick or
gimmick (which you are lured in by the barker for a small fee to enter the small tent) is called The Incredible Burning Hand.

He enters, the crowd applauds, and he proceeds to light a candle, placing his hand over the flame until its burning flesh. The crowd is appalled and sick and disgusted and exits the tent. Two shows a day, and in between he rests his hand in ice water while reading The Tempest.

His pain does not come from the show. The pain comes from the long agonising down time. The idle hours kill him."







She Drives Me Crazy

"My attempt to cover an awesome song. The crazy is not in affection.

In The Interest Of Time

Sarcastic, of a relationship, like I don't want to hear it, so in the interest of time and space,
goodbye.

Tooth And Nail

Asking for someone to stay with you until you perish. If you stay till the morning I can say
goodbye, when the sun shines.

Eternally Yours

The final nightmare.

Lights and Saviors

Thinking that your running to a safe place, only to find out it’s a lie."


You can find out more about Andy Bopp on his website here. Maker is released on Monday 21 October. Details of how you can listen to it and buy will be included in the Album Review later this week.

You can read the IDHAS Review of Andy Bopp's Wherewithal here and Blisters And Thorns here.


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I Don't Hear A Single Audio Extravaganza Volume 82



Volume 82 of the Audio Extravaganza is ready for your attention.  21 of IDHAS's favourite songs this week, all with shiny new stickers on them. A reminder that these episodes are compiled with great care. The aim is to produce a sort of mix tape. Hopefully this will be the soundtrack to your day.

I've also learned that if you use the mixcloud player at the bottom of this page, each song title is shown as it plays.

Volume 81 was again in the Mixcloud Global Indie Chart and also made a debut on the Indie Rock Chart. The playlist is below and will also be in the comments section of the Mixcloud page. Thanks as always to Jim Moody for his technical excellence

You can listen to the previous IDHAS Audio Extravaganzas on Mixcloud here.


01 Dan Luke And The Raid - Disco Is As Disco Does
02 The Walker Brigade - Tower
03 Andy Bopp - In The Interest Of Time Pt 1
04 ANC4 - Easy Way Out
05 Aliens - Turned To Flame
06 Slumberjet - (Theme From) Our Street
07 WarrenScottband - She's A Little Bit Off
08 Propeller - There Goes A Day
09 A.C.T - Running Out Of Luck
10 The Hangabouts - Mrs. Greene
11 Big Eyes - Lucky You
12 Nick Piunti - All This Time
13 Mini Meltdowns - I Wanna Die
14 The Speedways - In Common With You
15 Youth Group - Oh James
16 White Reaper - Might Be Right
17 Tiny Fighter - Where Are You Now
18 Paint Fumes - Dice Eyes
19 Bubblegum Lemonade - When Life Gives You Lemons
20 Dream Ritual - Outside Your Window
21 Agony Aunts - Second Hand News


IDHAS Volume 82 Mixcloud Link 






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Tuesday, 15 October 2019

ANC4 - ANC4



It's great to have Roger Arvidson back amongst us. Both Arvidson And Butterflies and the Blank Season EP enhanced the Gothenburg Singer Songwriter's reputation. Arvidson is part of a new Jangling Swedish Supergroup, ANC4.

ANC 4 is the abbreviated name of Arvidson & Nilsson Combo Four and Roger is joined by Tomas Nilsson of  The Mop Tops, Janne Borgh of The Moderns and Niclas Osterburg. As you'd expect the whole album is Rickenbacker heaven.






Arvidson and Nilsson's shared songwriting and split vocals works beautifully and the three part harmonies with Borgh enhance the songs. This allows the album to branch out, it isn't just about 12 Strings. There are hints of 70's Pop Rock and Country throughout.

The debut album is gentle and laid back, a real armchair listen, but it does stretch out. The Big Beat and Horns on Winner and the Celtic tinged instrumental Rain reveal the band's versatility. There's really jaunty sing along pop on both You're The One and Do You Wanna.






There's some lovely slide guitar on You Can Call Me Darling and a fantastic solo on It Don't Matter, a real gem of a song. When We Were There is very George Harrison, just as No More Words is very The Hollies. Broken Tune is in Jeff Lynne Territory.

For all this variety, it's the Jangling that people expect most and No Way Out and So Good To Me offer that in spades. But the stand out songs are the wonderful, The Chronicle and the joyous Psych Pop feel to Happy Again. The whole of this self titled debut is an absolutely cracking listen. It is highly recommended.






The physical album is released on two of my favourite labels. The 15 Track CD is on Kool Kat Records here. The 13 Track Vinyl version is available in White or Black at Beluga Records here. Beluga also have the album available for download here, where five of the songs can be listened to ahead of the 18 October release.

I've currently selected three of those five tracks to embed in this post, but I may change a couple after the album's release, because both Happy Again and The Chronicle are essential listens.


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Monday, 14 October 2019

Big Eyes - Streets Of The Lost



There's been a fair bit of activity on IDHAS today, but none has been particularly in the usual territory, so it's best to end on more familiar ground. Kait Eldridge has been leading Big Eyes for almost a decade through various line up changes.

Being back in New York, fronting a four piece version of the band, seems now to be nailing it. Big Eyes have a foot in Power Pop, albeit Noisy Power Pop. although that would be tagging them too simplistically. A  song like When Midnight Comes, for instance, is wonderfully shouty.








There's a Garage Rock looseness at times particularly on When Midnight Comes and even a CBGB's vibe on Try Hard Kiss Ass and a whole lot of sass on Young Dumb And Bored which borders on The Slits. It's the Guitar Pop that floats my boat most.

At The Top is riff-o-rama and Lucky You is a killer song. But the early Blondie-ish, Suddenly Nowhere is equally appealing. The Ridenour brothers certainly ensure that there's nothing samey or sit down here. Streets Of The Lost is real shake yer fist joy.







You can listen to and buy the album here.


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A.C.T - Rebirth



Malmo's A.C.T. have been around for 15 years and they should be bigger. This 22 minute, five song, offering may do the trick. The Five Piece are lumped in with the Prog brigade and even more bizarrely Metal, yet this is much closer to Pop Rock.

I compare them more to early City Boy, maybe even Styx. They are far too chorus led and hook laden to be Prog and the impression is that they don't take themselves too seriously. In just five songs here they show off their versatility. They can do it all, AOR, Symphonic Rock, Straight Ahead Pop with only the odd hint of Modern Prog.








More modern similarities would be a less serious Vegas In Randolph or less showy V Sparks. Running Out Of Luck reveals what the band do best with it's constant changing kitchen sink joy. Meet The Past is top notch Pop Rock with a Andy Summers Police break.

A Broken Trust is almost AOR, maybe even Yes 90125. The Ruler Of The World id definitely in Dinner At The Ritz territory. I'm not sure that Digital Affair works, yes it is different, but if there is a Styx comparison, then this is their Mr Roboto.








Four Out Of Five Songs is a great pass rate and Rebirth is a hugely enjoyable listen. The band have a fantastic Live Reputaion, it'd be great to see them in the UK. Highly Recommended! Rebirth is available everywhere including Amazon UK here and the band's website here.


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