Saturday, 16 December 2017

The Garden Of Earthly Delights



Howdy Doody and welcome to the latest Garden Of Earthly Delights feature. Four bands that you should love and will spend the rest of the day wondering why you hadn't heard them earlier.





The Galileo 7 - Tear Your Minds Wide Open!


Medway would appear to be centre of all things Psych Pop at the moment. The storming amount of great mid to late 60's Pop that blasts out of Kent lately is vastly encouraging.  Tear Your Minds Wide Open! is splendid Organ driven Psych Pop.

Many can do this, few can do it well, The Galileo 7 have mastered the genre. They even sound like the live version Of The Move on The Habit Machine and Baggy Madchester on Nobody Knows Anything.

However, it's the Syd Barrett esque Psych that makes most of the dents and this is beautifully done with all four band members driving the sound forward. Particular mention should be made to Allan Crockford for some great guitar riffing and sterling vocals.






You can listen to and buy the album here.







The Green Ray - Half Sentences 

Fans of the magnificent Help Yourself will know that Ken Whaley and Richard Treece formed The Green Ray in the Nineties. I love Help Yourself and their connections with Brinsley Schwarz and Man in the 70's.

The Green Ray carried on that tradition and there is a sadness in these recordings. Ken Whaley died in 2012, a year before the sessions started and Richard Treece passed away in 2015, so his final recordings are here. Ken's brother, Simon switched to Guitar to finish Half Sentences.

The result is the band's fourth album and it is a fine affair. Coming in as a sort of laid back Man or a less trippy Jefferson Airplane, at times pre AOR Journey, it's a cracking chilled listen. It centres around the 10 minute opener, Planes Crashing Into Birds, it's the other 7 songs that set the direction. Some wonderful low key Guitar rounds everything up.





This is another release on the fantastic Sugarbush Label, setting the standard again in Vinyl releases. You can buy the album from Sugarbush here or listen to and buy the album as a download here.





The Red Plastic Buddha - Songs for Mara 


Songs For Mara isn't a new album, it was released in 2014, but it is the magnificent The Red Plastic Buddha's current album and this Chicago quartet show that the Psych excellence isn't limited to these shores. The band give a modern slant on Psych Rock, very much in the vicinity of The Luck Of Eden Hall.

So it's no surprise that Curvey guests as does Phil Angotti, so you are catching a drift of the quality here. The depth quota is high and although Psych Lovers will thrive on this, there's plenty for everyone else.

Cosmonaut is like Space Power Pop, A House Is Not A Motel could be Madchester, Stuck on Zero is Trippy to extreme. But it's the Psychedelic wonder that grabs you. She's An Alien is a fine opener, but it's the trippy splendour of Little White Pills that gets hold of me most. This is an ace album, a bit darker than the previous, All Out Revolution, but all the better for it.






You can listen to the album and buy it here.






The Warp/The Weft - Mapping An Absence


Poughkeepsie's The Warp/The Weft are not like any of the New York Bands that I normally cover. I suppose you'd call it Acid Folk, as though we need another label, so imagine that Fairport Convention had joined a coven and you get the drift.

This is wonderfully dark Electric Folk. The album even closes with a spot of Dylan Thomas. Some of the song structures compare to the likes of Renaissance, there's a lovely mix of the Electric and Acoustic.

Mapping An Absence isn't a laidback listen, but these eight songs are both gripping and intensely rewarding. It's almost like the 80's Indie Brigade have got hold of Folk and given it such a shaking that it thinks it's Psych. This is a really really good album. Well worth taking a chance on.






You can listen to and buy it here.



Thursday, 14 December 2017

I Don't Hear A Single Radio Show Episode 26 - Highlights Of 2017 Volume 1




Tomorrow Night's Radio Show has been dispatched to KOR as we celebrate 2017.

19 of my favourite songs of 2017 are gathered for your delight. Volume 2 covers the balance next week. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do and head off to discover more about the artists.

Broadcast on KOR Radio at 8pm UK Time on Fridays, repeated at the same time on Saturdays. Due to increased popularity, a Monday Night Repeat has been added at 8pm.

You can listen to it here.

Also, a reminder that the show is archived the following week on Mixcloud. You can listen to the first twenty five shows here.


Here is this week's playlist :

01 The Sunset Spirit - To Have It All
02 Nick Heyward - Perfect Sunday Sun
03 The Succesful Failures - All Wrapped Up
04 Pink Beam - Wrote Me A Letter
05 Pugwash - What Are You Like
06 Sparks - Missionary Position
07 One Way Ticket - All Change
08 Groovy Uncle - Our Gary's No Fool
09 Cait Brennan - Bad At Apologies
10 Ian McNabb - How She Moves
11 Chris Church - Something Completely
12 The Rationales - Ready To Go
13 The Singles - Sweet Tooth
14 The Stanleys - Amy
15 V Sparks - Death Of A Star
16 The Wild Young Hearts - My Oldest Friend
17 Mimi Betinis - Sound The Alarm
18 Lannie Flowers - Kiss A Memory
19 Captain Wilberforce - The Johnny Depp Memorial Cafe



Tuesday, 12 December 2017

The Cleaners From Venus - Martin Newell's Jumble Sale



In last week's Xmas affair, I compared Brian Bordello to Martin Newell, I could give him no greater compliment. I've fawned and waxed lyrical about Newell on this very Blog here and here.  So here is a third wave of fanboy stuff.

The Cleaners From Venus tapes are what introduced me to all things Newell and I've relished every minute since. So a collection of Martin's Demos And Outtakes is something to feast on. 17 songs from 1975 to this year are present and these recordings enhance his reputation more.







I've often wondered how Newell would have fared with a label giving him some cash and backing his adventures. He'd certainly with the likes Of Robyn Hitchcock and not only as an Indie Andy Partridge. The Cleaners From Venus have always been Lords Of Lo-Fi. These songs sound wonderful, even as 4 Track recordings or in some case mono tape to tape. He makes a 4 Track sound like a much more modern recording device.

The earlier songs reveal a different side to the Greatest Living Englishman (TM). Ain't No Silicon Chip and My Rocking Days blend perfectly with the New Wave Pop of the time. There's also some wonderful solo at the Piano stuff, most notably the splendid Moonraking, which is like a chirped up Peter Skellern.







English Girl On A Horse is so Hitchcock and the Psych Pop Morrissey pastiche of The Luxury Of Misery is hilarious. She's Got Talent is another laidback joyous song, all sing-a-longa-Newell. A great slice of Sixties Pop.

It's the trademark Psych Pop that grabs you most though. This is what garners the most XTC comparisons, very Oranges And Lemons. Scarecrow Hair And Saucer-Eyed is all Orgone Box and this year's Red Guitars And Silver Tambourines shows that no talent has been lost over the years. It's simply wonderful Psych Pop.







A collection of Martin Newell demos is far superior to most's Best Ofs. The man really should have greater acclaim. I think I'll start to build a plinth in anticipation now. You can listen to and buy the album here.





David James Situation - Aquarian Comedown



The debut album from David James Situation is slap bang in Classic Rock Territory. It's a cracking album in a genre that I avoid these days because it's littered with lazy derivative boring Blues Rock or  Bon Jovi wannabes.

Aquarium Comedown isn't any of those things. It feels very much like a 70's album, but there are hints of everything, Psych, Prog, Rock and a good bit of Jangle. In The End is like an Americana Blue Mink, yet Green Eyed Lady is all late 60's Kitchen Sink drama.

End Of The World could be The Strawbs or The Moody Blues. End Of The World could be Noel Gallagher, Things Remain is Pure Prog and Throw Me A Line so Rockpile. God (Must Have Tricked Me) is a real Pop Rock out with an almost Monkees feel.

There are some real hooks in the choruses and tons of variation, but the thing that stands out is the James's stunning Guitar playing. whether that's Acoustic, Jangle or full on Rock, there's a real adept touch here.

It is fair to say that despite all the changes in direction, Aquarium Comedown is at it's best when it Rocks. Great examples of this are Footsteps and the outstanding, Lay Off. We've been laughing at how bad the current Noel Gallagher album is, this is how a Rock album should be approached.

At well over an hour and 16 songs, the album is a little long, you can't grumble at the quality and the urge to get all this great stuff out there. But the album's low key start doesn't really do the rest of the content justice. Maybe, just maybe, the first two songs could have been left off to let Green Eyed Lady open the album in poptastic style. This is a minor quibble.

David Bash and I both agreed that early December Album Of The Year charts are too early. This has arrived later in the year, but has every chance of making my Top 10. It'll certainly be up for best Newcomer too.


You can listen to the album and buy it here



The Searchers - Another Night The Sire Recordings 1979–1981 (2CD)




There are lots of debates about what Power Pop is and isn't and of course they always end with everyone and no one being right. Power Pop is also a title that some artists love, others find it limiting and off putting to potential buyers.

The other great dispute is what band / artist started Power Pop. Many point back to Buddy Holly and The Beatles, others note the 70's and Badfinger and Big Star. I'm amongst the subscribers to The Searchers' When You Walk In The Room, even though Jackie DeShannon beat them to the song the year before.

Whatever your thoughts, people cannot dispute The Searchers contribution to Jangle Pop in those heady Merseybeat days. Seymour Stein couldn't believe that The Searchers were still not recording and subsequently these two albums remedied that.

The late 70's now is looked upon as a heyday for Guitar Pop. In the UK, Punk partly morphing into New Wave is seen as a glorious revival of Pop with Power. It certainly didn't feel like it at the time and was only a small part of what was going on musically, but the likes of Stiff, Rockpile and Squeeze returned to great Pop songs mainly about love lost or found.






It's easy to summon up hindsight to say how fantastic the scene was, when many of the bands now are lauded when they were looked upon as inconsequential at the time. As with Brit Pop, it's the undercard that was most interesting, the likes of The Motors and The Records.

Which brings us to the first self titled album, released in 1979. The band were as on form as ever, but looked largely to those New Wave talents for the songs. Hearts In Their Eyes, written by Will Birch and John Wicks, was a song by The Records. Switchboard Susan is a Mickey Jupp song that appears on Nick Lowe's magnificent Labour Of Lust. A song he still performs live to this day.

The jangle continued with Tom Petty's Lost In Your Eyes. Three Bonus Tracks are added to the original album. Love Melodies (Play For Today in the States) was the second sophomore album, released in 1980. This time The Motors' Andy McMasters has Love's Melody covered and there is a cover of Power Pop Classic, Big Star's September Gurls amongst another fine collection of songs.






Four Bonus Tracks are added to Love Melodies, including the previously unreleased,  John Hiatt song, Ambulance Chaser. Sadly, the albums didn't sell well and Sire passed on the option of a third album. It's a shame, because both these albums complement that UK late 70's wave of Power Pop beautifully.

Lots of jangle, singalong choruses and good time listening. This double disc is a worthy release and adds more credit to the Omnivore label. Omnivore mix the releasing of the new and old albums, beautifully. It would be great if a UK label could offer UK artists of similar stature to Cait Brennan and Chris Price recording deals.


You can buy the album everywhere.



Friday, 8 December 2017

Album Of The Year Radio Special



There are lots of plans for the rest of the year here and the regular Radio show is all mapped out. However this is your chance to participate in a Special and stamp your thoughts on it. Normally when Participation is encouraged, people run and hide or have to wash their hair. So if there isn't the input, we'll just not do this.

As you will be aware, I am doing an end of year Chart for the first time ever. However, there is an extra opportunity to choose 14 or 15 albums that are recommended by you. One per person, noting what your Album Of The Year Is.

You have to do a little something, apart from to obviously tell me your choice. You have to record a 30 - 60 Second Intro (you can do this on your phone) and email or send a message to me with your sound file.

I will then put out a Radio Special which features your intro and a track from the album. This is just a way of you being able to express an interest and participate. If we don't get enough suggestions, then we won't do it. If we get too many then I'll select the 15.

I hope plenty of you are up for it. Deadline for Submissions will be Sunday 17 December. Show you care about the artists you love!



Thursday, 7 December 2017

I Don't Hear A Single Radio Show Episode 25



In an unusually organised manner, the Radio Show has been dispatched to KOR as we hit the quarter century.

17 songs, all but 2 are new and the archive tracks feature a reissue and a new version of a song you'll know.

We continue weekly as always, but this will be the last of the year featuring new releases. The two before Christmas will be a Best OF IDHAS 2017 featuring songs you've heard on the show or read about on the Blog.

The final show of the year will be the unveiling of the Top 10 Albums Of The Year, with chatty bits to tell you why they were chosen.

Broadcast on KOR Radio at 8pm UK Time on Fridays, repeated at the same time on Saturdays. Due to increased popularity, a Monday Night Repeat has been added at 8pm.

You can listen to it here.

Also, a reminder that the show is archived the following week on Mixcloud. You can listen to the first twenty four shows here.

The response to the two Mixcloud Only Special Xmas Shows has been amazing. You'll see the first of those appear on Mixcloud before the end of the week.

Here is this week's playlist :

01 The Searchers - Hearts In Her Eyes
02 The Eskies - All Good Men
03 The Galileo 7 - Mystery Train
04 The Golden Rail - Metal And Shells
05 Kyle Vincent - Soon
06 The Spook School - Best of Intentions
07 Fits - Ice Cream On A Nice Day
08 David James Situation - Green Eyed Lady
09 Blaine Campbell - Keeping Your Distance
10 Scarborough - Let's Fall In Love
11 Clockwork Flowers - Out Of My Mind
12 We The Kings - Secret Valentine
13 Howie Payne - Thoughts On Thoughts
14 Vortex Surfer - Choices
15 Sci-Fried - Luke And Scotty
16 Ray Paul - I Need Your Love Tonight
17 Midge Ure - The Voice (Orchestrated)



Wednesday, 6 December 2017

It's Beginning To Sound A Lot Like Christmas



This week's Garden Of Earthly Delights hands itself over to Christmas. There's been a lot of things I said I would never do this year, showing aging doesn't mean set in his ways. I've usually baulked at Top 10's, never seen the point. I had them as something that music fans do to avoid fixing the leak in the shed. Well there will be some on here as well as a Smash Hits / NME type of thing, presenting ridiculous awards in made up categories.

Secondly, I've always avoided Christmas Song Reviews. I've left Christmas to my good friend Stephen Schnee who covers them in a way that makes all others redundant. It's the forced jollity that does me. Every time someone says it's X sleeps until Christmas, I reach for the wet fish and a slapping session. It's days not sleeps, you are not ten blah blah etc etc.

There are positives, you get to see Roy Wood once a year, but if I never heard Last Christmas again, it would be too soon, even if it was for someone special. See what I did there? But seeing as The Garden Of Earthly Delights is about choosing four recordings and there are four such things around this year, it makes sense to tell you about them.




The Bordellos - The Bordellos Do Christmas


I spent most of my growing up in St. Helens, a town aided by it's proximity to Liverpool for the musically inclined. It was always a bugbear that we had no musician to celebrate from the town. We clutched on to Gravy Train who had largely been and gone by the time Senior School started and there was Bernie Clifton who did some appalling covers of the songs in the chart on Crackerjack.

As the 80's rolled on after New Romantic's dismal years, we even tried to adopt Rick Astley, he was from the Borough, but Newton isn't St. Helens. Now, of course, we've got Jacqui Abbott and there is one special band to mention in between.

The Bordellos are magnificent. Anywhere else and they would be celebrated from the roof tops, instead we'd rather celebrate some young lady shouting the life out of Hero or Hallelujah. People who look to other things than the TV and local press, know how magnificent they are. Their lo-fi indie credentials can stand up with anyone.

Brian Bordello is an unsung hero, the wit and invention that goes into his writing should have him compared to the likes of Mark E. Smith and Martin Newell. It's the true that what he does isn't for everyone, but there are more than enough people out there who like similar artists that should be delving into their Back Catalogue. The Bordellos should be more than a Cottage Industry.

So we have six original songs here that use all the tricks of the trade that have been learned over a fabulous recording career. Don't expect a wall of sound, but do expect to have your thoughts provoked. You can download the EP here for Free and you should head off there when you've read the rest of this post. I'd suggest you bookmark it now.




The Minus 5 - Dear December


Scott McCaughey's current Stroke related illness, puts this release in perspective, particularly at this time of year. His R.E.M. credentials have always been there to see, but The Minus 5 has always leaned more towards Indie Power Pop and it's splendid that it does.

Here we have 11 new songs for the Festive Season. Peter Buck as ever is present as head Guitar Boy and there are guest appearances from The Posies, Mike Mills, Colin Meloy of The Decemberists, Benjamin Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie, Chuck Prophet, Tammy Ealon, Kelly Hogan and more.

It's an absolute joy to listen to, wonderfully melodic, a perfect accompaniment to the Sherry and Mince Pies. You can listen to and buy it here.





Lisa Mychols - Winter Is Here


Few would argue that Power Pop can be a Boy's Club, but Lisa Mychols has consistently challenged this. Her Sunshine Pop and Sugar Sweet Vocals are joyous. Everything seems so much brighter when she sings.

Those vocals come in somewhere between Susanna Hoffs and Kirsty MacColl, but the beauty is that everything is upbeat and jangly. On In Love With Love, Mychols even sounds Spectorish. Mr Santa is all New Wave.

These six songs but the Merry into Merry Christmas. If this is a time for positivity and celebration, this should be the soundtrack. You can listen to the EP and buy it here.






Cheap Trick - Christmas Christmas


The fourth of the four is given to my long time favourites, Cheap Trick, This could have been a disaster, particularly with only three originals amongst the 12 songs. But Cheap Trick pull it off due to the sheer delight of it all.

There are the obvious Slade and Wizzard covers, the band obviously want to contribute to Roy Wood's pension fund with their constant raiding. I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday is rocked up though with Rick Nielsen's guitar.

It's the covers away from the obvious that are most interesting though, Merry Christmas (I Don't Want To Fight Tonight) and particularly Nilsson's Remember Christmas. Robin Zander's vocal on the latter is wonderful and in fact throughout, this sounds like a Zander album, his pipes are in fine form.

The three new songs include a guitar less, choir accompanied, Our Father Of Life and a song that may make it onto Christmas playlists for years to come in Merry Christmas Darlings. That song is classic Cheap Trick, everything that they do well is contained within. included the cheery lounge like  interlude. The album is available everywhere.




Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Fits - All Belief Is Paradise



Brooklyn's Fits have a reputation as a thinking man's Pop Punk band and that's were labels fool you. Nicholas Cummins's outfit have fashioned up that is something so much more. All Belief Is Paradise wouldn't feel out of sorts on Fruits or Megadodo. This is great Alt Pop, bordering on Classic Psych.

My greatest bugbear involves bands that make three minute ideas drone on for double the time. Not a hint of that here, when a song is done it's done. These 12 tracks come in at just over 20 minutes, it's as though Prog never happened.







There's a real DIY charm to the album, built largely around the Bass And Drums, not in a dance way, but rhythmically. When the Guitar breaks out, it doesn't half rock, particularly on the likes of Ice Cream On A Nice Day and All The Time.

In all this lo-fi wonderment, the Guitar is reminiscent of Jonathan Richman, but it would be really unfair to confuse this sparseness with a lack of ability or ideas, because despite the album's brevity, the ideas are fighting to get out.






The Ground is a great example of how wonderfully inventive the whole thing is. It isn't instantly accessible, but you will get hooked. There's also Pop sensibilities aplenty, Mango could be Buzzcocks. The spirit of US New Wave shines here, but Fits take it one stage further.






This is a gem of an album, something you don't generally discover per chance. I'm so glad I did. You can listen to and buy the album here.






The Beaches - Late Show



There seems to be a theme starting to develop here. Following on from Partner, here's a second Canadian female band to enchant your ears. Where as Partner nod towards Classic Pop, Toronto's The Beaches are a much more direct affair.

Comparisons will obviously be made to Haim, but this lot are nowhere near as one dimensional and whereas the recording studio seemed to temper Haim down, this debut album appears to do the opposite.






Late Show hints that The Beaches could be anything that they want to be, the album is that varied. Contrast the opening pop stomp of Back Of My Heart to the Garage Rock of the closer Sweet Life. Money has a Joy Division vibe, whilst Moment could be Girlschool.

There are so many bands you could point to here, early Blondie, The Runaways, early Go-Go's amongst them. Then they can come up with something as gloriously chorus led as One Night Stand. Keeper is a pure blast of US New Wave in the verse and then blasts into a chorus that Pink would feel at home with.






The title track could be on the Go-Go's debut, yet Highway 6 is all Everything Could Be The Girl / Cocteau Twins sweeping moodiness. Gold is ultra modern, you can imagine some diva on The X Factor murdering it.

Turn Me On is wonderfully minimal, before breaking into a stomping chorus. T-Shirt comes over all Mink De Ville. It's a long time since I've hears such a varied accomplished debut album. Driven by a superb rhythm section and Jordan Miller's vocals with attitudes. The album deserves to be heard by a far bigger crowd than da kidz.







You can buy the album everywhere and listen to the album at your place of choice here.








The Golden Rail - Electric Trails From Nowhere





For those of you are paying attention, you will remember the review I did of The Jangle Band's Edge Of A Dream last year. If you didn't you can find the review here. I'd head there first, because you will be tested on it in the end of the year exam.

Where as the band's name gives away the direction of Edge Of A Dream, The Golden Rail largely hit another vibe. There is some jangle, but Electric Trails From Nowhere casts it's net far wider. For all the twang on Imperfectly and Metal And Shells, the album is rooted in a hinter land, somewhere between San Franciscan 70's Rock and vintage UK Pop Rock.







Many of you will be familiar with the stalwarts that are Jeff Baker and Ian Freeman, if not from bands mentioned in the previous review, then definitely from the DM3 and Summer Suns. Although the album isn't as chorus led as those two bands, there is a laid back gentleness that just grips you. Look Both Ways is a gem of a song, a lovely lovely affair.

The playing is wonderful, guitar hooks that just grab you, rock you but gently. There's plenty of nods to the likes of Jackson Browne, The Eagles, even Manassas, particularly on the likes of The Silent Birds.






The album is very much song with a story led. The Last Days Of Summer is in Doolin' Dalton territory. It's Time is very much in that mid 70's Jigsaw mode. This is a fine affair, sit back in the armchair joy. It's well worth your attention. You can listen to and buy the album here.



Friday, 1 December 2017

XTC - Black Sea (2017 Expanded Edition) CD and Blu-Ray



It's album number five in the XTC reissue series and Steven Wilson is again on board and has done a fine job as ever. Black Sea has had a surprisingly low key release considering it was the album that broke the band, particularly in the States. I've purposefully not read the sleeve notes yet, so that I can give my own uninfluenced take on it.

My favourite XTC album is always debated and usually ends up as Oranges And Lemons, but Black Sea is always up there. Drums And Wires had hinted at the Rock that was trying to get out after Dave Gregory had replaced Barry Andrews, here it just exploded into the musical sphere.

Pop sensibilities came to the fore. Only Travels In Nihilon hinted at what had gone before, Black Sea was all choruses with a big unabashed sound and the singles shone. Sgt. Rock is one of the great singles, although fans may acknowledge Senses Working Overtime more, it's rah rah is infectious.

Generals And Majors is up there with Oliver's Army as a great anti War song and Respectable Street is in the Ray Davies Kinks mould. In fact, Blur seemed to copy it's template to extremes. It's the big songs that grab you most and marvel at how much the band had progressed in such a short period of time.

Aided by a much more coherent live sound and the guitar mastery of Dave Gregory, both Towers Of London and No Language In Our Lungs are epics. The latter is not only my favourite XTC song, but one of my favourites ever.

Much has been made of the production over ensuing years. Steve Lillywhite and Hugh Padgham's big Drum sound is certainly prevalent and became a feature of the 80's and it's highly identifiable here and particularly in the new Steven Wilson mix.

However concentrating on ignores the songwriting progression of Andy Partridge and Colin Moulding, what Dave Gregory brought to the sound and how good a Bass Player, Moulding is. The instrumental mixes are inessential to a lot of fans, even for Karaoke, but they reveal Moulding's excellence.

Indeed, through the 80's I was often surprised at how many Bass Players cited Moulding's influence. On the Instrumental version of the album, you hear what a fantastic Rhythm Section, Terry Chambers and he were.

Fans have also remarked about the second disc on the reissues being Blu Ray and therefore needing a player to listen to it. It was explained to me a while ago that this was because Blu Ray was a format that got round copyright issues with Virgin.

There are many who like the 5.1 Mixes which take up a lot of disc space. I don't have a view on this as my hearing is shot these days, but I have many friends with better hearing who tell me the benefits are enormous. However anyone with a Blu Ray player for the computer can get the additional stuff to a manageable and more portable format.

Colin Moulding has also stated that he would prefer the releases not to contain as many outtakes and demos, but Andy Partridge states that the fans want to hear them and of course we do. The extra stuff on the Blu Ray Disc is great. There is the aforementioned 5.1 Mix, the original album mix and the album in Instrumental form, but we all want the things we haven't heard.

So there's the Phonogram Studios early recordings which are obviously sparser, but no less interesting. There are also six Andy Partridge Demos, three I've heard before, but I hadn't heard the three Swindon Town Hall Demos. Three Promo videos are also included.

The Audio CD contains the Steven Wilson Mix and although this doesn't bring out as many things that you hadn't noticed before as previous releases have, it does sound incredible. There's also additional B Sides, Ban The Bomb and the splendid Take This Town included with it.

XTC were at their most relevant to the outside world here, they would develop into a mixture of my little secret and a lack of understanding as to why everyone didn't appreciate them to me personally. Black Sea was the album that showed that the band were not just a frantic  Punk / New Wave Band.

It peeled back the layers to reveal a proper band who had their own sound but could write Pop that people wanted to listen to. The album remains a fantastic listen and if you don't own it you should and if you do, you will want this version more than ever.


You can buy this everywhere, but I support Burning Shed which handles all the Ape label stuff and much more. You can buy it from them here.



Thursday, 30 November 2017

I Don't Hear A Single Radio Show Episode 24



Volume 24 of the I Don't Hear A Single Radio Extravaganza  has just been completed and is on it's way to KOR HQ.

18 toons, opening with the sadly missed Lord Of Power Pop and featuring quite a few exclusives this week. I always tell you it is a cracker, because it is of course,

Broadcast on KOR Radio at 8pm UK Time on Fridays, repeated at the same time on Saturdays. Due to increased popularity, a Monday Night Repeat has been added at 8pm.

You can listen to it here.

Also, a reminder that the show is archived the following week on Mixcloud. You can listen to the first twenty three shows here.

Wait for news on a Christmas Advance Special that will be appearing on Sunday.

Here is this week's playlist :

01 Tommy Keene - Places That Are Gone
02 Third Of Never - 506
03 Cotton Mather - Eleanor Plunge
04 Ken Sharp - I Wanna Be David Cassidy
05 The Ragamuffins - Kösmische Stadt
06 Houston - Dangerous Love
07 Cindy Wilson - Brother
08 Pseudonym - Lorraine
09 Aaron Wright - Julia
10 Skids - Hurry On Boys
11 The Fags - Wild One
12 The Tunes - Valerie
13 The Beaches - Sweet Life
14 The Reed Brothers - Left To Right
15 The Small Square - Open Up
16 Felix Hagan & The Family - Gene Kelly
17 Strange Ranger - Everything all at Once
18 The Green Ray - On Our Way To The Sun



Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Newsround



Welcome to a new feature in response to people who have asked for it and are not on the likes of Facebook, Twitter or Pigeon Post. This is a bit like John Craven's News Round except it's not got John Craven in it, it's not on the TV, it's not for teenagers and it has more interesting stories than how to get a cat down from a tree. Having said that, we did have to get a Garden Bird out of ASH Towers today, quite a surprise waking up and seeing that by our bed.





From our neck of the woods, the magnificent Ragamuffin chaps have released the first single from the forthcoming album, Cause Of Causes. The Ragamuffins have constantly evolved, but this may be the biggest departure yet.

Kosmische Stadt contains plenty of the pop that the band are known for is present as is a great Sax refrain, but it's meshed in an intriguing slab of Post Krautrock.

One of the best bands in the North West deserve a much wider audience and I'm certain that the masses will catch on soon. You can buy the song here.









I've never shied from my love of Prog, but since the Dave Kerzner review, I appear to have become Lord Prog with the amount of albums sent for review. One thing I must tell you about as well as the excitement of King Crimson touring next year, Camel have announced an 8 date UK Tour.

1976's magnificent Moonmadness will be played in full as part of the shows and tickets go on sale on Friday 1 December. You can find details here.





Sultans Of Ping F.C. were a breath of fresh air in the early 90's and although many knew them as a singles band, their debut album, Casual Sex In The Cineplex is one of the great pre Brit Pop albums. Fine Indie Pop with wit and invention.

So I'm delighted that Cherry Red will be reissuing the album on 19 January 2018 with a 17 track Bonus Disc that contains Singles, B Sides, Alternate Versions and the What About The Sultans EP. It will be reviewed here in the coming week.

In the meantime you can pre order and find further details here.


Finally, this Newsround is intended to be a regular supplement to the reviews on here. Mainly covering more archive release news. If you'd like to see anything in it, please let me know via the ways mentioned on the blog.



Third of Never - Austerity



New Jersey quartet Third Of Never offer up album Number three and it Rocks and then some. In fact from start to finish, it doesn't come up for air. The band are joined by John "Rabbit" Bundrick on keyboards to enhance the Classic Rock credentials.

There's very a much a feel throughout of The Who, Big Chords, Driving Rhythm and manic drumming. The live shows leading up to this seem to have given a more organised feel to the recording that wasn't always there on previous albums.





Austerity comes in at just under 30 minutes after which you are revved up enough to get off the couch and head off to smash the state. Even though Shanty Town, the closer, slows things down, it's what has gone before that hits home most.

It's not all Who reminders, Dig The View could be a rocked up Pugwash and 506 is wonderful, the sort of song Cheap Trick should write and don't much now. You'll have heard the title track previously on the radio show and mid album it sounds great. All riff and Psych Pop.







Mellow and sparseness seem to be the new norm and that's why you need this album. Austerity will blow of the cobwebs and realise that music should also make you move. A fine album that is highly recommended and will appeal to many.


You can listen to the album here. You can buy the album here and it's available at the usual places.



Pseudonym - Pack Of Lies



San Francisco based Paul Desjarlais is Pseudonym and Pack Of Lies is further proof of what a talent he is. The album was released at the start of this year, but gets a well deserved boost by the physical release on the Kool Kat label.

There's a couple of things to note. Firstly, the album is incredibly well produced for what is essentially a home recording. You wouldn't know this was a solo affair if you were not told so, it feels very much like a band album.







Secondly, forget about the San Francisco label, Pack Of Lies' influences and sound is largely far afield from there. There's more than a hint of a laid back Manchester vibe, particularly on Only Life. Don't Leave Me This Way is reminiscent of Chris Rainbow and this continues on songs like We Had A Deal and the acoustic folk of She's Upside Down.

That's not to say that this all laid back harmony, the opener I'm Fine is Slow Power Pop and Lorraine is like being back in my beloved Paisley Pop world. Round And Round has a Stiff Records like Bass Feel, you can imagine Nick Lowe in the room.







Someone Like You and Tragedy hark back to a much earlier age, late 60's, a sort of trip Simon And Garfunkel. Foreign Talk could be a sped up China Crisis. There's enough variance here to keep everyone interested.

Desjarlais's vocals leave little scope to rock out, but this is a good thing. Pack Of Lies is like one of those great Mid 70's Pop Rock albums, once uncool, now essential listening. Beautifully assembled, this is a laid back joy.







You can but the album at Kool Kat here. Alternatively you can listen to and buy it as a download here. I'd have to say that this is an album you'd want physically in your hands.



Friday, 24 November 2017

Tommy Keene R.I.P.



Tommy Keene is one of those artists that won't mean a lot to people outside of the Power Pop world that I inhabit, but in that world he is a God. Like so many of the Power Pop Greats, the simplicity and hooks of his songs masked his technical ability. He was an awesome guitarist and a lover of music, much of it far different from what he was noted for.

Many will know him better personally than I did, the UK and US distance ensures that, but I can only tell you about what he meant to me and mention the few conversations that we had over the past decade or so.

He never really understood how beloved he was. He'd be concerned about filling a small venue that was always gonna fill, than realising how good he was. He talked about diversifying on whatever album was next and would eventually release an album of what people wanted, great Power Pop and how we wanted it.

There was plenty of Power Pop before Tommy hit the airwaves, but I always looked at him as a godfather of the genre with Dom Mariani. I once joked that I'd love to arrange a UK Power Pop Festival with Dom and Tommy as joint headliners, he laughed and said build it and they will come.

We shared a love of Prog, Mike Oldfield and King Crimson especially and of our dogs, Crash and Coco. My conversations were only occasional, but in them, he was always charming and interested and incredibly modest. I certainly didn't know him as much as others, but he treated everyone as a friend.

On returning home from my heart scare last year, Tez posted a picture of me and Crash on my return home. Tommy was one of the first to message me with a simple You OK?

In the early 80's, post UK New Wave, I was falling out of love with music. I hated the New Romantic scene and turned to the States for motivation. It wasn't easy in those days to discover new music abroad, the one thing the internet has done has brought those fans closer together.

You had to scour the Rolling Stone or Record Collector Ads and I stumbled on the IRS scene from there developed an interest in all things Mitch Easter and in 1984, I was told about Tommy Keene. The Places That Are Gone 12 Inch, opened up a whole new world to me, this was Pop but not as I knew it. I grabbed everything thereafter.

The advent of the UK Music Monthlies and greater music coverage than the now, led to the wave of Jellyfish and Material Issue etc and then Not Lame and Kool Kat. The internet changed everything for good and bad, but you realised that many others loved the same sort of music that you did.

Power Pop is a dividing label, it always seems a hard thing to sell and a genre that loads love but few buy. There was far more to Tommy than the consistently great albums that he released. In My Anything Should Happen days, he was revered as a Rock idol. Live, he was incendiary and his Keene Brothers album with Robert Pollard remains one of my favourite albums ever.

Other musicians knew his Technical ability and he was an axe hero for the likes of Robert Pollard and Paul Westerberg. No one could match bitter sweet lyrics with big guitar hooks as well as Tommy Keene.

I rarely write pieces such as this. A simple acknowledgement is usually all I offer. However, when I look for musical heroes, Tommy is one of the few. I would not have discovered Power Pop and all the wondrous people around it without that 1984 EP. His music has never let me down and his warmth only made me admire him more.



Thursday, 23 November 2017

I Don't Hear A Single Radio Show Episode 23



There's tons of reviews to catch up on and they'll appear on here from tomorrow, including some of the artists you can listen to on this week's Radio Show.

Volume 23 of the I Don't Hear A Single Radio Extravaganza  has just been completed and it's a corker. This year shows no sign of slowing down.

Broadcast on KOR Radio at 8pm UK Time on Fridays, repeated at the same time on Saturdays. Due to increased popularity, a Monday Night Repeat has been added at 8pm.

You can listen to it here.

Also, a reminder that the show is archived the following week on Mixcloud. You can listen to the first twenty two shows here.

Here is this week's playlist :

01 Rush - BU2B
02 Miracle Glass Company - Big Beat
03 They Might Be Giants - I Left My Body
04 Benchmarks - Frames
05 Lane Steinberg - Another Early Autumn
06 Hollerado - Born Yesterday
07 Lunchbox - Everybody Knows
08 Indonesian Junk - I'll Run Away
09 Mark Stoermer - Beautiful Deformities
10 Grey Fields - Nothing Needs To Be Right
11 Starter Jackets - Landline
12 Mike Daly And The Planets - Never Too Late
13 Caddy - The Good Ones
14 Fallon Cush - Open Mind
15 The Ed Palermo Big Band - Song Of The Viking
16 Bill March - American Noise
17 Hemlock Pop - Nightmare Phone I'll Know It's You
18 Sylvia Bullet - Here
19 Lightning Seeds - The Likely Lads



Friday, 17 November 2017

Partner - In Search Of Lost Time



Throughout the second half of the 90's onwards, I have been extolling the virtues of Alisha's Attic. A lot of my circle thought I was mad, that I'd lost all my Rawk credentials and it'd be The Spice Girls next. They are still wrong.

Too many people associate AA with the cooky I Am I Feel, when they are a duo who got better and better and their third album, The House We Built is an absolute pop masterpiece, Pretender Got My Heart being the best single that people will never hear.

I mention Alisha's Attic, not just because Partner are a female duo, the Pooles are sisters, Josee Caron and Lucy Niles, are not, but the spirit of that UK duo is never far away from my thoughts as I listen. They are certainly a more rocked up version, but that dual vocal works in a very similar manner.







I've seen the Canadian duo compared to The Breeders, Green Day and Dinosaur Jr. I don't hear anything like that here. Partner are more like a higher fi version of Ween, certainly the wit is there. People will obviously look for female comparisons, but there aren't many around.

Gross Secret is very Alannis Morrissette in structure and vocal, Creature In The Sun is a bit KD Lang, but these songs have far more in common with early Weezer and one thing that isn't in doubt is that Caron can play Guitar. It's this Lead playing that takes Partner on to another level, bordering on the Power end of Power Pop.








The solo on Remember This is blistering. The album does lose a bit of steam, but that's only because the front half is so strong. Opener, Everybody Know is a classic example of how to write a Pop song, hooks, an almost rap on the verse and a guitar solo to play on your tennis racket.

Comfort Zone is pure Weezer, Angels From Ontario reminds me of that third Alisha's Attic album until it goes all wonderfully rock out. There's also real wit in the lyrics, particularly on the likes of Daytime TV.







In Search Of Lost Time is an astonishingly accomplished debut album. This is great great Pop, I can't wait to hear more from the band. Well done all. You can listen to and buy the album here. You should!



Thursday, 16 November 2017

I Don't Hear A Single Radio Show Episode 22




The I Don't Hear A Single Radio 22 has just been sent to the lovely people at KOR for tomorrow night. It's a corker.

This year shows no sign of letting up. The first cut of the show was 45 minutes too long. So this week, there are no archive songs. 17 new tunes to direct your ears to including one by 50% of XTC.

Broadcast on KOR Radio at 8pm UK Time on Fridays, repeated at the same time on Saturdays. Due to increased popularity, a Monday Night Repeat has been added at 8pm.

You can listen to it here.

Also, a reminder that the show is archived the following week on Mixcloud. You can listen to the first twenty one shows here.

Here is this week's playlist :

01 Bullet Proof Lovers - One Last Night
02 Shrug Life - Temp Job
03 The Moms - Good Job
04 Crime Scene - The Real Thing
05 TC&I - Scatter Me
06 Hi-Standard - Time To Crow
07 Vista Kicks - Gimme Love
08 Role Models - I Want More
09 Kerosene Stars - Lost
10 The Stars Explode - Matthew Sweet
11 The Cleaners From Venus - Scarecrow Hair And Saucer-Eyed
12 Treadmill Trackstar - Better Thing
13 Dirty Fences - Teen Angel
14 Watts - All Done With Rock n Roll
15 Rare Monk - Artifice
16 J Eastman And The Drunk Uncles - On Your Dime
17 Felsen - You And I Will Meet Again



Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Dave Kerzner - Static



I've often said in the past that although I am known for Power Pop and Pop Rock, I have a much wider taste and a particular penchant for Prog. I'm talking King Crimson, Rush in side long mode, Gabriel era Genesis.

As for Modern Prog, I love Big Big Train, Porcupine Tree and Francis Dunnery, but I normally back away from the genre. This is because I find it over produced, kitchen sink how fast can you play rubbish. The songs are forgotten in the race to show technical dexterity.






Normally, this would be reviewed as part of The Garden Of Earthly Delights section, but it's so good that it deserves to be stand alone. Static is a corker of an album. Normally when you hear the words Rock Opera, you run as fast as your raging legs will take you. Also when you find that Dave Kerzner is a keyboard vocalist, you think capes and long long cape worn solos.

Well for those in the know, Sound In Contact's Dave Kerzner is not a bit like that. With the odd exception, such as Reckless and Statistic, the keyboards are hardly around, this is twin guitars and you'd probably not know this was a Rock Opera if I hadn't told you. Also, before you get sniffy about Prog, remember that both Dave Gregory and Colin Moulding are largely in this fold now.






Kerzner's second album is far more in the Big Big Train, Gilmour led Pink Floyd mode. Indeed Big Big Train's Nick D'Virgillo guests as do the likes of Porcupine Tree's Colin Edwin, Steve Hackett. Kerzner's core group and live outfit feature the splendid Fernando Perdomo.

For all the great arrangements and playing on show, Static is all built around Kerzer's superb voice. It has a mellow quality that rivals Jeff Lynne or Eric Stewart, but he can stretch out like a Colin Blunstone or John Wetton. This is unusual in the genre, in which vocalists line up to sound like Peter Gabriel.

Indeed, the title track could be ELO and the strength of the slower numbers such as Right Back To The Start reveals that vocal quality.  Millennium Man is very Alan Parsons Project and State Of Innocence is a wonderful harmonic ballad.







For the majority of this album, you'd label it as a great Pop Rock album. However, Prog is not forgotten as the closing The Carnival Of Life is a 15 minute Prog Masterclass, all time signature changes, just what us Proggers get off on.

Static is an exceptional album, it deserves to be listened to. You can buy it here and everywhere.




Nick Knowles - Every Kinda People



When I started IDHAS, I stated that I'd only review things that I liked. I'd wrote some cracking bad reviews in the past, but it's much easier to write something negative. But I felt that I wanted to celebrate what was good and ignore what was bad. So if I don't particularly relate to something, I don't review it.

For the Nick Knowles album, I make my one and only exception. It's brought a whole new meaning to the word music. It is as though he's got someone else's teeth in whilst singing these songs. Even Karaoke singers find it hard to ruin a song as good as Andy Fraser's Every Kinda People. Nick manages to do just that.





Nick says that not a lot of people know that he plays guitar and sings, sadly they still don't. I've no problem with TV Presenters making albums if it means people go out and physically buy albums, this though should earn Andy Fraser 37 and a half pence.

The Universal PR person was obviously pissed when they wrote about Nick's rich timbre lending itself to crisp dark nights and roaring fires. Warning Kids! Do not put CDs on the fire. The promo video above has surely been directed by Ricky Gervais. His Mid Atlantic vocal is straight out of Billinge Labour Club 1976.

Nick obviously wants to be Robert Palmer as he has form for this as you'll see below. The one good thing about the album is that it only has eleven songs on it. Also, at least his version of Every Kinda People is not as bad as his version of Here Comes The Sun.






I was so outraged about this album that I will be returning it to B and Q tomorrow to steady that wonky French Dresser by the door.





The Tomboys - Sessions One And Two



Being Big In South Florida wouldn't normally drive the masses to listen to a band, for that's what The Tomboys were. In the 80's, the trio spent their teens to mid twenties garnering that reputation. They've now decided to remix and remaster their back catalogue and release it across four EPs of which these two provide the first half.

Not only that, but these recordings are provided as free downloads. These days the threesome have moved on to different things, so it's fantastic to discover their lost past. Vocalist and Guitarist, Tommy Anthony has been a member of Santana since 2005.

Raul Malo will be best known to most for founding The Mavericks in 1990, whilst Joe Alonso ran a successful music business. The first EP, Sessions One, is very much the New Wave that we all know and love, a mix of both UK and New Wave. UK beat, US harmonies.

The final song on that EP nods far more towards US AOR, think Foreigner, certainly a crunchier guitar sound. The second EP builds on that AOR direction, although the opener, Always After You, is a bit more like The Knack doing AOR.

Open Your Arms starts like a Rush Signals Era song, Malo's Bass is Lee like, whilst Anthony's Guitar is Lifeson like. The song though is pure Adult Orientated Rock. Whilst Extremes is very Bass driven, almost Thin Lizzy doing a slow moody.


I can't wait for the other two EPs. In the meantime there is no reason at all not to head over to the band's website and download these EPs now. You can download both FREE here.



Monday, 13 November 2017

Wesley Fuller - Inner City Dream




Melbourne's Wesley Fuller offers up his first full length album and it's great 70's Pop. A mixture of Bubblegum, Jangle and images of 70's Kids TV shows. There's a real charm throughout the album that is both endearing and admirable.

Both Inner City Dream and It Can Change My Ways are pure late 60's Bubblegum, The Archies spring to mind. Yet, Someone to Walk Around With is all 70's Glam Rock, handclaps and all. Whilst, Morality is like a theme to a 90's Japanese Cartoon series.






It's not all poppity pop though, the moodier Miranda Says is slower and atmospheric, very early 80's before the UK scene was taken over by make up and what you wore, almost BEF. No More Chances could be on a late 60's Film Soundtrack, all trip Beat Pop.

There's also signs of a more New Wave direction, away from the Pop to a darker experimental side, never more so on Biggest Fan. After the excellence of last year's Melvista EP, Inner City Dream moves on apace and promises even more for the future. If there's a better single than #1 Song around I haven't heard it. It's all jingle jangle and even has a cars like keyboard break.






You can buy the album everywhere. Sound samples can be heard on the likes of Amazon here.



The Nines - Colour Radio (American Transistor)



Steve Eggers and Bill Majoros were a marriage made in heaven in my eyes. In fact I often have dreams in which they are in a Supergroup with Andy Partridge and Jason Falkner, but enough of my fantasies. On his third outing in The Nines, I still expected that at some stage Majors would turn the band into an Oranges And Lemons era XTC.

Although you get the odd sign of this in for instance, the solo on Maybe If You Stayed, the XTC connections are lesser if you except the chorus hooks. Whereas The Nines started as a sort of cross between XTC and ELO, leaning more towards Partridge, here they are very much more in Lynne Territory.

I remember Lennon saying in his latter days that if The Beatles were still around they'd sound like ELO. At the time, the outcry was deafening, it would be interesting how that would be taken today with Lynne's stock being so much higher. It would be nearer to say that if they were around now they'd be The Nines.

Unlike the previous album, Alejandro's Visions, reviewed here, Colour Radio is far more in traditional Nines Great Pop territory, in fact Eggers's voice is in fine fettle. Straight off with the opener, Crazy Little Girl, the song is all ELO hooks and harmonies with a vocal similar to Jeff Lynne's shouty On The Third Day era.

The McCartney Pop of Maybe If You Stayed has that incredible Majoros solo and again ELO like harmonies. But it's not all Lynne references and there's still XTC nods. We're Alright is classic Partridge and Majoros does his Dave Gregory bit to perfection.







The ballad, Guess I'm Crazy, is pure Eric Stewart and The Nines go funky with You Can Get More Than This with it's great keyboard solo. It doesn't always work, In Our Younger Days is a corker of a song spoilt a little by the Kelly Groucutt chorus.

That's a minor quibble though. For A Lifetime is in Peter Skellern territory, a good thing. Don't Be Losing Your Game is a kind of dancing Andrew Gold and he's nicked Peter Frampton's gizmo. I'm Lucky is one of those ballads that Macca should write and doesn't and hasn't for a long time.

To close it all, we have the Christmas song, Believe In Christmas. Unlike my friend Stephen Schnee, I wouldn't care if I never heard a Christmas Song again, all that forced jollity and celebration of the twee. It's a fine ballad, if a little sickly. But I'll forgive anyone who can write as great a piano romp as On And On She Gets By.

Colour Radio is a great pop album. The Nines are battling with my beloved Rush as my favourite Canadian band. Same again next year please Steve and Bill, can we have more Foreign Films soon. The album is available everywhere. You can listen to additional sound samples at CD Baby here.



Ed Ryan - Furious Mind




Ed Ryan's previous album, Roadmap, was reviewed here and Furious Mind follows on with all that was great about Roadmap. The songs are beautifully constructed taking up the rockier space in Power Pop.

Loads of hooks, soaring choruses, everything you need from an album. As I mentioned in the previous review, despite being a multi instrumentalist, it is Ryan's playing that deserves special note. It really is outstanding, even when slowed down on the likes of Take Me Home it still stands out.







Songs are largely built to maximise the chorus, but on I Know I Know, there is potentially three choruses. So Hard is almost a Ziggy Ballad and Lullaby has a great vocal, it caught me completely by surprise.

There's a few more chances taken here, particularly on the slower songs, but it's the sure fire Power Pop that Ryan excels on most. Songs like Drifting and Any Time You Want showcase his talent for writing something that hooks you and then there's that Guitar Playing which is exemplary.







You can listen to and buy the album here.



Sunday, 12 November 2017

The Garden Of Earthly Delights



The Granite Shore - Suspended Second


I purposely wanted this to appear in The Garden Of Earthly Delights section. Simply because I want this section to be useful to those not looking for the Poppier stuff that I concentrate on, but at the same time for those Pop fans to realise what else is around.

I'm a massive Fan of Nick Halliwell's Occulation Recordings, not only for dragging The Distractions back into public view. Any label that has John Howard on it is doing something right and every sign tells me that this is a label to reckon with.






The Granite Shore's second album is a cracker. Halliwell may have a plaintive vocal, but there is a fantastic structure and melody to the songs and the choruses don't half hook you. The seriousness of the message isn't lost in this follow up, but the debut album, Once More From The Top was a bit too reflective.

Suspended Second contains songs that seem a bit more jolly, even if the lyrics are not for Brexiteers. I defy anyone to write a song as beautifully melancholic as Someone Else. Ditto the nine minutes plus of The Performance Of A Lifetime which features completely addictive Backing Vocals.






Halliwell describes the album as Angry Pop, that's too easy a tag. The depth of the songwriting shows that he is being way too modest. The inclusion of Occulation label mates allow the vision to be reach fulfillment.


The Distractions' Steve Perrin is present as is The June Brides' Phil Wilson. The dulcet tones of John Howard are here as is that extraordinary piano playing. Arash Torabi and Ian Henderson complete the sextet.






Nick Halliwell has offered up an exceptional album on an exceptional label. You can listen to and buy the album here.





Bad Badger - Serpent Mother 


Wichita Falls's Bad Badger have fashioned up an excellent album. The band are labelled with the all encapsulating Indie Rock. I mean what exactly is that these days? It would appear to be anything that is potentially Rock and not on a major label. Does it have quite a few synths on it, is there much guitar, no, oh that'll be Indie Pop, yes, oh that'll be Prog.

Serpent Mother is pure Rock and on something like New Pigs, the instrumentation is Caress Of Steel like, it's wonderful psych prog. Then there's Band Of Wagons which you'd expect to be on the Fruits De Mer label.

Lucid Livin' is so laid back it is almost asleep. Anna too is more of the same, mesmerising. Indeed the whole of the second half is far more dreamy and trippy than the pulsing of the first half. The two halves are divided by an interlude, all albums should make this mandatory.

This is a corker of an album, extremely mature, as well as grabbing the Nada Surf and Lemon Twigs crowd, Bad Badger should garner a much older following. Indie Rock indeed!!!!!! This is pure psych and all the better for it. I'll pass this on to my good friend, Chris Sirett at The Perfumed Allotment. I know he'll want to cover it too.

You can buy this everywhere including CD Baby here and Amazon here. Listening samples are at both places. Ignore the categories though. Blink 182?????






Trent Reznor And Atticus Ross - The Vietnam War (Original Score)


The Garden Of Earthly Delights section was always meant to be something away from what I generally cover on IDHAS. It was intended to be away from the Power Pop and Pop Rock and from now on, it will appear regularly and do just that.

Nine Inch Nails which is essentially Trent Reznor have been known largely for Industrial Rock, really enjoyable but hard listening. Reznor's soundtrack work with Atticus Ross, who is now also a NIN member has been largely different.

Although Reznor had worked alone with Scores for David Fincher, since his collaboration with Ross on 2010's The Social Work, the projects have developed considerably. Their scores fit the films beautifully, yes this is ambient, but it is also effective. Not as up itself as some ambient music can be. Think Bill Nelson, who also makes wonderful albums in that field, although there are perhaps too many.

Ken Burns and Lynn Novick's excellent Documentary series, The Vietnam War, is a big watch, 10 episodes taking up 18 hours. So although there are two different albums to accompany it, there is room for both.

The alternative soundtrack will be the one people naturally gravitate to. That is a bit obvious with it's Simon And Garfunkel and Creedence Clearwater Revival. All a bit Now That's What I Call Classic Rawk. Surely most people have this stuff already.

This double disc is the gem. It's very moving, can be listened to as background music or in depth. If you are composing an Electronic Music score, you have to make it interesting, it can't just rely on a Prog like repetition of the same theme.

Reznor and Ross manage that. It's a fine listen briefly or through all 95 minutes. This score can be compared to a modern day Classical Composer's work and there is still more than enough room for this and three minute love songs.


You can buy this everywhere. The likes of Amazon have sound samples here.





Artful Dodger - The Complete Columbia Recordings (2CD)


I rarely cover Back Catalogue on here unless it is something dear to my heart. A number of reasons. I cover a bit elsewhere, I've spent far too long over the last two decades, listening to and writing about the past, but mainly because I prefer IDHAS to be about the new and unappreciated.

However, if the right band come along, I'll say a few words and this is a few words.  Artful Dodger are one of the great lost Pop Rock bands, akin to Liverpool Express in the UK. Their self titled debut album and the follow up, Honor Amongst Thieves have appeared on CD before, but the masters were dreadful and they fetch very high prices these days or did until perhaps not.






1977's Babes On Broadway has never appeared on CD and although it's not a patch on the previous two, it's great to have it available again. These three CBS albums have Single Versions of Scream and Can't Stop Pretending added to the two disc package.


Sadly 1980's finale, Rave On was on Arista and so the wait for that continues. Big In Cleveland, I suppose describes Artful Dodger with their Raspberries Pop. But this is great Pop Rock. Don't confuse the band with the UK Artful Dodger or you will get a nasty surprise.





This can be bought at Amazon here and everywhere else. Sorry for the quality of the song examples. There's not a lot available.