Wednesday, 19 July 2017
My good friend Steve Alter told me I'd like Midnight Reruns and he was absolutely right. It's been remiss of me to not notice them thus far. The Milwaukee four piece have been releasing stuff since 2011 and their latest, Spectator Sports, makes all the right noises.
The band appear to live in the 70's, no bad thing, but I couldn't tell you what year because you have the full gamut of an age when music meant much more than the Playstation 4 or any mobile app. Hold Up The Mirror is classic late 70's New Wave, yet Only Child is classic Mid 70's Pop Rock.
Cicada 3311 is like Hello doing Aztec Camera, almost Mighty Wah like. Birthmarks / Fingerprints is a sprawling slab of rocked up Post Punk. Yet City Hall sounds like the more modern day Church, all Australian psych tinged.
The album only real slows down on the closer, Warm Days and that breaks into a much quickened Garage Rock. There are two instrumentals that break up the album, both very different. Celebrity Lawyers is all Prog, a bit Barclay James Harvest without vocals. Concourse C is all Psych Pop.
The riffs at times remind you of the likes of Porcupine Tree or even Rush. There's something very familiar about the album, but very different. It's certainly an interesting listen and highly recommended. You can listen to and buy the album here.
I Don’t Hear A Single is 1 Year Old today. It’s been a quiet July thus far, releases slow as the priority becomes Festivals. It was the same last year and that’s why I had the time to return to the public eye with IDHAS.
How this place has taken off has amazed me. I knew that no one was really covering the type of music that is here in the UK, but I didn’t expect the popularity. 10,000 hits a month is beyond any expectations. I only wished that this translated more into Sales for the artists featured here.
Having spent over 8 years with one form or another of Anything Should Happen, writing largely about the unappreciated past, I got tired of hearing that there were no new bands or artists or everything released now is rubbish. This was plainly untrue and I suppose this place proves that.
It’s been a heady 12 months that has expended into a weekly radio show with a second on the way, greater outside writing, promotion and a wealth of contacts and friends. It’s heartening, because it really is about the music.
The Facebook friend count grew from 500 to almost 4,000 in this time and I’ve had the pleasure of discovering bands from all around the world and meeting so many new people. My frustration is still that the UK scene doesn’t produce as many bands as it should and that opportunities for them to play are decreasing due to the public’s non-attendance of gigs.
Nothing lasts forever and there will be a time when IDHAS loses it’s impact or just becomes Old news. Happily that time seems far away at the moment. So a big thank you to everyone who visits, listens to a new artist and more importantly buys their work.
People say Power Pop doesn’t sell or interest people. I Don’t Hear A Single would appear to disprove that point.
Thanks to All. You’ve made an old man very happy.
Sunday, 16 July 2017
I apologise for the lack of reviews over the past couple of weeks. They return with a vengeance at different times throughout the week. It's been a busy time with different Radio Formats and rearranging things at ASH Towers to get the set up right.
The first four radio shows are now archived on Mixcloud for your aural delight. Episode 5 is on Friday at 8pm UK Time. You can find the previous four here.
Friday, 7 July 2017
I Don't Hear A Single's Radio Broadcast gets nearer to beating the number of A Nightmare On Elm Streets tonight. Music featured on here, some that are coming up and a couple of archive songs. Be There Or Be Somewhere Else.
Broadcasting at 8pm UK Time tonight and repeated at the same time tomorrow. You can find the show here.
Here's this week's playlist. Nice bit of J-Pop to start us off from that feller from Weezer.
01 Scott & Rivers - Doo Wop
02 Mimi Betenis - Sound The Alarm
03 Rozwell Kid - Total Mess
04 The Major Labels - Velveteen Queen
05 Richard Turgeon - Bigfoot's An Alien
06 Nick Piunti - Dumb It Down
07 Reachback - The Party's Over
08 The Geezers - All Is Gold
09 Midnight Reruns - Only Child
10 The Relationship - Hate That I Love You
11 Somerdale - Excuse Me
12 Skytone - We Are One
13 KC Bowman - Second Dart
14 Rocket Bureau - Silhouette
15 Mothboxer - The Secret Art Of Saying Nothing
16 Artful Dodger - Wayside
Plenty of New Reviews are coming over the weekend.
Saturday, 1 July 2017
Rozwell Kid have been compared to Weezer a lot and whilst that has been a fair enough comparison, I tend to feel it holds them back slightly. Of course, there is that Nerd Rock vibe, a label, incidentally, that hasn't applied to Weezer for a long time, but that's to ignore the clever pop that Rozwell Kid offer up.
Something like Boomerang can easily be compared to Weezer, but it can also apply to the more grown up stuff of a Sugarplastic or a Verve Pipe. MadTV is such a reminder of Ben Esbach and when the band move away from this, they don't have quite the same effect. There's nothing wrong with Clever Pop, in fact it's an Art Form. The problem, as I'm sure Andy Partridge would tell you, is that it gets loads of Critical Acclaim, but far fewer Sales.
So Precious Art is full length album Number Four from the West Virginia Popsters and they've lost none of their Power Pop charm. There's lots of clever references to the more mundane things in life.The riff on UHF On DVD stands comparison with any of the hotter Power Pop Bands that you want to name, say Fountains Of Wayne.
Wish Man reminds me a lot of Tsar, even if it only does last for 55 seconds. There's a lot to be compared to the early Tsar, a young band who it felt had been around for years with their sound and references.
I'm not sure the subject of Booger will appeal to the older market who these guys should gather in, but the closer, Michael Keaton will. It's an extended almost six minutes with an extended riff ending. It works beautifully.
Jordan Hudkins has a real knack of writing about the everyday things in life and making them interesting. It certainly is a different angle to come from and it works. The most engaging songs are the likes of Wendy's Trash Can and Total Mess. The Banal subjects seem to make great songs and this is a great album. If this album had been recorded in 1994 it would be lauded by the Forty somethings now, let's hope they have the same feelings now, Precious Art certainly deserves the recognition.
You can listen to and buy the album here.
Kyle Urban's Rocket Bureau project makes no bones about where it is aimed. These current recordings are brought together as lost tracks from between and 1967 and 1973 and they cover all the Power Pop styles prevalent around and just after the time. Bubblegum Pop to Pilot to The Raspberries, Glam Rock to Badfinger. All recorded on 8 Track.
They don't always work, but do more often than not they do and there are some absolute gems here. Along Comes Sam is like a Glammed Up Strawbs and She Dreams In Colours is a cracking shot at Psych Pop. Nightmare is an absolute cracker of a song as good as anything that was actually from those years.
Phantoms Ringing is so cleverly done. The references are spot on. What may be seen as a piss tke of a bygone age is actually a really well formed album. You can listen to and buy the album here.
A combination of searching for great pop and our World Tour brings us to Austria and The Geezers cracking second album. New Day is all joyous pop, big choruses, rocking but gently. It's a song led album, reminiscent of the likes of Roddy Frame and the poppier direction of Brit Pop's better days. The songs have a simple feel, an aim to have you singing along in the sun.
All Is Gold is a stomping opener, Proclaimers like and Reflection is all Manc Anthem. That's All is Scouse Pop jangling and Let Go's Brass backdrop adds to a Terry Hall like feel. Hollow is very New Order. It's hard to convey what a great feel good album this is in so few words, so I hope you'll take my word for it.
There's a lot of variation and it doesn't always work. The Disco of Heartbeats is a bit unnecessary. The album as a whole is an absolute joy though and highly recommended. You can buy it at the likes of Amazon here and listen to more song samples there.
In Between Spaces, across it's ten tracks, explains why I love the current batch of Californian Pop so much. Beautifully Produced, Melodic, Riff led and with just enough of a hint of what's gone before. San Francisco's Richard Turgeon has conjured up a splendid Riff Heavy affair. You certainly Rock, but essentially in the sun.
Turgeon is a one man Art College, music, art, illustration, photography, writing, the album though shows nothing less than full concentration. It feels like that 90's US Rock heyday. when the lines between Power Pop and Singer Songwriters blurred. Think Matthew Sweet when Richard Lloyd was with him and imagine Mitch Easter producing them.
There are times when Turgeon sounds a touch IRS era Stipe, but the album as a whole is very much melodic rock that starts with a hook that grabs you more and more as the song progresses. There are times that this mode is stepped out of, the likes of the pacy The Candidate which has a bit of a modern day Santana feel, but it's at it's best when it does what it does because it's done so well.
At times, there is a melodic Bob Mould or even Let's Active feel, all good things, I also think Scott Miller at times. Songs like the opener, Big Foot's An Alien and I Don't Need You are wonderfully anthemic and Turgeon's Guitar playing is top notch.
In Between Spaces is a corker of an album, an ace way to spend 37 minutes. You can listen to and buy the album here. You should!
The Relationship is Weezer's Brian Bell's other band. Their 2010 debut album was a fine listen. Seven Years on, Clara Obscura is a real step on. Weezer are in the middle of Power Pop and Indie Rock, The Relationship veer more towards 60's and 70's Melodic Pop Rock with a hint of Psych. Refreshingly so!
There will be a search for Weezer comparisons and there aren't many, the superb Hate That I Love You is the nearest. This album has a much higher quota of pop, a lot of it retro and it works beautifully. Without Me is a real anthemic Sing Along, Working On Myself is a broody stomp along that gets faster and faster as it progresses.
Smile is all Byrds jangle, Hawthorne is Petty at Muscle Shoals. This Year's Children has an ace Orchestral arrangement, all Ringo Drums, a big album closer. Suzy Don't sounds all Paisley Pop, Missing is early 90's Scots Pop and Break Me Open is the obvious single.
There are a lot of ideas here, all lead towards clever 60's Pop, perhaps a few too many ideas that may confuse the listener. The Relationship now sound more like a proper band, not a rolling collective and it shows. Clara Obscura is a great listen, a real joy.
You can buy the album everywhere.
I'm a bit late reviewing Imperial State Electric's album from last year. However I've been playing All Through The Night since it's release and even more lately. I've followed Nicke Andersson through most of his previous adventures. Drummer in Entombed to front man in The Hellacopters and on to Imperial State Electric. Death Metal to Garage Rock and now Classic Rock.
The album covers a lot of bases, virtually all of them in Rawk mode. Bad Timing is very New Wave Of British Heavy Metal and Break It Down is a Country duet with Linn Segolson, the rest though is in far more comfortable territory.
The riffs are generally plenty and there's some real nods to wards Harmonic Pop Rock on Empire Of Fire and Read Me Wrong. Get Off The Boo Hoo Train is all dirty Rock n Roll, Would You Lie is Classic Blue Oyster Cult, even the guitar sound and the closer, No Sleeping, is all acoustic and moody, eerily Moody Blues.
The gem though is the title track. It's all strings and melody, a great slab of AOR that just romps along. Truth be known is that for all the variation, Imperial State Electric are best at this lighter Rock when the melody shines through and you realise that are a lot of these songs are hook laden. Another 12 points for Sweden from the British Jury.
You can buy the album everywhere.
Ottawa's Skytone would have you believe that they Jangle and of course they do, but not in that 12 string way that you would envisage. This is Great Pop, done with a croon and the jangle is in a 80's sort of way, although the harmonies are very much mid 70's Pop Rock.
All this works beautifully, Jangle Waves is wonderfully laid back. The guitar riffs are very C86, but there's plenty more thrown into the mix. Drop In The Water is all funky in a Mid 80's vibe that you can imagine appearing on Hit Mix 86. Think of Lloyd Cole fronting Johnny Hates Jazz.
Lonely Holiday starts off as though it were on one of those classic Jigsaw albums of the mid 70's and ramps into a real celebratory sing along with a new riff and a Mark King Bass riff. There's so much in Lonely Holiday that a song like On My Mind seems a simplistic ballad, but either work.
I suppose other reviewers would lob the album into Dream Pop, but that would be really unfair because there's far more depth and thought in the songs than that. Flower House is all trippy and moody with an Eastern vibe.
Skytone definitely belong on the beach with this variance on Summer Pop, but the Beach would be all pebbles and the tide would be going out. There's plenty of obvious influences on the album, but combined this makes Jangle Waves sound very different to what is around at present.
This difference makes the album a welcome listen. There is a definite groove and funk wanting to break out, but it never quite does because deep down Sky Tone have a real melodic backdrop that makes their so songs so likeable. Jangle Waves is Great Pop, but not necessarily as we know it.
You can listen to and buy the album here for a bargain 5 dollars.