Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Alice And The Lovers - Boneyard

Alice Offley's Alice And The Lovers have made great appearances at Liverpool's IPO and fit in well with the surrounding Power Poppers. This is despite, the trio, veering more towards Indie Rock tinged with Blues Rock. Imagine a more interesting and chance taking Sheryl Crow.As well as being a great Bass Player, her Solo performances are on Piano when the depth of her songs are revealed even more.

The new single is a corker, released for Halloween. Boneyard is produced by fellow Swindon acolyte and IDHAS hero, Andy Partridge. Not only that, but it's mixed by Mike Chapman. It's a humdinger of a song, a bit Dusty Springfield leading a Power Trio. Highly Recommended.

You can buy the single here and find out more about Alice here.

The Nature Strip - Beetle Bones

I covered The Nature Strip's Presents album in March here and so I'm delighted to tell you that the band's third full length album is with us. The Sydney based outfit have built on their excellent past, but reached out further with this splendid affair.

The songwriting has previously been handled by John Encarnacao, this time round it's split 50 / 50 with Pete Marley. So all the New Wave influences are still there, but they've been broadened to include departures into Funk, Blues Rock and even Synth Pop.

Fear not though, these departures are all still held together by Encarnacao's vocals. Even something heavier like Hildegard unt Winifred could still be The Sugarplastic if it were not for the Guitar riffs and solo.

There's also great detail in the album, experimentation and depth. The Brass on Eye Section is another interesting departure, an almost Andy Partridge type intrusion. The XTC comparisons continue and so it will be no surprise that John Encarnacao and Drummer Jess Ciampa are part of probably the best XTC Tribute band, Scarecrow People.

Great Big Wave is a corking slice of Psych Pop, Save The Hive could easily be an outtake from XTC's Mummer and the Stripped Down I Wanna Do The Right Thing is great New Wave. Miss You More could be on a mid 70's Jigsaw album. The centrepiece is probably Waterfall, far more laid back, very Jefferson Airplane, with a sublime organ solo.

There's more than enough here to keep previous followers happy, but there is also a departure to drag more in. These departures enhance what you hear rather than deflect. Beetle Bones is professionally recorded and arranged in a way that continues the band's journey forward without deflecting from what they are good at.

This is a great album and deserves your attention. You can listen to and buy the album here.

Monday, 30 October 2017

Chris Church - Limitations Of Source Tape

John Borack rightly recently compared Chris Church to Matthew Sweet. The difference this year is that Limitations Of Source Tape is better than Sweet's recent Together Forever. That's not decrying the Matthew Sweet album, it was fine, just a little too much of the same, this album is far more enjoyable.

The album is a varied selection underlining why he's so highly rated in the Power Pop World. The CD Release show featured guest appearances from Lannie Flowers, Bill Lloyd and The Pengwins which shows what exalted company he is in.

The beauty of Chris Church is that there is an energy that flows through his songs. Whether they are slowed down or move apace, there's never a disappointment. Fall Into Me and Something Completely bear classic Matthew Sweet comparisons but the trippy Psych Pop of Ostinato has hints of Michael Stipe.

Understudy Blues is also reminiscent of those IRS Glory Days, I Can Feel is wonderfully moody, Perfecto could be The Jayhawks. Saving the best until last, Better The Devil You Know is a crackerjack of a song, a little Del Amitri, it's an absolute smasher.

Limitations Of Source Tape is a really beautifully crafted affair, unexpected chord changes, songs that break out, songs that slow down, a great listen. There's been some fine albums this year, this is another. If not the best album thus far, then certainly one of them.

You can listen to sound samples and then buy the album on Amazon here or Kool Kat have the physical version here. It should at the very least be on your Christmas list.

The Saints Of Second Chances - For Everyone

The Saints Of Second Chances are a five piece hailing from Austin Texas. They've fashioned up a crackerjack of an album that mixes everything from Classic Rock to Power Pop to American Glam Metal.

Steve Weisburd's vocals lend their self more to those harder moments, but Too Soon To Tell is such fine Classic Rock song, all chorus and rock riffs, that the album is worth the admission for this alone. You may have heard it on last week's radio show.

Bitter End could be The Cult, Running Away is almost melodic metal with an Alex Lifeson like Moving Pictures chime. Move Along is Glam Metal. Long Way Home starts with a Tie Your Mother Down riff and almost becomes Slade.

Room For Everyone is classic Pop Rock, all Pilot or Jigsaw like, even classic Sweet with the high pitched voices. Gone reminds me a lot of Mr Big, the UK ones, not the big haired Yanks. The two You Tube examples here show that the band can do great Pop Rock. Turn Around is a cross between Liverpool Express And The Motors. Running Away is built around a killer riff.

The Saints Of Second Chances cover all the bases and there's a lot of music in these 14 songs. Probably best when they rock, they are a great addition to the IDHAS archives. You can but the album at CD Baby here and at other establishments.

Sunday, 29 October 2017

Pink Beam - 2017 Singles EP

I get a fair few submissions and I listen to them all. There's a sadness when something doesn't push your buttons. I hope I never lose sight of music being so precious to those who make it and realise that I am not the arbiter of taste.

Having said that, there is nothing more satisfying than a band submitting something that pricks up your ears and makes you query why you haven't heard of them earlier. There's something special about a band that makes you think I must get this on the radio show, people have to hear this.

Double that specialness when you find that your good friend Wayne Lundqvist Ford is putting that same song on his radio show as the second track on his upcoming show. In less motivated moments, I feel sometimes that Wayne and I are single handedly trying to keep Power Pop and Pop Rock relevant in Europe.

We vary off in different directions, but always meet in the middle and what I do with the Radio Show was inspired by Wayne. I always start the I Don't Hear a Single off with an archive song, so I always look at the second song as the crucial one, the one that makes the statement.

Write Me A Letter is just that, it has everything that you want in a Power Pop song, hooks galore. something you sing along to after three listens and just can't get out of your head. I wake up humming the tune.

I only ever associated Rockford with my beloved Cheap Trick, now I can Pink Beam add because this three song EP is the bees knees.  It's really varied. Did You Ever Really Think You'd Fall In Love is a spiralling song. Starts like Joe Jackson and ends with a lead guitar anthem reminding you of the better days of Brit Pop.

Boys On The Side is like a popped up Del Amitri. This EP promises so much, I can't wait to hear future stuff from this four piece, this is a mighty effort. I'm going to change the format of the end of year award as I've only ever gone for the album of the year. There's been so much great stuff this year and Pink Beam will be amongst the deserving.

You can buy and listen to the EP here.

Thursday, 26 October 2017

I Don't Hear A Single Radio Show Episode 19

The I Don't Hear A Single Radio show reaches the Number 19 tomorrow.

This may be the best episode yet, he says in using all his marketing savvy. It is a cracker though and to continue the shameless linking, there's a Halloween reference or two. Be thankful I am not displaying my Christmas wares.

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 eighteen shows here.

Here is this week's playlist :

01 Dodgy - Making The Most Of
02 Pink Beam - Wrote Me A Letter
03 Partner - Everybody Knows
04 The Connection - (It's A) Monsters' Holiday
05 Alice And The Lovers - Boneyard
06 Catholic Action - New Year
07 The Pengwins - Go Away
08 The Saints Of Second Chances - Too Soon To Tell
09 Chris Church - Better The Devil You Know
10 The Len Price 3 - Start Stop Lilly
11 The Dollyrots - I Do
12 Cotton Mather - 40 Watt Solution
13 Chris Lund - Remember The Daze
14 Sparkle Jets UK - She May Be Nice
15 Gift Horse - Down In The Valley
16 Johnny Chastain - Now Here Nowhere
17 The Incredible Vickers Brothers - Mirrors
18 Dave Kerzner - State of Innocence

Saturday, 21 October 2017

Groovy Uncle - A Clip Round The Ear

The Medway collective led by Chatham's Glenn Prangnell return for Album Number Six and it's their best yet. This is Psych Pop at it's very best, more on the Pop side, say more the first incarnation of The Move than Pink Floyd. Having said that, Oil And Colour Man would fit comfortably on Relics.

Cardiff's Suzi Chunk is again present and this allows the album to be divided into two. When Suzi moves to the Mic Stand, it's more for Burt Bacharach type kitchen sink dramas and these work equally as well as the great Pop that surrounds it. An exception to this is Got Up And Gone which could be Jacqui Abbott in it's delivery and pace. It also has a great Pearl And Dean type ending.

The duet on Things I've Been Meaning To Say is wonderful, part Peter Paul And Mary, almost The Seekers. Above My Station is a charming little ditty with it's early Lennon like vocal. It's the Psych Pop that appeals most to me, but that's probably because it's been such a while since I've heard it done so well.

Mrs Saywell Says and Our Gary's No Fool are splendid affairs that you can imagine being in a technicolor film starring Michael Bates. The aforementioned Oil And Colour Man is a revelation of song.

The whole album takes you back to a more innocent age. Little Essays about a world before everyone knew everything. Not only is it charming, but it's also beautifully arranged. The vocals from Prangnell and Chunk are spot on. Both deserve a wider audience.

You can buy the album on vinyl from the band's website here. Ray at the excellent Kool-Kat has the release on CD here. A Clip Round The Ear is also available for download at the likes of Amazon here. The album and the band's back catalogue is also available on iTunes.

Friday, 20 October 2017

The Stanleys - The Stanleys

Power Pop is a broad church these days and away from the pointless arguments of what is and isn't, but this self titled debut is as good an example of what is as any around. I get a similar thrill listening to it as I did when I first heard the Somerdale album last year.

It's also nice personally to be back on familiar territory and first and foremost, Power Pop is what I do and I have in my hands, a possible album of the year for the genre. I know it isn't, but it seems ages since I've heard something so akin to the reason that I got into Power Pop.

Every one of these 11 songs get you singing along to the chorus, each hooks you and starts the feet tapping. I'd heard for a few months that this release was gonna be something special, a true Power Pop album. Well  it is!

This isn't Merseybeat, think New Wave 1978 - 1983 and the glory days of Not Lame. Not only that but there are plenty of Glam Rock influences. particularly on songs like Cigarette Glow. I'm constantly reminded of The Plimsouls And The Romantics, although What Are We Gonna Do? could have been written by Kimberley Rew.

At other times, I'm reminded of the likes of Michael Carpenter with the chimes and hooks on My World. Always is very Nick Piunti. Hefner is a glammed up version of The Knack. Everybody Dance is pure Chinn And Chapman Smokie.

The album doesn't let up for the first eight of the 11 songs. Then the Somerdale comparison kicks in with This Time Goodbye. Summer is Brit Pop Dodgy and the closing Kid's Gonna Rock is a real teen anthem. All this ignores Amy, the opening song and probably the best single that I've heard this year.

I try and make the I Don't Hear A Single Radio Show as varied as possible and so to devote over half of last week's show to the whole album is a testament to how good it is. The Stanleys may very well have grabbed the Power Pop Trophy back for Australia.

You can listen to and buy the album here.

Johnny Chastain - Plot Points To Nowhere (Free Download)

Lots of promise here from Chicago's Johnny Chastain. Plot Points To Nowhere is a very American album, not that is ever a problem. At it's best it is reminiscent of the likes of John Mellencamp, particularly when it rocks.

Now, Here And Nowhere and the title track are such examples. These two songs are very much on the road ditties and both roll along really nicely. Add to these, s great vocal on What I Might Have Said and variance of Upright Bass and Sax on Where Do We Go From Here and you have an album that is hard not to like.

The only problem is that there isn't enough of the up tempo, so the heavy reliance on the slow and acoustic, excellent though the playing is, makes the album that bit duller. Kid's Got Moxie even has an Aztec Camera feel and is another fine song.

I certainly don't want to appear too critical, there is surely a great future for Chastain, maybe the next album could rely more on the rockier songs. There's certainly lots of encouragement to make it worth listening to and as a free download , what have you got to lose?

You can listen to and download the album here

The Red Button - Now It's All This (2CD)

Seth Swirsky's last solo album, Circles And Squares was reviewed here. It remains one of the Top 10 visited posts here and that is a testament to how good the album is. During that review, his Red Button adventures weren't mentioned and I'm delighted to say that can now be remedied with this release.

The Red Button consists of Seth and Mike Ruekberg. 2007's debut album, She's About To Cross My Mind was refreshing departure from the Big Rock that was around at the time. It's a Power Pop Gem, all jangling and chiming.

Whilst that debut was very much in the McCartney Pop of the 60's, there was still plenty on it to update a more modern audience. I personally felt that it was very much in the territory of The dB's. Floating By is one of the great lost Psych Pop songs, XTC like in it's structure.

Can't Stop Thinking About You is a popped up Tom Petty jangle, Gonna Make You Mine is a Farfisa joy that you'd expect to hear as the opening theme in one of those mid to late 60's UK films for "the kids". There's so much great Pop here, particularly for Revolver fans. Loads of hooks.

The band followed up the debut album, with 2011's As Far As Yesterday Goes. Equally excellent, it wasn't just a sophomore release. It keeps hold of what made the first album great, but spreads it's wings a little more. Easier would grace any great Mid 70's Pop Rock of your choice.

Album Number 2 is if anything a slower more reflective affair that works beautifully. On A Summer Day could be 10cc. I Can't Forget is Classic Merseybeat. Running Away could be The Strawbs or Lindisfarne.

Marty Scott's revival of Jem Records continues apace and just reissuing these two fine albums would be more than enough. However there's more. a second disc contains six new songs and four Unplugged versions of songs from As Far As Yesterday Goes.

The six new songs leave you hopeful of a third album from the duo. With the exception of Solitude Saturday, these songs are even more Lennon McCartney like and the former could be Al Stewart. I really can't recommend this double disc affair any higher than just to tell you to get your wallet out tout de suite.

You can buy the album from today everywhere.

Thursday, 19 October 2017

I Don't Hear A Single Radio Show Episode 18

Back to normality after a week's break from IDHAS.

The I Don't Hear A Single Radio show is brought to you by the Number 18 tomorrow.

It's been a great week for new releases and such. So much so that only this week's opener is an archive track.

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 seventeen shows here.

Reviews are back on here from tomorrow.

Here is this week's playlist :

01 Feeder - Buck Rogers
02 Third Of Never - Austerity
03 Shrug Life - First World Problems
04 Groovy Uncle - Our Gary's No Fool
05 UV Pop - Anyone For Me
06 Horizon Arcs - Fast Forward
07 Future Teens - In Love Or Whatever
08 Kris Rodgers - Rock N' Roll Radio
09 Avora Records - We Happy Few
10 Berwanger - The Astronaut
11 The Moms - Good Job
12 Robyn Gibson - 5D
13 Salto - Home Again
14 Takotsubo Men - Tony Szabo Destroyed Everything
15 Linda Perhacs - Crazy Love
16 Gentlemen Jackals - Waiting For The Day

Thursday, 12 October 2017

I Don't Hear A Single Radio Show Episode 17

The I Don't Hear A Single Radio show reaches the Number 17 tomorrow.

It's a Special Edition providing the opportunity to listen to one of the best Power Pop Albums of the year ahead of this weekend's review. The full self titled debut album from The Stanleys is exclusively played for your listening pleasure.

As if that wasn't enough, the front end of the show sees the return of Custard and Liverpool Express with possibly the reissue of the year.

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 and there are plans for some more US Friendly times.

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 sixteen shows here.

Here is this week's playlist :

01 The On And Ons - Not The Only One
02 Ian Person - Whatever It Takes
03 Skytone - Second Hand Shops
04 Custard - In The Grand Scheme Of Things (None Of This Really Matters)
05 The Two Tens - Streetlight
06 New Politics - One Of Us
07 Liverpool Express - Every Man Must Have A Dream
08 The Stanleys - Amy
09 The Stanleys - Cigarette Glow
10 The Stanleys - What Are We Gonna Do
11 The Stanleys - My World
12 The Stanleys - Always
13 The Stanleys - Hefner
14 The Stanleys - Everybody Dance
15 The Stanleys - Say You Will
16 The Stanleys - This Time Goodbye
17 The Stanleys - Summer
18 The Stanleys - Kid's Gonna Rock

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Liverpool Express - The Albums (3CD)

In the halcyon days of Anything Should Happen, Billy Kinsley was the ideal artist for what that Blog celebrated. He was involved in not one but two classic lost Pop Rock albums, added to his Mersey Beat standing. What more did you need? He is one of the mainstays of that genre, yet few of the general public laud him. Hopefully that's about to change.

Billy Kinsley was a founder member and vocalist (with Tony Crane) of The Merseybeats and left, excepting a brief departure in 1964, after their glory years were fading in 1966. He duly formed a vocal duo called The Merseys with Tony Crane, famous for the first cover of Sorrow which was a massive hit. Bowie would later also cover this McCoy's B Side.

His tie up with the equally excellent Jimmy Campbell in Rockin' Horse resulted in 1970's Yes It Is, an album that is still celebrated by the Power Pop Community. nearly five decades on. The band are held in the same esteem as say Badfinger, despite this being their only album. Indeed their only live outing was as Chuck Berry's Backing Band on his 1972 Tour.

After a period out of the limelight, but still touring, Kinsley re-emerged in Liverpool Express in 1975. Rapidly signed to Warner Brothers, their debut album, Tracks, has remained an album that fans have been waiting for on CD for a long long time. 

Containing the hit singles, You are My Love, Hold Tight and the superb, Every Man Must Have A Dream are essential listening. Tracks is an album that any lover of McCartney type pop should own. It warrants it's position in the Top 10 Pop Rock albums of the 70s. The album lit up 1976.

You've heard of Big In Japan, well Liverpool Express were big in South America, very big. Whenever we discussed Liverpool Express, the fans from Chile, Argentina, Brazil etc waded in with their thoughts. The album was heavily bootlegged over there. Here you have 3 Bonus B Sides to add to the enjoyment.

The two follow up albums Dreamin' and LEX are not quite as good, but are still highly sought after. Dreamin' appeared in 1978, it was a rushed recording in between touring. Like many debut albums, Tracks had a lot of material honed before the studio recording, Dreamin' didn't. It got lost in the Punk and New Wave adventures of the time. 

It's a really decent album and So Here I Go Again is a fine single, Dreamin' is a great song, but compared to Tracks, it obviously suffers. The addition of the single Don't Stop The Music as one of the three bonus tracks is a welcome one. That got a lot of play on local radio, but sadly did no more.

The third album, released in 1979 contains 3 covers amid it's nine songs. Games People Play is a really nice stab at Joe South's original and the Kinsley original I Want Nobody But You is great, but largely the times dictated that the band had served it's time. The two single B Sides are added to the original album here.

In 2002, Kinsley released a Greatest Hits which is now inessential, thanks to this set. A reformed Liverpool Express released a new album, Once Upon A Time in 2003, but the moment had gone.
Billy Kinsley still tours with The Merseybeats. 

I was really disappointed to discover that I'd missed out on an excellent Spencer Leigh, 4 part documentary on Billy on Radio Merseyside a few years ago. If anyone has a recording of this, please give me a shout.

I Don't Hear A Single largely concentrates on the new, but as a collector, I never lose touch with my past. I have to say of all the reissues this year, this one delights me most. All three albums and eight bonus tracks. Cherry Red have made an ageing man very very happy. 

You can buy the set here and everywhere.

Thursday, 5 October 2017

I Don't Hear A Single Radio Show Episode 16

Episode 16 of the I Don't Hear A Single Radio show is tomorrow.

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 and there are plans for some more US Friendly times.

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 fifteen shows here.

Here is this week's playlist :

01 The Icicle Works - Understanding Jane
02 The Succesful Failures - All Wrapped Up
03 The Wild Young Hearts - My Oldest Friend
04 Mister Heavenly - Blue Lines
05 Belinda - Adi Shakti
06 The Young Hearts - Bloom
07 J Roddy Walston And The Business - Numbers
08 The Two Tens - Stuck In My Head
09 Michael Penn - A Bad Sign (Live At KCRW)
10 Tom Baker And The Snakes - Say Goodbye
11 Richard Turgeon - Look Away
12 My Little Hum - Geography Lesson
13 Hey! Hello! - All Around The World
14 Kevin Ayers Lady June And Ollie Halsall - Speeding Heart
15 The Granite Shore - Buyer Beware
16 Per Gessle - Ge Allt Du Kan

My Little Hum - Remembering Houses

My Little Hum are husband and wife duo Yuri and Dan Jewett. The San Franciscan duo's debut album is out on Allen Clapp's formidable Mystery Lawn Music label. Yuri's voice is sugar sweet. imagine Saint Etienne's Sarah Cracknell ditching the electrics.

There's plenty of interest away from the norm here, the guitar on Geography Lesson lends itself to a real psych pop strum, but the steel guitar takes it to another level. Take Care Of You is very Throwing Muses in a good way.

Take Care Of You is like Susanna Hoffs fronting The Church in a slower mode. Rise Over Run is all angular riffs, think Pretenders, with hints of Jangle. Very C86. Steep Ravine is very reminiscent of Susanna Hoffs solo album vibe.

There's also some real depth in the darker two part Alberta, a much moodier affair. There's some really interesting guitar work from Dan Jewett, very different to the songs that it aids. In fact, that's the great thing about Remembering Houses.

The vocals would normally grace a Girl Pop album with big choruses, yet are not used like that in any way. You'd expect to hear moody aching guitar and it's far more inventive, Johnny Marr like at times.

The solo at the end of Alberta II is refreshingly original gripping. There's also a cover of Buzzcocks' Ever Fallen In Love, a favourite song of mine forever. This style may wear a little thin in the UK with the number of TV Adverts doing this with similar songs, but elsewhere, this very different take will please many.

You can listen to and buy the album here.

The Forty Nineteens - Good Fortune

I've been doing a fair bit of catching up lately and this has involved listening a lot of old and new and some very different stuff. So it's nice to review something very much on my home territory. It's also nice to acknowledge the Kool Kat label's continued output and prosperity. I love talking to Ray, his enthusiasm is infectious, but I don't make enough time to do it. Too busy being busy, IDHAS taking off in all directions, all of them crap excuses.

Temecula's The Forty Nineteens inhabit a world somewhere in between Garage Rock and Power Pop, I suppose you'd call it Beat Pop. They are equally at home on songs like My Camaro and Purple Microdot in UK 60's Beat. Alternatively, the killer single, And Such And Such is in prime Plimsouls territory.

What they do know is how to grab a riff and ram it home. The Longer I Wait could be great 70's Pop Rock with a real jangle and a Classic Rock chime. Let Love In is classic Merseybeat. It's however the more recent nods that grip me most.

Two Pillows reminds me of The Searchers Sire Recordings and therefore leads me to The Records. Crocodile Tears and Another Day are so The Romantics or Paul Collins' Beat. The latter another potential riff out single. Overall, the band are like a popped up Fleshtones and as such Good Fortune works brilliantly.

You can listen to and buy the download here. More relevantly you can buy the CD at Kool Kat here.

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

The Young Hearts - Honestly I'm Just Thinking EP

The Young Hearts kill two birds with one stone here at IDHAS. I'm always bemoaning how few UK Power Pop bands are breaking through. I'm also dismayed at how many people lump new bands with Alt Rock, EMO or Pop Punk.

Kent's The Young Hearts fashion up their second EP and it's full of Power Pop goodness. If Bloom was released by Butch Walker, Power Pop fans would be wetting themselves. Smoke compares with anything the likes of a grown up Busted or McFly would muster.

This EP compares favourably with anything coming out of the States at present. If there's a comparison, they remind me a lot of vintage Downtown Fiction or Everybody Else. This is great chorus driven guitar pop and should be appealing to a much older market.

The closer, October is brooding and hints at what more can be achieved in the future, it's like a popped up Muse. Honestly I'm Just Thinking is a great listen and I'm delighted to discover this lot. I look forward to what's coming up in the future.

The 4 Track EP can be bought as a download at all the usual places. The Physical version has a limited run here. It's well worth the effort, I expect to hear far more of this lot.

Fernando Perdomo - The Golden Hour

I first came across Fernando Perdomo in the early days of Anything Should Happen. ASH celebrated the forgotten past and I was even then getting a little restless at the ignorance of the now. In a conversation with my ASH cohort, Mick Dillingham, Dreaming In Stereo's newly released debut album was mentioned and I became hooked on that and the follow up. I still am.

The eight years since have seemed much longer because Perdomo has been active, I'm not sure that he ever sleeps. There's been a lot of comparisons with Todd Rundgren and I see that, but his solo career has far more Pop and Rock influence and less of the Philly Soul. He is though an outstanding multi instrumentalist and a guitar player equal to Rundgren.

The Todd comparisons stand up even more due to his work with other artists. Producer, cohort, helper, he excels in all. His work on recent albums by Gretchen's Wheel and the incredible Cait Brennan album is exemplary. I also connect in a similar way of being as fanatic about Prog as I am about Power Pop.

There's no Prog here, but there are plenty of other diversions. I Feel is wonderful Psych Pop with a killer riff. However there's a real refreshing brevity in the songs that border on great 60s and 70s Pop Rock without the irritating need to solo like crazy. There is a real laid back feel to the whole album that allows the songs to breathe.

The co-write with Jordan Zevon, Look At The Moon, is Harrison-esque with it's mellotron and haunting riff, When You're Next To Me could be John Miles in his pomp, a crackerjack of a song. I Feel (Therefore I Am) envelops a corking Power Pop Riff in a haunting melody.

Both Spotlight Smile and Sleep are very reminiscent of a more arranged Big Star, or maybe more Chris Bell. The former is more uptempo, but both work as well as each other. I'm not exactly sure why, but The Light makes me think of Colin Blunstone.

There are Rundgren moments, but these are less than others would have you believe, most notably Here With Me and maybe the title track. But essentially this very much a Fernando Perdomo album. With others, the Guitar is much prominent, but on The Golden Hour that would overshadow the songs. Here you can tell he can play, but it's all understated.

If this were 1975, The Golden Hour would sell a million. You can at least get it part the way there by listening and buying here.

Monday, 2 October 2017

The Successful Failures - Ichor Of Nettle

After a quiet couple of months, this year is really hotting up. New Jersey's The Successful Failures release album number six and it's an absolute stormer. The FDR label provided one of my two albums of the year last year with Somerdale, here is this year's contender.

In any review I'll try and describe what to expect, but the favourites are those that are so varied that they are hard to pin down. Ichor Of Nettle is just that. The band is probably at it's best when it's noisy and it does that incredibly well. But they can be quiet and all in between. There's Americana, Replacements like noise, Power Pop, New Wave, 70's Pop Rock and even Pop Punk.

Mick Chorba's writing covers themes as diverse as tragedy and redemption and all are wrapped up in hooks and choruses. There's a lot of literary references. Low Resting Heartbeat could be on a 1975 UK Pop Rock album with it's magnetic hook, yet No Good Way could be The Plimsouls with a twang.

When Did Everybody Grow Up is classic UK late 70's New Wave, it has all the chops, Tennessee Boy is acoustic Americana, all yee haw with mandolin. The Devil Took A Liking To Me could be Jackson Browne, Sam Houston has a real Faces / Stones riff.

I like the album most when it is noisy and wow does it get noisy. The title track and Into The Battle rock like classic Replacements. There's also a big hurrah for the Power Pop. Misguiding Light and All Wrapped Up could appear on any great Power Pop album of the last four decades on not be out of place.

Ishor Of Nettle is so varied that it could be a compilation, let's call it Now That's What I Call Great Songs Volume 1. What a splendid album this is, you can and should buy it here.

Belinda Carlisle - Wilder Shores

As someone who is surrounded by the new and under appreciated music wise, it may be strange to see Belinda Carlisle reviewed here. It's true that my main concentration and listening these days are on the type of artists that you read about on here. However I am a massive collector and still listen to what's gone before.

I am a massive fan of The Go-Go's and that continued, if a little less so, with her solo career. In that solo career, there is an excess of AOR, but all the hooks are there and there cannot be many better pop songs around than California.

I also admire that she takes chances. her last album was 10 years ago. Voila was a collection of French Chansons that could have been disastrous but was so faithfully done that it worked surprisingly well.

Fast Forward a decade and we now have an album based on Kundalini Yoga Chants. Of the eight new songs, only two are in English and what should build itself up for a pretentious fall, succeeds admirably. It succeeds because despite the subject, this is still a pop album.

The orchestration and arrangements are spot on and what could appear to be a self grandising project is actually a breath of fresh air. What's more her voice is in wonderful form, she sings as well as she has done in a long time.

I'm not sure of the need to add a new version of Heaven Is A Place On Earth. It is slowed down and orchestrated and explained as having the same lyrical sympathies as Kundalini Chants. However, it seems to be an unnecessary addition and maybe the album could stand alone as the eight songs that precede it.

You can buy the album everywhere.

The Wild Young Hearts - Hoodlums

It's been a while getting round to reviewing this, but I've been listening to it for around six months or more and it still sounds great. Los Angeles's The Wild Young Hearts offer up their third album and it's an absolute cracker.

The band have previously been lumped in with the Pop Punk brigade and I won't go on to repeat my thoughts on the genre and no matter how great that scene is, the label puts people off. Over the past couple of years, I've thought of bands that my break away from that label and get a much wider audience. The Wild Young Hearts were definitely amongst that group.

Well with Hoodlums, The Wild Young Hearts have smashed into the mainstream. Now down to a trio, they could have easily just morphed into Power Pop, but Robb Laffoon is much smarter than that. He knows his music history and seems as at home with The Beatles and The Beach Boys as Blink 182 or Green Day.

The album proves this. True there is still the odd hint of Pop Punk on the likes of Already Dead, but there is much much more than that. San Diego Calling could be late 70's Early 80's New Wave, Wasted Holiday could be Weezer, She's High is classic Glam Rock.

Overall though there's a real maturity and wit to the writing. The songs are not about da kidz now, The Wild Young Hearts are more in the territory of the Brit Pop Bands who made the bigger stage. My Older Friend is in Gallagher territory, Sad Songs ditto.

Hoodlums is a real joy of an album. Beautifully written, beautifully played. I'm not sure that you'll hear a better album this year and if you do it's gonna be some offering. Six months on and this still sounds just as good, if not better.

You can listen to and buy the album here.

The Heartache State - Last Of The Buffalo

I listen to a fair few Australian bands, most of them Indie Guitar or more relevantly, Power Pop. Melbourne's The Heartache State are nothing like those bands, you'd be hard pressed to get the Oz link, this is prime time classic riff rock.

Very much in Exile On Main Street territory, but without the whininess say of a Primal Scream. Hints of Tom Petty, Southern Rock and most relevantly Black Crowes. Last Of The Buffalo gives that recorded in the studio feel, but not in a bad way. The riffs sound like mini jams, but hook you and there are some real gems present.

Honey Slide is a corker of a song, all loose and hooks, Swallow All Your Pride is almost like a riffed up Replacements. Calm Me Down could be Jeff Tweedy leading an early version of The Eagles. The band are best when they rock and the slower songs don't always work, but this is a really accomplished album. Great at what it does and well worth investigating.

You can buy the album or listen to it at the links shown here.