Saturday, 30 December 2017

The IDHAS KOR Radio Top 10 Songs Of The Year

Just over six months, I branched out into Radio. I'd always wanted to, but hated the sound of my own voice. I'd been asked in the past and refused, but KOR Radio convinced me to give it a go. I explained my doubts and these were catered for. I could do an hour long show that would be no talking apart from an intro and outro and had complete freedom to choose what I wanted to play.

No playlist, all the songs come from me, not a computer generated list. The success of the show has been heartwarming and opened up 2018 opportunities to do something talky with sessions and interviews which is currently in Pilot stage.

The show has currently broadcast 28 Episodes and two Christmas Specials. I was asked to compile a Top 10 songs of 2017 by KOR and so I have. This Top 10 is different to what I would choose for I Don't Hear A Single's year and I'll explain why.

Firstly, I set myself the restriction that the artist had to have had the song played on the Radio Show. Secondly, things evolve via feedback etc and the IDHAS show has primarily developed a Power Pop / Pop Rock theme. Not always the case, but the majority has.

So this Top 10 Songs Of The Year for KOR would vary from my own. My favourites do change daily, but the show buts my Psych, Prog and Indie adventures on the backburner. So this piece is intended to tell you why I chose these songs for the show and in My Top 10.

I'd also note that there have been songs played that have not yet been released. Daisy House have previewed not one but two songs that could appear in this Top 10 if they had been unveiled to the public yet.

Sparks - Missionary Position

I reveal my age when I tell you that the first album that I bought under my own steam was Propaganda. I love that album as much now as I did then, I still know all the words. That developed a love of the Mael Brothers which is now into it's fifth decade.

There was a ropey decade after the Angst In My Pants album, but largely this has been one of the most interesting rides for me musically. I'd compare it to the career of XTC, although that only lasted half of the Sparks duration.

Sparks have always carried the fans along, but as time has developed. new fans have joined the gang, people who wouldn't have heard a lot of the Island stuff, loved the multi layered vocal albums of the Noughties.

FFS, the collaboration with Franz Ferdinand, hinted that Sparks were back in the band mix and those songs hinted at the wit and sheer joy of those earlier albums and Hippopotamus confirmed that with balls on. There will still hints at what had gone on in the decade before, but the lyrical with came back to the fore.

No song underlines that more than Missionary Position. It's lyrics are risque and underline what a songwriting genius Ron Mael is. It's a testament to Sparks to note that the song sounds so fresh and different, but it could also easily have appeared on Propaganda and not been out of place.

The Sunset Spirit - To Have It All

Last year the Pop Rock revelation was Somerdale and they've enhanced that reputation this year. This year it is The Sunset Spirit, who I'm delighted to tell you are currently recording the follow up to From The Top.

As I Don't Hear A Single has developed, I still bemoan the barrenness of the UK Pop Rock scene. The Indie and Psych scene is currently fantastic, but great Pop songs are hard to find. The Sunset Spirit are a big exception.

Hailing from Fife in Scotland. there's a real energy in their chorus heavy songs. They come across as a popped up Crowded House or perhaps the nearest example are Squeeze, they certainly have the same strength in creating a hook.

To Have It All enforces that Squeeze comparison. The swirling Farfisa like solo could be Jools Holland in those early Deptford Adventures. The Sunset Spirit feel like my very own secret, I'm convinced that's about to change.

Ian Person - Whatever It Takes

Ian Person is a constant revelation to these ears. It's infuriating that he remains unknown to the masses. Some may remember him from The Soundtrack Of Our Lives, but his solo work should aid a break out from Sweden.

Exit : Highway Of Light is a fantastic album. It's influences take in Psych, Pop, Power Pop, New Wave and Pop Rock. But all of it is from left field. Guitar Runs and Riffs that re unexpected, songs that twist and turn.

Whatever It Takes is a great example of what Person does. The guitar hook absolutely grips you. I defy you to listen to the song and not want to put it on again. There is so much contained within it's three minutes, so many ideas fighting to get out.

A lot of what I cover is obviously also covered elsewhere, I don't see as much about Ian Person, that should change. He is one of the great unrecognised talents and deserves to be listened to by a much wider audience.

Nick Heyward - Perfect Sunday Sun

Nick Heyward is beloved in the UK and I've only recently realised how far that expands elsewhere. The Haircut 100 days and the Woolen Jumpers are remembered and he lit up Brit Pop providing a Jangle that tempered down the pomposity of a lot of that genre.

So after waiting so long for his return, it's pleasing to say that he released what could be his best album ever. Woodland Echoes is very pastoral and beautifully low key, but there are also glimpses of that Jangle Pop that lit up Brit Pop.

Both Baby Blue Sky and Perfect Sunday Sun are great examples of this. The latter trumps it for me. It's 60's film references and visions of lazy sunday afternoons are enhanced by the sheer wonder of the song. Heywood is on as top form as ever.

Mothboxer - Get It Right

If you were to ask me which bands I get frustrated with because far far more should know about them two spring to mind. Spygenius, who I have a big feature planned for at the start of next year and Mothboxer.

Maidenhead's Mothboxer is essentially Dave Ody and they have a stellar back catalogue now dating back to 2010. There were signs that the deserved success would come when they blitzed IPO Liverpool's 2013 Extravaganza, but sadly, the delights still remain in the shadows.

Kent seems to be the centre of some fantastic Psych at present, but Mothboxer are of a different template. The Psych Pop feel is there, but the songs are far more hook led. Big Choruses arrive unexpectedly.

This Year's The Secret Art Of Nothing is a fantastic album, cementing the band's reputation. No greater example of the songcraft can be found away from the album's opener. Get It Right has two choruses and is an absolute joy.

GospelbeacH - Hanging On

In those halcyon Anything Should Happen Days we were all Beachwood Sparks fans and nodded thankfully for Brent Rademaker. That band were a sort of Country Rock, Gram Parsons inspired calmness that was a pleasant change from all the noise around at the time.

The Beachwood Sparks songs always seemed a bit sad though, melancholic, so the GospelbeacH albums are a marked change, particularly this year's Another Summer Of Love. There's a more Power Pop or AOR feel to the songs, very much like UK Mid 70's Pop Rock.

It's also great that so many in the UK are getting them, because this is music that deserves a wider audience. Rademaker also comes over as one of the nicest guys ever, a lover of music and appreciative of any attention.

Hanging On is as good an example as any of what the band are about. Catchy, concise, melodic, harmonic, say what you want to in two and a half minutes then move on. A great Summer Guitar solo is included too.

Pink Beam - Wrote Me A Letter

I see a lot of Bloggers and DJ's who put out requests for band Tags or videos etc and I always think that's a bit of a cop out. I suppose now that I'm more fortunate in that people know what I do, what I like and so I get sent a lot. I listen to everything, but don't review the vast majority of it. I also spend a lot of time discovering stuff for myself.

There are exceptions, Music Submit is one. This is an Internet thing that sends you songs you may like, very much like an Indie Play MPE. The vast majority of stuff that I get from them doesn't appeal.mainly formulaic, but in 18 months or so there has been about half a dozen exceptions.

Pink Beam are one and it was after delighting in their submission that I discovered that my good Ice Cream Pop Friend, Wayne Lundqvist Ford was a big supporter. Pink beam are far from Rockford, home of Cheap Trick.

There's a lot of similarities with Da Trick, the band focus on the meatier end of Power Pop, the songs are ratcheted up rather than jangle. It's incredibly appealing. Wrote Me A Letter is still one of my most favourite songs of the year.

The song rocks and has been an earworm for the past six months. If there's one band that I can't wait to hear more from it's this lot.

Pugwash - What Are You Like

I'm a massive Thomas Walsh fan. That likeability started well before rejoicing about Pugwash. We knew each other as big fans of The Move and ELO and Thomas happened to mention that he was in a band and would I like to hear some stuff. I was hooked.

Pugwash as a live act were probably my favourite live band, it was the mix of the Walsh's songs coming to life, but also the humour and camaraderie of the four piece. I don't get out and about as much these days, but I rarely missed a Pugwash show.

Silverlake is Thomas solo with Jason Falkner, but you wouldn't know. As a long time admirer of Falkner, I was bursting to hear that album, a sort of marriage made in heaven. It doesn't disappoint, it's full of hooks and although you'd expect to have Jeff Lynne comparisons, I hear more Jon Auer and Posies comparisons.

Silverlake is a bit more understated than previous Pugwash albums which allows the songs to breathe, The best example is the killer second single, What Are You Like, great Summer Pop that showcases Walsh's superb voice.

The Stanleys - Amy

I'd been waiting for The Stanleys album to appear for quite some time. It doesn't disappoint. Australia's contribution to Power Pop has been much less so in recent years, The Stanleys rectify that at a stroke. This is as fine an example of the genre as there as ever been.

The self titled album is a chorus heavy, high riff count affair that will underline to all Power Pop fans the reasons why they love the field. It just doesn't let up from start to finish. This is Guitar Pop at it's finest.

The lead off single, Amy, tells you all you need to know about the band. Very reminiscent of the best of UK New Wave. A time when these sorts of songs were all over the charts.  A two and a half minute joyful romp.

Felix Hagan And The Family - Attention Seeker

Although I'd love to claim I Don't Hear A Single's success as being all down to me, it's not the case. Just as Mick Dillingham was a big part of Anything Should Happen, Nick Fletcher plays a similar role on I Don't Hear A Single.

Mick and Nick's taste is impeccable and Nick's part in the 18 months of IDHAS shouldn't be underestimated. As well as being an expert on the Scandinavian scene, he feeds a lot into here. Our tastes meet in the middle. I veer off into Psych and Prog, he into Country and AOR, but it's the middle ground that hits the ink.

Nick has been praising Felix Hagan for quite a time and with the new album I see what he's been on about. It's such an accomplished debut, a real treat. I compare their impact to that of The Killers debut and on my first hearing, Foxy Sham.

This is Theatrical Rock, but it doesn't rely on the dressing up, the song quality is high, high enough to make them the next big thing. They also have an incredible Live reputation. If Deaf School were starting out now, they'd be this lot.

Attention Seeker opens the album and reveals all you want to know about the band. Lyrically adept, constant changes and a splendid romp that previews all that they do, encapsulating it in the one song. It's a corker of a song.

Thursday, 28 December 2017

I Don't Hear A Single Radio Show Episode 28

Microphone problems at this end mean that the Radio Broadcast and Album Of The Year Awards have been delayed. That will be broadcast next week, so tomorrow night's Radio Show will be a normal edition, that would have been broadcast next week.

There is no let up on quality though as you'll hear. 19 songs, 16 new and 3 Archive. There's tons of stuff to come from this direction in the coming week, some of it mentioned in the previous post.

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 seven shows here.

Here is this week's playlist :

01 Silver Sun - Golden Skin
02 Pale Lights - 100 Years
03 Arvidson & Butterflies - Another She
04 The Beginner's Mynd - Don't Lose Your Mind
05 John Dunbar - U- Turning
06 Liar's Club - Big Bastard
07 Felix Hagan & The Family - Attention Seeker
08 Clockwork Flowers - A Butterfly In The Rain
09 Lovely Bad Things - I Just Want You to Go Away
10 Lloyd Cole - Can't Get Arrested
11 The Vapors - News at Ten
12 Brad San Martin - Song About Soulfinger
13 K7s - Every Night
14 Kids On Neptune - Polish State of Mind
15 The Genuine Fakes - Humdrum Routine
16 Color TV - Anybody's Girl
17 Bed Wettin' Bad Boys - Plastic Tears
18 Popey - 5 O'Clock
19 The Parson Red Heads - Coming Down

Album Of The Year Delayed Announcement

The plan was to announce the IDHAS Top 10 Albums Of The Year tomorrow night in a sort of simulcast with the KOR Radio show. This has now been postponed until next Friday (5 January) due to technical problems at my end.

The KOR show was to feature songs from the ten best albums with explanations from me as to why I chose them. But the elaborate Mic System here has gone down and the commentary using internal Mics on PC or Mac sounds dreadful.

A replacement Mic will arrive tomorrow, but the deadline for me preparing tomorrow's KOR Radio Show is 8pm UK Time tonight. So I will move the announcement fanfare back a week. Tomorrow night's show on KOR will be a normal new stuff edition, a sort of swap as that would have been broadcast next week.

Everything else remains the same. On New Years Eve there will be a Mixcloud Special with the albums you have as your Album Of The Year with an explanation why from the nominator.

On New Years Day night, it will be the IDHAS Oscars winners posted on the Blog. This will be spoof style a la NME / Smash Hits of years gone by. I'll post the playlist of this week's radio show on heare as usual tonight.

So the excitement and buzz of how wise we are will just be delayed, frustrating, but unavoidable. This is the third Snowball Mic that has gone down this year.

Sunday, 24 December 2017

I Don't Hear A Single Radio Xmas Special Volume 2 - The Not So New

The second of two I Don't Hear A Single Radio Specials celebrating the joy of Christmas. Featured here are artists that you'd expect to read about on IDHAS. 22 songs by artists you should already know about and if you don't, you can start to rectify the situation.

These two volumes are exclusive to Mixcloud. The second celebrates the older offerings. You can listen to the second volume here.  

Here's the playlist :

01 Material Issue - Merry Christmas Will Do
02 The 88 - All I Want For Christmas Is You
03 Jeffrey Foskett - Christmas Time Is Here
04 The Grip Weeds - Christmas Dream
05 Mew - She Came Home For Christmas
06 Pugwash - Tinsel And Marzipan
07 The Smithereens - Waking Up On Christmas Morning
08 The Downtown Fiction - Forgot It Was Christmas
09 The Genuine Fakes - Do You Want To Build A Snowman
10 Shake Some Action! - Christmas In The Sun
11 Ben Folds - Bizarre Christmas Incident
12 The Wellingtons - Christmas Of '93
13 Nelson (Feat. Carnie Wilson & Wendy Wilson) - This Christmas
14 The Monkees - Christmas Is My Time Of Year
15 Farrah - Christmas Is Cancelled (This Year)
16 The Posies - Christmas
17 The Kavanaghs - Christmas Again
18 The dB's - Home For The Holidays
19 Quiet Company - Angels We Have Heard On High
20 Metro Jets - Jingle Jangle Christmas
21 The Green Pajamas - What Child Is This
22 Blackmore's Night - Christmas Eve

I Don't Hear A Single Radio Xmas Special Volume 1 - The New

The first of two I Don't Hear A Single Radio Specials celebrating the joy of Christmas. Featured here are artists that you'd expect to read about on IDHAS. 21 songs by artists you should already know about and if you don't, you can start to rectify the situation.

These two volumes are exclusive to Mixcloud. The first celebrates the new and more recent offerings. Volume 2 will cover the past. You can listen to the first here  

Here's the playlist :

01 Cheap Trick - Merry Christmas Darlings
02 Somerdale - Merry Christmas Time
03 The Beatophonics - A Very Merry Christmas
04 Michael Carpenter - Another Xmas Song
05 The Nines - Believe In Christmas
06 Lisa Mychols - Wake Up Christmas!
07 The Connection - West Coast
08 Butch Young - Heartbreak Christmas
09 The Slingsby Hornets - Skiing In The Snow
10 Rob Clarke And The Wooltones - Entente Cordiale
11 Magic Eight Ball - I Just Love You More At Christmas
12 Sloan - December 25
13 The Weeklings - Christmas Time is Here Again
14 The Ragamuffins - All I Want For Christmas Is You
15 Beaulieu Porch - The Second Simon Christmas
16 The Minus 5 - New Christmas Hymn
17 Mark Crozer - Next Christmas
18 Hanson - Finally It's Christmas
19 Eric Voeks - Christmas Singles
20 Ronnie D'Addario - Brand New Christmas (Remix)
21 The Bordellos - Happy Christmas (Alan McGee Is An Arse)

Friday, 22 December 2017

The Moms - Doing Asbestos We Can

New Jersey's The Mom's are another band that tear up the Punk label, although the genre isn't exactly sure what it is these days. The trio consisting of Joey Nester and brothers, Jon and Matt Stolpe are loud and raw, but they have been rawer.

The new album is a type of melodic Garage Rock, but previous work shows the journey here. From the noise of Buy American to the hooks here may seem a jump, but the melody has always been there, it's just that the hooks have successfully been brought to the fore.

Nester's vocals are suitably shouty, which at times can make the songs feel a bit in Pogues or New York Dolls territory, but those riffs keep everything poptastic and a song like Paper could be prime time Brit Pop.

If Truth Were A Vessel is all Modern Lovers, and there are hints of Grunge at pertinent times, in particular Dinosaur Jr. Yet there are hints to the band's past, When We're Older could be a Green Day slowdown until it's glorious New Wave Power Pop chorus.

The real plus point of Doing Asbestos We Can though is how it charmingly grabs you by the nuts. No more so than the opener, Good Job. 14 songs in 38 minutes fly by. Yes it's noisy, at times a bit shambolic, but gloriously so. There's even Brass on Fortunate Former.

The Moms have fashioned up a corker of an album, all sing along and fist pumping. It's a joy to listen to these efforts to bring Garage Rock to the masses.  Being on The Bar/None Label is also a great place to be. You can buy the album here and everywhere. You should.

Thursday, 21 December 2017

I Don't Hear A Single Radio Show Episode 27 - Highlights Of 2017 Volume 2

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

17 of my favourite songs of 2017 are gathered for the second half of the celebration I hope you enjoy them as much as I do and head off to discover more about the artists. It should also be noted that these are just some of the best songs of the year and it sort of proves the Blog Title to be a sham.

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.

Next week is a special and a sort of cross platform extravaganza. Next Friday night, it's the awards for Albums Of The Year Blah Blah Etc Etc. The first time that I've ever agreed to do this, because I'm a bit anti charts, everything is relative.

Favourite albums at present can change daily / weekly / monthly. But I will be putting considerable thought into it and there are also Special Category Awards in the style of NME's of old before it became a rag for stating the obvious and advertising men's beauty products.

So Volume 28 of IDHAS Radio will be me announcing my ten albums of the year with chatty bits before a song from each album, telling you why I chose it. The whole kaboosh will then be released on here after the Radio Show has ended.

There are also some Mixcloud Only Specials on the way before next week's show. Two Christmas Mixes and a Best Of The Year compiled by Blog Readers. You can read more about the latter here.

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

So without further ado, here is the playlist for the second part of our 2017 Applauding.

01 Third Of Never - 506
02 Greg Ieronimo - Roller Coaster Ride
03 Daisy House - Leaving The Star Girl
04 Ian Person - Whatever It Takes
05 Miracle Glass Company - Big Beat
06 Partner - Everybody Knows
07 Shrug Life - Temp Job
08 The Ragamuffins - Oxygen
09 Hornal - She Doesn't Have Anyone
10 One Like Son - New American Gothic
11 The Nines - Maybe If You Stayed
12 Chris Price - Algebra In The Sky
13 Deer Tick - Sea Of Clouds
14 Scott & Rivers - Doo Wop
15 Richard Turgeon - Look Away
16 The Heartache State - Honey Slide
17 The Granite Shore - Buyer Beware

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

The Brixton Riot - Close Counts

I am back on home territory with The Brixton Riot in New Wave Pop Rock territory. They hail from New Jersey and you can hear the influences of The Beat and The Plimsouls, although more of the sound reminds me of the UK and have you have the band name tie in too.

The band remind me a lot of the better end of that UK scene and also the US Bands that came over. I'm thinking Pezband and The Sinceros, although there are Mod Pop overtones at times. I used to hear a lot of this type of material, now there seems less and less and what there is badly done. Not so Close Counts, this is a particular type of Power Pop done to perfection.

Hector Quaser is very Bram Tchaikovsky like and the Call And Response of Easier Said Than Done is really addictive. The Ballad Of Pete Best has a driving rhythm that equals any of the best Mod Pop around. Talk About Nothing has a killer riff, so Paul Collins.

Little Spark's verse is very Graham Parker with a killer chorus and the album slows down on the closing, Surrender To The Voice, which again is very Graham Parker with it's Brinsley Schwarz guitar. Throughout the album, I was trying to pin the drum sound, it's very Clem Burke.

I realise that I've made more references to bands that The Brixton Riot sound like than I would normally. That's because this is a beautifully produced album, plenty of hooks, some great choruses and a thankfully minimal amount of Guitar breakouts. I love it.

You can listen to and buy the album here.

Pale Lights - The Stars Seemed Brighter

Pale Lights are from Brooklyn and The Stars Seemed Brighter is released on a German label, so you'd not expect this to be vintage C86, but it is so. As the album cover suggests, the band are very Kitchen Sink.

The sound is straight out of Mid Eighties Glasgow and Philip Sutton's vocals are a sort of chipper Lloyd Cole. Having watched The Go-Betweens Documentary at the weekend, there are real similarities here, certainly in the song structures.

The strums are simple, a sunshine riff is hit and stuck with, all seems pleasantly wonderful in the Pale Lights garden. Suzanne Nienaber's accompanying vocals sweeten the songs, but you still expect to see Edwyn Collins name somewhere.

Pale Lights know the sound and feel that they want and they do it incredibly well. There are not many bands making this type of album these days and I'm not sure why not. It's all chirpy and bright and breezy. An excellent 31 minute listen that flies by. This is Jangle Pop of the highest order.

You can listen to and buy the album here.

Kids On Neptune - Homeland

In our universe, this week would appear to be Italian Week. I'm loving the album by Bongley Dead and also this, the Kids Of Neptune debut album. Hailing from Forli in Italy, this three piece are heavy, Power Pop it is not.

Although lumped in with the Punks, again!!!, Homeland is nothing like that label. Rhythms similar to Muse that are welcome without the Guitar histrionics, the better end of Grunge and a delightful edge towards Psych about sums them up.

2:20's Guitar solo could be Peter Green and that's the beauty of the trio. You are never quite sure which direction they will take. Polish State Of Mind is pure Garage Rock and really good at it. Yet at times, there is a feel of Rush's Vapor Trails adventures.

Then there's the meandering Nothing But No One which is all mid 80's moodiness. She Will Keep Us Alive is all fuzzed up late 60's noise. The closer, Homeland is 8 minutes of Psyched Up Pearl Jam, another surprise, the second half of it is all Fuzz and acid Guitar. A great closer!

This is a wonderful debut album, nothing like you would imagine. The fact that English is their second language adds to the Kudos. Homeland is unlike a lot of the delights that we celebrate on here,

It's rhythmic and incredibly fabulously noisy, it hits grooves, but never for too long. You can listen to and buy the album here.

Monday, 18 December 2017

Felix Hagan & The Family - Attention Seeker

I'm absolutely loving the Felix Hagan And The Family album.  The London Seven Piece have fashioned up a fantastic Pop Rock album. I've seemed them described as Pop Punks and Theatrical Punks. I'd go with the latter if you were comparing to them someone like The Tubes.

I know I get on my soapbox whenever Punk is mentioned, not because I'm not a fan, I am, but so much is lumped into the bracket and as soon as the general public see the word Punk they run for cover. That would be a travesty if that happened to this lot.

This is Theatrical Rock at it's best, there's so much going on, so many ideas, but all of them are kept wrapped in pop hooks and riffs. Think Foxy Shazam, The Killers before they bought a thousand stylophones, The Darkness with more than one trick. In fact the band have far more in common with Deacon Blue than The Sex Pistols.

So I think I'll settle on them being a Deaf School for da kidz. Attention Seeker only comes up for air during the final third, when the songs get slower and then you've got the great Funk Rap of Delirium Tremendous and an anthem to make Brit Poppers cry in Tough To Be A Dreamer.

The opener, Attention Seeker sets the tone of the album when it just burns from something pleasantly melodic to a wall of noise. That just leads you into a melodic noise fest for the first half hour or so. There are wonderful pop hooks, sing along choruses and unexpected noises.

My personal favourite is the splendid Woah There Kimmy, although most of the IDHAS Radio listeners would go for Gene Kelly, which is a Top 10 Single in the making. Dave Bash and I were agreeing that we couldn't see the point in people revealing Best of 2017's at the end of November. If I had I would have missed this, it's certainly up there with anything that I've heard this year.

This is an album that would sell masses if there was any justice in the world. I'm hooked, I can't wait for the follow up.  You can listen to and buy the album here.

Bill Lloyd - It's All Happening Now

I'm a long time Bill Lloyd fan, through both his Country and Power Pop phases, he never fails to connect with my ears. I reviewed his Lloyd-ering here and now we have his first new album in five years.

It's All Happening Now is an Acoustic album, but don't be fooled into thinking that's dull, because Lloyd could never be that. Happiness is wonderfully arranged, all Bacharach like and many of the songs you can imagine jangled or poor popped up, particularly I'm In Your Airport.

There's Acoustic Jangle aplenty on Let Me In Your Life Again, which is very Tom Petty. Ruby Falls could be Johnny Cash, Me Against Me is Lounge Jazz. Up In The Air plugs in and offers up a wonderful strum along.

As ever, the lyrical excellence is ever present in all, particularly the Americana and Folk Pop and Where Nobody Cares At All is an absolute gem, a chirpy diatribe. With 20 songs here, there is fantastic value for money. Bill Lloyd smashes it again, why am I not surprised?

You can buy the album for download everywhere and on CD here.

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.