Thursday, 18 October 2018

Andy Bopp - Wherewithal

I mentioned how great Myracle Brah were in the review of Andy Bopp's previous album. Blisters And Thorns. That solo album is great, you can read the review here. But the even better news is that Bopp has moved on a pace since then and Wherewithal might just be the best thing that he's ever done.

The album reminds me a lot of Ian McNabb's latest, Our Future In Space. There are plenty of similarities. Melting Into Velveteen is interchangeable, it could be either's song. But the comparison is deeper, both will be compared to their previous band.

Yet their solo work is far deeper, far more fulfilling, but will get less attention than what's gone before. Bopp leans more towards Psych Pop. McNabb to Classic Rock, but the charm and ability is equal.Both have produced exceptional albums this year.

Sure And True is a wonderful example of how good Bopp is now, it's a killer Beatlesque chorus. Lonely Driver is Indie Joy, built around a funky bass riff. Push And Pull is pure Bowie, complete with Sax and some incendiary Guitar. It's a belter. Even the moody piano instrumental. April Is Near.

There really is so much here. The closer, Stranger Is Strange is all twangy moodiness, think Ian Hunter's The Outsider. Blind Faith is a haunting strum, it could make you weep, it's inspired. Shadow is anthemic in a Lennon manner.

These 10 songs contain so much in them, so many twists and turns in each. Beautifully arranged with some outstanding Guitar playing. You even find yourself singing along to the slower numbers. This is nothing like Myracle Brah and you wouldn't want it to be. Andy Bopp is at the top of his game. Wherewithal is a definite inclusion in my Top 10 of the year. Moody. yet incredibly melodic.

I can't recommend the album highly enough. You can buy it everywhere, including the likes of Amazon here. You really should!

Henry Chadwick - Marlin Fisher

I could say more about how great the Henry Chadwick is, but my great friend Dennis covered Marlin Fisher beautifully on his excellent Pop Record Blog. You can read his review here. I urge you to give the album a listen, you will be hooked. The album is right up our street.

You can listen to the album here. Buy it here and everywhere. You can find out more about Henry Chadwick here.

The National Reserve - Motel La Grange

I'm all up for surprises, there are too few of them and Motel La Grange caught me by surprise. It's a wonderfully constructed mainstream album and that caught me unawares. I'd suspected quite a bit of yee haw and what I got was a splendid album that resides more in Classic Rock territory.

Why surprised? Well usually as soon as I see a cowboy hat and a guitar, I run for the hills, hoping to avoid cliche after cliche of good ole boy lost love. Well I should shed my preconceptions, as I'm delighted to tell you that this is a cracking 38 minutes.I was sad when it ended and on it went again.

Yes there are country tinges, but these aren't many and are more than compensated by the rocking and ace song arrangements. Indeed the opener, No More, is a fantastic thing. It resides in some place between Springsteen and Del Amitri, it's a corker of a song.

The National Reserve are from New York, although you'd think that the five piece are more acquainted with Southern California or Nashville. Motel La Grange is a very American album, a real nod to the 70's. It's also a fine testament to the leadership of Sean Walsh. Great songwriting, a commanding vocal and some fine Guitar rock outs.

Although there are hints at times of a rocked up Eagles or a fleshed out Hootie And The Blowfish, the whole album stands firmly on the quality of the playing and some great Organ breaks. New Love smacks of The Outlaws, in fact there's a lot here that compares to that band without the excess.

I should open a closed mind a bit more. This album is a great listen, something that makes me wish I'd discovered it a little earlier. I can't wait for the follow up. You can find listen to and buy the album here. You can find out more about The National Reserve here.

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Cursed Arrows - Rebirth

I've always had an admiration for Cursed Arrows. The Ontario Guitar And Drum duo of Jackie And Ryan Stanley have always come across well as a sort of Roots Folk Buckingham Nicks. This is their sixth album and things have changed, hence the album title.

The expansion into a trio with the addition of Scott Gray has sent the band into a different direction. It's not a major diversion, but the arrangements are bigger, the soundscape, whilst still wonderfully eclectic, veers more towards a rock canvas and it works beautifully.

The rocking is at a gentle pace, a song like Dusty Old Soul up front is all jaunty, but behind the eyes are some weird and wonderful instrumental diversions including a cracking Psych Guitar Riff. The songs are very piano led, but it's what is going on in the spaces that makes the album so effective.

A song like Rebirth is duet that feels dark, but the 60's synths and haunting guitar refrain makes it wonderfully moody. There's plenty that's familiar here if you've been on the Cursed Arrows journey for a while. But Rebirth, just takes it on massively. There seems so much in each song and more every time you listen.

This is an incredibly good album. Power Pop it is not, but it's a body of work that deserves your attention. It's a belting listen. You can buy and listen to the album here.

Summer Magic - Sharks And Other Dangers

There's a real 80's Pop feel to Kevin Bachmann's Summer Magic. Not in the twee or SAW way, but in a really innovative mix of eight songs. The two album openers show that strength in very different ways. Hey! is pure Power Pop whilst Tracing A Bird On Construction Paper is a noisier synth led Sheffield pop.

Charles De Gaulle In The Afternoon is Glam Rock that even includes a Roxy Music like Sax refrain. New Years Day is Bubblegum until the fuzzed solo nods to Glasgow 88. By Your Side is a cracking slab of Psych Pop.

The main surprise is that this delightful album comes out of St Louis, it sounds very English. It's also really hard to pick track selections as each is so different. The closer, Running Game is mesmerising, a sort of George Harrison All Things Must Pass dream soundscape.

A Certain Little Chord feels a bit like Doves doing The Beach Boys with some ace harmonies. Attraction Corridors heads straight for the Byrds / TFC slot and jangles straight to the Bullseye. That's the beauty of this album. No song is overdone, say what you've got to say and move on to the next.

Sharks And Other Dangers is one of the best debut albums that I've heard in a long time.

Sunday, 14 October 2018

The Posies Are Coming To Town

Here in the UK, we look at the live Power Pop and Pop Rock happenings in the States with a mixture of longing and an opportunity to moan. Most of all of it is financial of course, more would come across of course, if people bought more albums or supported tours by attending.

So when a band do make the effort, it is essential that they are supported and The Posies do support the UK Scene. They are becoming Elder Statesmen of Power Pop and remain one of the finest live acts that you could witness.

2018 has been a really exciting time in Posies land culminating in this 30th Anniversary World Tour with the original Frosting On The Beater Line Up. It's a wet dream for fans and builds on the 2 Disc Deluxe Edition Release of the album.

Some of us will be attending as fans at different tour dates. I'm at Manchester, so there's also a chance to catch up on what is going on in the IDHAS world. Keep up on Facebook and Twitter to find out who and where.

The Four UK Dates are as follows :

Friday 19 October       The Garage London
Saturday 20 October   Brudenell Social Club Leeds
Sunday 21 October     King Tut's Wah Wah Hut
Tuesday 23 October   The Deaf Institute Manchester

The band then head off to Germany and Scandinavia to complete the Tour. You can find tour dates and buy tickets here. The splendid Omnivore label has reissued the three Geffen albums as double disc editions. Two have been released, Amazing Disgrace is coming up very shortly.

You can find details and tracklisting in the following links :

Frosting On The Beater

Dear 23

Amazing Disgrace

The albums are also available at all the usual retail emporiums.

Saturday, 6 October 2018

Upcoming Release Dates

One of the things that has been mentioned most to me over the past few months are Release Date Notifications. Reviewers usually get albums well in advance, but are then in a quandry as to when to review. I used to go close to the release date, but others like to go early.

With this in mind, it has become increasingly difficult for buyers to find out when albums are coming out and at times where to find them. Gone are the days you could just look on the likes of Amazon or before the internet, the music press.

There's also many musicians that have been bemoaning recent changes to Facebook that mean algorithms miss out most of their potential audience. This is particularly prevalent to gigs and album release dates.

So every Friday, there will be an Album Release Date post, telling you what is out that date and what is due in the next three months in Week Order. Music and it's medium of delivery has become so fragmented in the last decade, that it makes sense to do this. You won't find the latest Ed Sheeran or Kanye West nonsense here. It will be limited to the type of music IDHAS covers. As well as telling you when it is out, you will also be informed of whre it can be bought or listened to.

Any artist wishing to be included, who has a release within the upcoming 13 weeks can contact me by email, Facebook, Twitter etc. Those who live nearer can use pigeon or whippet. Details are on the Top Right Hand Side of the Blog. I spot a lot, but it's always best to contact me as a double check. I will also be contacting certain labels to mention the idea to them, if they want to add their roster. ALL OF THIS IS FREE AS ALWAYS.

Reviews will be back after the weekend and I thought it worthwhile to mention why there is a backlog. It's a combination of inside and outside factors. People who are close already know. It's a mixture of an unexpected recurrence of a health issue which now should be hopefully sorted and the expansion of I Don't Hear A Single.

The latter has taken far longer than expected as these things always seem to. I will tell everyone in full when all is signed and sealed. I can tell you that IDHAS is becoming a Record Label and Distributor (Physical and Download) and a 2 hour Radio Show with Interviews, Sessions, Chat and of course music. I'm also half way through a book that will be released next year.