Wednesday, 21 August 2019

I Don't Hear A Single Facebook Page



Just a quick note that an IDHAS Facebook page has been set up and from the weekend, all Facebook Promo from the Blog will go from there. That will separate my own Facebook Page, which isn't Public, from I Don't Hear A Single.

People have asked for a standalone page for a while and I've always resisted, thinking what's the point. We have the Facebook Group, but that's more of a collective for the community than a stand alone thing. My own Facebook page was constantly hitting the 5,000 limit.

You can follow IDHAS on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/idonthearasingle or by typing @idonthearasingle. At the weekend, I will remove my Facebook page from the Blog Info here and replace it with the group page. You may also get a like request for the new Blog Page.

This will allow Facebook Friends to have IDHAS separated out somewhat and so we can keep up current topics of Hipsters, What Is Power Pop, Is it Boss and Top Tips in the usual hilarious manner. The I Don't Hear A Single Facebook Group continues as it always was.

Last night, I went through the mind numbing process of deleting Deactivated Facebook Friends, so there's now 80 or so spaces for anyone who wants to friend request and join in the fun.

These announcements seem so po faced and up myself that I'll try and hold them off. The next one should be in a month or so to tell you about the new IDHAS label, saw the potential website today and it's ace and the pilots are being recorded for the new talky radio show,



Friday, 16 August 2019

I Don't Hear A Single Audio Extravaganza Volume 77





After all the misty eyes remembering the better bit of Brit Pop last time, we return to normality with Volume 77. We look to regain our Mixcloud Global Indie  Chart spot and with that in mind, the extra week's prep has helped enormously.

It's a monster set this time round. 24 Extra-ordinarily fine selections. The playlist is below and will also be in the comments section of the Mixcloud page. It's never about us, but please like or favourite Volume 77. Remember we use Mixcloud because Royalties are paid to artists, not to us.

You can listen to the previous IDHAS Audio Extravaganzas on Mixcloud here.

Thanks as always to Jim for his technical excellence.


01  Fangclub - Nightmare
02  The Junior League - Have Faith In Yourself
03  Sundial Symphony - Merri Goes Round
04  Escondido - Crush On Her
05  Out Of My Hair - Safe Boy
06  Spinn - Believe It Or Not
07  Jordan Jones - Rumors Girls
08  The Anderson Council (With Peter Noone) - Mrs Kirkbys Refrigerator
09  The Lunar Laugh - Welcome To The World
10  Cagework - 23
11  Young Guv - Roll With Me
12  The Mommyheads - Mutual Enemy
13  Only Shadows - Cowboys
14  Erk - Taking My Time
15  Papernut Cambridge - Buckminster Fullerene
16  The Successful Failures - No White Knight In Knoxville
17  Local Drags - Plot Holes
18  The Pop Cycle - Part Of The Crowd
19  The Vicious Cycles - Life Insurance
20  The Vapour Trails - Godspeed It
21  The Galileo 7 - Too Late
22  Ryan Soanes - Hot Girls
23  Råttanson - Small Venue Concerts
24  William Wesley Bullock - Losing The Thread



IDHAS Volume 77 Mixcloud Link 



Wednesday, 14 August 2019

The Magic E's - Dead Star



Norwich Trio. The Magic E's follow up 2017's excellent debut album, It Goes On, with Dead Star ad this feels like the breakthrough offering. The production is big, the choruses are big and all 8 songs sound incredibly radio friendly.

The two opening songs set out the agenda, both Everybody Knows and the wonderful, Into The Fading Light are storming Blue Collar, get up on your feet joys. That's not to say that the album is front loaded because any of these ten songs cut the mustard.







On the recent Volume of the IDHAS Audio Extravaganza which reached the Mixcloud Indie Global Chart, Into The Fading Light got most attention and rightly so, but The Magic E's are no one trick pony.The sound is very US friendly, at times it's hard to believe that these three aren't Yanks.

Someone Like You has a Stones Vibe, but maybe if Mick Jagger was backed by a New Wave band. I can envisage comparisons with The Killers, certainly production wise, but the album isn't as shouty and far more melodic.







It's been a while that I've been so impressed by something so commercial. But Dead Star is so damn likeable, it's a wall of sound, but not Kitchen Sink, the hooks are big and the whole thing sounds fully formed. This is a great album.

You can buy the CD now or pre order the download for it's release date of 6 September here.



........

The Total Rejection - Everybody Knows What You Don't Know



I think that after three years of IDHAS, that beneath the poptastic big choruses, the true love of my life is Psych, particularly with a tinge of Pop. I know I don't cover it enough on here, I have no idea why. The Total Rejection only border on Pop, but the Psych is wonderfully accessible.

Released on Bristol's splendid Raving Pop Blast label, this follow up to Wrapping Yourself In Silver Foil Won't Save You From The Blast shows the band growing, particularly Arthur Andrew Jarrett. AAJ seems to be involved in most things West Country Psych.







Where as the debut was a bit rough and ready, this follow up seems more fully formed, it knows what it wants to do and goes off and does it. It hints a lot at The Creation, but is probably nearer a modern day version of The Seeds.

The roots may be in the second half of the Tune In Sixties, but the feel is a far more modern Garage Rock. This is dirty Psych. There are pop sentiments here, but it's more good old Rock and Roll that's trying to get out.






Such is the vibe on all 13 songs, that any could be chosen to recommend. This an album to be listened from start to finish, This isn't mess with your mind music, but it's definitely make sure you know where you are. It's an absolute blast.







You can listen to and buy the album here.


....

Tuesday, 13 August 2019

The Junior League - Adventureland



Any album from Joe Adragna's The Junior League is worth the admission, but Adventureland is a revelation. 2005's Debut Album, Catchy, remains in my Top 10 Power Pop albums of the 21st Century and this sounds every bit as good and could well be better.

The 80's is a decade that I like to beat about the head with a wet fish. But when you hear an album like this, you remember that there was some great Guitar Pop amongst the make up and Casio keyboards. If it were the 80's, this album would sell oodles.







From the opener Heavy with it's Tom Petty Teen Flick Film Soundtrack feel to the closing rock out, Adventureland At Night. this one joy of an album. 10 songs, 28 minutes, say what you've gotta say and move. So good that you can play the album twice in an hour.

Have Faith In Yourself could be on ELO's Time album with it's The Cars like synth run. Everybody Wants To Play is a rocked up version of The Knack. Town In A Box just doesn't let up and The Buggles like backing on the splendid Falling In Love rounds of an absolute gem of a song.







No More is US New Wave Punk at it's best. Most of these songs could have been on an 80's Teen Movie, all ten could be singles. It really looks like Power Pop is back and without doubt, Adventureland is a contender for IDHAS's Album Of The Year. This album just doesn't settle down  for one moment. This is simply poptastic!







You can listen to and buy the download here.  The CD is on Ray Gianchetti's top notch Kool Kat label here.


.......

Papa Schmapa - Bela Mystic Music




New York's Joe DelVecchio has written a superb album, not one necessarily associated with New York or I Don't Hear A Single. Bela Mystic Music, named after his long time Band Name, is a cracking listen that changes tempo seamlessly.

DelVecchio shares Vocals with Elysia Cristantello and the voices blend beautifully, whether together or apart. The former's laid back vocal works well with the variations, adapting easily to Country, Pop and Rock, often reminding me of Gerry Rafferty.








Cristantello's range is admirable, she can belt a song out and then sound suitably mellow on a song like Long Road, which is Jacqui Abbott to a tee, There is also some splendid Lead Guitar from Dave Profeta who is equally at ease with a blistering Electric solo or gentle acoustic riffs.

The joint vocals will obviously provoke Fleetwood Mac comparisons, but in all honesty, the album heads off in more different directions. Acoustically, the feel is very Country, even Americana. Electrically more Southern Rock or West Coast. The two vocalists also aid this variety, allowing Gentle Pop to mix with Country Rock.








Star is so damn catchy, whilst Blame is great 70's UK or US Pop Rock with a great joint vocal. Erase The Trace leans on a Blues Rock Riff, Precious Time could be Blondie and In The End hits a real easy listening West Coast groove.

The songs are chosen from throughout Joe's career, although you couldn't tell that. Brian Moore's Production can't be praised highly enough, this is no twopenneth affair. Bela Mystic Music is a smashing listen, a sit back and enjoy affair. It's well worth your pennies.







You can listen to the album here. The album is available from the likes of Amazon here and available on the likes of Spotify, Apple Music and Google Play. CDs can be ordered at @joedelvecchio@yahoo.com.



....................

Monday, 12 August 2019

The Anderson Council - Worlds Collide



The Anderson Council follow up 2016's splendid Assorted Colours with Worlds Collide. You can read the IDHAS Review of Assorted Colours here. In a career that has hit the two decade mark, every album has moved one step further and this album is exceptional.

For those not in the loop. the quartet specialise in late 60's Psych Pop, with the emphasis on Pop. It's this Guitar Pop that marks them out at the best in the field. I love the genre, but I don't see anyone better covering Psych around.

Let's get this clear first of all, Worlds Collide is absolutely stunning. It's a must purchase and it's a certain Top 5 End Of Year and something special is going to have to go some to beat in. All of what fans would expect is here, but there's so much more.






There are two different versions of Mrs Kirkby's Refrigerator. The first is a wonderful slice of Flower Pop, the second features Peter Noone and is a ringer for Early Bowie and then you get a superb guitar solo. These surprises are everywhere though.

Your Devices is great Pop Rock, a cross between UK New Wave and Carl Wayne era Move. How Much How Long verges on Chinn-Chapman Glam Rock and there's a Space Oddity Bowie feel to Lads And Lasses.

Gentleman is very Small Faces and Grey Heavenly Lane is breezes by, including a stunning Guitar Solo. Lyrically excellent, there is no major departure here, it's just that the songwriting that gets better and better. Peter Horvath may very well be The Earl Of Psych Pop, I certainly would argue the case.

You can buy and listen to Worlds Collide here.


.....

I Don't See It On Facebook



I've been asked about it a fair bit, so I thought I would explain why IDHAS doesn't promote on Facebook as much now. The simple fact is that it doesn't have the reach that it used to, blame algorithms, volume of friends, adverts, whatever you like, but it simply doesn't. I'd noticed that likes and comments had been declining considerably.

I Don't Hear A Single has never been about me, but about the artists who are reviewed. At first, I thought it may be that IDHAS needed refreshing. Three Years in and it has evolved, but everything only lasts so long. So I looked at ways to correct this and talked to lots of Bloggers who were witnessing the same.

Facebook wise, algorithms came up a lot. but although likes and comments weren't massively down, it was always the same people who made the effort. Personally, I was also getting fed up of the Power Pop forums. Firstly because of the But Is It Power Pop rubbish, but also seeing the same promotional posts on a dozen different forums was making me lose interest.

I was also getting well pissed off with Bloggers who post 20 times a day, largely talking about themselves. So I looked at a way to ensure that artists reviews were seen without relying on Facebook. I will still promote a review on Facebook, but one may be on my timeline, another on the IDHAS Facebook Group. I'd also do a tagging on the forums of reviews of the previous week in one post.






Facebook can still be relevant, but the way round growing support for the artist is by fans or friends of the band linking the review in their Facebook posts, that will beat the algorithm and general noise. This is not a promotion attempt, it's a suggestion on behalf of the artists that IDHAS covers.

Without this getting boring, Google Analytics was revealed to me. Now I know that most of you will say yeah right on the benefits of such and I would have too. But having been taught the basics, I've seen the light. I don't recommend all running into Google's arms, it takes some getting used to, but it's free.

Since using Google Analytics, I've seen Blog Readership increase greatly and what is even better, the majority is in reading older reviews. I was always concerned about Readers bothering with Reviews when they drop off the Front Page. That's why the Most Popular Posts section was introduced. So I now have the best of both worlds, people are supporting the artists and finding a greater section of them.

The greatest example of this are the two Supernaturals Posts. Numbers keep going up and up, yet only 15% are from Social Media. So in summary, I'm not trying to promote Google or look that bright. I'm just explaining why I don't promote as much on Social Media. It's also a bonus not continually reading supposed Facebook Artist reviews when most of the content is about the writer.


The Vapour Trails - See You In The Next World




Another example of a fine UK band on an equally fine label reveals itself with the long awaited release of The Vapour Trails debut album. Futureman Records just seems an ideal fit for the Aberdeen five piece.

In just 10 days, the CD has sold out and I hung back with this review, because the album was getting so much attention. See You In The Next World is a jangling fest of an album. Tight Harmonies and the jingling riffs make this album, a joy to listen.







Particularly with the Scots connection, there will be plenty of comparisons with the mellower side of Teenage Fanclub. This isn't really fair, it's onlike you'd make a connection with TFC and The Byrds, it's there but only only partially.

This feels much more Californian, late sixties laid back Rock. There's a Tom Petty vibe at times, even early Eagles, but it's that Jangle that hooks you completely. There is of course, plenty of Jangle Pop around at the moment, but none of it as good as this.







See You In The Next World excels best when it ventures into Psych Pop on the title track and The Inner Truth. The band though are equally comfortable around the campfire on Written In The Breeze. Sonic Wave could be on the White Album.

The killer song here is the magnificent, Godspeed It, but the whole album is a joy to listen to. This is one of the best debut albums that I've heard this year. Well done The Vapour Trails and well done (yet again) Futureman!







You can listen to and buy the album here.


....

Jordan Jones - Jordan Jones



Before we get on to the splendid Jordan Jones album, I'd like to pay a tribute to Sweden's Beluga Records. Trevor Gallant has been a beacon of light in a dark UK and European Guitar scene. It's the likes of Beluga and You Are The Cosmos and a buoyant Spanish scene that seems to be pushing the water uphill at the moment.

Without this being about IDHAS, although I still remain gobsmacked at the success of the Blog, I feel equally frustrated at the UK and most of Europe in the neglect of Guitar Pop. There's a real lack of celebration of the new and the past two decades. Beluga are an exception and we need more like them.






Jordan Jones is from Los Angeles, another city that once feasted on Live Music and his debut album is outstanding. This is partly because it's great to hear proper Power Pop and this album is celebration of the genre in all it's lo-fi glory.

That's not to say that this self titled album is straight from the bedroom. The production on the likes of Rumors Girl is top notch, but the priority here seems to be to offer up all that is best in Power Pop. Great Hooks, big choruses and plenty of jangle.







There's never been a better time for songs about both Falling In and Lost Love. The album gives you ten of such songs in 28 blissful minutes. There are reminders here from the last five and a half decades of Guitar Pop. From Merseybeat, through UK and US New Wave to the reformation of the early 90's and on to present day.

Power Pop has been lost in arguments about what is and what isn't for too long. This may be the album to shake people out of this nonsense and to realise what a great scene it can be. The year has waited for this and let it be the opening for the great stuff yet to be released this year.







You can listen to and buy the album here. The Vinyl is available at Beluga here.


....

Sunday, 11 August 2019

Strange Ranger - Remembering The Rockets



Strange Ranger have certainly evolved. From those Dinosaur Jr. loving days of Sioux Falls to this, the band's third album. Through these Strange Ranger adventures, the sound has developed to the point where they feel much more like a UK Band than their Montana roots.

The previous album, Daymoon hinted at the sound, but was more DIY. Remembering The Rockets is fully formed and sounds wonderful. This album sounds very second half of the 80's Glasgow. The Scots scene seems really influential at present, but this is not like the TFC soundalikes. There's a meandering gentleness to it all.






There's a wonderful laid back feel to the album. The band hit a riff and let it linger in your mind. They are never gonna rock yer socks off, they don't want to. They want you sit in your easy chair and relax and let the album wash over you.

That's not to say that this is all easy listening. The upbeat warmth of Sunday, could be one of the best songs this year and Leona is splendid 60's Beat Pop. But this, more than anything, is an album to be listened to from start to finish. You'll be glad you did.





You can listen to and buy the album here.


....

The Taylor Machine - Hometown Advantage



The Taylor Machine are a quartet from Tulsa, no 24 Hours puns please, and their second album, Hometown Advantage is now available to the world. The Multi Vocalists make them hard to pin down, but there is no doubt that this is great Pop.

There is nothing complex about these 12 songs. there isn't meant to be, there is great variety though. Hometown Advantage is an incredibly upbeat album and with the world melee and weather that surrounds me presently, this is exactly what is needed,






Comparisons are many, I keep thinking of The Rubinoos, particularly on Kassandra. At times, the album has a comic strip vibe or even a late 50's Teen movie vibe. Haven't said that you can also hear the twee of Glasgow 80's Pop and Lloyd Cole, but I do keep coming back to The Rubinoos.

The arrangements are simple, but change direction easily and there are some fine vocal harmonies. Punching Bag could be They Might Be Giants, there's a surf feeling on Music Is Magic. Tropical on Lover Not Love.







The album works best when the band stretch out, Punching Bag is suitably noisier, yet Sara is a corking song and has an infectious drawl. The Taylor Machine have fashioned up a fine uncomplicated pop album. The gentle arrangements won't suit all, but they bloody well should do.







The album is available everywhere. You can listen to the album here.


.....

Monday, 5 August 2019

Fangclub - Vulture Culture



Dublin Trio Fangclub offer up their second album and as expected, it's a noisy affair. The debut album was reviewed by some as melodic grunge. which wasn't really the case. I guess those lazy reviews will call the follow up the dreaded sophomore word. Again that isn't the case.

Vulture Culture is a real advance, particularly in the instrumentation and arrangements. The lyrics are still dark, but the choruses are more prevalent. Nightmare is a real sing along joy, that chorus is almost Power Pop. It is an absolute gem of a song.







There will be some comparisons with Muse and there are glimpses as the three piece can get suitably heavy. However there isn't the self indulgence and po faced seriousness associated with Muse, nor the Science Fiction nonsense. There is also far more melody.

Steven King is a fine vocalist, bringing an easy listen to some really dark lyrics. As a trio, the band connect admirably and this results in 11 coherent songs. This feels like a proper album and should be listened to in it's entirety.






Having said that it's hard not to pull out individual songs. Hesitations is meandering heaviness, All I Have is almost Pop Punk and the title track is more foot tapping excellence. Vulture Club is a great album, fist pumping, yet at times, incredibly gentle.







You can buy the album everywhere, including the band's website here.


..........


The Lunar Laugh - Goodnight Noises Everywhere



I'm a big fan of Oklahoma's The Lunar Laugh. I covered their second album. Mama's Boy here. There is a marked change on this third album. Without losing what they are good at, the band have grown considerably and it works beautifully.

Goodnight Noises Everywhere feels much more of a band album. The Three Part Harmonies are considerable and wonderfully done. So where Mama's Boy felt much more like a UK album, particularly the upbeat songs, this album feels much more American.







The changes aren't massive, just far more focused. A band can be damned if they do, damned if they don't. Stay the same and everything sounds the same. Change and it isn't what fans are used to and there's a reaction. The Lunar Laugh have got it spot on. Things aren't the same, but they haven't moved too far.

Welcome To The World is a corking opening song, a sort of reminder of what they've done before, but as the album progresses, those harmonies really kick in and you realise how much work has gone into making this album such a joy to listen to.








They had about two dozen songs to work with and narrowing that down to 10 has concentrated on the quality. There isn't a duff song here. The arrangements are sharper and the solos don't seem out of place. The album moves seamlessly between Pop Rock and West Coast Easy Listening. Another Casualty is ace with it's laid back feel.

At times, there is a Singer Songwriter vibe. You Remember Me is classic AOR Ballad material. Overall though, the Power Pop of recent times has been put on the Back Burner, there's more of a concentration on the complexity of the songs.








The album is built more on feel and touch than the simplicity of Guitar Pop. There's also plenty of variance. Waiting For A Sign finds very 80's, whilst you are grabbed by the aching Waiting For A Sign is really moving.

By The Light Of The Living Mood is the sing along stand out and I love what the band have done with the closer, Saying Goodbye, which is a Finale with bits of what's gone before, similar to a Classical Music Encore. Throughout I'm reminded a lot of bands like The Legal Matters and The Explorer's Club with the vocal dexterity.








Goodnight Noises Everywhere is an outstanding album. One of my favourites of the year so far. You can listen to and buy the download here. It's all supported by two great labels for the physical version. The Vinyl is on the You Are The Cosmos here. The CD is on the Kool Kat label here. You can find out more about the band here.


.....

Saturday, 3 August 2019

I Don't Hear A Single Audio Extravaganza Volume 76 (Brit Pop Special)



Thanks to everyone who got the Audio Extravaganza into The Mixcloud Global Indie Chart for the second consecutive episode. This week's offering is a blast from the past and it's felt really strange, listening to songs that I haven't pulled out for quite some time.

I am critical of Brit Pop at times. It has allowed the generation after mine to become the same "all new music is crap" brigade. All of course nonsense! Brit Pop though was the last real movement before the Internet spread it's tentacles.

This Volume isn't a History Of Brit Pop and given the IDHAS Spin, you won't see the likes of Oasis, Pulp and Blur. It's 18 songs from the time that I think still stand up as great songs and would be if they were recorded in 1964, 1994 or 2019.

Following comments, I have been alerted that Mixcloud doesn't show the playlist. I hadn't realised this as I see it when I log in. Mixcloud insists that the songs are mixed continuously, hence being unable to tag indvidual songs. Until a proper solution is found, I will put the playlist in the comments each week.

The playlist details are on here and by clicking the Mixcloud tab. You can listen to the previous IDHAS Audio Extravaganzas on Mixcloud here.

Thanks as always to Jim for his technical excellence. The playlist is as follows  :


01  Bernard Butler - Not Alone
02  Dodgy - Making The Most Of
03  Silver Sun - I'll See You Around
04  Orange - Judy Over The Rainbow
05  Superstar - Superstar
06  Nick Heyward - Carry On Loving
07  Cast - Fine Time
08  Derrero - Radar Intruder
09  Ian McNabb - They Settled For Less Than They Wanted
10  Alisha's Attic - The Incidentals
11  The Supernaturals - The Day Before Yesterday's Man
12  Teenage Fanclub - Sparky's Dream
13  Northern Uproar - Anyway You Look
14  Silverheel - No One Can Bring Her Down
15  Lightning Seeds - Change
16  Terrorvision - Oblivion
17  Octopus - Your Smile
18  Captain Sensible - Missing The Boat



IDHAS Volume 76 Mixcloud Link 



Monday, 29 July 2019

John Howard - Cut The Wire



It's been really remiss of me to take until now to review John Howard's 16th album that was released earlier this year on the splendid You Are The Cosmos label. I'm a big fan of the man as you can tell from my review of his last album, Across The Door Sill, here.

So with the Digital release of the album coming up, a week today, I'm now given the opportunity of finally extolling the virtues of a wonderful album. I compare Howard to Ian Hunter a lot. Both are very different artists, but both have aged gracefully and are producing exceptional recent albums, which are very different from what they became famous for.

John has never stood still from his early days comparisons as a Man With A Piano and the endless Elton John comparisons to the modern day reflective Singer Songwriter tag that he masters with ease. Cut The Wire doesn't disappoint. It's beautifully written and performed.






The album isn't as deep as Across The Door Sill, but the mellowness doesn't bury the knack of his songwriting. Here, he seems far more pensive, but at the same time, very optimistic. Keep Going Angel is an absolute singalong joyous affair and stands up with anything that he's produced. All this whilst in the fifth decade of his career.

The exception to this positiveness is the magnificent Becoming, the song can bring a tear to the eye, particularly relevant to an old cynic such as I. Cut The Wire, as a title track, is also incredibly moving and this is counter balanced by the jauntiness of Idiot Days.






We Are is McCartney ballad territory and Long Since is pure Al Stewart. The song craft here is gobsmacking in it's splendour. There's a lot of admiration for 70's Singer Songwriters, but the few who still perform are largely on Greatest Hits Tours.

I defy any of these peers to write an album as good as this and to be as relevant. It would be easy for John Howard to dine out on occasional performances of Kid In A Big World. Why the hell should he, when he still writes albums as good as this?






Cut The Wire will be available on all Digital and Streaming Platforms from Monday 5 August. It can be pre-ordered now on I-Tunes here.

A special mention should also be given to You Are The Cosmos, a fantastic label that supports some incredible artists and keeps Physical Copies of Music alive. You can still order the CD from them here.


.....

Sunday, 28 July 2019

Charlie Rebel - The People's Republic Of Earth



Having avoided the Power Pop forums for quite a while because of the endless Is It Power Pop rubbish from people who don't own an album that was released in the last two decades, this is Power Pop. I see this splendid debut album described as Punk by many. Well if so, it's not as we know it.

It's lovely to hear such an upbeat album from and Australian band, it's a country that seems to have gone quiet recently, particularly Guitar bands. Charlie Rebel offer up a real chirpiness couched in the lyrics of political discontentment.






There is plenty here to enjoy. There are hints of Pop Punk, even ska on Do You Know, but the feel is very melodic pop with hints of the UK New Wave. Deja Vu has a Funk vibe and Uncommon Law is tribal, but all in all, this is great Guitar Pop, delivered at pace.

The likes of Chutzo Creature and Sleepless Minds are built on big riffs and singalong choruses. Hooligans is a ringer for early Cheap Trick. The People's Republic Of Earth is great Power Pop and yes, it's OK to call it that. This Queensland Trio have done well.






You can listen to and buy the album here.


...

Cagework - Cagework


I'm constantly bemoaning the lack of a proper UK Scene, it's become so regional and the dearth of great guitar bands breaking through because of it. Well, the London Trio, Cagework, are an exception to the rule.

Imagine if those first two XTC albums without Barry Andrews and you've got a fair idea of the rooms that Cagework inhabit. Sam Bedford masters the Andy Partridge part wonderfully well, mixing the shouty whilst the melody springs up around him.






You'd call the self titled debut a mini album, seven songs in just over 15 minutes, but not one second is wasted. Although, the first single of the album, Wilson, is splendidly direct, it's deeper into the offering that you discover the real beauty and charm of the band.

There's a touch of melancholy present and the guitar is admiringly angular, but the songs shine through. 23 is a monster of a song, Trust has a killer riff and Valuables is slowed down Psych Pop. It's a long time that I've been so impressed by something new.







I can't recommend the album highly enough.  You can buy and listen to the album by following one of the links here.


....

Saturday, 27 July 2019

I Don't Hear A Single Audio Extravaganza Volume 75



After all the excitement of Volume 74 attaining the dizzy heights of the Mixcloud Global Indie Chart, here's Number 75, hoping to repeat the same. 21 corking songs to get those toes tapping.

Following comments, I have been alerted that Mixcloud doesn't show the playlist. I hadn't realised this as I see it when I log in. Mixcloud insists that the songs are mixed continuously, hence being unable to tag indvidual songs. Until a proper solution is found, I will put the playlist in the comments each week.

The playlist details are on here and by clicking the Mixcloud tab. You can listen to the previous IDHAS Audio Extravaganzas on Mixcloud here.

Thanks as always to Jim for his technical excellence. The playlist is as follows  :


01 Remo Drive - Two Bux
02 Mannequin Pussy - Drunk II
03 Anton Barbeau - don'tforgettogetyourfingerwet
04 Custard Flux - Cirque D’enfant
05 The Vapour Trails - Shatter The Sky
06 The Magic Es - Into The Fading Light
07 Lost Ships - Best Laid Plans
08 Tiny Fighter - Tell Me
09 The Armoires - When We Were In England (And You Were Dead)
10 Criminal Hygiene - Private Screening Heroin
11 Kaiser And The Machines Of Creation - Blown Away
12 The Junior League - Adventureland At Night
13 Scott Gagner - Baby Gets What Baby Wants
14 Hurricane #1 - Ordinary Summer
15 Ummagma - Blown
16 Broken Down Golf Cart - Full Hotel Weekend
17 Good Days - Blue
18 Dz Deathrays - Still No Change
19 Redd Kross - What's A Boy To Do
20 The Morning Line - Nostradamus
21 Chris Von Sneidern - Grow Up & Start Having Fun



IDHAS Volume 75 Mixcloud Link 



Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Local Drags - Shit's Lookin' Up!



I'm a big fan of Starter Jacket's Decisions album from last year and Lanny Durbin and Matt Sailor are present here in the offshoot, Local Drags. Where as Starter Jackets leaned more on 80's Power Pop with plenty of Pop Punk. Local Drags are far more straight ahead.

There will be comparisons with The Replacements, aren't there always, but Shit's Lookin' Up nods more towards the likes of Cheap Trick. They are at their best when the pace quickens up, Trash Bones being an obvious example.






Plot Holes is classic FM material, a real guitar-athon, even the slowed down Metal Guitar Winter has a mini Guitar orchestra. Plot Holes is the real gem here, it's classic Power Pop, very 70's New Wave, in fact wonderfully so.

Overall there's a real 70's feel here and the album is Ramones like in it's say what you've got to say and move on to the next song. 10 songs, 22 and a half minutes and get the next album out. This is a really impressive debut and begs the question of which band has more legs. Perhaps a mixture of both is the answer.







You can listen to and buy the album here.


...

Mannequin Pussy - Patience



Mannequin Pussy's third album still as some of the shoutiness, but beneath the noise, there is a tenderness itching to get out. The Philadelphia quartet certainly have the chops needed to break out and in Singer, Marisa Dabice, the band has an exceptional Front Woman.

There will be comparisons to the likes of Garbage, but the feel is far more Catatonia, particularly on High Horse. Those Cerys Matthews comparisons continue on Who Are You, although it sounds more like a Sleeper song.







Who Are You also has a wonderful change of pace part way through, it's a gem of a song. Fans of the previous up and at 'em direction, fear not there's still plenty here for you. F.U.C.A.W. is pure attitude. But it's those melodic moments that shine through most.

Drunk II, Patience and In Love Again are just oozing with charm, built on Riffs, they'll easily translate into Live faves. The one concern for newer listeners is that there is marked difference between the noisier rants and the calmer song structures. Get over that, there's plenty here to love.






You can listen to and buy the album here.


......

Monday, 22 July 2019

It's Not Just About Mop Tops And Hipsters



The Liverpool Live Scene is incredibly frustrating at the moment. There were some interesting points made over the weekend by my good friend, Anthony Loman, about how Manchester has a far more diverse Live offering than Liverpool. It's not about the number of venues, because there's not a lot in it, it's about who is appearing at the venues. Before people have a go at Anthony, he lives in Liverpool. Likewise, people may accuse me of pining for the old days, but remember I primarily write about the new, so why would I naturally want to become nostalgic.

There are these rose tinted glasses wearers who will stand for no criticism of the city and don't get me wrong, it has improved. I remember days of being frightened of walking under the Lime Street Subway and not straying off the beaten path. Like many cities, we have some fine venues here that are under utilised, the days of The Royal Court and Liverpool Empire filling up for gigs are gone and you sense that bands only play the Liverpool Arena because they can't sell out the Manchester version.

Liverpool has become a weekend tourist city, it's the tacky hen party reputation that excels and musically it is caught between two stools. There is Mathew Street and its Beatles Tourism. Endless Merseybeat and its I Love You, Yes I Do repeated nonsense and getting pissed during the extended happy hour drinks prices. Both of these enhance Liverpool's reputation as the British Benidorm. Bands that want to play The Cavern when it isn't the actual Cavern. Then there is the scene away from the Fab Four. A world of hipsters.

These hipsters would have you believe that music began with Brit Pop and will rant if Oasis are beaten in a poll by The Beatles. They worship at the throne of Steve Lamacq, as though he was ever responsible for anything breakthrough. Instead of realising that Brit Pop ended with the atrocious Be Here Now album, an album that became last years copy of FIFA within a year, they celebrate it as a masterpiece and Liam Gallagher as the only living legend. Anyone who criticises this view is an old fart.

These are the people who are driving the current Live Scene which is mediocre to say the least. The venues are not well attended because frankly the offering is poor. True, I may be at an age where I've seen a lot and so can compare bands to previous decades, but I've never done that. I'm not anti Brit Pop, quite the opposite, but I am anti Oasis, because they just don't deserve the adulation. I left school as the second Liverpool Wave was taking hold and it was a joyous time, frightening but exhilarating. I don't wish I was born earlier or later.

I'm a Beatles fan, but not in a blinkered way, I remember watching the All You Need Is Love Telecast because of the excitement around, but as a four year old, details are sketchy. But I discovered The Beatles fully by going backwards, encouraged by my Dad. That second Merseybeat Liverpool era encouraged that, it wasn't trying to smash the system, it encouraged you to discover the old as well as celebrating the new. You made so many lifelong friends, new people all the time, it wasn't, as it is now, about being in a gang and liking the same thing, it was about enjoying music.

What amazes me now is that we don't celebrate that 77 - 93 scene, it's almost forgotten. I'm sure that a line up of three of the bands would sell out the Liverpool Venues. It seems a forgotten era and it was a fantastic melodic time. It was a dire time in the city, but these bands gave people hope and something to believe in. It wasn't about taking photos at the gig, what food you had before was irrelevant and everything wasn't Boss.

These bands wouldn't be seen dead at a Rewind Festival, but they are still around or easy to reform and they wipe the floor with the current scene. They didn't mingle with the fans, they didn't need to, it wasn't about celebrity, it was about Music. I underline that I don't yearn for those times again, I just despair at what the Liverpool has become, music wise. It's time to look at the reasons why people don't attend gigs, not just blame them for a lack of taste. There are a lot of things fighting for people's money, the music offering has to be enticing, it isn't at the moment.



Thursday, 18 July 2019

Anton Barbeau - Berliner Grotesk




I've been a fan of Anton Barbeau for more years than I'd care to remember and those who have known me for a while will know exactly why. The musical spectrum that he covers coincides with my own tastes. Despite all the jangling chords here, my true love is Psych, particularly of the pop variety.

Barbeau is from Sacremento, but lives in Berlin and you can tell that in the songs present here. The Pop is bursting to get out. yet the undercurrent is more mechanical, dripping with Psych. A great example is Baby Can I Hold You, a pop masterpiece in the making.







His connections show both his range and his influence. Colin Moulding, Kimberley Rew, The Bevis Frond and Scott Miller. His 2006 album with the latter, What If It Works? is a masterpiece. He also produced Allyson Second's splendid Little World. You can read that review here.

Then there is the associations with the likes of Mystery Lawn Music, You Are The Cosmos and Big Stir. You get the full scope of his variety on Berliner Grotesk. The chaotic Love Song that is the title track, with it's fairground darkness to the Beatle-esque closer that is Boxcat Blues.








There are a thousand ideas here , all fashioning up bizarre visions with the lyrical excellence. Then there is the fantastic, don'tforgettogetyourfingerwet, one of the best songs that I've heard all year, hints of Robyn Hitchcock in a Chinn And Chapman frame.

Here, more than any other Anton Barbeau album, the base is great Pop. There are the usual fine Psych journeys. but it's the melody that springs out. 11 songs in a magical half hour, this a cracking listen and highly recommended to all.







You can listen to and buy the album here. You can find out more about Anton Barbeau here.


...

Wednesday, 17 July 2019

Super Low - Super Low



Memphis Five piece, Super Low have released their self titled album and it is poptastic. The album feels just right for the Summer, it's really chipper, however there is far more inside than just songs for the Beach.

There's a real Glasgow Pop feel to the whole thing and that Brit feel continues with song titles such as Brighton and Lancaster. IDHAS is normally largely about the Guitar and although there is plenty here, the songs are based more on keyboard runs.






On first run through, I was reminded a lot of China Crisis, although repeated listens reveal far more instrumental depth in the songs. The Jangle of Along underlines just how easy the whole album is to listen, it's a crackerjack of a song.

Hook after hook enhances some fine choruses, Super Low don't go for the throat, they rely on songs becoming real earworms and achieve this with many of these 10 compositions. This is great great pop. This album is certainly going to feature in the end of year Best Ofs.







I'm often accused of not paying enough attention to UK Bands, that was never the intention, but being honest, the scene here has become too London-centric and the Blog following is 80% non UK. My reply to UK comments is to say make an album as good as this and it'll be covered.

Beginners has a Nick Heyward stomp, Wasp A Needle is classic UK Indie and Runners Up has a yee haw undertone. Unlimited Data is a reminder of ace pop from the likes of Lightning Seeds, Dodgy and The Bluetones. The band even master the Brit Pop anthem with Silver.








Ten outstanding offerings await you here. Super Low is a splendid affair. I can't recommend it highly enough. You can listen to and buy the album here.


.....

Monday, 15 July 2019

I Don't Hear A Single Audio Extravaganza Volume 74



Another Edition of the Ear Tingling Delectation that is I Don't Hear A Single's recommended current must listens. One Classic Track and 20 new ones.

Following comments, I have been alerted that Mixcloud doesn't show the playlist. I hadn't realised this as I see it when I log in. Mixcloud insists that the songs are mixed continuously, hence being unable to tag indvidual songs. Until a proper solution is found, I will put the playlist in the comments each week.

The playlist details are on here and by clicking the Mixcloud tab. You can listen to the previous IDHAS Audio Extravaganzas on Mixcloud here.

All these gems are awaiting your attention. The playlist is as follows  :


01 Cotton Mather - 40 Watt Solution
02 The Hold Steady - Epaulets
03 Minor Poet - Tropic of Cancer
04 Hi-Ranger - I'll Never Know
05 39th & The Nortons - 21.01
06 Skids - Animation (Acoustic)
07 Sewage Farm - Misery Loves Company
08 Sugarspun - Never Grow Old
09 Gyllene Tider - Vanliga Saker
10 Custard Flux - Echo
11 Lolas - A Dozen Or Seven Tapestries
12 Richard X. Heyman - Long Way Down
13 Nine Violets - The Last Man Standing
14 Ian McGlynn - Abandon The Morning
15 The Reverberations - Levitate Away
16 Rainbow Danger Club - Treehouse Empire
17 Super Doppler - Clear
18 Whalewolf - Thorny Crown.mp3
19 Supercrush - I Don't Want To Be Sad Anymore
20 Abbie Ozard - Growing Pains
21 Paul Den Heyer - Clear Sunlight View


IDHAS Volume 74 Mixcloud Link 


Saturday, 13 July 2019

In Praise Of......................................Terrorvision


IDHAS normally covers the new and underappreciated, so Terrorvision easily fall into the latter category. They have a fan base every bit as loyal, if in much less quantity, as Rush. Where many from the same era have fallen, they remain a fine live draw.

My thoughts on Brit Pop are pretty well known. It's known now, essentially, for The Gallagher Brothers who made one and a half great albums, whilst being possibly the most boring plodding live band of the times. Too many people think Rock Music begins and ends with Oasis.







By far the most interesting part of Brit Pop was the Pop around the edges. I could name these bands, but the tasteful amongst you already know them and we've recently covered The Supernaturals, so you know the direction that you should be heading.

However, the band that have stayed with me longest have plenty of pop sensibilities, but can be and usually are, a much heavier affair. They have the great front man in Tony Wright and Guitar hero in Mark Yates and Live can wipe the floor with most.







But it's the songs that stand up the most. I'm a massive fan, a completist in a way that I am with very few Brit Pop bands. Wit drips from those songs and although there is a centre of hard rock, these songs are coated in big choruses. Even Rap Rock verses have to lead into a big chorus. Formaldehyde was a great debut album, but it's the two that followed that hit pay dirt.

How To Make Friends And Influence People hit the Teen market. they even appeared on the likes of the Smash Hits Annual Awards. The Rap verses of Pretend Best Friend contrasted with the pure Pop of Middleman, These were two of five (count em') singles from the album, another of which was the mighty, Oblivion.







1996 saw the third album enhance the band's reputation. Four more great singles were released, again providing great variety. The sing along blasts of Celebrity Hit List and Perseverance contrasting with the String Laden, Bad Actress and Terrorvision have never been frightened of a ballad.

Two years later and Shaving Peaches appeared. Another great album and I will always remember the kids jumping around on CD UK to the LBGT sensibilities of the magnificent, Josephine, my favourite Terrorvision song. A Mint Royale Mix of Tequila gave the band a whole new audience and graced the UK Charts Number 2 slot.







2000's Good To Go is an album that gets ignored unfairly. There's great variety in the songs, even though the Guitar is turned down. Fists Of Fury is a fine song. Then after a final Tour in 2001 during which the mini album, The First And The Last, was sold, that seemed to be that.

But the demand for the band's live performances continued and so we got them back periodically with Live albums to accompany tours. Then in 2011, a self financed new album appeared. Super Delux is a fantastic album,as anything with a song has good as Demolition Song on will be.








The band still tour and you can buy the new live album, Party Over Here, from the band's website here.  Back Catalogue wise, all the albums can be found for download etc at the usual places. CDs are easy to find on the likes of Discogs.

The main exception is Super Delux on CD which fetches a fortune now, but the download is available. Compilation wise, Essential Terrorvision is a 2 disc affair that you can pick up for less than a tenner. The main thing that I would advise though is to get to see them Live, you won't be disappointed.


................................

Thursday, 11 July 2019

The Brothers Steve - #1 (Including Video Premiere)



Here's a first for IDHAS, an exclusive premiere of The Brother Steve's new video. Before all of that though, I'd like to tell you a bit about the upcoming album, released on 27 July. I can tell you that it's the best thing that I've heard this year.

Now that's a statement that you'll hear from many all the time. However, I'd qualify this by stating that I should know what I'm talking about with all these years on the clock. I like to think that I know what I'm talking and this is just the shot in the arm that Power Pop needs.

I have to say that this year has been a real bore, Power Pop wise, so much so that I've stepped away slightly. I've grown tired of Beatles Suits, Rickenbackers and I Love You Do, Yes I Do lyrics. I just felt that the genre needed a shot in the arm or it would be forever conversations about Big Star, Badfinger and Raspberries.

#1 is the shot in the arm that Guitar Pop needed so badly. People, familiar to me, will know how I drone on endlessly about how Tsar's self titled debut album deserves to be in the 10 Best Power Pop albums of all time, well The Brother's Steve features three of those Tsar fellows and this album is every bit as good.

Without further ado. here is the Premiere of the band's second video, Angeline, this will appear worldwide on Monday, but you have the opportunity to get ahead of the game.






Tsar stalwarts Jeff Whalen, Jeff Solomon and Steve Coulter are joined by Os Tyler and Dylan Champion in the Los Angeles five piece. In stating that the album is as good as that Tsar debut, it must be said that it's not the same.

There is a much different tempo here. the band are in much less of a hurry to get to the licks. #1 has far more in common with The Monkees and great late 60's Pop. The album is built on the wonderful vocal harmonies and singalong choruses.

We Got The Hits feels like something from a Hanna Barbara cartoon, those pesky kids etc and throughout there is more than a hint of Bubblegum Pop. That sound with doses of UK Glam Rock offers up a real poptastic experience.





Having three vocalists in the band certainly helps with the variety and of course those top notch harmonies. The lead double A Side released on the Big Stir label demonstrates that versatility. The "all join in" Angeline is backed by the far more sedate strum of Carolanne. You can buy that digital single here.

Carry Me's Jangle is like a popped up Teenage Fanclub, whilst C'mon Pappy has far more of a Southern Rock feel. My personal favourite is Beat Generation Poet Turned Assassin which has a fine call and response chorus and is a real toe tapper.







Good Deal Of Love is real SoCal twang and Sunlight ends the album with something far slower than what has gone before, again playing to the strength of those harmonies, getting you ready to start the album all over again.


There is excitement enough at the return of Jeff Whalen and the guys, so much so that the band would be forgiven if they phoned something in. This album is far far better than you could expect. It's Sunshine Pop of the very highest order.






You can find out more about The Brothers Steve and pre-order the album here. There will be more on the band with an IDHAS interview coinciding with the album release.


....

Tuesday, 9 July 2019

The Supernaturals - Bird Of Luck (Song By Song)



We've been talking a lot on here about the new Supernaturals album. The only reason is that we are massive Fanboys and have been for more years than we'd care to remember. Following on from Mick's interview with James McColl (Which you can read here), James also gave us a Song by Song Breakdown of Bird Of Luck.

The CD is available to buy in the UK now at Amazon here and has a worldwide Digital Release on 1 August. There are plans to make the CD available in the States and I'll add any further details when the Bird Of Luck Review appears on IDHAS during the last week of July.

Here's James's words on the album's eleven songs :


Bird Of Luck

"This was a try at taking an old ska song and then straightening it out a bit. I play the saxophone on it and I like the part. Sometimes with sax and trombone, it’s just a couple of notes and it really lifts the song…the less fancy the more powerful. Tried to sing it in an old rock and roll voice like Gene Vincent with the echo. It’s just got lots of energy and is a really up song about my wife."


Negativity

"This is just a simple jangly guitar song, which I wrote quickly. It’s got those drums like “Ticket To
Ride”. It’s about that person who’s just always complaining. You know the kind."


Abracadabra

"We did this Radio Scotland show with Donovan a few years ago. Me and a friend Paul thought we needed to go and see him and chat to him, he’s a legend. So we knocked on his dressing room door and he was so friendly, telling us about his guitar design being based on the Book of Kells and just shooting the breeze and chatting for half an hour.

I was asking him about “Catch the Wind” and he said, “You mean the new version?” And I was like “what you recorded this year?” and he said “No in 1969!” He does speak in a kind of poetic voice like he sings, that’s a sort of mixture of Scottish, Welsh and Irish. I tried to sing this song in that voice. I got to play the bass on this one. It’s one of my favourites. It’s about my now wife putting little notes through my door when she was trying to charm me back in the day."


At This Time Of Year

Gav the drummer had a child, Kieran, who died in July. My Mum and Mark’s Mum both passed away in July and August. So this song is about July and that long mist of depression you get which just permeates your life when someone you love dies. Obviously Madness and Dexys are the big musical influences here."






Roberta and Zica

"This is about two lovers having a midnight tryst on a football pitch in Brazil to try and lift the voodoo that’s settled over their football team. They bury things like frogs under the centre circle and the goal mouth in Brazil. That’s why it mentions Flamenco and Vasco De Gama. Kev who engineered the album thought it was about Scotland. I think to lift that voodoo you’d need about 50,000 people shagging on Hampden at midnight and then it still wouldn’t lift."


Well Well Well

"The chords just came out of the blue one day when I was sitting at the piano playing some rudimentary grade 2 sheet music. Just a nice downer song about existential angst and longing."


Magpie

"A straight down the middle power-pop song. There’s a Magpie in my garden and it’s always trying to monopolise the bread that I put out for the crows. It seems to intimidate birds twice it’s size. That’s the girl in the song."


Veronica

"Back in 1994 when we were running around the Highlands, we all went back to this girl’s flat and took mushrooms. She was a hippy with all the stuff in the song, badly painted pictures of half man-unicorns, lava lamps with red scarves on them, healing crystals.

There’s lots of standing stones near where she lived and she suggested we should go out and “feel the power of the stones”. It was an electronic dance song on the demo, but the band played it like Creedence and we just went with that."






Chill Pill

"Derek wrote this one. He just stood up in the studio as it was getting mixed and started quoting all this poetry about “pieces of eight” “upturned boats on the shore” and “man in a Zoot suit”. It really enhanced the song."


Summer Girl

"Mark’s bass playing is really good on this one. I really like its slow dreamy pace, like something on the White Album."


Country 

"This song is basically about the natural beauty of Scotland. That, mixed in with stuff about my wife who is Mauritian/Scottish and her sense of belonging to Scotland and some of the things she said to me about belonging and not belonging. I don’t know if I got what I wanted to say over properly. I spend a lot of time mountain biking, fishing and windsurfing around the country and it’s an astonishingly beautiful place despite the midges and the weather.

I kind of like the fact that the weather keeps tourists out and people like me can have it to ourselves. It was hard trying to say something sincere and not go all Runrig on its arse with bagpipes and that. We tried to go like “Tupelo Honey” on it. Having said that if someone from the Scottish Tourist Board wanted to use it in an advert, we’d take the money and run!"