Tuesday, 8 January 2019

Five 2018 Albums That You Should Own Part 2

Zombies Of The Stratosphere's fourth album is as great as you'd expect. New York duo, Jeff Hoffman and Arthur Smith excel in Pop Rock Territory. They tell you that their Record Collections are great and who is anyone to argue on hearing this.

The Physical Kids encompasses all that is great from the 60's to the 80's. Nite Wok is wonderfully meandering, A Minor Glam Rock, Winterman, 70's So Cal. All 12 songs are Easy Listening, built on great riffs and memorable choruses. An absolute joy to listen to.

Wisconsin's Car City offer up a poptastic 9 song debut. Jason Lemke's songs jangle chirpily around his bitter sweet lyrics. Think Housemartins in approach, indeed Hopeless is very Paul Heaton like. Hardest to believe is the US connection as Car City sound so English or more relevant UK.

These songs could hail from late Eighties Glasgow or late Seventies New Wave. The jingle is ace and the songs are so damn catchy. Hangman could be from the Liverpool Brit Pop revival. (Don't) Give Up On Love is Merseybeat in spirit. Challenger comes over all Psych Folk and Soul Jam is like Michael Stipe fronting The Searchers.

You can listen and buy the album from the band's bandcamp page, tagged earlier here. You can also buy the album on vinyl, a format it deserves, here.

Boston quartet, Glowbox, offer up their second album. It travels through Power Pop, Prog and Psych Pop although it's base is very much Classic Rock. Fossil Fuel is a wonderfully rounded album, beautifully produced and ready for all your Air Guitar moments.

From the AOR of No Connection, through the Psych Pop of Moonstone and the Light Prog of The Decoy, there is just no let up. Rolling It Over is Pure Mod Pop, Home Movies has a Cheap Trick jangle. What Did You Get Done Today reminds me a lot of Vegas With Randolph. Anodyne borders on Heavy Metal and what a Guitar Solo!

This is an album that should be listened to loud with a beer in your hand. It sounds like a Classic already.

Matt Adams's The Blank Tapes have been around for a while now, but that hasn't stopped the Los Angeles' outfit from getting better and better. Candy is a splendid laid back affair from a band that sounds like it should contain Brent Rademaker. At times you can hear that West Coast influence, particularly on the title track, but it's a different West Coast comparison that strikes me. At the times, they sound very 90's Liverpool.

The band is never in one place too long though. You have the Blues of Everything Will Fall Into Place, Thinking About You is The La's brand of Merseybeat, Last Night is pure schmooze. It's In My Mind and She's Your Baby are Brit Pop shuffles, whilst Other Places is Psych Pop of the highest order.

The Blank Tapes have fashioned up an inspired calmness here and at the same time added to their growing reputation.

New York City Trio, The Hasbros reformed to finally record their debut album. It appears 26 years after they split up and it's a great listen. Beautifully played, it's very IRS, think Husker Du and the melodic side of that US Post Punk early 80's period.

However, the band shouldn't be pigeonholed, they reel off that angsty period well and chirpily, but they could equally be compared to Late 70's UK New Wave and Mod Pop and there's even many hints of Power Pop.

There's plenty of variation, from the angry yowl of Nothing At All to a Police like intro on For The Best which is an absolute gem, pure Pop and the all encompassing, Kenny that rocks like a good 'un. The band have even tagged on four songs from their earlier recordings, almost three decades before.

The album is available everywhere, Vinyl is available from CD Baby here.


Monday, 7 January 2019

Will Wander - Moon Station Volume 1

I'm currently tidying up 2018 before releasing the Best Of Celebrations. I release my list in mid January, simply because there are always late releases or things that come to your attention right up to the deadline. Plus, featuring a 2018 album in the Best Of 2019 misses the point. One such example is here.

Will Wander is the poptastic name of Nashville's Patrick Goudeau. It's rare for a late in album to feature highly in the Year End list, but this will. I'm also able to do at least one comparison that I would normally file away in the House Of Lazy Music Journalism. I spend my days listening to things that are described as the new Big Star, Jellyfish or XTC.

Well, damn it, the first half of Moon Station sounds so Andy Partridge. Bear in mind that Will Wander is 21 and has written and recorded both this and the as yet unreleased, Volume 2, over the past two years. The lad is after the Paul Steel Moon Rock mantle.

Moon Station Volume 1 has it's roots in gentle Psych Pop. Think Keith West or Mark Wirtz. There's a real second half of the 60's feel. But this is no pastiche, there is an incredible depth and originality withing these 10 songs. Listening back, it will be the fastest 29 minutes of your life and the wonderful opener, Small Adventure, will be playing again right after.

Now listen to Green Genevieve and tell me that I'm not going mad and that you can hear how Andy Partridge it sounds. Thanks! Fisherman King is so Toybox it's untrue, what a great song! Find A Poem In Everything is a Teenage Opera.

Moon Station Volume 1 is acoustic led with sounds chipping in from everywhere. Lyrically it's outstanding. Apparently, they call this Adventure Pop, well so be it. It's very Flaming Lips do Pop, it's outstanding. I repeat. THIS LAD IS 21.

You can listen to and buy the album here. You can gather how relevant this album will be on Vinyl. You can preorder that here.

39th And The Nortons - Mourning Waltz

39th And The Nortons' third album is a revelation. Nick Wheeldon's Parisien five piece have fulfilled what the second album, The Dreamers, threatened. I've loved the band since the 2012 debut, which was largely a Wheeldon solo affair. On Trial was a fine debut, particularly considering his background was Garage Rock, although it bordered on Psych.

The Dreamers came after two albums from his noisy Os Noctambulos amd it marked an expansion of 39th And The Norton's base. They'd become a proper group and it showed. The songs had greater depth, the vocals were more upfront and it promised much,

That promise has been fully realised with this outstanding offering. I suppose you'd class them as Psych Folk, but they really are far more than that. The Psych is there for all to hear, but this is a much poppier Psych. Yes, the Organ is bursting to get out, but it's held back by the sheer quality of the songs.

At times I'm reminded of The Coral on the likes of Walking Slowly and Orchid Flower, the latter being a cracking slice of Psych Pop. Oh Gene is countrified, a splendid strum with a haunting Farfisa backdrop and a crashing twanging guitar finale.

White Light is Bolanesque in it's Tyrannosaurus Rex feel and closer, Golden Yesterday, has a laid back vibe that is almost Glasgow 1986 until it ends with a psych drift. It is the epic 21.01 that beats all around it. It's a sort of mix of The Stones, Nick Cave and The Verve which includes a Sitar solo. Think Peaky Blinders Soundtrack.

Morning Waltz is a corker of an album. Ten Songs that come from unexpected angles, one of the better things from 2018.

You can listen to and buy the album here. It's at Name Your Price, but please give what you can. The album is worth so much more than Free.