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Saturday 29 June 2019

Super Doppler - Super Doppler

I loved the Major And The Monbacks debut album in 2015. After that came Moonlight Anthems. That album still contained the Soul influence, the Brass still had a big presence, but it was marked by a slight shift more akin to Country Rock. The cross between both landed somewhere near Joe Cocker.

The band name change to Super Doppler moves the Rock influences on a pace. The feel has far more of the 70's Classic American Rock about it, although there are Psych edges and a definite FM feel. The Brass has gone completely and this seems to suit the Norfolk Virginia outfit's strengths.

There's a splendid Guitar Solo on Someone Is Watching You that verges on Psych Blues and this encapsulated the direction of the band. I Don't Wanna Die is a great opener with a sneering vocal leading a Doobie Brothers groove.

Contrast this with Last Man Standing which sound very UK 1967, the time when Beat was getting influenced by Haight Ashbury. You Don't Love Me again has those 60's Influences, very Toybox, Psych Pop. That then changes into a late 50's Teen Pop chorus.

All of this is delightfully done, with clever hints of Jangle, providing a really laid back vibe that makes the whole album such an easy listen. The arrangements are spot on, the Rocking is gentle and you can just imagine being sat in the sun.

The closing track, Clear, is the real find amongst these 10 songs. It's a wonderfully haunting ballad, the type that The Hollies used to master. It also adds a great haunting guitar solo and Age Of Aquarius type harmonies.

Super Doppler is a fine listen, highly recommended. You can listen to and buy it here. You can find out more about the band here.


Skids - Peaceful Times

I'm a massive Skids fan and their revival keeps proving me wrong. I've always liked Richard Jobson, although he does use a hundred words where ten will do, but to me Skids will always be Stuart Adamson.

The thought of a Skids album without Adamson made me expect the worst, but last year's Burning Cities album is really good and Live, the band remain as relevant as always. So when I heard, earlier this year, that an Acoustic album was on the way, I thought why?

Skids have always been such an Electric band. Stuart Adamson was the closest guitarist to Bill Nelson that I ever witnessed. So the thought of strum along versions of Into The Valley just didn't appeal. How wrong (again) was I?

There is new life brought into the songs, in fact they are almost new compositions. A song such as Hurry On Boys, previously such a loud anthem, is treated so gently with a wonderful arrangement.
Animation is a revelation and even the newer stuff, such as Kings Of The New World Order, take on a new life.

Animation is a Folky campfire joy, The Saints Are Coming is piano led and soundtrack like. Into The Valley starts has a straight ahead acoustic verse which bursts into a great choral and orchestrated affair. Desert Dust is Spaghetti Western, A World On Fire is pure Runrig and Kruezberg 79 is a new song that keeps up the Burning Cities standard.

Some fans may be disappointed that there are only four songs from the triumphant first three albums and it is a bit of a shame that we can't hear more of these interesting reworks from that era, maybe a second album can do those songs justice in the future.

Peaceful Times is absolutely wonderful. It is like a new Skids album, completely adding to the band's reputation. I'm off to listen to it again. Meanwhile, you can buy it everywhere. You can listen to all ten songs here.

Thursday 27 June 2019

Ian McGlynn - Ends & Odds

Ian McGlynn has been recording songs for over two decades. His 2012 third album, Now We're Golden is one of the great lost masterpieces. Produced by Ken Stringfellow, it is one of the great Pop Rock albums. Ends & Odds was released late in 2018 and was planned for a review in January of this year, but I got sidetracked by an enforced Tidy Up over Christmas.

The album does what it says on the tin. It rounds up a series of Outtakes and Rarities recorded between 2015 and 2013. McGlynn specialises in fine Piano Pop and his gentle, almost weeping, voice is ideally suited to the fragility of the songs.

There is a myriad of styles here, largely due to the nature of an Outtakes album. McGlynn seems to play any instrument that he can get his hands on, harp tick, recorder tick, but everything is based on his real strengths.

Harmonies are Beach Boys tight and there is some splendid jaunty piano across the whole album. Pioneers is Western like, The Exception is in Scritti Politti territory, Dark Dark Water is like one of those ELO instrumental led album tracks.

The remix of Peninsula is turned into an ambient masterclass and Break The Moon borders on Prog. Two interesting covers are included. The Lounge Lizard cover of Madonna's Borderline and the  take on Death Cab For Cutie's I Will Follow You Into The Dark with piano rather than acoustic guitar is ace.

Any album of outtakes from such a long period is always going to be variable. Most of these are top notch. What's more, any one who can offer up a song as wonderful as Abandon The Morning is worth rewarding with your ears. I have no idea why the song was left off the This Is The Sound album.

You can listen to and buy the album here. Whilst there, you can read track by track notes from Ian about all 14 songs.


Wednesday 26 June 2019

Doug Tuttle - Dream Road

Oh how I love Boston's Doug Tuttle. His brand of Jangle Psych Pop is really affecting, at times almost Canterbury light. Burger Records release his fourth album and although pleasing to report that there is no major change in direction, it does feel as though the Pop is Poppier.

You can read the IDHAS review of his last album, Peace Potato here. That album was a tad fragmented, some songs not fully formed, none of that applies to Dream Road. The focus is spot on, probably aided by the tighter ten song playlist.

Tuttle is a one man soundscape, the gentleness and laid back Vocals, adding to the laid back feel. There is that tendency to Jangle which allows comparisons with The Byrds and Teenage Fanclub's quieter mode. But the influences are really further spread.

There are Country Tinges, the odd Tyrannosaurus Rex feel, even a Stealers Wheel vibe, but largely this sounds more like a traditional West Coast American album. Albeit, there's a real gentleness and tone to the proceedings.

Is This World Alone is a perfect example of what Tuttle does so well, it reminds you of so many, but is essentially him. The arrangement on Can You Feel It is achingly melancholic and All Alone is fantastically sleepy more modern Psych Pop.

Opener, I'll Throw It All Away is Nashville Pop from a bygone age, it has a splendid hook. It is Long Day To Your Home that grabbed me most with its sonic overtones to The Outlaws without the bombast. Dream Road is a superb "relax and listen" offering. An ideal way to spend 30 minutes away from the madness.

You can listen to and buy the album here.


Seahorse - Heaven Is Underground

Seahorse are a quartet from Thessaloniki in Greece, although you'd never guess that by listening to Heaven Is Underground. This is an album steeped somewhere between Classic and Stoner Rock. It hits a riff and hammers it for all it's worth, wonderfully so!

At times I'm not sure if I'm listening to Led Zep or Stone Sour, but there are also  many changes of direction. Snake Friends is Natural Born Boogie during the verses. In other times you can hear a Robert Plant wail or a Pearl Jam vibe.

Human's chorus is almost Power Pop, Sing Your Own Song has a hypnotic riff, just heavy enough to allow the vocal to breathe. Supernatural is Allman Brothers like and Road Trip is a meandering closer that has a tinge of a heavy North West Coast ditty.

There's nothing especially original here, but it is beautifully done and this kind of album just isn't made these days, it seems resigned to the first half of the 90's bin. There's an awful lot to like here, Heaven Is Underground is great listen.

You can listen to and buy the album here.


I Do Hear An Album

I Don't Hear A Single has been going for three years at the end of next month. I still find it amazing that what started as a little thing for me to tell you about music that I liked continues to prosper and gather such a following. This was never the plan.

During most of this year, I've tried to change how people notice IDHAS. It wasn't a move for growth, I'd be happy to just have a dozen like minded people to follow the musings on new artists. This place has always been about the artists and my concern was that the artists weren't getting the full benefit.

The major focus here has always been on new and underrated artists. The established are covered well elsewhere. The promotion had always been via Social Media, largely Facebook led and my concern was that the Facebook algorithm changes meant that Reviews had only one early chance at being read and soon disappeared largely from view. In many cases they had much less chance to be heard at all.

I decided to try and do something about that. I added Instagram. even though I haven't a clue of it's aim or how it works and started to learn about the best way to promote individual IDHAS posts. I wanted to promote less on Facebook as I know people also get tired of seeing the stuff you mention.

In particular, I wanted Reviews (and in turn the artists) to be noticed for far longer than a day or a week and to try and reach people who weren't naturally their fans. With this in mind, I decided to discover all I could about Search Engine promotions. If I could get people to follow IDHAS primarily by Google Searches etc, it would older reviews would get more attention and bands might not be just kings for one day.

So with discreet interventions, I learned about keywords and how to subtlety use If You Like this type things. I also worked on making the attention equal between searching on the artist or the Blog. I hoped what I was learning would help those artists.

Towards the end of May, I looked at the previous five months to see if what I was trying was working and it seemed to be. Facebook likes were well down, but individual I Don't Hear A Single posts had gone up or not been affected numbers wise. This was pleasing as I promoted on Facebook and Twitter much less.

So the result was the Review A Day trial that you've been seeing in June. This allowed me to catch up on a backlog and see if what I was trying was really working. 30 odd posts in a month would should surely prove this.

I'm delighted to say that it seems to be working. At the start of the year Facebook accounted for over 70% of visits to IDHAS, that's now just over 30%. People always say that the US is the only country interested in Power Pop and Pop Rock. In the same period the US has gone from 60% of all views to under 40%.

I believe that all this continued work will give Artists a much better chance of being seen for longer. The only proof ever will be if it helps these artists to sell albums. My hope is that a review written in January still gets read in July. That's not easy with the format of Blogger which is essentially a large list.

OK I've bored you enough.


Tuesday 25 June 2019

Kimberley Rew and Lee Cave-Berry - Enjoy The Rest Of Your Day

I'm a massive Kimberley Rew fan. It's not because I should wear the badge because of The Soft Boys and Katrina And The Waves. It's because his solo career is one of the most under rated of all time. Rarely have I been disappointed by his solo output. He's not just one of the great Guitar Pop writers of all time, he also has the ability to cast his hand to whatever genre needed or fancied at the time.

His debut album with wife, Lee Cave-Berry is no coasting affair. If Enjoy The Rest Of Your Day was released by Nick Lowe, people would be wetting themselves and fans of the Jesus Of Cool should bear this in mind. It would fit beautifully in their collection. Where as Lowe as recently said his career has been rekindled, Rew's never lost it's flame.

I think people know my feelings on Americana and what it has become, a catch all for mediocrity, but any time the pair stray into that area, it's beautifully done and usually acoustic. There's a real wit to the lyrics at time, none more so on the Glam Rock of Sister Cow.

Cave Berry's vocal on Backing Sweet Blues is pure Nashville and Flat Cat is well into Stray Cats territory. All across the album, there's a hint of Rockpile, particularly Rock n Summertime with some great twanging guitar.

Some Days You Eat The Bear has a funky disco backdrop and The Lady Is Dynamite is party time. This is no Walking On Sunshine, although the choruses are as catchy. Why would you want it to, far fewer are making albums like this? You'd pay the admission just to hear Rew's Guitar playing.

The Rock and Roll count is high, as are the lyrical surprises. It's a pleasure to listen to 14 songs that cheer you up, particularly with what's going on politically. Husband and Wife give the impression that they enjoyed making this as much as I did listening to it.

You can buy the album from CD Baby and everywhere else. You can find out all about Kimberley Rew here.


James Clarke Five - Parlor Sounds

James Clarke Five's Parlour Sounds finally gets a physical release. What's more it's on Wally Salem's wonderful The Beautiful Music label. Wally will always be a hero to me for having Armstrong on the label, but there's far more to TBM than these two as you will see here.

James Clarke Five has been James Hughes's solo vehicle for nigh on two decades. Those in the know will recognise as one of The Cherry Boys, the Liverpool outfit that has become a real name dropper over here. The band offered up wonderfully sad songs with a real charm and had Chris Sharrock in the band in the early days.

Parlor Sounds is the sort of pop that we love. It is splendid laid back Pop Rock. I can explain it best by telling you that Pilot's Just A Smile is covered here, a song that should have been covered far and wide and shouldn't be lost in the Magic / January mayhem.

There's a real charm to the whole album. It opens with the album's best song, a sort of Ben Folds does Sunshine Pop, What Do You Know About Ray, a song that was played a while ago on the IDHAS Audio Spectacular. There's a real mid 70's Pop Rock Feel to the whole album.

Think John Miles, Pilot, Jigsaw, The Alan Parsons Project, even Gilbert O'Sullivan. Talking of John Miles, Mairead is so Miles does Peter Skellern with the accompanying Brass. Under My Skin is like a sped up on Christopher Cross and Jade is all 60's UK Beat Pop.

The variety doesn't always work. I could live without the twee Miami Vice 80's Synth Pop of Somewhere Out There Somewhere, but I'm sure it will appeal to may others. There's A Rainbow is a Jangling Al Stewart and The Redemption Of Casper Green is fantastic Toybox Pop, an absolute joy, McCartney-esque.

Parlor Sounds is a real feel good album, a pleasure to listen to. James Clarke Five deserve far more attention, perhaps now is the time. You can buy the album at TBM here. The album can be listened to and bought as a download here. You can find out more about James Clarke Five here.


Sunday 23 June 2019

Louise Connell - Squall Echo Rale

I'm more known for the promotion of chiming riffs and big choruses, so a few of you may be surprised that I'm raving so much about Airdrie's Louise Connell's new album. Well, there are times that you want to listen something that isn't as loud, particularly when it's this well done.

Her 2016 debut, Straw Woman, under the pseudonym Reverieme is great, but Album Number 2, takes things on a pace. There will be obvious comparisons, they come boringly naturally when you are Scottish, but that shouldn't detract from what is a fine album.

19 songs is a lot of music, but when the quality is there, who's counting? The album is essentially a combination of the three EPs that were on Pledge Music before it's demise and you wouldn't want to miss out would you if the set were cut down?

Connell has a wonderful set of pipes, the gentleness of that voice is her greatest strength, but when she lets loose, she can really let loose, Careful Unplanned, for instance has a wonderful hook. Where I'm From is a real favourite of mine, a sort of cross between Joni Mitchell and Suzanne Vega.

There are some wonderful arrangements here, particularly the string arrangements from Stuart MacLeod. I have no doubt that the opening two songs will get the most attention particularly the Psych Pop like Rope. Although both are exceptional, there is real depth to all that follows them.

Connell is a really talented songwriter, something that shouldn't get overlooked. There will be comparisons to KT Tunstall and Amy Macdonald, which should be taken as the compliments that they are. But this is essentially a Louise Connell album and this should be praised as that.

You can listen to and buy the album here. You should! Finally, if the artwork looks familiar, well it's by James Marsh of Talk Talk's Spirit Of Eden fame.


In Deed - Everest (US Edition)

My love and admiration of the Big Stir Label and community is well documented. Christina and Rex have grown a scene and roster from very little in just a few short years. I can't think of anyone who has done more for Power Pop and Pop Rock in that time. They have invigorated a genre that was dying on it's feet, in fact derided at times.

The label delights in Physical releases and it's weekly Digital Singles are inspired and now approaching 30. I can't think of a greater addition to the label than In Deed. Sweden has long had a fine Guitar Pop scene, it just doesn't get the attention it deserves. Big Stir will provide that worldwide forum.

Sweden is also home to two of my favourite musical friends in Nick Fletcher and Wayne Lundqvist Ford. We'd probably move there if I wasn't so set in my ways, but I digress. Everest was released in 2017 and it now has a deserved re-configuring with additional tracks and it sounds just great.

The problem with any Swedish band that is Female Fronted are comparisons with Abba and The Cardigans. The latter is more relevant here with the high Guitar quota, but In Deed are nothing like The Cardigans apart from the odd diversion.

Everest is far from straight ahead Pop Rock. There are some wonderful Psych Pop moments on songs such as Never Really Noticed and the wonderfully noisy Heart Attack, which is a Psych Masterpiece. My favourite song on the album, but others will choose something different, there are that many candidates.

Linda Karlsberg's Vocal range is outstanding, delicate on Fantastic, aching on the Farfisa accompanied Over And Over. Song To You is all Carnaby Street and  According To You has a real jangle with a biting attitude of a lyric.

Flavour Of The Month has a Ska riff, I'm Alright (When I'm With You) is very Brit Pop, think Sleeper with more depth. 15 Minor Hours is a nigh on six minute closer, at times Radiohead-ish, incredibly hypnotic, very different to what's gone before.

Everest is a fantastic album. I get bored with front loaded albums, this gets better and better as the album progresses. The US Edition enhances what has gone before and gives In Deed the opportunity to tell the world how good it is. Rightly So, because they should.

You can buy the album here.


Friday 21 June 2019

The Gold Needles - Through A Window

I like to believe that I have finger on the pulse of UK stuff, it isn't necessarily so, because as I mentioned in the review of Pearls, the debut on the Kool Kat label here, it was the purveyor of physical delights and Kool Kat King, Ray Gianchetti, that introduced me to the band.

There's something lacking with my antennae when someone from Nooo Yawwwwwwwwk tells me about a band that resides in the grim North as both band and I do. Since then there's been a growing love of the gentle Psych Pop that The Gold Needles master.

Strangely, or perhaps not strangely at all, most I meet think that the band are part of the Big Stir crowd. I can see why people would think that as they share the same ethic as Christina and Rex's growing Band Of Brothers (and Sisters), of which I'm proud to be involved with in a very small way. It's to Big Stir's credit that their reputation is so high, they are the Masters of the Power Pop and Pop Rock scene.

Through A Window, the band's second album gets a big release on Marty Scott's Jem label and it's splendid that the band gets to appear on the same label as Nick Piunti, yet still holds all the Fruits De Mer love.

The Gold Needles return with more excellent Psych Pop on Through A Window. The band will delight their ever growing UK following with their new wave take on UK Beat. The album builds on their live reputation as one of the best live bands on the scene. More importantly, this could and should be the album that breaks them worldwide.

They build on the ability to bring great variety in their material and Through A Window celebrates this strength in a focused melodic way. The Gold Needles are the best thing to come out of Hull since Mick Ronson and The Housemartins, they've been the UK's secret for too long.

Don't expect crashing Guitars and big licks here, the album Rocks, But Gently. The Jangle factor is high, the melodies shine through, but it's a thankfully, like the best Psych Pop, this is all understated and leisurely. There's even Brass fighting the 12 Strings on Girl You Will Be Mine.

Covers of The Monkees' I'm Gonna Try and The Lemon Pipers' The Shoemaker of Leatherwear Square fit in with the eight original songs beautifully. Incidentally, I hear Lemon Piper influences across the whole piece.

Goodnight Mr Tom closes the album, a real Jangle Fest which is a tribute to Tom Petty. Through A Window is a splendid listen. Top Notch stuff from one of the better UK Bands to emerge in the last few years. Well done all!

You can buy the album on Amazon here and everywhere else too. US people should head to Kool Kat here. You can listen to the album here.


Thursday 20 June 2019

Ulysses - On Safari

I joke about living in 1974 and if it was 1974 you could expect On Safari to be selling Millions. There's something wonderfully Glam Rock about the band, not necessarily the songs, although Looking For A Guru's Call And Response hits that nail on the head.

It's the attitude and vibe, the sense of humour, the feeling that this band spend every day laughing, every dong is an absolute riot. Take the funky 10cc Rubber Bullets era, Doctors And Nurses, delightfully silly, charmingly addictive and there's still the trademark chord and tempo changes.

The poptastic lead single, Dragons, showed us all what to expect and the fun never stops. That multi layered chorus still sounds ace. Why Aren't These People is great Piano Rock with a Billy Joel Don't Ask Me Why beat to a McCartney like stomper. The video for the new single tells you all you need to know about Ulysses.

Ulysses have been going for over a decade and a half and they've never lost the ability to provide joyous songs, without ever tipping into the Self Parody that hurts bands like The Darkness. The closing Calendar Street reveals, yet again, how well they do Toy Town Psych Pop. It may just be what they are best at.

Situation Man is a Follyfoot for the Sci Fi fan, Useless Love is Jigsaw Pop Rock, Let's Move is Chinn Chapman doing ELO. Pipers Chest again feels like a RAK single, Fuzzy Light is really Christie with a right old Jangle.

There's even a 45 second instrumental halfway through, a CD separation of Side 1 and Side 2 if you like. On Safari offers everything that you'd expect from a Ulysses album, but so much more. This romp will have you looking at the world in a far more positive way. No bad thing these days.

You can buy the album here and I'm sure you'll be able to listen to more there after tomorrow's release date.


Wednesday 19 June 2019

I Don't Hear A Single Volume 72

Another Edition of the Aural Showcase Delight that is I Don't Hear A Single's recommended current must listens. No Archive Track this time, just 19 fine examples of the thing we call Music.

There is a four second watermark at the beginning of each, this is because I'm using the software as a trial whilst Jim is out of action. If I do them permanently, I will find the best program to buy.

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

Number 72 is awaiting your attention. The playlist is as follows  :

01 Mounties - Heavy Meta
02 The Needs - Summerbore
03 Onesie - Customers
04 Big Nothing - Quiet One
05 Faux Co. - Prozac Spaceman
06 The Sunset Spirit - Tonight
07 Taylor Knox - Live It Up
08 Mothboxer - New Satellite
09 Amber Clouds - Whatever You Are Now
10 The Proper Ornaments - Crepuscular Child
11 Shonen Knife - Dizzy
12 The Shake Ups - Meddling Kids
13 The Prescriptions - She Is Waiting
14 Peter Bruntnell - Thief Of Joy
15 The Lunar Laugh - Another Casualty
16 The Successful Failures - Love You So
17 The Thin Cherries - Follow Sun
18 Jim Basnight - Second Street
19 Drugdealer - Lost In My Dream

IDHAS Volume 72 Mixcloud Link

More Kicks - I'm On The Brink EP

I haven't been covering as many EPs over recent times. The only reason is that there are so many great albums around and much less time. That'll change next month with the start of a Monthly EP feature as this has been a bit of an IDHAS weakness. Singles get covered by the Audio Spectacular Volumes and albums via here, so we need to sort in between.

I certainly hadn't planned to cover EP's during the June Review A Day thing, but I really wanted to tell you about More Kicks for a number of reasons. Firstly, I love these three songs and I've already played I'm On The Brink on one of the I Don't Hear A Single Volumes.

I've been a big critic of the UK Power Pop and Pop Rock scene, it's treated like the runt of the litter over here. Shindig thankfully cover a bit of genre, but it still appears very US-centric at a time that Europe is bursting out with talent. Indeed, More Kicks are heading to Spain as most decent bands who do Pop with a Guitar appear to be doing.

Apart from IPO in Liverpool which goes on too long and hoovers Power Pop up to leave the other 11 months empty, there's not much. The Music Industry is so London based, yet IPO doesn't do Liverpool, thank goodness for the Spygenius gang.

IDHAS were on The Speedways album early and it's really pleasing to see the band grow and that a second album is planned. I digress though, so back to More Kicks. The Trio are London based, but are a multi national affair, representing England, Poland and Brazil. Coincidentally, the band's drummer, Kris Hood is also the live Drummer of The Speedways.

I'm On The Brink is a fine EP, proper Power Pop. The title track has everything you'd want from a PP song, hooks aplenty. He's Gonna Let Down is a real mix of 70's New Wave Pop and the UK in 1964. Can't Fake What You Got is a sort of Mod Psych Pop.

Three very different songs promise lots for the future and hopefully the Brighton Support slot with Autogramm will bring a raft of new fans. This EP is such a refreshing listen and a special mention must go to the wonderful German label, Wanda Records.

The label has a reputation for Punk when there is far more to them than that, Wanda provide some real finds for those willing to look. The other joy of More Kicks is that they do the whole New Wave Power Pop thing. Badges, T Shirts, 7 Inch Singles can be bought at their Bandcamp site here.

You can listen to and buy the I'm On The Brink EP here. You bloody well should!

The Bishop's Daredevil Stunt Club - End Over End

Chicago's The Bishop's Daredevil Stunt Club have been going for around a decade now and if there is a centre of the mind circle that denotes the I Don't Hear A Single world, they'd be around it. I won't go into those boring Best Album yet quotes, but End Over End Excels.

Anything from the band's back catalogue does the trick, but the new album takes on far more than previous albums have. There's a danger of confusion when a band goes for variety, but there's no danger of that here, because the influences aren't the everyday Pop Rock ones.

I've already played the infectious Get Up Get Up on the IDHAS Audio Spectacular and that's amongst the opening four killer songs that set the tone here. Starpower is definitely in The Feeling's first album territory, The Henry Norman Hotel is City Boy before Mutt Lange decided that the drummer was the singer and Delusional Love is Vegas With Randolph without the Social Conscience.

Here Is Today is great mid 70's Pop Rock with a seemingly Pilot type riff trying to get out. Cupid You Lose is very Chris Church, Christine Your Mean has a Who like riff to it  Lifeguard should be on the Not Lame label and Burndown At Sundown is built around a sort of Black Sabbath like riff.

There's no drop of tempo across all ten songs. Hook follows Hook, but it's far more than traditional Power Pop. The arrangements are thought out, the production top notch, this is everything that you could ever want from a Pop Rock album. Totally Outstanding!

I'll add some songs here as they become available. In the meantime, you can buy the album everywhere and listen to it on the likes of Spotify.

Monday 17 June 2019

Taylor Knox - Here Tonight

Toronto's Taylor Knox follows up 2017's debut album, Love, with more of the same and why shouldn't he? With the appearance of a Skater dude, he's sort of hit upon a Pop theme for people who don't know what Power Pop is and it works pretty well.

Think of a Sloan for the next generation. Having said that, there are more synths around than older Power Pop fans would usually stand for. The synth run on City At Night is very The Cars for instance. Here Tonight does generally Rock a bit, but gently.

Little Creature's intro is a bit Road To Nowhere, but the Pop contained within is really hooky and Live It Up is so Dandy Warhols. One In A Million has a Psych Pop feel that is desperate to get out and when I listened to The Trees, I could have sworn it was Sloan.

Many Here Among Us is very 70's Pop Rock and In The Night is very Liverpool 80's Pop, bordering on The Lightning Seeds. Happening is a Brit Pop album closer and Everybody Knows is Space age rap.

There's lots to like here and enough variation. It doesn't always work the Disco Funk of Blue Moon is a real no no of a song, it's really amateurish. But I'd rather listen to someone producing a great Pop album without nine writers per song.

Here Tonight is a cracking little listen. It'll be interesting to see how Taylor Knox's career progresses. I'd probably prefer to hear more Guitar and a bit more noise, but then again I would and there's nothing here to dislike, quite the reverse.

The album is available here there and everywhere.


Sunday 16 June 2019

The Shake Ups - Meddling Kids

Indianapolis's The Shake Ups have been around for a decade and a half, but it's since 2013 that they hit upon a formula that mixes Power Pop and Bubblegum that appeals to both Kids and the Power Pop Community.

Very much like They Might Be Giants, their appeal takes them to School Education, whilst also being melodic enough to gather an Adult Following. After starting with My Little Pony, the band have more recently hit the Saturday Morning Cartoon following, particularly Scooby Doo fans. This has resulted in Meddling Kids.

The Shake Ups do deal in kitsch, but the fact that these are original songs, there is a fine line between Nostalgia and originality. The likes of Masters Of The Universe and Thundercats join in with the Scooby Doo fun.

There's a lot here to like, the Title Track borders on Psych Pop and as a stand alone song it's really good. Robot Arm is very TMBG, Friendship is all Rachel Sweet, Epic Summer Romance is a Bluesy Girl Attitude shout out. Cosmic Sandwiches is a 70's Pop Rock Ballad dedicated to Shaggy.

All the songs don't always work, but most do and it's at best when it's aimed at Scooby Doo. The cover of the Mystery Incorporated theme with Character Intros is great. The Shake Ups can play and this is better than a lot of more serious Power Pop.

Scooby Doo has gathered a lot of fans across it's 50 Years and most of the latter day incarnations have been spot on in gathering a new young audience. The album will appeal to all who have loved the cartoon throughout it's life cycle and also grab a fair number of Power Pop and Pop Rock fans.

The album is available everywhere. You can find out more about The Shake Ups here. Meddling Kids is a great listen, particularly when accompanied by a bowl of Scooby Snacks.


Peter Bruntnell - King Of Madrid

This is Peter Bruntnell's tenth album and although he's been very much in the Americana circle, his beginnings were more Psychedelic and his last album, Nos Da Comrade, saw a small scale return to his roots.

King Of Madrid moves that on full tilt, the Psychedelic is here, but the Pop is Poppier and the Jangle Factor is high. It's great to hear his dulcet tones again in an area that I'm far more akin to. I've never been that much of an Americana fan and as time as progressed, that genre has just got confused and dull.

King Of Madrid sounds very American and it's even more confusing for new converts to realise that the Spanish title nods are from a UK artist, whose studio is in Devon. The Americana past still gets referenced on the likes of Memory Hood which has a real Country Twang, but the Pop is almost Powered at times everywhere else.

Bruntnell has a wonderfully laid back voice and that can get caught in Easy Listening too much on slower songs. The voice is moody and relaxing, particularly on the title track, but excels when the tempo gets more upbeat.

London Clay is very Richard Hawley with a real 70's Pop Rock feel. National Library has a real jangle background, but it's Dinosaur's almost late Monkees like pace that will appeal most. Thief Of Joy is very Del Amitri.

I still yearn for him to plug his guitar in and pick up the pace a bit more, but this is a fine album. It won't Rock Your Socks off, but not everything should and King Of Madrid will certainly leave you feeling happier than before you started listening.

The album is available everywhere. You can find out more about Peter Bruntnell here.


Faux Co. - Radio Silence

Aaron at Powerpopaholic recommended Chicago's Faux Co, and he's spot on. There's not a wasted minute across Radio Silence's 30 minutes. The mix of 60's Pop, Psych Pop and 70's Pop Rock is right up my street.

From the opening Prozac Spaceman, a sort of Jangling Psych tinged version of The Hollies to the big Brit Pop closer, Get A Say, the album is a fine listen. There's more than enough to reveal that this is no patische with the modern touch brought to the production.

The Sun Will Come Back is very mid 70's Jigsaw in style and there's an excellent Brass arrangement to the swing of Set The Record Straight. Gimme Sumthin is Showband easy listening that hits a groove. You can imagine the Top Of The Pops Studio audience dancing along.

Maybe Is A Word is brooding 60's Psych Pop, It's Nothing, Really is very late Marmalade and Oh Mother Night has an American Graffiti vibe that could be on the soundtrack on any Late 50's / Early 60's Teen Movie.

I'm really looking forward to hearing far more from Faux Co. in the future. This is a really accomplished debut album. You can listen to and buy the album here.


Thursday 13 June 2019

The Prescriptions - Hollywood Gold

I've been to a lot of music this month for the One A Day IDHAS Series and outside reviews. Hollywood Gold grabbed my attention largely because amongst all the noise, it was refreshing to hear such a wonderfully laid back listen, crafted with love and revealing a talent for hooks.

Nashville's The Prescriptions offer up a splendid 11 songs that slowly creep up on you until you realise that you want the album on repeat. There are tinges of American and Classic Allman Brothers present, but you sense that the Power Pop is trying to get out.

As a debut album, this is an incredibly accomplished offering that doesn't seem to try too hard to get you on board, It's not awash with sound or desperate variety, it just knows what it wants to achieve and goes out and gets it.

There are hooks, but they creep up on you rather than shout out loud. I suppose it's heading for a sort of Countrified Pop Rock. Setting Sun seems a strange choice of album opener. It starts Fleetwood Mac like and breaks out into a real twang in the closing minute.

I'm reminded a lot of The Jayhawks, but there seems a real early Eagles vibe at times, the solo on Highway Gold offers a real hook. There's a fair amount of harmonica present across the album, a much needed revival is needed methinks.

This is definitely an American album, if someone like Snow Patrol did it, it would sound like a dirge. There is a real optimistic hopeful feel to the album. Can't Ask For More is real Good Ole Boy Country Bar music and the real surprise song is Night Before I Lost My Mind which is poptastic.

You can listen to and buy the album here. It's a real rest and listen.


Wednesday 12 June 2019

The Resonars - No Exit

Matt Rendon returns with The Resonars and all is well. Unlike previous affairs, his live band get to play on some of the album and it shows, although the lo-fi nature of No Exit remains. The vibe is very much 60's Beat and Psych Pop.

A sped up Hollies probably describes the album best. Maybe even early The Who meets The Raspberries, because the Guitar playing outstrips most bands who frequent this genre. There's also plenty of similarities to The Move's debut album.

The killer riffs are still here on the likes of Days Fade Away. as is the Merseybeat on Before You're Gone. There's certainly lots here for mop tops. But the Psych Pop excels, particularly the wonderful Tucson Drag / All Those Hats, which is as good as anything I've heard recently.

Fell Into A World is full of Searchers jangle, Gotta Get Out should be introducing a Hayley Mills film and Beagle Theory is a real hippy ballad. Many try to master 60's Pop. few succeed, The Resonars certainly are the exception, they master it.

You can listen to and buy the album here.


The Supernaturals - Bird Of Luck

When I look back to Brit Pop, it's not to remember how Oasis changed my life, because they didn't, but it's to remember some of the splendid Pop that was revived. It seems to get lost in the all the Parklife and Different Class that chatter, that that time was golden age for great Guitar Pop.

Bands like Dodgy, The Lightning Seeds, The Bluetones, Ash, Cast mixed with lesser known groups such as Straw and Octopus. One of my favourite bands of the time were The Supernaturals and I've stuck with them ever since.

The band were not a million miles away from The Bluebells, but far exceeded most due to the quality of the lyrics. Never afraid of a couplet, nor taking themselves too seriously, The Supernaturals were masters of Summer Pop. Thankfully, they have never lost that ability.

It was a 13 year gap to the surprise release of 2015's 360, which showed that they still were masters at what they do. Four years on, 1 August sees the release of Bird Of Luck and the 11 songs are outstanding. Much needed in these divided times.

There'll be a full review a little nearer the release date and James McColl will be talking to Mick about Bird Of Luck and what's gone before. In the meantime enjoy the title track of the new album. It's just the starter for the joy to come.

Tuesday 11 June 2019

Big Nothing - Chris

I love the Big Nothing album, but need to get something off my chest first. I'm so tired of seeing lazy comparisons. The new XTC, the new Nada Surf, the new Jellyfish blah blah blah. Lately, apparently, everyone sounds like The Replacements, except very few do.

Big Nothing have conjured up a fine album, full of big riffs, so why are all the Yank Reviews showering this Mats comparison everywhere. Big Nothing sound nothing remotely like The Replacements. They have a far keener commercial edge.

The Philadelphia Quartet offer up an album that feels very 90's Alt Indie College Rock, but Power Pop seems to be trying to burst out. The Hooks are many and the fact that all four band members rotate the lead vocals adds an unexpected variety.

Liz Parsons comes across as half Shirley Manson, half Rachel Sweet to provide some great Girl Guitar Pop, but the band's versatility easily lends itself to tinges of EMO and IRS era Indie. Autopilot, for instance, jangles like Glasgow in the late 80's.

Can't Stop has an Everything Flows riff, Always Prepared is pure 90's Power Pop Rock, think Matthew Sweet. Real Name is crossover Punk Pop, reminiscent of the better bands of that ilk. Waste My Time is a little REM.

All in all, Chris has far more in comparison with the first couple of Teenage Fanclub albums and I can think of no greater compliment. Mats it isn't! This album is a fine listen, it doesn't let up across all 11 tracks and why should it?

You can listen to and buy the album here.


Monday 10 June 2019

Mothboxer - Time Capsule Volume 1

I think that those who have been paying attention, (See Me Later those that haven't), will know how highly we rate Mothboxer. On the "Why The Hell Isn't This Artist Bigger?" List, Dave Ody features very near the top.

Time Capsule Volume 1 was born out of a re-discovery of many archived mixes and recordings dating back to way back when, specifically 1995 - 2003. The original recordings were pretty varied in quality so, as far as Ody was concerned, not really in a releasable state as they were, but worth a revisit in 2019.

Bearing in mind the nature of the project, I felt it would be great to get Dave to talk us through the ten songs and thankfully he agreed. You can read his thoughts below :

01. Pleased To Meet Ya

Written and demoed : 1997
Re-Recorded : 2019

"This began as an acoustic demo recorded to 4 track cassette. In my mind it was always meant to be a kind of tribute to the Revolver sound so this new re-recorded version is more what was intended. None of the original elements are included here, this is a complete re-record. Lyrically a little obtuse. but clearly I’m writing from the perspective of a screwed up 20 something!"

02. Sing To Me

Written and demoed : 1999
Re-Recorded : 2019, contains elements of the original ’99 mix.

"Another one from a basic acoustic demo, re-arranged and re-recorded but it does have the original track running in the background subtly. Always thought this was a great chorus but kind of gave up on it for 20 years!"

03. Ball And Chain

Written : 2001
Added Vocal, bass synth and other stuff : 2019

"One of the first songs I demo’d on my new Mac setup I got in 2001, so I managed to find the original files from the backup disc. Was listening to a lot of Beck at the time. as it has that feel to it. This was intended for the old band, Kid Galahad, but it didn’t make it onto the debut album for one reason or another."

04. New Satellite

Written : 1998

"One of my favourites and a song that’s resided in the back of my mind for 21 years. This is a totally brand new recording of the original song. No demo elements in this as they were recorded on tape, broken tape, so the tempo varied way too much to get it to sit properly. Turned out nice in the end."

05. Song For Everyone

Written : 2000

"Re-recorded pretty much all of this, although the original drum loop from the demo is sat nicely at the back in the intro. It’s come out a little groovier than the original, thanks in part to the newly written guitar lick at the start. This was one of those tracks that I wasn’t sure about. but is now one of my favourites on this volume."

06. See The Light

Written : 2001

"From the same period as Ball And Chain, so tracked digitally. This is the only one on this volume with the original vocal, somehow managed to get the old rubbish mic sounding good! I was playing around with a lot of the old synth plugins and effects that came with the new tech I got in 2000!.

Might be seen as a little self indulgent but, hey.. If you have a new phaser effect, why not use it! Recorded drums, extra piano and this track benefits from a beautiful orchestral arrangement by Patrick Martyn."

07. What You Do Today

Written : 1995
Re-Recorded : 2019

"Oldest song on this collection, original was hilarious (in a bad way). It will never be heard while I’m walking this earth. But hidden deep down, was a good song, albeit 24 years old. Some crazy chord changes in the middle 8 but it was one of those early songs that managed to write itself once I got going.

 I can remember vividly writing and recording this back in ’95. Same can’t be said for a lot of the tracks from that period, so I figured it must have something going for it. Probably the bluesiest thing I’ve done."

08. White Out

Written : 2001
Re-recorded : 2019

"This is a full re-record again, inspired by 2 different demos from 2001/2. One totally acoustic, one way too electric! Clearly couldn’t make up my mind. This version is a blend of both ideas. On this I used a bit of recording trickery to slow down some of the tracking and then record the vocal as it was written in a key, way too high for me! Intended for Ash Bull, the singer for Kid Galahad."

09. Down Break

Written : 2003
Additional recording : 2019

"This is another that has been rattling around for 19 years! The “newest” of these old songs in fact. Was considered for the Geen album in 2007, but didn’t get included. Re-recorded drums, vocals, some lead guitar and keys this year."

10. Standing In The Sunshine

Written : 2002
Additional recording : 2019

"This started life as an instrumental, again learning what I could do with a computer based recording set up and going a bit crazy with the arpeggiated synth sounds! Managed to find the original stereo mix of the instrumental and went from there!

The lyrics / vocals were written back in 2002, but this is a new take. Added drums and all manner of stuff to it but the original version is pretty much the backbone."

You can listen to and buy the album here.  Whilst there, you can also discover the superb Mothboxer Back Catalogue.


Sunday 9 June 2019

I Don't Hear A Single Volume 71

We get fully up to date with the 18 songs that combine to provide Volume 71 of the IDHAS Audio Explosion. Back to three per month now from Volume 72.

There is a four second watermark at the beginning of each, this is because I'm using the software as a trial whilst Jim is out of action. If I do them permanently, I will find the best program to buy.

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

Number 71 is ready to delight you. The playlist is as follows  :

01 Tsar - I Don't Wanna Break-Up
02 The Needs - Summerbore
03 The Wild Reeds - Moving Target
04 Marcus Wilsson - Sexuella Vibrationer (Feat. Moa Blücher)
05 KiDD - A Picture I Don't Want To Paint
06 The Damned Things - Invincible
07 SALT - Crime Spree
08 The Morning Line - Nostradamus
09 The Dowling Poole - Optimum Delirium
10 Supraluxe - Chocolate Gravy
11 Decent Criminal - Nowhere
12 A.C.T - Running Out Of Luck
13 The Maladaptive Solution - Consort (Queen Of Everything)
14 The Galileo 7 - The World Looks Different Today
15 Timothy Eerie - Transformation Of Things
16 The Honey Pot - A Simple Act
17 Potty Mouth - 22
18 Paws - What We Want

IDHAS Volume 71 Mixcloud Link

Onesie - Umpteenth

I committed to a review per day in June for a number of reasons. Mainly, due to being way behind this year, but also as a reaction to a conversation with someone who asked if I cover anything bar Power Pop. I would strongly suggest that the person looks more into what IDHAS does to realise that I Don't Hear A Single celebrates a lot more than that.

Throughout this first week, I think you've already seen the variance on offer and as we reach Onesie, I think you can hear here what is the real love of my life. That is Angular, Clever, Left Field Pop that sits somewhere between Psych Pop and Pop Rock. Onesie are definitely that and Umpteenth is an absolute stormer of an album.

The Brooklyn quartet offer up a wonderful mix of songs that evoke memories of the much missed The Sugarplastic. It must be in the "Ben's" for Ben Eshbach read Onesie main man, Ben Haberland. I could mention XTC, but too many do.

A starting point would be Would You Be My Goon? These three and a half minutes sum up Onesie perfectly. A multitude of ideas and chord changes are present without ever losing the point of the song. Generally, the album's lyrics focus on the mundane whilst surrounding these words with incredibly original arrangements.

You have the Fuzz Rock of  Legacy Act, yet Coin Op has undertones of Devoto era Buzzcocks. Customers is a mix of The Futureheads and 90's College Riff Rock. Final Days Of Nineteen is pure Sugarplastic, Vanity Plates has a Jonathan Richman drawl with a killer hook. Have you got the gist yet? Across these 11 songs there is so much variety and each has so many ideas fighting to get out.

The real thing that shines through is the lyrical excellence of these gems, the unexpected couplets are many and manage to heighten your enjoyment of Umpteenth. I have embedded three songs to hopefully underline how great the albums is. To be honest I could have chosen any, the album is that good.

This album will be high up on my Best Of 2019 list. It's an incredibly good album, one of the best things that I've heard in ages. You can listen to and buy the album here. The Vinyl release is a bargain 15 dollars and the Cassette is a ridiculous 5 dollars.


Criminal Hygiene - Run It Again

Los Angeles's Criminal Hygiene offer up their second album and it's wonderfully loose. This is a real riff-athon, even when the band slows things down on the likes of Thankless, the song is still built on a riff and a singalong chorus.

I've talked about lazy comparisons in the past and it seems hip at the moment to compare bands to The Replacements. However, this is pretty close, although the songs are less chaotic and a  little more structured that The Mats.

There is a sort of UK New Wave Rhythm that underpins the songs, no bad thing and this is never more so on Rearrange Me. Private Screening Heroin has an Another Girl, Another Planet Feel, particularly the riff, but Greetings From A Postcard has a real Jangle about it.

Run It Again isn't just a heads down up and at 'em affair, there are nearly as many slower songs as wilder numbers, but it's fair to say that the band are at their most enjoyable when they let loose with the album opening duo of Hardly News and Breaking Out The Stained Glass.

Young And Obscene is almost 12 bar Blues and Turpentine is two songs in one, switching halfway into a paint stripper of a closing track. All But Your Swansong is probably the stand out and also when they sound most Mats like.

Run It Again is a fine listen, really enjoyable. You can listen and buy it here.


Friday 7 June 2019

Mounties - Heavy Meta

Supergroups tend to produce music of little merit, even the good ones produce an album that you revisit and think, this wasn't as good as I remember it. Most make an album that it is solely for themselves and the only nod to the listener is usually some banter to show how normal the band members are.

So anyone giving this "We didn't know how much we had in common" studio approach starts at a disadvantage and the only ways out are to produce something surprisingly outstanding or  to come up with something surprising and inventive.

Mounties largely manage to do both. The trio consisting of Hawksley Workman, Steve Bays and Ryan Dahle offered up an unexpectedly good 2014 debut album and this follow up doesn't disappoint. There's a ton of ideas across the 53 minutes, maybe a few too many.

All avenues are covered as Heavy Meta as it takes in Pop, Rock, Psych and Electronica. There's noises from everywhere. This is wonderfully inventive, but it's a lot to take in one go. However, anyone who can come up with a song as marvellous as the title track deserves persevering with. It's a constantly changing , sprawling magnificent seven minutes. This song is worth the admission alone.

There's so much variation, the early Blur like Dark Heart Suffering, the Numan-esque You Were Right. The J Pop plinkity plonk of  Modesty Plays and Devo-ish No XTC's just ratchets up the directional changes.

Amongst the Kraut Rock and Flaming Lips comparisons of other individual songs, a New Wave Pop masterpiece, Burning Money shines out. Heavy Meta will take quite a few listens, but it's exceptional and well worth the effort. Canada should be proud of these three. Heavy Meta is a fine album.

You can buy the album everywhere. You Should!