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Saturday 31 August 2019

Albums That Have Been Gathering Dust : ELO - Time

It's hard to believe now when you read Social Media. ELO were once not everyone's favourite band, the cool kids at the time just didn't like the Pop that emerged, it was for squares. You didn't see your peers carrying the album on the bus, Front Cover prominent, so that everyone could marvel at your taste.

As a Glam Rock teenager, the first music that I bought under my own steam were Glam singles. I had a particular love of Wizzard and I remember my Dad, groaning at Roy Wood's hair and make up and him informing me that Wood was never like that in The Move. As an 11 year old, I was taken into town for my birthday with a £5 EMI Record Token and having bought two albums, I wanted a Wizzard album, but didn't have enough for Wizzard Brew, when I saw a budget album on the Pickwick label and that I could afford.

That Pickwick compilation was a revelation, like most of their and MFP's albums there was two or three singles mixed with assorted album tracks. It was the non singles that grabbed me, Cherry Blossom Clinic (Revisited) and in particular, Jeff Lynne's What. I went to the library and looked up everything I could find on The Move and hence found ELO.

My first ELO album was Face The Music, from their I went backwards discovering Eldorado and the very different Harvest albums. The Harvest albums revealed the bridge between The Move and ELO, but it was the Pop that hit me most. That was even more so on New World Record and Out Of The Blue when Mr Blue Sky became everyone's favourite cheer up song. Mr Blue Sky may be the band's defining song, but I'd argue that their best is the magnificent Can't Get It Out Of My Head, however, I digress.

When Time came out, I was well into the UK New Wave and was just coming out of a 12 - 18 month spell of the NWOBHM, incidentally with a group of Heavy Metal fans that remain the best ever gang of people that I've knocked around with. I also wasn't that hot on ELO at the time, I never liked the Discovery album, or Disco-very as I remember noting it, it just seemed to be a bit welllllllllllll naff. The songs were really mediocre.

So for the first time in a few years, I didn't rush out to buy a new ELO album. I'd heard Hold On Tight and the Rock And Roll direction of that seemed better, but certainly wasn't going to have me jumping up and down at the prospect of putting Crepe soles on my feet. As I read reviews, I found out it was a concept album (really!!!) about the future (I have no time for Science Fiction, I watch it and think "That'll never happen") and was synth led.

I heard a couple of tracks on Phil Easton's Radio City Evening Show, a time when you could discover album tracks on Mainstream FM Radio and liked what I'd heard, so on the next day in Liverpool, I bought it at Penny Lane Records. I've never regretted that, quite the reverse. Time is noted as the last great ELO album and that's probably right. There are moments on albums that followed, but nothing worth listening to from start to finish.

Yes it's a concept album, although you wouldn't necessarily know that if it weren't for the Prologue and Epilogue. Also my favourite ELO album is also a concept album, but I couldn't include Eldorado in this series because I play it far too often. People say that the strings had gone, well they haven't, there are some, but they are minimal and not done by Louis Clark, but by Rainer Pietsch. Those string arrangements are largely replaced by synths.

There are a lot of synths present, so much so that many critics describe the album as Synth Pop. That's not quite the case, that genre is largely reserved for the Synth bands that were already around, usually two man affairs. It is though a Pop album, a great Pop album. The new direction may have led to the band being as ELO for the first time, but we all knew them as that anyway and with Jeff Lynne at the helm, the sound may have changed but the songs hadn't that much.

Although Hold On Tight is obviously remembered most, Twilight is mentioned just as much. The latter is a great song, sung and played at breakneck speed, but it's more simple songs that stand out for me most. Both The Rain Is Falling and The Lights Go Down, the former with it's atypical repetitive ELO chorus, the latter with an almost Reggae riff. The ballads are wonderfully big, Ticket To The Moon and 21st Century Man are moody, but sing along.

There are also more experimental songs, futuristic based of course, in From The End Of The World and Here Is The News, but all the trigger points are choruses across the tracks. ELO never had much left over from album sessions, except Secret Messages which was a rejected Double Album originally, so the three Bonus Tracks are B Sides. Of these, Julie Don't Live Here Any More, a simple but effective affair, that has always been a song that I loved as the B Side of the Twilight single.

Time has always been mentioned as the ELO album that is nearest The Beatles, I wouldn't go anywhere near that far, but is a splendid Pop album at a time when music was becoming more about dressing up than the quality of the song. The band's popularity would wane after this, but not so for Jeff Lynne as a Wilbury and Producer.

Incidentally, I have this album on a number of formats. Ironically for a futuristic album I have it on 8 Track. Yes 8 Track was still a thing in 1981. The album is available everywhere. In this case, I'd recommend CD as the format to listen to it on.


Thursday 29 August 2019

Bryan Estepa - Sometimes I Just Don't Know

As I've said previously, Bryan Estepa does both Power Pop and Alt Country in equal measure and masters both equally well. It just surprises me that he is so known for the Alt Country, that the Guitar Pop gets neglected.

Well, this is the album to change all that. This is the Australian Singer Songwriter's Guitar Pop album and it rocks suitability. This is a proper band album and it shows that he's played with them for seven years. Put simply, this album is fantastic and what this sluggish year has been waiting for.

Aided by a killer lead single, the album opener that is I'm Not Ready For This. Fellow, underrated Aussie, Michael Carpenter is present too on the Starsailor like, Rattled And Roll, But all ten songs, the pace rarely lets up.

A slower song such as the mini Torch Ballad, Granted allow you to admire Estepa's versatility and talent, but only put a temporary hold on the Guitar volley that's to come. Alt Country is on the back burner, only really Valleys giving a hint f what is around from the past.

Highlights are too many to single out, any of the 10 songs could be mentioned to extol the strength of Sometimes I Just Don't Know.  No Ordinary is a personal favourite, but that may be because I've advance listening of I'm Not Ready For This for a while.

It's really hard to think of only three songs to embed in this post, so I'd suggest you listen to the whole thing and then open your purse. This is gonna take some beating in the IDHAS End Of Year Chart, I can't see much that will beat it at present.

You can listen to and buy the album here.


Scott Gagner - Hummingbird Heart

There was a time, not too long ago, that great Singer Songwriter albums appeared regularly across the year. That seems to have slowed down to a snail's pace over the past couple of years. Singer Songwriters would appear not to be in, particularly in the world of IDHAS.

So it's particularly pleasing to hear the West Coast's Popmeister's return. Hummingbird Heart has to go some to beat the not so difficult, third album, Pins And Needles. Thankfully it does and then some, this is not only a fine listen, it also seems more upbeat than what has gone before.

Ken Stringfellow is present again, an added bonus, but this does feel more Scott Gagner than any collaboration. The Petty-esque vocals are still a joy to listen to, but the melodies are bigger and the songs more fully formed to warrant that comparison.

The lead single, Bella gives notice of what to expect, plenty of Jangle, lots of hooks and some fine harmonies. That Jangle is even more infectious on You Can't Break A Broken Heart. That's not to say that the album is aimed at fans of The Byrds.

Breathe has a real 80's feel with it's synth led croon, When I Had The Chance has even more of a croon with it's Country feel. Put A Little Beauty is charm personified, a great arrangement enhances a Jackson Browne feel.

The album does slow down as it progresses to become more of a curl up companion. But when Hummingbird Heart rocks, it is at it's best. Baby Gets What Baby Wants is a crackerjack of a song. This is a fine album. essential listening.

You can listen to and buy the album here.


I Do Hear A Single

Well it would appear to be over two and a half years since I've done one of these. Time Flies Blah Blah etc etc. So I'd better crack on.

Roi - Dormouse Records

Released on Sydney's wonderful eclectic label, Metal Postcard, Roi are the latest project from Brian Bordello and with son, Dan Shea on board, this is essentially two thirds of The Bordellos with John McCarthy. 

This results in a cross between Half Man Half Biscuit and lo-fi Kraut Rock. Bordello's minimal production hides what a lyrical genius he is. There's a self depreciating wit amongst the clever puns that gets missed at times.

John McCarthy makes this different to what you've heard from The Bordellos. His keyboard and electronic additions bring the Kraut Rock feel. This isn't a singalong affair, but is an extraordinary listen. B Side, Straight Outta Southport is suitably broody and inventive.

You can listen to and buy the single here.

Sundial Symphony - Merri Goes Round

If you've not been following the Big Stir Weekly Digital Singles, where have you been? An A and B Side per week for a dollar a time is the best value in the supermarket today. Robbie Rist and Don Frankel reform to offer up their single.

Performing two songs written by future author, Paul Levinson, who Frankel recorded with, the single is a revelation. Merri Goes Round is a splendid slice of late 60's Psych Pop. B Side Looking For Sunsets has a verse that could be Russell Mael and a chorus that could be The Seekers. Both are fine songs.

There is an upcoming IDHAS feature on the Big Stir Digital Single series for the upcoming third volume on CD.

You can listen to and buy this and the other singles here.

The Glad Machine - Virginia 

Northampton MA quartet, The Glad Machine return with the crunching Power Pop that you'd expect, proving that last year's superb album wasn't a flash in the pan. You can read my review of the self titled album here

Virginia is an urgent melodic joy, again there is much in common with Cheap Trick, even the Guitar solo. The chorus even has hints of Muse. I can't wait for the resulting album. There's also credit to Wayne from Icecream Powerpopman for debuting this single on his excellent annual compilation. 

You can listen to and download the single, free of charge, here.

Ryan Soanes - Hot Girl

This is the second time in a couple of weeks that I've been singing the praise of Norfolk based artists. I do have a penchant for Pop Punk, particularly when it's done well and this Ryan Soanes single does it incredibly well.

Hot Girls is a cross between a male Avril Lavigne and the likes of Busted. You can just imagine Butch Walker producing it, as long as he leaves those bloody hand claps at home. This is very American sounding, but isn't most Pop Punk? I can't wait to hear more with next month's full album.

You can listen to the single here and buy it everywhere.


Wednesday 28 August 2019

The Winstons - Smith

The popsters may try to cover up my love of Prog, but I will always find routes to escape. Italian trio, The Winstons offer up their third studio album and it's a suitably weird and wonderful listen. The band are caught halfway between Prog and Psych and so naturally will be compared with the Canterbury scene.

That comparison with Canterbury with Richard Sinclair taking vocals on a cover of Wilde Flowers' Impotence. It's not all Prog though, Mick Harvey takes vocals and Jet's Nic Cester likewise on Rocket Belt. The influences are far afield though.

The Blue Traffic Light is pure early Yes, apart from the Sax break, Around The Boat could be Procol Harum, Blind is a wonderful slice of Psych Pop. Soon could be Soft Machine and Cester makes Rocket Blue a cross between The Who and Kula Shaker.

Canterbury gets a bad rep from outsiders as a scene that thinks it is so far out that it ends up celebrating itself. There's not a whiff of that here. Smith may seem all over the place, at times it is, but it's that variety and versatility that makes it such an interesting listen.

You can buy the album everywhere. You can listen to the album here.


Matthew Milia - Alone At St. Hugo

Michigan has been fairly quiet music wise recently according to these IDHAS ears. That is about to change with the upcoming Extra Arms release and The Legal Matters back in the studio. Kicking off the charge has been seemingly delegated to Matthew Milia and that's a good thing.

As Front Man of Frontier Ruckus, Milia is far more in Americana territory, none of that here. Alone At St. Hugo masters gentle Pop Rock and it's a deeply satisfying album. There are still hints of Americana, but largely this is splendid straight ahead California Pop.

The country tinge of Congratulations Honey is counter balanced by the Jangle Pop of Attention Students. Lyrically, the album gives a modern impression, again evening the Archive Pop of the material. You should certainly listen to the words here.

This excellent Singer Songwriter vibe reminds me a lot of Elliot Smith. The collaboration with Ben Collins has worked beautifully, the tricky chords are still present, but the pop sensibilities wash over everything, wonderfully so.

The Pedal Steel on Schemer is so weeping, enhancing the melancholy, Abruptly Old And Caffienated could be The Rembrandts. The closer, Karen's Just A Kid could be The Jayhawks and has a blistering guitar solo within, rounding off ten songs that make the 48 minutes spent, more than worthwhile.

There seems to have been plenty of time spent recording the album. There's a dedication and perfection spent on the arrangements and harmonies that make this such a joyful listen. Alone At St Hugo is great Pop and you say that less and less these days. Top Notch Stuff!

You can listen to and buy the album here.


Tuesday 27 August 2019

I Don't Hear A Single Audio Extravaganza Volume 78

Flush with our success in the Mixcloud Global Indie Chart, the Audio Extravaganza ventures out for the 78th time.

20 of the latest releases to tingle your ears.. The playlist is below and will also be in the comments section of the Mixcloud page. Thanks as always to Jim moody for his technical excellence

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

01  The Nines - Don't Ever Lose Your Control
02  The Coolies - Ignoramus
03  Wrinkles - Thunderstorm
04  The Demos - Make It Better
05  Penelope Isles - Chlorine
06  The Rallies - It's Okay
07  Garlands - Protector
08  Bryan Estepa - No Ordinary
09  Lannie Flowers - Flavor Of The Month
10  Rob Laufer - Floating World
11  Foxhall Stacks - Turntable Exiles
12  True Lies - Dead Things Come Alive
13  Armstrong - Love Hate Passion And War
14  The Jellybricks - Corner Of My Eye
15  Pete Yorn - I Wanna Be The One
16  Redd Kross - Fantástico Robert
17  Versus - Gravity
18  The Rembrandts - Broken Toy
19  City Calm Down - Visions Of Graceland
20  Silver Sound Explosion - Telephone Wired

IDHAS Volume 78 Mixcloud Link 

Sunday 25 August 2019

Mick Dillingham Interviews : Celebral Corps

Three years on, we wanted to refresh I Don't Hear A Single a little. Music sites evolve, so it was now an opportunity, particularly with some down time whilst I set up the IDHAS bases for future developments, which you will hear more of in future months. There was also some outside influences, the Power Pop outside nonsense, the wish to make IDHAS a bit more varied, more in touch with what I listen to as a whole.

There was also a conversation with Steve Coulter of The Brothers Steve about how music of the past two or three decades was largely missing from the internet. Initially, we were going to set up some other site to cover this, but I felt that, with so much going on on I Don't Hear A Singlet that we'd incorporate some of that here. The focus here won't really change, it will still be about celebrating the new and under appreciated.

However, through the occasional mix of Archive Interviews and Articles and new pieces, I felt we could utilise the likes of Mick and I to cover the past and still concentrate largely on the future. So here we revisit an old splendid interview of Mick's with Jeff Salzman of the wonderful Celebral Corps. It is a fine read and a chance for you all to revisit one of the most underrated bands of all time. So over to Mick, who has revisited his original Interview tape to present this joy.

Pre-internet it was a total hit and miss thing trying to interview musicians from across the pond. All you could generally do is send a letter with your request and all your questions and thoughts to the record company and hope that they passed it on and that the artist would be up for it. For this, the weeks turned into months and a year or so later, one morning out of the blue I got a call from Jeff apologising for the inexcusably long wait. He said that the interview was done and dusted and on its way. A week later, a tape arrived in the post. I’ve got to say now that this interview has always been one of my all time favorites. Not just because Jeff, instead of just plonking himself down in front of a tape recorder as most people would do, decides instead to do the whole thing in his home studio. He added sound effects, slipping in rare tracks like Pam’s Purple Spirograph and Sweet Bonny Brown and generally made it more like a slightly crazed radio show,

He’s such a complete sweetheart. Self-effacing, witty, warm clever and honest in his replies throughout, the whole tape is a joy to listen to from start to finish. Besides what gets transcribed below, there are lots of asides to me, lots of funny bits, lots of sweet self-depreciation said with a smile. By the end of the tape I wished that he lived next door, not two thousand miles away and that I could be his friend. So enough of my reminiscing here is the true story of Cerebral Corps in the voice of the man himself.

"I probably got interested in playing music when I was around sixteen and I decided to help my social life, especially as far as girls went, by learning about music. I start playing the guitar with a group of friends who had similar concerns about their sexual well-being. We started a punk band, called The Dischords we played some originals and a lot of music from England, we liked The Clash and The Jam and Buzzcocks (I still like Buzzcocks a lot). I’m kinda proud about that because a lot of friends my age who had bands at that time have real embarrassing setlists like Journey and Foghat

So at least I think I started out on the right foot. I started working at record stores and everything sort of collapsed after that, I didn’t pay attention at school, or to my parents or anything, it was just guitar music and more guitar music. So it’s a pretty typical story. I wouldn’t say I became a music buff as such, I just knew about the music I liked. I soon became a big fan of ELO, which I think is pretty obvious.

When I was eighteen I started doing four-track demos of my own songs. I think I was working very well with the limitations that I had, especially since I knew absolutely nothing about recording. I’d never been that prolific at writing songs, recording is probably the main reason that I did music. I usually wrote songs because I wanted to record something and you can only do cover songs for so long.

It’s always more fun recording your own songs, but it’s always been something that facilitated recording. Recording was really just a hobby for me, so the songwriting was just a symptom of that. There’s lots of stuff in the archives from this period, most of it is pretty pedestrian four track experiments, like what somebody might do if they were naive and had crummy equipment. There’s some cool stuff, I’ll have to dig it out sometime.

To truly understand the genesis of Cerebral Corps, we have to start at Pam’s Purple Spyrograph, which was my very first Cerebral Corps recording and it was done on a lark. I was trying to be as overtly sixties psychedelic as I possibly could. I think I was listening to Plasticland at the time, I liked them a lot, even though they weren’t British, they were pretty close."

"A friend of mine, who was a music director at a local college radio station heard Pam’s Purple Spyrograph and begged me to let him play it and surprisingly it got really heavy airplay. I was shocked. I guess that it’s just such a weird song and it sounded so different from everything else on the air, this was like the REM era of college radio. It was kind of a hit and that sort of started Cerebral Corps, because people wanted to hear more and more.

Through all this college radio play, I got voted as one of the bands people wanted to see play the Bay Area Talented Showcase. Trouble was I didn’t have a band, it was just me. They called me and said would I be in this showcase which was going to highlight all these unsigned bands and its going to be this big show and this big benefit for all the stations. I said…yes sure…I was so taken aback and after I’d hung up the phone I thought, you idiot how am I gonna do this?

So luckily just through playing guitar and stuff, I had some friends who where willing to help me out.  I just went around and asked these guys one by one and I sort of put a band together that way. So it was a real hodgepodge stylistically. The lead guitarist was into heavy metal and the drummer was into seventies stuff like Foghat and the bass player was Bob Vickers who became like my collaborator for a while. So the band played some shows before the showcase and they were all disastrous or so I thought.

People, though, came up to me afterwards and said they thought we were really great and there were always lots of people there. One show was so bad that I actually ran off the stage.  So that was basically the end of the live band. The band got so pissed at me about doing that they said they just didn’t want to play with me anymore, if I wasn’t going to hang out on stage. I couldn’t really see their point (laughs) well maybe that was a problem. Playing live was such a strenuous thing that I got physically ill. I was in hospital for three weeks after with a stomach condition. It was really nerve wracking."

"So then I put together the Oxide Sox tape and it was fun. I just borrowed a bunch of cassette decks from friends and piggybacked them and just did these big dubbing sessions all summer. I sold about 200 of them. I did them really cheap for $2.99, because my costs were very low so it was a real bargain for listeners. Oxide Soxs is mildly entertaining, there’s some really cool stuff on it. it is all four track and that has some charm.

So it would have been the end, because I just didn’t feel there was any point anymore. I enjoyed doing it, but I didn’t think a record label or anybody would be interested in me so why try? Right? Plus, I didn’t try and the people at Alias ended up buying the tape from somewhere, I didn’t send it to them, because I didn’t send it to any record labels. They liked it and they went after me, so it wasn’t my fault (laughs).

The album took a year and a half to record, but its not that it took that long because I was labouring over every chord.  I already had the songs laid out. I had most of them demoed too. The time consuming thing was just the fact that I was arrogant enough to think that I had come to a certain juncture with four tracking and I was really a hot shot at that. I thought I could buy 16 track equipment with the money for recording from the label.

To think that I could just like go from one to the other in this seamless step was dumb, because I didn’t know what the hell I was doing. I bought all this big equipment and everyone at the label was standing around waiting for something. I was here, trying to figure out how do you get signal up into the board? Honestly it was really difficult Those were some down in the dumps stages of my life there. I mean I’d come home crying and I’m not afraid to admit that.. But it came out and some of its good and some of its not as good."

"The songs come from all different dates, the oldest being Haemorrhaging which was from the late eighties to Sounding Song which I wrote as I was doing the record. Perihelion was a newer song too. I put a single out through Alias. The A side’s Perihelion and the B side is three songs that didn’t make the album, I recorded them after the record. I’m pretty proud of that, my seven year old nephew did the cover, he was pretty jazzed about that. I’m a big vinyl fan, its what I grew up on and its neat to look at the grooves and think-ooh that’s me in those grooves.

The reaction to the record was good, and I was really afraid of this, because I’m a very sensitive person and I don’t take well to rejection or people saying bad things about me. So when I finished the record, I vowed that I wasn’t going to look at any music press for like the next eight years (laughs). I didn’t want to even see reviews in case they were bad. I haven’t read many of them, but people tell me that they’re good. I have a hard time reading about myself. I did read one lukewarm review and it was kinda upsetting…I’m a baby.

I’m not a real confident person, I hate to say that I hide behind my recording equipment, but I probably do. But that’s my strength and playing live and being real visual about music isn’t really what I’m into. So I don’t have much confidence, but then again it takes a lot of gall to make a record by yourself. So in other ways I do have confidence, I don’t know…......."

You can read Mick's original article here.

Wrinkles - Other Days

Wrinkles offer up their second album and it is suitably wonderful. The external humour of the band has a reverse side in their material and this originality and depth is a joy. However, this ability to be so many things means that the one listen brigade are never going to get it.

The Montana five piece are also not helped by the Hipster Reviews that they get. The obscure comparisons in these reviews don't necessarily help the band, they smack of something intended to make the reviewer look arty and worldly, when really they are good at searching google.

What Wrinkles do have is one of the great front men in Jon Cardiello, He really can be anything that you want him to be. He slips between Bryan Ferry, David Byrne, Jarvis Cocker, Nick Cave and Scott Walker, but is just at home in something Poptastic.

The band's adaptability means that they can flit between Indie, Art Rock and even Prog with ease. There's even seemingly a contrariness within. For instance, the opener Afternoon is suitably brooding, but why open that when the following, Thunderstorm is so damn accessible?

This versatility and adaptability should be shouted and celebrated from the rooftops, particularly in these days when it seems to need nine people to write a three minute song. Total Control has a King Crimson feel, yet compare that to Black Jeans, which is pure Pulp or Divine Comedy.

There is so much ability and creativity contained here, that belies the band's relative youth, that Other Days demands that you give it the time needed to get it. The album will take repeated listens, but you owe it to yourself to give it that. One word sums up the album and that word is Stunning!

You can listen to and buy the album here.


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 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


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 individual 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