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Wednesday, 25 November 2020

Another Round Of Sessions

 


IDHAS is now ready to Bop 'Til We Drop for the rest of 2020 and we've put our poptastic clothes on and look very 1974 as ever. So now be the time to tell you about some of the stuff that is planned.  Don't Hear A Single doesn't get excited about Christmas songs, unless there is a particular twist or spin on them and that usually means at the very least, new songs. Another cover of something that is on Now That's What I Call Christmas is really just a Turkey Sandwich on the 28th December. We are more than happy to leave that stuff to people who are generally glad to cover it.

So our main focus around with Christmas will be via The IDHAS Audio Extravaganza. That means Live Sessions. After the massive success of those earlier in the year, we are planning some new ones to end the year.

We've made space for up to seven days of Live Sessions. Each day will feature two sessions, back to back, each lasting around 30 minutes. It will be however many days we can fill, so it could be anything from 4 - 7 days depending on interest and time. We are starting to contact likely candidates from the weekend and the compiling begins next week. We aim to finish the recording of shows by 19 December to allow us schedule the shows from 27 December. 

We are especially interested in artists who have had their albums covered on I Don't Hear A Single this year, but there will also be some big surprises. Feel free to contact us if you are interested and we will be contacting some of you directly. 

There will also be the usual end of year Audio Extravaganzas celebrating our favourites that we've played through 2020. This will be a 2 part feature. The second part will be broadcast on Boxing Day. On the week leading up to Christmas, there will be a special Sessions show featuring our favourite performances from the May performances. That will also include a special short set that we haven't broadcast before and believe you me, it is special.

Finally audio wise, there are another couple of surprises as pilots for things we may do next year. Both are very different and are a mixture of fun and music. 

There are are plenty of reviews to come before the year end and then the sit down to compile IDHAS's Top 100 Albums of 2020 can begin. That will be published as always in early to mid January. Finally, there are some other exciting things to tell you about before the year is out. 

Look out for the official (see how self important we are) announcement of the Sessions thingymajig later this week. Oh and for those of you who enjoyed our Radio Dependence Network Top 21 spoof, another is planned for this year.


Phew I'm glad all this is out in the open. Now I can go back to talking about lockdowns and Trump and taking photos of Bailey.


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Psychotic Youth - Forever And Never

 


In 1985, amidst the legwarmers and short sleeve jackets, you could need to sell a million singles to get to Number 1. Much has changed since then, but thankfully Psychotic Youth haven't. Forever And Never is the band's 14th album and their Garage Power Pop still sounds as great as ever.

The IDHAS Review of 2017's The Voice Of Summer could easily be written for Forever And Never and that is what is so refreshing. Through all the 2020 nonsense, it is wonderful to listen to something that reminds you of how it should be. You can read The Voice Of Summer Review here





I've seen many comparisons to The Ramones during the band's lifetime and although there is a little of that, most of these descriptions are lazy because Psychotic Youth are far more melodic and have more in common with Glam Rock and New Wave if anything.

Indeed, if there is a difference here to the previous two albums, it is that there is less Dr Feelgood and more Chinn and Chapman. Ten O'Clock Postman is the killer song here, an absolute Power Pop classic, but there is much to be admired elsewhere.





Goodbye Summer is Late 50's Rock and Roll, Come On (And Give Me Something Good) is pure Undertones and Before You is another Power Pop gem. Can't Call On Me is more down and dirty and That's The Way A Woman Is could be The Cars.

The only real heads down affair is Detention and the closer, Picture Of You is a New Wave Joy.  17 songs in 43 minutes with hooks aplenty, big choruses and sprinklings of delightful Farfisa, what more could you want? There are many great things to have come out of Sweden, Psychotic Youth should  definitely be included amongst them.





You can listen to and buy the album here.


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Sunday, 22 November 2020

Kool Kat Musik Weekly New Release Update



Welcome to the Kool Kat Weekly New Release Update. Kool Kat are distributed in the UK and Europe by I Don't Hear A Single as part of our aim to keep CDs available and affordable. The Kool Kat Links with each album take you to further details on each release..

Please place all UK and European orders by following the details here. Links to Kool Kat's Entire Stock can be found here. Without further ado, here are seven new additions to Kool Kat Musik this Week.


Jim Basnight - Jokers, Idols  & Misfits (Precedent Records) 2020      $13








Although recognized for his excellent original material, Jim chose to compile an album of 21 covers. What sets ‘Jokers, Idols & Misfits’ apart from most albums of its type is that the majority of songs are not merely paint-by-number doodles, nor are they misty-eyed nostalgic sojourns.  Jim’s own personality and identity figure strongly in each entry, permitting the material to shine with a reinvigorated spirit. 


Kool Kat Link


Bandcamp Link


Simon Felton - The Cost Of Living  (Pink Hedgehog Records UK) 2020      $11


                                                      



                                   

After a few years concentrating on other projects, comes “The Cost Of Living”, the latest collection of Simon’s trademark melancholy pop. There is certainly a British Invasion slice of life throughout and the album sounds as authentic as it can be. 80's English Pop at its very best.



Kool Kat Link


Bandcamp Link


Ryan Hamilton & The Harlequin Ghosts - Nowhere To Go But Everywhere  (Wicked Cool Records) 2020      $13   







                       
In the wake of a divorce, Hamilton took a US road trip and has used his experiences to inform this collection of songs. Stories of heartache, longing and the requisite amount of soul-searching that might be expected under the circumstances. Don’t expect rawness and fragility in these pieces however, they are mostly slickly produced and have a radio-friendly feel to them.  

   

Kool Kat Link


Bandcamp Link


The Nines - Reflections (Self Released) 2020      $15








The Nines are one of a very few reliable power pop artists who've produced consistently great music since 1998.   They clearly fall in the McCartney/XTC/Ben Folds realm, but the band has its own unique sound and a solid command of melodies and minor chord shifts.  Steve Eggers is one of the most underrated singer songwriters of the modern pop era.

                                

Kool Kat Link


Bandcamp Link


The Queue - Fallout (Kool Kat Musik) 2004      $12







       
Kool Kat's re-release of The Queue's 2004 debut effort that had Bucketful of Brains Magazine gushing. The album mixes a large measure of Crowded House with some Jellyfish and a dash of Brit Pop. Combining flawless melodies, expressive, passionate vocals and consistently outstanding harmonies ring out.

 

Kool Kat Link


You Tube Link


The Speeds - Sing It Loud (Kool Kat Musik) 2005      $10

  

  




In 2005, after two promising EPs, this Steel City trio finally delivered their solid, big-time poppin', 10 song full length debut on the Kool Kat label. This is top-notch Brit-inspired Power Pop that's chock full of crunchy guitars, hooks and terrific harmonies!  Unfortunately this record  fell under the radar upon release. Music like this is indeed timeless.


Kool Kat Link


Apple Music Link


Various Artists - Souvenirs: Little Gems Of Pop Vol. 3 (Sound Asleep Records Sweden) 2020 (Vinyl Release)      $26







(Due Mid December, Orders must be received no later than 25 November to guarantee delivery) 

For decades now, Sound Asleep Records’ head honcho Jerker Emanuelson has issued music compilations that have represented the organic side of power-pop and folk-pop. The Souvenirs series continues to mine obscure, little-known recordings and long-desired out-of-print 45s. Further details of the contents can be found by following the Kool Kat Link below.


Kool Kat Link


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Thursday, 19 November 2020

Various - Ice Cream Man Power Pop and More Records Presents - Scoops (Free Download)

 


I love what Wayne Lundqvist Ford does. We meet in the middle in what we cover, but it's a majority middle. We also share a similar sense of humour, loving music and what we do, but cynical of the darker and chancing element that's around. I've often been asked why IDHAS doesn't cover his splendid annual compilation. I've been asked if it is jealousy or rivalry. It is neither.

I write reviews that are mainly 250 - 300 words long and include three song examples embedded in the post. It is nigh impossible to do justice to a 150 song compilation in such a writing format and how do you pick only three songs? My advice is download the whole thing and listen to it all gradually. There will be songs and maybe genres that you like and obviously some you don't. But you have a chance to hear what's new at your own leisure and to find new favourite artists. 





So I was delighted when Wayne told me that he was a planning a shorter interim version of the compilation and knew it would be a storming compilation that everyone could listen to in one go and Scoops is so much more than that. This is as good a compilation of new Indie Guitar Music as you will find and knocks the spots off most of the paid for offerings around. 20 poptastic gems await your lucky lugholes.

Amongst this score of delights are bands that I've covered, artists that are friends and songs that I've not heard. Power Pop may be the main focus, but the "and more" is certainly not. Hypnotic 60's Psych from Rob Clarke And The Wooltones, fine Synth Clappy Rock from Vix 20, top notch Glam Rock from Vix 20 and wonderful 70's West Coast Rock from Soulbird are "more" examples. There is also the stunning Psych Pop of Mythical Motors, all 46 seconds of it.





It is the Power Pop that resonates most though. The 60's Jangle from The Junior League, a joyful combination of Emperor Penguin and Orbis Max. Mythical Motors could drop the Mythical, as Ten O'Clock Postman is a Motors doppleganger, I can imagine Andy McMaster singing the lead. The Crushing Violets sound as great as ever. 


Picking three songs to embed is incredibly difficult, so I urge you to listen to the whole thing. I've chosen three faves, but you'll probably pick three different songs due to the quality on show. The compilation is free to download or you can download individual songs for a small price to help the artists. Scoops is superb, well done Wayne and all the artists included.




You can download or listen to the album here. If you like any of the artists, please investigate them more, then if you like what you hear you can buy something to encourage them to record more.


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Tuesday, 17 November 2020

The Loved Drones - Conspiracy Dance

 



It isn't often that I get to write about a great Psych influenced album by a Belgian based band that has a member noted as the keyboard player from a hometown band. When I tell you that that keyboard player went under the name of Professor Bubblekeys in a band called Poisoned Electrick Head, it may all seem a bit surreal.

It might also hint at days when me and a few others wound up potential hipsters by making up the names of bands to see who would say they'd seen them live. I talk about Brian Carney and The Loved Drones and this is the fourth album.





The previous three albums were largely instrumental. Conspiracy Dance marks Brian Carney adding vocals and lyrics. The result is a real change in direction. The Psych is still present, but the sound is far more Indie and this is matched by a sound that is very 80's in feel, if not in content.

Carney's lyrics are a mix of stream of consciousness and rhyming couplets. Sometimes, they are completely off the wall, yet at other times they are insightful and witty. This results in a strange but wonderful journey, that is never dull and revives memories of the likes of The Bevis Frond.





The Day That Bryan Gregory Died is an inspired storytelling affair that has a Baggy chorus, yet Headhand is a spoken word head fuck. The Last Night is a late night psych schmooze built on a killer riff, yet Empty could be an Indie Anthem.

Compare the aforementioned with Conspiracy Dance and My Name Is Sky, both of which could be Men Without Hats and are great 80's synth pop. Quarantine could be Primal Scream. The masterpiece though is the seven and a half minute pop explosion, A Firework Exploding, which reminds me of Pete Wylie, yet I couldn't tell you why. 





Conspiracy Dance is an amazingly good crossover album. If there isn't a genre called Indie Psych, we should start one. Inventive, gripping and very different to what's around, this is a top notch album. You can listen to and buy it here


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Foxycontin - This Time You’re on Your Own

 


Foxycontin are a long established quartet from Philadelphia, but their debut album could easily be the sound of London or even Canvey Island in the back end of the 70s. There isn't anything complicated here, just good old fashioned New Wave Guitar Rock.

Quite often, I'm reminded of a more melodic Dr Feelgood. To some, it may seem that five of the dozen songs here being covers may show a lack of song writing depth. But I don't see that at all, their inclusion gives the impression of a live set and you can bet that their actual live set is a sweaty rocking joy.





These covers are not obvious ones with perhaps the exception of Fred Neil's well worn The Dolphins. Included is a faithful cover of Nick Lowe's Heart Of The City and a wonderful sped up, Punk cover of Sweet's Little Willie. 

I'd also add that the seven originals are the most interesting songs here. Most are very UK New Wave and all are sing (or even shout) along. There are welcome reminders of a Steve Nieve's Organ run on the title track.





Fine.Fine! is a cracking slice of R and B and Alive In Interesting Times is a Garage Rock mix of The Figgs and an 80's sleazy Glam Metal band. But You'll Never Listen is so Elvis Costello And The Attractions and even incorporates a brass section.

The Whole World Knows I'll Never Get Over It Now borders on The Knack. It's Starting To Show is a cracking New Wave Anthem, everything in the song is in the right place. It is almost The Rumour. Foxycontin have conjured up a no thrills album, full of melody and that is tightly played. It is a cracking listen.





You can listen to and buy the album here


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Saturday, 14 November 2020

Kool Kat Musik Weekly New Release Update




Welcome to the Kool Kat Weekly New Release Update. Kool Kat are distributed in the UK and Europe by I Don't Hear A Single as part of our aim to keep CDs available and affordable. The Kool Kat Links with each album take you to further details on each release..

Please place all UK and European orders by following the details here. Links to Kool Kat's Entire Stock can be found here. Without further ado, here are seven new additions to Kool Kat Musik This Week.


Mike Browning - Never Too Late (Self Released) 2020      $8







"A dazzling debut, the disc demonstrates Mike’s gift for recreating heritage pop rock sounds while adding his own deft composition and construction skills to the show.  There is no doubt the songs on this disc would have been huge hit singles had they existed when AM radio was where it was at.  But good music is timeless, and these tunes indeed possess such a quality. Pure; playful and brimming with wide-eyed wonder, it’s the kind of record that makes you glad to be alive.” (Beverly Paterson)


Kool Kat Link


Bandcamp Link


Class Three Overbite - Rendezvous (Self Released) 2007      $11 






                                   

It's really no surprise that in 2007, when Mike Elgert and Brad Jendza, two highly recommended pop artists in their own right whose individual titles we carry, teamed up that they would deliver a heavily 70's-influenced, true pop lovers gem of a release!  "Every now and then, rock and roll will grace us with it's cool cousin who happens to love classy Bubblegum and Glam.


Kool Kat Link


Apple Music Link


Eddie & The Hot Rods - New York: Live (Angel Air) 2020      $15   







                           
Having reformed in 2000, this was the band’s third US tour for this line up of the Hot Rods and they were truly firing on all cylinders by this point, delivering a frenetic-paced, blistering set of “Greatest Hits” (along with a few choice covers) at Southpaw, Brooklyn on May 7th 2009.  Thankfully, the good This is essential stuff from a band sounding as youthful and hyper-energetic as the original Rods were when they came together in 1975.  

   

Kool Kat Link


Apple Music Link


The Great Affairs - Everybody Moves, Nobody Gets Hurt (Self Released) 2020      $11








The Great Affairs are back in business with the follow-up to 2018’s “Ten & 2”.  The skill on display here is that they successfully pull all the disparate threads of rock n’ roll together and make it so cohesive.  Like a compilation album, but all by one fantastic band, 

                                 

Kool Kat Link


Apple Music Link


The Mystery Lights - Too Much Tension! (Wick Records) 2019      $15     







       
The band's 2019 release about city-life stress, political mayhem and personal anxieties uses guitars, Farfisa, drums and bass to create a whirlwind of chaos within your mind. Mike Brandon’s vocals feel like daggers of passion with each relatable lyric sung. Though still drenched in that unique TML bluesy/rock ‘n’ roll sound, 

 

Kool Kat Link


Bandcamp Link


The Mystery Lights - The Mystery Lights (Wick Records) 2016      $15       






This self titled full-length debut album offers a splendid reaffirmation of the eternal verities of lo-fi psych-rock. The brittle garage-punk positively seethes with trebly guitars, reedy organs, waspish fuzzboxes and urgent drums.


Kool Kat Link


Bandcamp Link


The Alan Wauters Alliance - …this is my life (Cherry Bomb Records) 2005      $13      





Alan Wauters has a long and interesting musical career that spans several decades, as a session man with The Left Banke, The Standells, and The Birth of Spring. This CD from 2005 is a collection of his own tunes he created over the years. He has observed his surroundings throughout his career and it shows here big time! Features lead vocals and tight harmonies that borrow from British Invasion bands like The Beatles and The Zombies.



Kool Kat Link


Apple Music Link


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Friday, 13 November 2020

I Don't Hear A Single Returns Tomorrow

 



Apologies for the absent without leave spell over the past fortnight. After finishing the 31 in 31, it was always planned to be involved in an outside archive music project for a week. This was extended to two weeks after more archive material was found in the label's vault. 

That all ends later this evening. So IDHAS returns with reviews and the latest Kool Kat update tomorrow. Be there or Be square blah blah etc etc. I'll delete this update tomorrow when the new stuff goes up. 


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Thursday, 5 November 2020

Kool Kat Musik Weekly New Release Update




Welcome to the Kool Kat Weekly New Release Update. Kool Kat are distributed in the UK and Europe by I Don't Hear A Single as part of our aim to keep CDs available and affordable. The Kool Kat Links with each album take you to further details on each release and the purchase link.

Further purchase details and links to Kool Kat's Entire Stock can be found here. Without further ado, here are seven new additions to Kool Kat Musik This Week.


Zane Drake & The Buffalo Brides - Goodnight My Sweetheart The Devil  (Supersensible Records) 2020      $10 







 Often when an album has been around for 25 years, it is labeled a classic.  Zane Drake’s new album “Goodnight My Sweetheart the Devil” is new in that it hasn’t been released until now.  It was recorded in 1995 and 1996. That 90’s college-rock feel carries throughout the album.  


Kool Kat Link


Hear Now Link


Dropkick - Turning Circles (With Bonus Disc)  (Rock Indiana Records)  2020       $18    






                                   

The 2020 reissue of Dropkick’s 2007 album “Turning Circles” comes as an expanded CD.  This was the first album the Andrew/Alastair/Roy/Stu line up made before “Dot the I” and “Patchwork” albums in 2008 and definitely was one of the most fun and prolific periods of the band.  The original 14 track album now features an additional 10 songs recorded at that time. Also included is a bonus CD of 26 Extra Demos and Recordings from Andrew Taylor in late 2006 / Early 2007.

 

Kool Kat Link


Bandcamp Link


The Junior League - Fall Back (With Bonus Disc) (Kool Kat Musik) 2020      $16     






                            

The latest from The Junior League is a remixed, remastered, re-sequenced and in some cases re-recorded collection of songs initially recorded and released in 2010 as a Joe Adragna solo release.  Featuring with new artwork and now released under The Junior League moniker, the album features Joe playing most instruments himself, but boasts contributions from Scott McCaughey, Susan Cowsill, Peter Buck, Peter Searcy and Casey McAllister. 

The exclusive Bonus Disc is Junior League with Scott McGaughey's Summer O)f Lies EP.. Previously a 4 Track Download Only Release, a fifth song, a cover of The Beach Boys' Til I Die, is added.

   

Kool Kat Link


Bandcamp Link


mylittlebrother - Howl (Big Stir Records) 2020      $12 








 Based in Cumbria, UK, Mylittlebrother makes their Big Stir Records debut with “Howl”, a record featuring 10 tracks that exemplify the melodic, harmony-laden and deeply-felt literate pop for which the band is renowned.  It’s a much darker affair than 2014’s “If We Never Came Down”, but still retains the band’s trademark ear-catching melodies and lush harmonies - expanding them with the exuberant live sound that band had honed onstage in the times leading up to the 2020 pandemic.  

                                   

Kool Kat Link


Bandcamp Link


The Needles - In Search Of The Needles (Dangerous Records) 2020      $17      







                  

A very cool release from 2006 that we’ve just re-discovered!!  It is impossible not to be tempted to rank this as one of the freshest and most sincere albums of that year. The band put a loving arm around The Byrds and The Stands by embracing country rock  and even when the pace momentarily drops from the muscular-melodies, the pop still shines through. 

 

Kool Kat Link


Apple Music Link



Pale Blue Sky - Glad To Meet You (The Paisley Pop Label) 2020      $9          







Let's get this straight from the start, Pale Blue Sky sound an awful lot like Neil Young and Crazy Horse! So, if that's not your thing, then read no further! The comparison isn't a bad thing as we're huge Neil fans here at KK!  In fact, their very cool cover of Buffalo Springfield's "Mr. Soul" adds the punctuation mark to the proceedings!


Kool Kat Link


Bandcamp Link


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Saturday, 31 October 2020

The Mommyheads - New Kings Of Pop (Name Your Price)


 
From our Anything Should Happen days onwards, we've always been fans of The Mommyheads. That's continued on into I Don't Hear A Single. The band's last album, Follow You, was in the IDHAS Top 20 Albums of last year. You can read that review here

For a band in their fourth decade, they continue to burst with originality. They also remain hard to define, sound wise. Essentially, Pop Rock, but with heavy hints of Psych Pop and Prog. Every album throws up surprises, some commercial, others not, but the arrangements are always top notch.









 
The Title Track sounds so Sheer Heart Attack era Queen, yet Speck Among Giants is Prog Pop, think King Crimson with a Jon Anderson vocal. Forensic Hero Deconstruction is a tad Peter Gabriel, but also compares with some of the better Prog, think Steven Wilson.

Out From Under The Glass is more like older Mommyheads and a more melodic Radiohead. Focus Group is a world weary, melancholic, largely acoustic wonder of a song. Speaker Heart is another Acoustic led cracker but starts as a Psych Out. 










The whole feel of New Kings Of Pop is one of Prog Pop. Gone are the days of messing about with synths, even the Indie XTC comparisons are long gone. This is a splendidly arranged album that may take repeated listens, but well worth the effort. 

The band always surprise me, in fact I hope and expect them to, but this is truly wonderful. High Class Intelligent Pop is becoming harder to find. You have it here and with the Bandcamp Name Your Price offer, what have you got to lose? It seems fitting to end with a band who rarely disappoint. Highly Recommended!










You can listen to and buy the album here



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Hammered Satin - Velvet Vortex

 



Day 30 of the 31 in 31 features a review of an album released in 2019, but that shouldn't hold us back,, because as we are about to enter another Covid lockdown, what is needed is a Glam Rock album. I'm often told that I live in 1974, despite all the new stuff here, well this album makes it feel like it really is 1974.

Velvet Vortex is the second album from Los Angeles quartet, Hammered Satin. However, this is totally UK Glam Rock of 1973 and 1974. I'm told by many US music fans that Glam Rock (or Glitter as they called it) didn't make that much of a splash in the States. It certainly seems to have influenced later generations.





This could be a Chinn and Chapman album. All the pre-requisites of that era are present. Big Chords, hand claps, call and response and chants. If the songs remind you of others from the time, that's because they sound just like them in a Rutles sort of way.

The Title Track is like The Glitter Band backing Marc Bolan. Dynamite has a chorus as catchy as the Mud Song, but isn't a cover of the Chinnichap effort. Satin Stomp could be Kenny and there are hints of lesser known Glam bands, such as Chicory Tip and Hello.





As well as the songs being set in the period, the lyrics are too. double entendres and key phrases of the time. Although the album is very very Glitter Band, the playing offers much more than the originals necessarily provided. 

There are some fine Guitar Solos and the final song, Starchild is a crackerjack effort, it still sounds dated, but is not like anything else on show. It could easily appear on one of the later 70's Pop Rock albums. Velvet Vortex is great fun. it may take you back to simpler times, but that's no bad thing in 2020. 





You can listen to and buy the album here.


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Friday, 30 October 2020

I Don't Hear A Single Audio Extravaganza Volume 104

 



So it's time for Number 104 of the Extravaganza. 21 songs in 67 minutes. Unusually, this tracks the IDHAS Blog more closely due to the 31 Reviews in 31 Days. With so many reviews in October, you'll be able to read about and listen to many of the artists on I Don't Hear A Single. 

There is currently work afoot to do an alternate version of this for other sites, including a download option. The alternate version may even be a chatty affair for those who like to hear more about the songs played. The playlist will remain the same. 

IDHAS isn't about liking and favouriting, I find it all a bit tawdry. However, if you so, like the Mixcloud version, liking it gives the artists wider listening potential. The Audio Extravaganza features regularly in the Mixcloud Global Indie Charts. 

A reminder that these episodes are compiled with great care. The aim is to produce a sort of modern day mix tape. Hopefully this will be the soundtrack to your day. If you use the Mixcloud player at the bottom of this page, each song title is shown as it plays. The playlist itself is also as the first comment on the Mixcloud Episode page.

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

Here are the contents of Volume 104 :


01 The Persian Leaps - Spoon-Fed
02 The Melancholy Kings - Niomiah
03 Professor And The Madman - Time Machine (Radio Edit)
04 The Happy Fits - Hold Me Down
05 Girl Skin - Forever & Always
06 The Feels - She's Probably Not Thinkin' Of Me
07 A Perfect Day - Give It Away
08 The Overtures - Watching The Grass Grow
09 The Boy Least Likely To - It Could've Been Me (Pop String Version)
10 Parsonsfield - Til I Die
11 The Szuters - Good Thing
12 Lady Legs - Idle Hands
13 Whelligan - Anyone Who Never Had A Heart
14 Wicketkeeper - Modest Breakfast
15 Out Of My Hair - When The Last Wind Blows
16 Coupons - Moz Disco
17 Paul Molloy - Salad Days
18 Amber Run - No One Gets Out Alive
19 Early Humans - Tentacles
20 Mom - Don't Leave With My Heart
21 Trolley - Two Tickets To The Moon



IDHAS Audio Extravaganza Volume 104 Mixcloud Link 



Or Click Below







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Kool Kat Musik Weekly New Release Update




Welcome to the Kool Kat Weekly New Release Update. Kool Kat are distributed in the UK and Europe by I Don't Hear A Single as part of our aim to keep CDs available and affordable. The Kool Kat Links with each album take you to further details on each release and the purchase link.

Further purchase details and links to Kool Kat's Entire Stock can be found here. Without further ado, here are seven new additions to Kool Kat Musik This Week.


Kurt Baker - After Party (Wicked Cool Records) 2020      $13 





                            

What began as raucous noise in a Maine basement is poised to be the soundtrack to many a socially distanced soiree as Kurt Baker gets back to his roots.   “After Party” marks a return to primo power pop form under Kurt’s own name, backed by his five-piece American band.  


Kool Kat Link


Bandcamp Link


Blank Pages - Is This Real? (FDR Records) 2020      $10    





                                     

The world is a heavy place right now and “Is This Real?” (Blank Page’s sixth offering) is a record for these crazy times.  As the title implies, There's a state of disbelief wondering what’s real and what’s fake. Blank Pages songwriter Greg Potter explores these questions through the lens of indie pop, balancing his signature melodic sound with weighty ideas. 

 

Kool Kat Link


Bandcamp Link


Van Duren - Idiot Optimism (Omnivore Records)  2020       $15       





                                

From late 1978 until 1980, after the release of “ Are You Serious?” , Van Duren immediately returned to the studio - recording 14 tracks (one being a medley of two songs) that rivalled his tremendous debut.   “Idiot Optimism” was shelved, eventually being released in Japan without his involvement some 20 years later. Now, at long last, “Idiot Optimism” returns as Van originally intended it to look and sound. 

   

Kool Kat Link


Apple Music Link


Van Duren - Are You Serious? (Omnivore Records)  2020      $15  





       

A Memphis pop icon, Van Duren was not only a contemporary of Big Star, he played with both Chris Bell and Jody Stephens in The Baker Street Regulars.  Managed by Andrew Loog Oldham, his 1978 debut album, “Are You Serious?" Duren plays everything but drums on most tracks and at a time when Beatles influenced pop was a rare commodity, this album was a breath of fresh air for the few who ran across it.  

                                   

Kool Kat Link


Apple Music Link


FaB - This Wicked Pantomime (2CD) (Kool Kat Musik) 2020      $16        





                      

Every once in a while, Kool Kat like to push the boundaries of the scope of pop music that it releases..  FaB (Fitzsimon and Brogan) are one such example. In the 90’s, as members of the band Pretty Blue Gun who were signed to Cavell Records, an indie label licensed to Sony, they released two critically-acclaimed albums.  David Bowie’s drummer from The Spiders from Mars, Woody Woodmansey and Elvis Costello’s drummer, Pete Thomas both guest on the album.

 

Kool Kat Link


Bandcamp Link


Supercrush - SODO Pop (Don Giovanni Records) 2020        $14            




  

Supercrush vacate the territory right bang in the middle of The Posies and Teenage Fanclub without ever really sounding like one or the other. The sonic results demonstrate the type of attention to detail that comes only from countless years of combined experience and devotion to the craft of making great records.


Kool Kat Link


Bandcamp Link


Andrew Taylor - The Lockdown Session – October 2020 (Self Released) 2020      $13         





                                                                 

Still stuck at home during the pandemic, Dropkick’s Andrew Taylor wrote and recorded these 10 songs (playing all of the instruments) for the fourth instalment of his “Lockdown Session”


Kool Kat Link


Bandcamp Link


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Wednesday, 28 October 2020

Giant Eagles - Second Landing

 



Rotterdam's Giant Eagles' second album is wonderful 80's Pop Rock. It's awash with harmonies and riffs with more than a side order of synths. All the more surprising is that the band are a Dutch Supergroup of sorts and the members are known largely known for Pop Punk. 

Second Landing is a cross between 80's Blue Oyster Cult and Secret Messages era ELO. The production is huge, the synths are a wall of sound, think The Motors' Tenement Steps album and the songs have choruses that catch you hook line and sinker.



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All this might sound a bit cheesy, but I can't remember hearing this type of Rock being done so well, since it was all the rage. This was Pop Rock that adorned US Teen Movies and sold in bucket loads. It became unfairly unfashionable. Great Pop is Great Pop and this is just that.

There are hints of Pop Punk at times in the Verse Rhythm Guitar, but the riffs and the solos, as well as the choruses are, if anything, more Power Pop. The album is great foot tapping fun, a real much needed chirp up for 2020.





Everything is so damn infectious and Evil Robot Nation could easily be a Time album outtake. I Don't Love Nobody is UK New Wave and Anaconda is very Go-Go's-ish. Spellbound could easily be on Fire Of Unknown Origin. 

Second Landing is an album to be enjoyed and not taken too seriously. The songs never outstay their welcome, 12 in 33 minutes. You'll be surprised at how easily you get hooked. I loved it and can't wait for more.



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You can listen to and buy the album here.



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2 a.m. Orchestra - Trading Graves

 



2 a.m. Orchestra are not what you would expect to come out of New Zealand, a country that has a reputation, somewhat unfairly for Gentle Pop. Nor are they an orchestra. They are largely a solo project from Auckland's David Kelley and this is only the fourth album in almost two decades. 

They've toured as a band and with Kelley solo, but now this is essentially a studio project with String additions from Nick Jones. There have been comparisons with ELO, which I don't see at all. This isn't even Jeff Lynne when it's raining. 





The songs are dark without ever being miserable. Choruses are incredibly catchy and at times there's a real twang. The album is also beautifully produced. At times, I'm reminded a little of a non shouty Thom Yorke, at other times, a band like Keane, although the arrangements are much more in depth than the latter. 

Earlier albums concentrate more on the Pop, that isn't lost on Trading Graves, it just feels like a more mature, perhaps more varied album. A song like End Of Summer could be Rufus Wainwright and at times Chris Isaak. 





Home is wonderful McCartney Piano Pop, whilst Wake The World enters the territory of Doves. Sweet Pea has a Roy Orbison twang .The stand out, Seeds And Skulls, is when Kelley stretches out, bordering on Rock with a chorus that reminds me of The Killer's debut.

Arrangements are tight and varied. The violin and viola are used sparingly, only when they add to a song. This is a splendid Pop Rock album, moody yet magnificent. I hope that we don't have to wait another 7 years for the next one.



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You can listen to and buy the album here



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Monday, 26 October 2020

mylittlebrother - Howl

 


It has been six long years since If We Never Came Down and I've been waiting anxiously for the delayed follow up and now here it is. mylittlebrother also become the latest addition to the Big Stir stable. Well the band are West Coast after all. 

The Cumbrian quartet don't disappoint, although this is a darker album and that makes the band even harder to pigeonhole. Will Harris's songs appear far more personal, almost like the song writing has been a release, an unburdening of the soul.

Although this makes the album reflective in tone, it doesn't mean that the songs are dour, far from it. Harris's vocal is plain, but incredibly effective. How do you describe a band that sounds like Lindisfarne one minute and The Beautiful South the next? 







There are hints of Country, Folk, Americana and West Coast Rock, but essentially it is Pop that holds it all together. Songs have unexpected twists. Chicago is three songs in one and The Start begins as a singer songwriter piano ballad and ends as an anthem.

Responsibility is pure pop, whilst Janey is haunting West Coast Psych Pop with a country tinge. Howl is an awesome song, great 70's Pop Rock. Goldmine even has a disco riff, it's a bit like The Eagles doing Saturday Night Fever until the chorus just throws words at you in a melody fest.

Howl isn't the normal thing you expect to hear from a UK band. The album is a triumph, but may take a little more time than usual to fully hook you. Beautifully played and arranged with unexpected twists. There are only two songs available to stream until Friday's release date, so I'll add Chicago over the weekend as that is a song that you must hear.






You can buy the album from Big Stir's site here and on Bandcamp from here or here.


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Silver Sun - Switzerland

 


There were plenty of splendid Pop Rock bands in the 90's, particularly during Brit Pop and after. Most were at the edges whilst the Jarvis / Gallagher / Albarn attention seeking made all the noise. I can think of few great UK Power Pop bands from that time. Bands may have dabbled with the odd song, but, for me, Silver Sun were the nazz. With the exception of Ash, who you suspected wanted to be pop metal, the band were the main challengers to what was going on in the States.

Those first two Silver Sun albums stand up against any Power album of the time. Only Tsar's debut comes close. Those albums produced two of my favourite singles ever, Golden Skin and I'll See You Around. There are also two inspired covers from that time. Too Much Too Little Too Late got a lot of attention and the cover of Rush's Xanadu, condensed into 4 minutes is inspired.






There have been two albums since the self titled debut and Neo Wave, one was recorded by James Broad alone, the other was by the band. We've also had The Bullets. However, Switzerland feels like the third album proper, it is certainly just as good as those opening offerings. The original band play on Earth Girls Are Easy and Original Girl, the rest is Broad solo. This wasn't the plan. After the 2017 Reunion, supporting Sleeper, a band album was planned. But eventually Broad recorded the rest alone.

It really is like Silver Sun have never been away. Massive choruses, killer riffs and solos and wall to wall melody are packed into 30 minutes. Original Girl is most like the early days, but any of these songs wouldn't be out of place on their early albums. Needle In The Ball Pit has a Chucklevision-ish chorus, but the song reminds you how great Silver Sun were at pace.






Love That Body crashes into Ash Territory and God Room is The Ramones go Power Pop. You can imagine the latter being a Theme Tune for a Kids TV Show. Chain Of Command is pure UK New Wave and Over Me At All is a killer sing along joy. 

Switzerland reminds me a lot of that first Tsar album with its hooks and pace. There is a rare coming up for air on Photograph, a slowed down wonderful song that fully demonstrates Broad's melodic strength. Switzerland is the best Power Pop album that you will hear this year, it may very well be the best album of any genre.






You can listen to the album here (plus all the other streaming sites) and buy it from everywhere. You really should!


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Sunday, 25 October 2020

The Persian Leaps - Smiling Lessons


The Persian Leaps return with a 7 song mini album that is as chipper as ever. Drew Forsberg remains one of the great Pop Rock songwriters of recent times and Smiling Lessons only enhances that reputation. This is a splendid listen.

The band has always inhabited a riff led world, residing somewhere between Tommy Keene and Cotton Mather. What marks Fosberg above many peers is the lyrical depth of songs combined with the unusual varied subjects.





The Guitar is suitably upfront, the vocals are easy on the ear and the songs remain melodic, built on killer hooks. Every release adds a couple of absolutely killer potential singles to the band's back catalogue and here is no exception.

Lost Cause is a superb slice of 60's UK Beat with Psych Pop overtones, whilst Spoon-Fed is the stand out offering with an absolutely addictive chorus. The latter reminds me of a much poppier Diesel Park West. It could very well be one of the best songs of the year.





Chamberlain is much more up and at 'em, much looser than the rest of the album and Patience is top notch Psych Pop. The Entertainer crashes in like a song by The Motors, yet the feel is more second half of the 80's UK Indie. There are even hints of early Teenage Fanclub.

Smiling Lessons is an exceptional affair. My only regret is that I wish it was longer. It has often been said that if The Persian Leaps had been releasing albums three or four decades ago, they would be living on Tropical Islands now. That's no reason to ignore them now. Essential Listening!





You can listen to and buy the album here.


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Wicketkeeper - Shonk

 



When I was thinking about making October a 31 Reviews in 31 Days affair, I thought it would be a big commitment and it has been. I didn't want it to be here's a Pop Rock album and here's another. As well as providing variety, I also hoped to be reinvigorated by the things that I reviewed and that amongst the unearthed treasures, I desperately wanted to see the UK Music scene get out of the doldrums and become something like Brooklyn is at the moment.

All of these things haven't been achieved thus far, but there have been some cracking albums through the month and now here are a UK trio to add further delight. Shonk is a wonderful fuzz laden DIY album, very Pavement like. 





Wicketkeeper are a trio consisting of brothers Simon and Alex Morley joined by Ryan Oxley. This is  wonderful basement noise. Don't expect kitchen sink production or too many choruses, the album has more in common with a punk ethic. 

But the band can also surprise you. There's a killer pop riff and killer bass on the superb, Modest Breakfast and Bodies is UK jaunty UK New Wave. Welcome is another joyous romp and OK is very Glasgow C86.





Spin is like The Jesus And Mary Chain doing a Teenage Fanclub cover and I Can't Believe has a fuzzed up riff that just grips you. Although Shonk is really hypnotic stuff, there is far more thought gone into these songs than you'd imagine at first.

Comparisons will be made with Guided By Voices, simply because of the way this album is recorded. Wicketkeeper are far more earthy than that, much more street. I can imagine gigs having the same effect as Dr Feelgood had in the second half of the 70's. This isn't singalong fayre, but it is a great album. 





You can listen to and buy the album here.


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