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Saturday, 25 January 2020

Extended Play

City Maze - Heavy Heart

It has been a while since we had an Extended Play feature, so here are 5 EP's for you to cut out and keep. Gothenburg's City Maze offer up a four track Pop Rock EP of the highest order. There mainly be four songs, but all show enough variety to convince that this lot are no one trick pony.

Whereas I'm The One is Classic 80's New Wave Power Pop, Heavy Art is even more commercial, a sort of The Motors do AOR. Poison Girl is more of a fist pumper, very 80's, let's say The Alarm hitting a Final Countdown vibe.

Honestly has a real UK New Wave Beat Pop feel on the verses. The whole EP is impressive, almost like a Showcase that reveals what City Maze can do and that's a fair bit. Well worth your attention as great Pop Rock isn't easy to find at the moment.

The EP is around all the streaming sites. I will update links to buy as soon as I have them.

Out Of My Hair - The Return 

One of the absolute delights of last year was the return of Comfort and Out Of My Hair. You can read Mick's outstanding interview with Simon here. This return is rounded off by the appearance of new material and there is no resting on past glories in sight.

All three songs provide the expected gentle soundscape at which Out Of My Hair excel at. Two Stones opens up a realm of Prog Folk, all Scarborough Fair with Flute. Telepathy Planes is the nearest you'll get to a Rock Out solely for the breakout electric guitar in the middle.

The stand out here is In The Morning, a pastoral acoustic led gem of a song. The vocal is a bit Gilbert O'Sullivan but the sound and vibe is wondeful providing chill out for the pop generation. The EP is magnificent, it's great to have Comfort around again and he promises much more to come.

You can listen to and buy the EP here.

Local Drags - The Boys Are Still In Town 

I covered Local Drags' Shit's Lookin' Up here and The Boys Are Still In Town maintains, maybe even exceeds the quality of that release. What appeared to be a temporary offshoot, looks a more permanent affair and that's very welcome.

I mentioned Cheap Trick last time round and there's certainly that feel again, certainly hook wise. Girls In denim Jackets is a joyous romp whilst Fast Rewind is a bit like The Ramones doing The Damned. Pins is a real riffathon.

Pins reminds me a lot of the current Power Pop sensations, The Speedways and Big Apple 3.A.M. is so Replacements that it could be them. All four songs here are spot on. Hopefully, Local Drags are here to stay because they are great at what they do.

You can listen to and buy the EP here.

Singing Lungs - Mutter

Singing Lungs are from Grand Rapids, Michigan and provide a much noisier alternative to the other four selections reviewed here. Mutter feels very 90's Indie College Rock when bands cemented their reputations on live performances.

This is up and at 'em stuff, splendidly so, from the anthem that is The Kids I used To Know to the early R.E.M. like Leave The Lights On. Even something that starts more mellow like Demo Tape, breaks out into something louder. It has to be said wonderfully so.

Time Well Spent is close to Garage Punk, something that would feel at home on the Rumbar Records label. All five songs are dandy, the best is probably I Don't Remember Much which has an Irish New Wave feel, almost Pogues like without the twiddly bits. This is excellent.

You can listen to and buy the EP here.

Gal Gun - Beauty Community

Illinois's Cal Gun return with a welcome EP. The feel is very Weezer. That's Weezer before they wanted to be a Boy Band. This is never more so on the wonderful Pop Rock of Beauty Community, which is enhanced by a killer riff and a great guitar solo.

Happy Just To Dance With You is very 60's, almost Merseybeat. Merseybeat is thankfully less in abundance lately, because a lot of it is Karaoke, this song however shows that when it's done well, the toe tapping count is high and this is done really well.

Pizza Community is an alternate take on Beauty Community. But if you think that you don't get much bang for your bucks, worry ye not, because there is potentially no cost with this EP at Name Your Price on Bandcamp. I look forward to hearing far more from Cal Gun.

You can listen to and download the EP here.


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