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Sunday, 1 August 2021

Thank You Everyone!

 

Thank you to all you readers (and listeners) for an amazing July. July was a record month with 38,369 hits on I Don't Hear A Single. Not bad for a site that concentrates on new and under appreciated Pop Rock. A real answer to those who say that there is no audience for new music 

The surprising thing is that we have been less active publicly in July than planned due to be. This is largely due to being busy resurrecting post lockdown plans for I Don't Hear A Single. We wanted far more reviews up, because we are way behind and will remedy that in August. 

There's also a couple of new things planned for August which you'll see here in subsequent weeks, including a Singles Club. IDHAS has consistently grown over the past five years, but these past few months it seems to have gone ballistic. 

We are thrilled, but put that success down to the musicians. The site is only as good as the music that it recommends, so has always everything is down to the musicians. Something that too many forget.


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The Morning Line - Yard Sale EP (Name Your Price)

 

The Morning Line's North album was in IDHAS's Best Albums of 2019, Yard Sale is something a little different to that, being a a six song collection of demos and outtakes. That shouldn't put you off though as this shows different sides of Stephen Smith's lot.

 Being at Name Your Price on Bandcamp means everyone can delve into Yard Sale and I'd recommend that you do. The songs range from 2004 - 2020, all mixed or remixed. Even such a short selection reveals the strength of the band.



North was an album that felt very Matthew Sweet and I Can't Say is really the only thing that sounds similar. No surprise then that this was an outtake from the album that appeared on 2019's International Pop Overthrow compilation. 

The original version of Los Angeles appeared on the 2008 album, Smoke, but this is a much better mix, bringing out the REM similarity out more. It is a cracking slice of College Indie Guitar Rock. In Love With Your Blog is from 2007 and supposedly a throwaway comedy song, trust me it is far more than that.



There's an unusual tongue in cheek, slightly venemous feel to the lyric which suits the music and pace beautifully. I think many know that I generally don't see the point of the forced jollity on Christmas songs, but Santa's Song has a bitterness replacing the usual sleigh bell jingling. There is a splendid jangle feel to the song with a fine solo.

Straight Lines is much looser. very Glasgow at the turn of the Indie Guitar 80's. It reminds me a lot of the more recent Vapour Trails than something from 2004. Those who like this should really track back through The Morning Line's back catalogue. This EP though is a fine introduction to a wonderful band.



You can listen to and grab the album here.


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Thursday, 29 July 2021

Sexy Sadie - Butterflies (Remastered)

 


Anything Should Happen used to major on great lost albums whilst IDHAS concentrates on the new and under-appreciated, Here's an opportunity to serve both camps with the remaster of Butterflies as a double vinyl LP with 5 Bonus Tracks.

Pop Rock had a major revival in the Nineties in both the UK and USA helped by labels like Not Lame in the States and Brit Pop over here. But often we forget about the European influence and in particular, Spain. Sexy Sadie were signed to the superb Spanish label, Subterfuge and it is Subterfuge that are responsible for this offering.



Butterflies was the fifth album from the Majorcan quartet and is probably their best album. The band aren't afraid to stretch out. Crawling Man edges towards Radiohead and Good Day is all Sitar and somewhere between The Beatles and Kula Shaker. Burn Slow is a mix of Ian Broudie and Per Gessle.

It is the big numbers that will grab most. I Don't Know is a big College Rock affair and Sadies Insane has a killer riff and hints at big Rock until the pop laden chorus. Someone Like You is moodier, a bit Dizzy Mizz Lizzy, with its Alt Rock Chorus. Five unreleased demos add to the enjoyment too.



You can but the double disc at Subterfuge's shop here. You may also want to purchase the band's back catalogue on CD as it is available at bargain prices here.


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Wednesday, 28 July 2021

IDHAS Ten Songs Mix 2



Because we don't write about singles and individual songs, I wanted to utilise something simple to mention songs that we like. Hence the Ten Songs Mix thing which will appear weekly. Ten new songs in just over 32 minutes.

Last week's debut mix reached No 14 in the Mixcloud Global Indie Pop Chart. This week's Mixcloud link is below and at the foot of the page is the Mixcloud Player which takes you directly to the music. Here is the playlist of the ten songs this week.

01 Real Sickies - Hold On Baby

02 Wavves - Help Is On The Way

03 Sister Joan - I'll Be Your Life

04 Underwater Sunshine - Honey Glazed

05 Novelty Island - Michael Afternoon

06 Kerosene Stars - Where Have You Been

07 Groovy Uncle - Jimmy Joined A Gym

08 Rinehearts - One Thing One Time

09 All Over The Shop - Movin' Too Slow

10 Dan Markell - Carnival Game


IDHAS Ten Songs Mix 2



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Tuesday, 27 July 2021

Real Sickies - Love Is For Lovers

 


Edmonton six piece Real Sickies really deserve a wider acclaim and this, their fourth album, might just do it. What is underlined here is the difference between the UK and US definition of Punk. Most US Reviews will have Love Is The Lovers as punk, here in the UK we look at this more as rocked up Power Pop.

We don't really think of The Ramones as Punk, more New Wave Garage Rock and that Ramones comparison can be a millstone. Yes, there are 14 songs in 35 minutes and there is great pace in all that the band do, that is really where the comparison ends. There is far far more to Real Sickies than just heads down and go.



The band are far more melodic than you'd imagine, you can actually tell what's being sung and the six piece adds greater variation with the liberal sprinkling of Organ added at times and they can get Indie Rock muscular, particularly on Queen Of Hearts which closes with a metal solo. If you want The Ramones, go to Rumbar, Real Sickies are far more interesting.

Hold On Baby is a great example of what they do, all Glam Rock with additional rock and roll piano and a killer guitar solo, it is an absolute joy to listen to. Keeping up the Glam content, there is a cover of T.Rex's Jeepster which although not essential, is really rocked up.



Destructive Nights is a fantastic slice of Power Pop, as catchy as catchy can be. Least Favourite OF Mine just has you shaking your fist, it is 100mph and that solo.............. Give and Take is even built around a Steve Nieve like Farfisa run. Don't expect the tempo to slow or any ballads, not that you'd want it to.

Canada should be really proud of this lot. Love Is A Lovers is an album that you just don't want to stop. It rattles your cage, has you playing air guitar and belting out the choruses. Real Sickies aren't The Ramones, they stretch out way too much. Highly Recommended!



You can listen to and buy the album here.


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Wavves - Hideaway

 


I'm a long time Wavves fan. However, I've never covered them on I Don't Hear A Single simply because they don't fit with the new or under-appreciated tag. Hideaway is the San Diego quartet's eighth album and it could very well be their best.

I came to realise that many IDHAS followers won't know of them and felt that Hideaway was a must listen for the Blog Followers. The band's reputation for Beach and Surf has always hidden exactly what they are about and this album is the most varied yet.



There is a real variety to the these nine songs. Nathan Williams has never been a stranger to the surprise element. Alt Rock and Pop Punk are just some of the directions taken, but here he sounds much more grown up and happy to bathe in all his influences. 

The opening three songs are top notch Guitar Pop Rock. Thru Hell is great UK New Wave, Hideaway is all 90's College Alt Rock and Help Is On The Way has an absolutely killer chorus. But this pace and noise isn't that available elsewhere.



The Blame is a Countrified version of say, The Monkees. It's jaunty without ever being yee haw and Planting A Garden nears Psych Pop before breaking into something Posies like on the chorus. Marine Life is Power Pop that edges towards early 60's beat. Honeycomb even comes across up as popped up Doo Wop.

Whilst Sinking Feeling is the reminder of Surf with a killer riff, the chorus is the poppiest that Wavves get. Caviar, the closer, is the weirdest thing here, it is like three or four songs in one, It reminds me of The Orgone Box at times, at others something much more mainstream. Hideaway is a cracker of a listen. Highly recommended!



You can listen to and buy the album here


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Wednesday, 21 July 2021

IDHAS Ten Songs Mix 1



As many of you will know, the IDHAS Audio Extravaganza is currently on hold. This is simply due to how hectic our work lives are. We do hope it will return in the future, but I Don't Hear A Single has gone ballistic and is so far behind on reviews at present.

Because we don't write about singles and individual songs, I wanted to utilise something simple to mention songs that we like. Hence the Ten Songs Mix thing which will appear weekly. It is put together by me using basic software, so it does lack Jim's professionalism, but it had to be something that I could put together quickly each week. 

This is the pilot, so there is the audio software brief intro at the beginning. It is one track, but |I've left a two second gap between each song so that the artist and song are easily noted. This will allow intros to be added in the future if needed.

My thoughts were that ten songs would be enough for our busy lives. Then only 35 minutes are taken up. But we would love your feedback, rather than be shouting at clouds. Do you like / dislike the idea, can it be improved, is it something you'd enjoy? The Mixcloud link is below and at the foot of the page is the Mixcloud Player which takes you directly to the music.


Here is the playlist of the ten songs this week.


01 Quivers - Gutters Of Love

02 Chris Catalyst - King Of Everything

03 The Wry Dogs - Pigs Might Fly

04 The James Clark Institute - Selfish Portrait

05 Lost Ships - Weight Of The World

06 Iain Hornal - Everybody Else

07 The Mono Lps - Hell Save My Soul

08 Drew Beskin - Double Dipper

09 Automatics - Shine Everlasting

10 Crosstalk Club - Psychic Girlfriend


IDHAS Ten Songs Mix 1



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Sunday, 18 July 2021

I Don't Hear A Single Is 5

 

I Don't Hear A Single is 5 Today. Those 5 years have shot by. No self congratulations, just a thank you to all the readers. IDHAS was set up as a reaction to people of my age saying all new music is crap. It patently isn't. As from whenever you started listening to music, there is the good, the bad and the ugly. 

We try to guide you towards the good, hoping that you'll listen and maybe even buy the albums that are featured. This place has grown and grown over those five years and I've made a lot of friends and fellow new music fans as well as acknowledging the under appreciated. 

The past few years have seen the number of writers covering music centred on Pop Rock decreasing. Hopefully, the end of lockdown will see some return or others take their place. Here's looking forward to the next five years. The first IDHAS post, 5 years ago today is below as a screenshot. Thanks again. It is nice to know that I'm not talking to myself.





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Various - Higher Than a Mountain -The Songs of Andy Gibb

 


I've always given Andy Gibb a wide berth. Not because of anything musically, but because my first proper girlfriend was a massive fan and she ditched me heartlessly. So guilt from that overcame my general lack of interest in Tribute Albums, aided by having enjoyed every other Curry Cuts album.

Not being familiar with the material apart from Shadow Dancing and I Just Want To Be Your Everything also helped enormously as did the line up. I expected the original songs to have a second half of the 70s post Disco easy listening vibe and the majority here do. That's no bad thing if the songs are strong and they are. There is plenty of the Gibb Brothers feel without the high pitched voices. Think How Deep Is Your Love!



It is great hearing artists that I love on unfamiliar territory. For instance Greg Pope does a fairly faithful to the original version of I Just Want To Be Your Everything, but it is so unusual to hear him sing a song like this, great song though it is. Exactly the same applies to the excellent Keith Slettedahl on Time Is Time.

Minky Starshine sounds on great form on Desire. Jason Berk makes Flowing Rivers his own and the real joy are the surprise covers. Ken Sharp and Fernando Perdomo gobsmacked me with the choice of One More Look At The Night. Their version is nothing like the usual territory either would inhabit and that underlines how Tribute albums can shine.



David Brookings jangles up An Everlasting Love to great effect, but top award must go to The Test Pressings for making Why into a Guitar driven AOR affair. It is wonderfully out of kilter with the rest of the album with a killer solo.

Shadow Dancing is still the best song here and who better than The Corner Laughers to bring it home. It is always impossible to namecheck everyone on a Various Artists compilation, so everyone involved here should take a bow. Higher Than A Mountain is great fun.



You can listen to and buy the album here.


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Friday, 16 July 2021

Anton Barbeau - Oh The Joys We Live For


Ian Rushbury reviews the new Anton Barbeau album.


It’s a ballsy move to call your album Oh The Joys We Live For, when the entire world is living in fear of plague and pestilence, but Anton Barbeau has never really paid much attention to the contemporary zeitgeist. He does what he likes and this year, he’s made yet another folk-pop-psychedelic-indie-outsider record that sounds a lot like a lot of his other records, only more so. In other words, it’s another great record.

Hot on the heels of last years, sprawling (by law, all double albums have to be referred to as “Sprawling”) double album Manbird comes Oh The Joys We Live For. To make a lazy, Fab Four comparison, if Manbird was The White Album, then the new record is Abbey Road. Sort of. There’s a lovely lightness of touch throughout all twelve tunes and a hearty disregard for any sort of linear thread. It’s like the best jukebox in the world, but all the songs are sung by the same bloke. 



If Manbird had an agenda, Oh The Joys We Live For exists for just the joy of being around. The title track leads us gently, but firmly into the album which was recorded on a farm in Sacramento with minimal equipment, but maximum imagination. If you can’t make good music with just an acoustic guitar, an electric 12-string, a Hofner bass and your software of choice, then possibly you should consider another profession. The 12-string gets a workout on Cowbell Camembert which manages to survive having the most twee title since Tallulah Gosh hung up their anoraks and turns out to be a cool hybrid of early eighties disco and Lloyd Cole and the Commotions. Well, I think so anyway.

One of her Superpowers has the best opening line of the year so far: “One of her superpowers / Is leaving things as they are.” You have to admit, it’s an attention grabber. Fortunately, that seminal line is bolted to a top-drawer tune with a little bit of McGuinn thrown in. 



Three Days The Death Enigma is like Jacques Brel arranged for 1980s, entry level synths. The flute (well, I think it’s a flute) sounds a bit like a bowed saw and is lovely and a bit scary at the same time. That’s a good combination. Talking of the eighties, there’s quite a whiff of the decade that gave us the snood, all over Oh The Joys We Live For. Die Smiling for example. The keyboards and parping sax sound like an alternate reality version of Flesh and Blood era Roxy Music, on a budget of less than the price of a modest round of drinks.  

What is surprising about this record, and Barbeau’s recorded output in general, is the consistent quality. He seems to crank these albums out without a care in the world and they’re never less than pretty great. Oh The Joys We Live For is charming, playful, airy and delicious. Isolation suits him. 




You can listen to and buy the album here or on the Big Stir site here. You can read Ian Rushbury's writing for Pop Matters here.


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Buffet Lunch - The Power of Rocks

 


Edinburgh's Buffet Lunch have released their debut full album and it is both amazing and bemusing listen. Following on from their two earlier EPs, The Power Of Rocks is a mind blowing listen and not for those wanting verse verse chorus verse chorus.

The band give the impression that they have raided the music box to come up with an album that is essentially unique, but reminds you of so much more. The opener, Red Apple Happiness could easily be The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band.





Comparisons are everywhere and yet nowhere. I think of Captain Beefheart, Talking Heads, early XTC, Elephant Talk era King Crimson and mostly Cardiacs. There is also an hypnotic feel to the album that makes The Power Of Rocks a sort of Indie Chill Out album. 

Themes are returned to and the undercurrent is slashing Angular Guitar riffs as utilised by early And Partridge. Buffet Lunch are obviously not for everyone, but those who enjoyed that early 80's experimental post rock from the likes of Bill Nelson will love this, It is a magnificent listen, Tune In and go with the flow.




You can listen to the album here. You can buy the album on vinyl or download here


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Thursday, 15 July 2021

The Wry Dogs - Pigs Might Fly

 

When I think musically of Leicester, I think Diesel Park West and Robyn Gibson, plus I try not to think of Kasabian. I can add The Wry Dogs to the list now. Pigs Might Fly is a great listen. It is an album that is very 70s, but in a good way. Make that great way!

I'm reminded of those great 70s Pop Rock bands. Most who venture into this territory go for the obvious Glam Rock and break out the handclaps. The Wry Dogs are far more subtle and give the impression that those heady days have never gone away.



I hear Jigsaw, Pilot and Liverpool Express and whilst being reminded of those fine bands, it is an even better feeling listen to a band with original material in that vein in 2021. I listen to an awful lot of Pop Rock and much of it isn't a patch on this. 

There isn't a duff song amongst the eleven, so much so that it is hard to pick highlights. Beautifully played, melodic verses, big choruses and more than the odd breakout solo. I Can Never Hang On is a great ballad that never gets mawkish and Money On The Table is a ringer for the aforementioned Jigsaw.



The stand out song is probably the title track which has a massive chorus and includes some splendid Hammond Organ accompaniment. Throughout, there is a guitar riff that is dying to break out but never does. Man Behind The Glass is a close second and it edges towards Modern Prog.

Pigs Might Fly is the kind of album that bands used to make and strangely don't so much now. If this was 1975, it would be a mega seller. You can now listen and buy on Bandcamp. This is a superb joyful affair. Highly Recommended!





You can listen to and buy the album here.


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Sister John - I Am By Day

 


I absolutely love what the label, Last Night From Glasgow do and their jewel in the crown are Sister John. Sister John are four multi instrumentalists formed around the songwriting of Amanda McKeown and their third album is a wonderful affair. 

I Am By Day's 10 songs are bookended by two of the finest things that you will hear all year, but the album itself falls into two categories. There is the magnificent and moody plus the great Indie Pop. Either will do, but I suspect that the Pop will interest the IDHAS following most. 

How Can I Keep It Alive? is gripping in its melancholy and reveals the non pop songs are just as interesting. Over Again is another example of how moodiness can be so beautifully hypnotic. The Sound Of You veers towards Americana without losing any of the bite. 




As an aside, The Bud is an enchanting instrumental and the repetition on What I Want reveals how effective it can be. I've often said this with Sparks songs, the repetition can be just as great as the lyrical explosions. Then the Pop here is simply overwhelming.

Strange Ideas has a wonderful violin, or is it Cello, accompaniment and I must have played the magnificent In My Place at least 50 times since I got the album. It is Indie Guitar Pop at its very best. Now about those two bookends!

I'll Be Your Life, the album opener, is all great one liners, bitter without the bitterness. Glasgow Is A Rainbow is exactly the opposite, almost anthemic without ever having to break sweat. The chorus reminds me a little of Garbage's slower songs without the unnecessary fuzz. 




The album is released on 30 July in lots of different formats and variations. You can make your choice here. I'd love to embed more for you to listen to, but the two beauties here are the only things available. All I can do is urge you to take a chance on the whole album. You won't regret it. I Am By Day has Album Of The Year potential. It is simply wonderful.


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Crosstalk Club - Liftoff

 

Jersey Shore keyboardist Dan O'Leary gathered some of his Cover band friends to form Crosstalk Club to perform his original songs and the results are splendid. Liftoff very much centres on Piano Pop, but the group format expands this greatly. 

The production edges into Jim Steinman territory, without the bombast and mixed metaphors, which can probably be explained by the songs being Piano written as were Steinman's. This is fine Pop Rock which plays around with the genres. The band obviously don't take themselves too seriously and there is a real lyrical adeptness across the album.



There are plenty of AOR hints, but also 80's Big Rock, Modern Prog, even Classic Rock. At times there is almost a West End Show feel to certain songs, but this variety adds to the enjoyment. The best example of what is great here is Another Love Song with its Metal Intro and Sing Along Chorus. It just screams out to be a TV Show Theme. 

Psychic Girlfriend is very Andrew Gold, a comparison that can be made often here, which has a killer riff, but on other songs you are reminded of Dennis De Young. The Green And The Gray is so damn catchy, real 70's Pop Rock. 



Both The Piano Is Broken and I Wish are real examples of that show song impression. Damaged Goods is a real mid 80's big production Rock affair, again the common theme is the chorus hook. Not everything works, Plastic Island is cod reggae that is more than a bit twee, but this is a fairly mute point when the album is so strong and the lyrical sentiments are spot on.

There is an impression that these songs have been virtually finished on the piano and then the instruments added to flesh out the sound. That isn't a criticism and Dan O'Leary could easily have recorded these songs as one man with a piano, but the band result is really enjoyable. I loved Liftoff.



You can buy and listen to the album here. Other links can be found here.


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UK DCMS Committee Enquiry Into The Economics Of Streaming

 

Seven Months after the first Evidence Session, the DCMS Enquiry has produced its verdict and it is an interesting read. It has been excellently reported by Andre Paine for Music Week. You can read Andre's piece here.

It concludes that streaming needs a complete reset. Topics covered include Equitable Remuneration, Market Dominance, Playlist Payola, Royalty Rates, Safe Harbour and You Tube, Legacy Contracts and Recoupment and User-centric Payments. It is a really interesting piece that covers more than I expected, but misses out on some of the independent artists' concerns. 


You can read the article here.


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Monday, 12 July 2021

Lannie Flowers - Home



The Big Stir and Spyderpop tie in allows the latest Lannie Flowers album to get a second wind and Home is magnificent. It is as magnificent as his previous solo albums and as magnificent as his music with The Pengwins. The man not being massive is one of those great injustices and surely this is the album to change this.

As a long time fan, I continually look for reasons why. I'm not sure that the previous Power Pop label does him any favours. Flowers is much more than that. Indeed on Free To Dream and I Got A Secret, there is far more of s Van Morrison feel. It certainly isn't Material Issue.





Anyway and In Time verge on great mellow Beatles Pop. Flowers is just as great when he lets loose as  he does here on the wonderful It's All Over and Running. Across the album however the noise is held back a little and that further demonstrates the song craft.

TV Off ventures into Psych Pop successfully with a killer Blues solo, but, as an album, Home, at heart, is very reflective, a real storytelling album. Never more so than on Missing You Tonight, He's Going Home and Anyway. The latter is pure McCartney Pop.





It's All Over is a four minute epic and the title track is bouncy pop of the title track is joyous. I never expected this album to be anything other than great. It fully deserves a reissue. Home still contains the hooks, but is a much mature and reflective affair and this maturity results in one hell of an album.

So if you like Home (and I can see no reason why you wouldn't), tell everyone that you do. It really is time for Lannie Flowers to breakout across the whole wide world, not just a few American States. Home is fantastic, shout it from the rooftops.





You can listen to and buy the album here. You can also purchase the album here Home is available on CD, Double Vinyl LP and as a download. It is released on Friday 23 July.


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Sunday, 11 July 2021

Drew Beskin - Problematic for the People

 

I've mentioned before that I'd love to see the return of the Singer Songwriter. The Nineties revival was a splendid affair, eventually spoiled by the gate being opened for the mediocre as everyone with a guitar became a singer songwriter. It all seemed to fade away.

I and many others yearn for the return of the likes of Michael Penn and Jason Falkner, probably banging on a closed door. So really I shouldn't be shouting for the old and celebrating and there are early signs that the Intelligent Pop Rock Solo Singer Songwriters are breaking through.



Athens Georgia's Drew Beskin is one of the leaders of that pack and this, his third album, is probably the best thing that I've heard since those aforementioned days. The album contains 11 beautifully written, expertly arranged and played gems. 

Beskin's songs are nothing like Falkner's, but they have his surprise element in that the verse can be nothing like the chorus and the change of temp or direction mid song catches you completely by surprise, Similar to Penn, he offers up gentle songs with a hidden bite. But essentially, Drew Beskin is Drew Beskin.



The Cut Of My Jib is a bouncy affair, slightly out of kilter with the rest of the album and so it excels because of that. However all of these songs will float your boat from the melancholy of Atlantic to the top notch Neil Finn like Genuine Article. 

I'm Not Human is a great opener, a real hook and a big riff grab you, but the tour de force is Double Dipper, a song that constantly surprises you. A verse that is almost stream of consciousness that breaks into a different tempo, different song even, for the killer chorus. Problematic For The People is outstanding. Highly Recommended!



You can listen to and buy the album here.


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Saturday, 10 July 2021

Cub Scout Bowling Pins - Clang Clang Ho

 

I think something that we can all agree on is that Robert Pollard is prolific. So, content with three releases in the past year, Guided By Voices now have an Alter Ego as Cub Scout Bowling Pins to reduce your bank balance that bit more.

Clang Clang Ho is an absolute hoot. To say it is left field is an understatement, it really is all over the place. Psych Pop, Rock And Roll, Bubblegum, Glam Rock and even crooning all get a look in. Imagine that you have just bought an AM Radio and you somewhere near the right area.




From the Toytown of Eggs, Mother? to the Elvis like impression on Nova Mona, you are in for a strange splendid ride. @123 is all jangle and She Cannot Know is a top notch Pop Song. Roll Up Your Nose even sounds all early Cat Stevens. 

What Crawls Also Flies Over sounds all "Who Killed Bambi" and still includes a fine Duane Eddy-ish solo. Magic Taxi is the stand out here, a classic slab of 60's Psych Pop, it is simply enchanting. The constant Pollard problem remains though.




The man is a genius, but he splurts out so much music that it is hard to keep up. With 20 songs in 39 minutes, there are times that the impression given is that he got bored with the song and moved on to the next one. 

There are so many great ideas here, probably too many, but that doesn't negate what a talent that Pollard is. There are few like him and he has a fan base that will listen. The only artist that I can think of in similar terms is Bill Nelson. Clang Clang Ho is superb, but it will bend your mind. The album is available everywhere.


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Wednesday, 7 July 2021

Mutiny Starter Kit - Under The Amber Lights

 

One of the joys of reviewing for IDHAS is the element of surprise. We listen to everything we get sent and as you'd expect there are things we like and things we don't. But nothing replaces the buzz of hearing something unexpectedly great and Mutiny Starter Kit are definitely in that category. 

Consisting of a father and son duo from St. Simons Island in Georgia, they add Guest vocalists where necessary.  I know little more about them, but the result is a splendid Indie Rock album that edges more towards Pop Rock.




The incredible part is the variation, most of the songs are built around riffs, but genres are widespread. Essential the base is College Indie but the casting out is much more than that. For instance Rattle Your Cage has a real Goth Rock riff that combines with a Brit Pop feel. 

Compare that to This Is A Place Where Good Things Happen which borders on Modern Prog. The female vocal on The Wait is like Chrissie Hynde playing laid back West Coast Rock and Friday The 13th is great US New Wave Guitar Pop. 




Be Normandy is a big Stadium Rock closer, it has a really big sound, but I'm also enamoured that an American outfit would write a song about my beloved Liverpool FC. YNWA is exactly that and it is done in the 80s Indie style with its hypnotic Reggae style riff.

Mutiny Starter Kit seem at their best in that Indie Rock mode and Fly demonstrates that most. It reminds me a bit of The Alarm and is an absolute crackerjack of a song. If you like your Rock, riff driven and hook laden, but require more than songs about girls, this should be in your collection now.





You can find out a little more about Mutiny Starter Kit here.


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Wednesday, 30 June 2021

The Future Of Power Pop

 


I was asked to write an essay on Power Pop for an upcoming magazine issue which is a Power Pop Special. As always, I took the side of the artist and was told today that the piece wouldn't be accepted because the Magazine was not the right forum for it. So it is published here, unedited, in its entirety.

It may upset some people, but it is what I think and I know many many others do, but wouldn't have the balls to say it. It is about Power Pop, but applies equally to the Indie scene. I won't be responding to comments in the short term on social media, via email or messaging. I will be posting it on every relevant Facebook Group that I am a member of later as I hope it will be read and considered. 

It is not personal nor score settling, but it is a honest opinion. I don't expect some to agree with it, but it does look at the genre from the artist's point of view. It is a long read at 1800 words, but as I said, I decided not to edit it........................................

When I was asked to write a piece about Power Pop, my first reaction was to write about the joys of the genre. It has always been really good to me throughout my listening life. As a young child, I was brought up on Merseybeat and The Beatles due to my parents’ love of both. After discovering my “own” music from Glam Rock onwards, Power Pop appeared again towards the end of the Seventies with the UK New Wave. I was confused by Punk at that age, so it was nice to hear something catchy and riff led again. Then in the late eighties, after an interesting flirtation with Death Metal, I became engrossed in the US Power Pop scene, mainly as a reaction to the Techno Beat nonsense that dominated the UK airwaves. 

Finally, when I began writing more with the advent of the internet and Anything Should Happen, I met lots more Power Pop fans and realised that it wasn’t just a few who liked the same music as I did. I Don’t Hear A Single developed out of ASH as a reaction to Power Pop fans constantly bleating about how all new music was crap. I never expected to become a type of door opener for the new or reminder of the talented but lost old. It was then that I started to become really irritated by the genre. It isn’t the music, it is as good as it has ever been, it is people’s attitude towards it and the practices of the scene. So I figured that other people writing for this Power Pop Special would be talking about the joy and so I would be a counterbalance by looking at the problems.

None of this is personal. I did two versions of this article, one solely about the music, but I felt that these things should be discussed. I don’t say that I am right and it is skewed more to the now than the then. I’ve always spoken openly and in defence of the musician and most of what is going on at the moment is not to the benefit of the musician. If Power Pop does not change, it will be end with our generation. How many younger people do you see on the Power Pop Facebook Groups? There are certainly plenty that could fit into the genre. However, these newer artists either don’t know about it, see it as an old man’s thing or have contempt for the way they are treated. They are more likely to class themselves as Indie Pop or Rock, Guitar Pop or Pop Punk than want to wade through yet more posts about The Beatles or Raspberries.

There are points that I don’t cover because they aren’t exclusive to Power Pop. Streaming for instance and the battle for inconsequential likes being two. Firstly, Power Pop has to get over its fascination and obsession with The Beatles. They are the greatest band there ever was, but other bands are available. The same applies to Badfinger, Raspberries, Big Star and Jellyfish. Comparing everything to these bands helps no one. Everything will sound inferior to them. They were different times. Big money could be spent on promotion, so everyone heard them on Radio Stations that played them. You can love The Beatles and new Power Pop artists, the two aren’t mutually exclusive. 

Home recording has become more professional, cheaper and easier to use, so there will always be the good, the bad and the ugly in all music. Just trust some of the people who write or play it. They have done the sifting for you. More on that later. There is also a tendency to compare everything to something older. Power Pop is always likely to sound like something else. After six decades, there is no new sound to be discovered, everything will be at least a bit like something else. I personally would rather hear something that sounds like something else done well than some algorithm inspired rubbish written by 15 different people. 

Now we get around to earning money. No musician is expecting to become a millionaire. They love what they do and just want to cover costs or earn enough to make the next album. There is however something particularly wrong with a scene were the only people making any money are Promoters and Pluggers. As the lockdown subsides, there has to be a way to pay bands even if it is via a tip jar or streaming the events simultaneously. The days of charging at the door, but the bands playing for free have to end. Playing live is what most bands enjoy and there is an opportunity to sell Merch. But when the promoter is the only person earning money on an event that would be nothing without the artists, something isn’t right.

I have a load of time for David Bash, who has at times kept the Power Pop Flag flying single handedly. The International Pop Overthrow event at The Cavern gives artists the opportunity to play at an iconic venue, something that they could never arrange on their own. Plus The Liverpool IPO is a chance for artists to meet each other face to face from around the world. But surely there is a way to pay the bands something, even if there is a permanent admission fee. The artists are invited, but that isn’t a reason to not pay them. I know many who won’t play IPO because of it which is a shame. Plus the other shows around the States cry out even more for artists payment. Big Stir pay the artists for their monthly showcase. The Power Pop Weekender in London sells out with a daily ticket price approaching £20. 

Whilst on the IPO subject, I am also a critic of the annual compilations. I can’t see how a payment of $300 gets you on the compilation. It seems very Pay To Play. If this charge is necessary to fund IPO, then there must be some other way via increased sponsorship or such. As it stands, 60 bands / artists subsidise the rest on a project that someone like Wayne at Icecream Man does for free. He could easily produce a physical version for considerably less if there was the demand. No one is arguing that David needs to make a living, but does it have to be on the backs of Musicians. Many of us do it for free, there has to be a balance. 

These days everyone is a Music Journalist. But there are surprisingly few dedicated to Power Pop. As always, there is good and bad writing, but what irritates me most is the spoon feeding. Most of the reviews are spoon fed. They’ve been sent out to everyone, few writers seem to try and discover stuff themselves. Dennis at Poprock Record, Jeff Shelton (as a DJ) and a few others are exceptions rather than the rule. Also maybe the time is right for a collective of writers to have one place to listen to Power Pop Releases that would bring greater variation that would work after cutting out the irrelevant. Reviewers could download the ones that interest them and visit as time allowed. 

Radio wise, I really do have a problem. I have been critical in the past of Internet Radio and it has been taken the wrong way. I applaud anyone who starts their own show whether they have 10 or 1,000 listeners. They are never the problem, they love what they do and give artists a chance to be heard. The problem is the pluggers who feed off them. A perfect example of the wrong people getting the money. I have a real bad taste in my mouth about the activities of some of these. They charge artists $250 to get airplay on stations that anyone could send music to themselves free of charge. The type of stations that say send us your song and we’ll play it. Surely artists must be suspicious of the quality of the station’s output.?

Radio Candy seem the worst. They own some of the stations they charge musicians for getting airplay on. They are also the prime movers behind the ridiculous Radio Indie Alliance Chart. 12 of us writers did a straw poll looking at one of their Top 75 charts. There is a lot of experience gathered in those 12 and the best we could come up with was knowing 15 of the artists. Most were lower. So there is something fishy about such a chart. You have to suspect people paying appear there, maybe with rich parents. To confuse the issue, a few known acts are thrown in who haven’t paid and also a few bigger names. High placings are always there for The Tearaways, Rumbar Records and Jem Recordings artists who coincidentally pay Radio Candy for promotion.

Social media isn’t as vital as it used to be, but there is still a weariness with artists not following up on reviews and promoting them accordingly, just as there is with writers, labels and artists who promote too much. Having a Twitter account that just posts thank you Radio X for playing……….., Thank You Radio Y for playing is soon gonna lose followers. I Don’t Hear A Single used to get over 80% of its hits from social media, now its less than 30%. Learning Google Analytics or keywords is the key.

Finally, many albums are self-released now and that’s great. There are some fine labels out there too. Labels such as Big Stir, Spyderpop, Tapete and Wiretap amongst them. But most albums are self-released. There is a problem with reviewers asking for physical releases and then not reviewing or playing them. Another unnecessary expense for the artist. It gets even worse on Vinyl releases. The cost of manufacture and sending an album is high for it not to be covered. I am a big music collector and as obsessive as the next collector. But I separate my hobby from my writing. I am not trying to build my collection on the backs of hard up musicians. Also what is the point of a three line review? What is the point of everything appearing in an end of year list? 2021 albums are being covered in 2022. 

I know I’ve strayed off the Power Pop point a bit, but it is all relevant. I also assure you that I am not settling scores or hitting personal targets. I always write honestly and I’m more than happy to take criticism or for people not to agree. I’m someone who speaks their mind, but also listens to counter views that follow. It really is time for the Power Pop Community to get together to look for ways around these problems and make the musician central to everything they do. New Power Pop wise, it may be time to open a Facebook group just covering that and finding a way to link to the Indie and Pop Punk scenes. I love Power Pop, I just don’t want to see it die with us.


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Sunday, 27 June 2021

Stephen Flint - Onanmatopoeia

 



This is something of a back to the future as the album was released in November 2020. I can be forgiven though as Onanmatopoeia features a collection of recordings from between 1992 and 2001. I've been meaning to feature it for a while, put it down to my aging mind that I kept forgetting.

This is the Intelligent Pop that I love and crave. It belongs in a select group that normally get lumped in with Power Pop or Pop Rock, but should really be in a category of its own with the likes of XTC and Game Theory, maybe even Robyn Hitchcock. It isn't that the album sounds like those mentioned, it just inhabits similar space.



Recorded on 8 Track in the days before it became the norm digitally. The sound and production is incredibly good bearing in mind that there was no computer trickery around to make the thing sound like it was recorded at Abbey Road. 

Boston's Stephen Flint as gathered a selection of his recordings that are a delight, incredibly listenable and wonderfully inventive. The overall opinion that you come away with is what an incredible collection. Imagine what the guy could do in a studio.



From the gentle obviously one man gentleness of Gotta Get Some to the mesmerising piano on the almost Toytown on Bad Photography, Onanmatopoeia is wall to wall goodness. Life Is A Funny is very Ben Folds whilst Just Another Eddie Vedder is very 90's Indie, like a Matthew Sweet demo maybe.

Wide Open Hole is superb Psych Pop with the Pop bursting to get out and Gotten To sounds very XTC Big Express era. The real pop gem though is I'm Gone, piano pop of the highest order. There is so much to like here that I am really impatient to hear more from Flint. Highly Recommended!



You can listen to and buy the album here.


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The Mangroves - Songs To Make Your Dad Proud

 


There's something charming and endearing about the Brisbane Quartet, The Mangroves. As you can tell by the title of this, their second album, they don't take themselves too seriously without ever being a joke or comedy band. 

They describe themselves as forming in 1982 (they weren't) and being cryogenically frozen  under strict instructions only to be revived during Brisbane's renaissance. Their debut album, What's Better Than Brisbane?, was described by critics as "the least accessible album of the decade" (again the band's words).



For all the self depreciation, that charm and wit shine through. You get the 1982 reference because there is a lot here that is very Go-Betweens. The impression is that there is a real "let's do the show right here" attitude and the songs are mini pop gems that stand in their own right.

Bounced Out as a real Housemartins vibe as does a lot of the album. Les Kiss is Jingle Jangle heaven with a Neil Finn similarity in the vocal.  Expat Exports is so C86. Ric's Backyard has overtones of late 50's Rock and Roll, but still comes across as The Proclaimers.




The song that gets the nearest to The Go-Betweens is Same Old Places, an approaching five minutes as phases when it sounds so Glasgow, even Teenage Fanclub instrumentally. There is no doubt that these songs are about Brisbane, but they can easily be adapted to any city. 

A Special mention should be made for Gabbatoir, an instrumental about Brisbane Cricket Ground. It is a lovely piano piece that is only 2 minutes long, but reveals that there is far more to The Mangroves than you realise. Elsewhere it is surrounded by great Indie Guitar Pop. The upcoming Summer may make Songs To Make Your Dad Proud even more relevant. 




A point I'd like to make is that I found it hard to find places to buy the album or find info on the band. This is typical of Distrokid (and CD Baby too). They tend to do half a job. They get some distribution points for albums, most of them free streams, but do little to point anyone in the direction. The Album Cover reveals a CD, yet there is nowhere you can find it. I have no part in Bandcamp, but it really is the place to go to for Indies to sell albums and merch and there is also a stream built in. I've yet to see anyone like Distrokid break or even help a band.


You can listen to and buy the download here. The individual tracks are available in full on YouTube here. The band's debut album and Bounced Out are available on Bandcamp here.


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Friday, 25 June 2021

Lewis Wilson - Wonderthrill

 


Lately, everything comes back to Scotland. In music, lifestyle, attitude, in fact most things whilst across the Border, we deal with all the nonsense that is Brexit and political lies. Coming from a Northern Town devastated by the closing of mines and glass factories, I find it so hard to understand how the residents vote in the Top Hatted shysters, but enough of that.

Falkirk's Lewis Wilson releases his eighth album and as you'd expect it is wall to wall Pop Rock excellence. The double bonus for is is Stu Kidd's continued involvement as we at IDHAS are big fans of The Wellgreen and his magnificent Kidd album. 



To say Wonderthrill is chirpy is a real understatement. The charm and joy oozes out and it already feels like Summer. Face Like Fizz makes me want to run merrily in the adjacent field with its gentle jangle and that is where a lot of this album resides.

The Love Is In This Town is another pop gem, a little REM Out Of Time in its feel and You're Lighter Than I heads towards Psych Pop. Find That Place is very 70s Pop Rock, say Liverpool Express and Karma's Gone is very West Coast.



You'd expect some jangle and the likes of Dusty Cloud provides that splendidly. Sugar Hill is Nick Heyward to a tee. However, you could select any of the 14 songs present here and like each for a different reason and that is the album's strength.

Beautifully produced, gentle but able to break out and Wilson has a great voice. There is a lot of great Scottish music around at the moment, particularly Jangle and Dream Pop, but Wonderthrill feels much than that. Certainly more substantial. Pop Rock is on the up and an album that like this certainly leads the way.



You can listen to and buy the album here.


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Wednesday, 23 June 2021

Quivers - Golden Doubt

 

Golden Doubt is a master class in writing and performing Indie Pop. After hearing the opener, Gutters Of Love, you think surely everything else on the album can't be as great, well it is. The concern whenever I see the Indie Pop label, part of me hopes that isn't going to be another earnest twee affair. Again, this isn't any such thing.

The Melbourne based quartet consist of Sam Nicholson, Bella Quinlan, Michael Panton and Holly Thomas. Nicholson is the lead vocalist, but all four sing and this is particularly relevant in the Backing Vocals of Quinlan and Thomas.



This vocal variety and interplay is one of the reasons that the album appeals so much, but the major strength is how the boundaries of the genre are stretched. The band have a reputation for Jangle Pop excellence, but the actual Jangling content here isn't that high.

When it does Jangle on a song like the splendid When It Breaks, it hits the spot and more, but it is the variety that hits home most. The title track is a melancholic man at the piano thing that is very Paul Heaton. You keep expecting it to break out, which thankfully it doesn't. That would just spoil the mood.



Videostores is part nostalgic, part regret and chugs along and mesmerises and Hold You Back could be Philly Soul. Nostalgia Will Kill You is a gem of a Pop song that would in most cases be the album stand out, but then there is Gutters Of Love.

Everything that you need to know about Quivers is contained in these precious four minutes. Initially, the song sounds very Deacon Blue, but then breaks into an incredibly chipper instrumental break and returns with an all sing along chant. An incredible song on an incredible album that will be up there in the IDHAS Best Of Year. 



You can listen to and buy the album here. You can find out more about Quivers here.


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Tom Thiel - Armchair Astronaut

 

Wisconsin Singer Songwriter Tom Thiel specialises in a sort of Acoustic Folk that would make many I Don't Hear A Single readers run for the hills. It isn't the type of thing that I would be listening to. I've heard so much of this sort of thing and albums start to get tedious after the third song. All a bit here is another song, sounds exactly like the last one.

But wait! There is far more to Mr Thiel than meets the eye. He does appear to be a bit of a Troubadour, but the songs are stories and have real depth. There are more than hints of Americana and paths towards Country, but all are done in an interesting enjoyable way.



There are also times when he breaks out and that is when the album gets particularly splendid. These Pop Rock moments are magnificent. Sunshine And Lemonade 2.0 is one such song, gentle, very Bruce Hornsby without the Piano. All enhanced by a great chorus. 

The title track is a tip top song. The arrangement and additional instruments provide a much wider panorama and Thiel thrives in this splendour. It is a song that builds and builds without quite ever letting loose. Moody yet enthralling.



The real killer song though is Satellite. Wonderfully mixed by Marc Golde, the song morphs into a splendid climax with a driving rhythm accompanied by layered vocals that make the song so big. It is a magnificent affair and I'd love to hear much more in this direction.

Tom Thiel reminds me of Steve Earle at times, although the vocal is much clearer. In some moments, he comes across as, heaven forbid, Bono on U2's slower songs but without the earnest nonsense. Thiel definitely has stories to tell and he relates them really well.



You can listen to and buy the album here. You can find out more about Tom Thiel here.


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Tuesday, 22 June 2021

latewaves - Hell To Pay

 

I'm currently at the back end of a long piece, for print, on the future of Power Pop and a point I've often made is the connection to the much younger audience that Punk Pop enjoys. Asbury Park New Jersey trio latewaves are probably a  bit too noisy for Power Pop. But they do demonstrate that as Punk Pop gets older, the melodic choruses are taking over the scattergun verses traditionally associated with the genre.

They are a power trio that I'd love to see live. You can imagine the energy and vibe that they create. They can get a bit shouty at times, but that always adds to the song. Hell To Pay has killer riffs, great guitar solos and top notch choruses. 



There are also some great Pop Rock songs present too. Send Me To The Moon is an absolute winner with a massive chorus and a Power Pop solo that tries desperately wants to get out on a couple of occasions.

Too much has another big chorus and when they slow it down, the band prove equally adept with Hell To Pay. I'm Alright instrumentally is even in Muse territory. But there is no doubt that latewaves are at their best at pace.



The grunge of Extra Pale has a shouted chorus, but is still surrounded by a great riff. Sympathy (and Validation) is fine College Rock. Enough Is Enough is right in your face and Guaranteed Burnouts is the nearest they get to Punk.

This may not be the usual sort of thing that Power Pop fans would listen to, but they should. Call it Power Pop Rock if you like/ Never more so on the wonderful Stroke Of Luck. You will be amazed at how addictive the riffs are. There's no a duff track here. Highly Recommended!



You can listen to and buy the album here. You can also listen to it at the various places listed here


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Sunday, 20 June 2021

IDHAS Audio Extravaganza

 

Quite a few of you have been asking about the Audio Extravaganza. We have decided to put it on hold for a short while. It will return and we will use the downtime to have a look at different formats. We are constantly asked about syndication and would only do this if it had intros rather than be a mix. We would keep the mix option available on Mixcloud.

We've decided this simply because Jim and I are so busy. My commitments to Big Stir and Spyderpop continue to grow and the growth of those labels fills me with delight. I also have I Don't Hear A Single which continues to have a record following month by month and has picked up a whole new audience. The amount of time needed for listening grows with it.

Jim does all the mixing and mastering and he has less and less time due to am incredibly busy real life job that has got busier and busier as the UK comes out of lockdown. As stated, the Extravaganza is not going away and expect it to return sooner than you think. 

It made sense to give it a rest temporarily. You won't miss a thing as there will be a big catch up of songs that you've missed when we return.


Thursday, 17 June 2021

Daydream Time Machine - Mirrors Of Time,

 

Daydream Time Machine are from California and if you glanced at the album cover, you would expect them to be part of that state's burgeoning Psych Rock scene. Look at the odd review and they appear to have been lumped in with Prog.

Well Ladies and Gentlemen, the band largely sound nothing like either of those genres although there are the odd ventures into both. Mirrors Of Time is essentially a Pop Rock album, although more on the Rock First Floor.



Chris Simonian's vocal has far more in common with Scouse Pop than anything far out there man. The material is built on mesmerising riffs, the band go for a vibe rather than an all out assault and the guitar solos are not plentiful. This allows the album to grip you even more.

Have no doubt about it, this is an album to be listened to from start to finish. The arrangements are melodic, when in the wrong hands they could go into Jam Band wankiness. The strength of the vocal also helps to keep the songs in line as do the occasional backing vocals of Katie Hudson.



Listen to the complete album and you will be saving the best until last. Begin Within is a magnificent song, a twanging Guitar riff accompanied by a killer beat that morphs into a chiming close. Laughter And Dismay is a slightly heavier affair, but just as effective.

Trials Is Trails is almost Acoustic Folk Rock and Always edges towards one of those big Brit Pop album closers. There really is so much to enjoy here. It may not be the sort of thing that some of you listen to often, but you should give this a whirl. It is one stormer of an album. Highly Recommended.



You can listen to and buy the album here.  You can also find out more about the band here.


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Sunday, 13 June 2021

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.

We do realise that buyers in the UK and Europe can buy the UK Releases cheaper. That is absolutely fine. We want to publish the full Kool Kat weekly update complete, so UK Releases may be for info only to UK Buyers.

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.


The James Clark Institute - The Colour Of Happy (Room 5 Records Canada 2021)      $13





The record was terrifically produced by Mo Berg (The Pursuit Of Happiness).  “The collaboration with Berg is a marriage made in heaven. ‘The Colour Of Happy’ is 34 minutes of joy.  The album contains such confident mature power pop and sounds very UK, wonderfully so.  At times it seems very scouse pop, when the brass kicks in I think of The Ragamuffins and it’s great to hear the odd Farfisa run or two.  The main comparison that I come away with is Roddy Frame and Aztec Camera.  There is also a lyrical excellence, not often seen in the genre.   


Kool Kat Link


Bandcamp Link


Crowded House - Dreamers Are Waiting (BMG Records  2021)      $12  




Crowded House’s first album since 2010. Like Neil Finn’s sometimes esoteric solo work, these songs are more detailed, more subtle and take more time to reveal themselves.  There’s no instant gratification, but on much of this record, the songs get under your skin like an itch you just have to scratch, almost subliminally addictive.  It doesn’t just retain the intimacy that made them so cherished, but makes it their signature sound.  (TheGuardian.com) 

 

Kool Kat Link


Apple Music Link


Gary Louris - Jump For Joy (Thirty Tigers Records 2021)      $13





Gary Louris’ first solo album in over decade is a decidedly low-key affair, one that’s decidedly disengaged from the roots rock sound that he helped establish with the band the Jayhawks during the birth of what became engrained within the modern Americana sound. “Jump For Joy” finds Louris leaning more towards the music he makes with his “other” outfit, Golden Smog, a band whose membership also includes members of Soul Asylum, Wilco, \the Replacements, and Big Star.  




Apple Music Link


Mark & The Clouds - Waves (Gar du Nord Records UK 2021)        $18





Since relocating from his native Bologna, Italy to London in the early ’90s, Marco Magnani has been a stalwart of the city’s underground scene where 60’s pop and folk meets psychedelic rock. His previous band Instant Flight worked for several years as the backing group of Arthur Brown as well as releasing a string of meticulously crafted and well-received albums themselves.  Now fronting Mark & The Clouds, Magnani continues to write produce, and release great psych-pop n roll records, with a list of bandmates and collaborators from the UK/Spanish/Italian psych music scene and centered around the three-piece nucleus of Marco on vocals and guitar plus John O’Sullivan (Instant Flight/The Snakes/Limozine) on bass, vocals and guitar, and Shin Okajima on drums (Shin and Marco formed The Smokers in 1994).  


Kool Kat Link


Bandcamp Link


Sunbourne Rd.                                     Manners maketh man                 2021/Kool Kat Musik               GREAT!!              $14





NEW RELEASE ON THE KOOL KAT MUSIK LABEL – AVAILABLE JUNE 18 – ACCEPTING ORDERS NOW!!  Alex Siodmak is from Casale Monferrato in Northern Italy and with the assistance of friends, Davide Ghione, Sebastiano D'Alessandro and Riccardo Marchese, he is Sunbourne Rd.  Now available on CD and previously only available as downloads, the 19 tracks present  represent all of the 18 tracks included on Sunbourne Rd.’s three digital releases plus an exclusive bonus track “Sunflower”! Whilst the UK indie guitar scene seems to be a multitude of bands trying to sound like each other, Europe is releasing more and more interesting offerings. The beauty of this collection is that repeated listening unveils even more layers. 


Kool Kat Link


Apple Music Link


Various Artists - Big Stir Singles: The Tenth Wave (Big Stir Records 2021)      $12






“Big Stir Singles: The Tenth Wave” is (for now) the final instalment in the current series of CDs collecting their celebrated weekly digital singles, the A- and B-sides of which were issued in October and November of 2020.  While it's the sterling example of the best music on the global pop rock scene that listeners expect, it's also an essential document of the turbulent times of its making. This is top flight musicianship in the service of radio-ready tunes, but it also tells us a great deal about the world as it is today, as seen by the represented songwriters and performers.   As with the other nine volumes in the series, “The Tenth Wave” stands as a testament to the fact that “the single” has lost neither its relevance nor its magic ability to thrill with musical craft and unparalleled immediacy. 








Ram On: The 50th Anniversary Tribute To Paul & Linda McCartney’s Ram  (Spirit Of Unicorn Music  UK 2021)      $20






Paul and Linda McCartney’s “Ram” album from 1971 is covered in its entirety by a collective of musicians lead by Denny Seiwell, the original drummer on the record (and Wings member from 1971-1973) and producer/multi-instrumentalist Fernando Perdomo.  The album features all 12 tracks from the album, plus a few bonus numbers at the end.  The idea for “Ram On”, was born in 2020 from a discussion between Fernando Perdomo and Denny Seiwell. The pair are joined by original guitarist David Spinozza and Marvin Stamm (who played flugelhorn on “Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey”).  

Davey Johnstone (Elton John Band) and Will Lee (The Fab Faux) also play on the record which features contributions from over 100 musicians!  Each song has a guest vocalist including Brian Wilson’s daughter Carnie Wilson (Wilson Phillips), Dan Rothchild (Heart, Sheryl Crow) Pat Sansone (Wilco), Joey Santiago (Pixies), Eric Dover (Jellyfish, The Lickerish Quartet) and Durga McBroom (Pink Floyd, Blue Pearl).