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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.


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


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.


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


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


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.