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Thursday, 30 September 2021

Andy Bopp - AB



I know a lot of music related people who know a lot of music related things. Some cannot leave behind the things that they learned early, sadly dissing the now in favour of that. Others bang on about the now without acknowledging the past. Neither is correct.

Then there are the fans who lovingly adopt a group and when that group goes separate ways, everything the members do away from it is unfavourably compared to that group. The artist wants to develop, take risks, experiment, but most of the results are criticised or ignored. 

So we come to Andy Bopp. Whenever I mention him to others, everyone agrees how great he is, a major talent. But none of them ever mention Bopp without prompting. In the Power Pop and Pop Rock Facebook Groups, I see lots of Myracle Brah mentions and few about his dynamic solo years.

The man doesn't go on Social Media daily to tell you how great he is and how he is doing in his life. He has a self depreciating wit, a sort of here's a great new album for you all to ignore as always. I am here to tell you that the time to stop this unappreciation is now.



2019's Maker was and is a very experimental album. It isn't a throwaway thing, it is incredibly deep. It was high up in IDHAS's Albums Of The Year. You can read my review here. It wasn't reviewed by that many, their loss, but even those who appreciated it still had a "where is the guitar?" grumble.

So in reaction to all that, you have AB, not that a reaction was needed or intended. It is two albums (you've guessed correctly), one called A and one called B. It isn't a double album, B only comes in at just short of 20 minutes. This is two eight song albums combined but separate if that makes sense. It will.

Bopp had some Pop Rock Songs that he wanted to get out of his system and these are what form A. It is a wonderful affair. The Guitar is back and forefront and I think Myracle Brah fans will be delighted. Uncommon Disaster is the stand out verging on Psych Pop as it does. I Am A Jet Fighter is wonderful twanging pop.

Arlo & Joan is a short two minutes, but has the catchiest chorus you can imagine. Abbie Karey is late Beatle-esque and a fine closer. All eight songs lovingly complement each other, this is really the Andy Bopp that most people relate to.



B is a different beast. It is much looser than A and largely rattles along at a much faster pace. You will have heard Bicycle Parts on a recent IDHAS 10 Song Mix, but this is a bit out of kilter with the rest of the album. The song is probably my favourite across both albums, it has a splendid Psych Pop Guitar Guitar solo.

Camera has already been released and is the obvious single, a trademark singalong that veers off unexpectedly. The rest of B is much more immediate, in your face at times. EM543 is the most obvious example which is down and dirty Garage Rock. Blood 66 is a 100mph to complement it.

Bending All The Jets is made to be played at a sweaty gig and breaks into some jaw dropping Psych. Special mention too to the closer Think About You which has a slowed down beat, but is also a reminder that Andy Bopp can play guitar and he's gonna demonstrate so. 

It would be a crying shame if these albums were ignored. No one does Pop Rock better. Those in the know have been crying out for a Guitar album, here it is. Without doubt Album/s Of The Year material. In fact it is going to have to be some album to beat it now as October is ready to start.



You can listen to and buy the album here.


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Tuesday, 28 September 2021

Joshua Powell - Skeleton Party

 

I am largely saving reviews for October's one a day, but there are a few that I want to tell you about before September closes. Joshua Powell's new offering is certainly one. It dropped my jaw to the point that I am already at the fourth listen. 

Essentially a Rock album, but that doesn't tell half the story. You here Psych, Prog, Pop and even Jazz at times. The vocal reminds me a bit of Mew, but this is far heavier than them. When it shreds, it really shreds, but never loses the plot,



The departures are what makes Skeleton Party though. For instance Rainbow Trout is all slow and smoochy. it even closes with a sort of autotuned modern pop, almost hip hop vocal. Hole Mesa Fangs is great Modern Prog, imagine a chilled out Big Big Big Train.

Coral Castle ventures into Pop Rock wonderfully, but the album is at its best when it lets loose on say the last couple of minutes of Cannabis Rex and most of Nine Of Swords. The best may also be left to last as White Lodge (Fire) featuring the best closing of a song that I've heard all year.



The album features something for everyone, but it is genre defying. Psych and in particular, Prog fans will love it, but essentially Skeleton Party is the sum of its parts. People tell me that there is no invention in Rock Music any more, well there is here.

Others say that the guitar is dead, well it seems pretty alive here. This is an absolute crackerjack of a Rock album. If the IDHAS followers give it time, it will prove to be a long time favourite. Highly Recommended!



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


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Monday, 27 September 2021

Danny Wilkerson - Wilkerson


I know that I am biased, but I do consider Big Stir to be the best music label and community in the world. Their recent tie up with Spyderpop is especially wonderful. Spyderpop have released wonderful albums by wonderful artists and all seem to have not had half of the attention and love that they deserve. Reissues of these albums have been handled by Big Stir and it has seen an opportunity to get the albums out to a wider audience. 

Right at the front is the magnificent debut album from Danny Wilkerson. Known, of course, as one of The Pengwins and to some as the ex Mayor of Annetta North in Texas, Wilkerson has fashioned up one of the great Pop Rock albums. The album features a who's who of collaborators and although, the feel is very much McCartney Pop, many more are brought to mind, 10CC, Andrew Gold and particularly, The Major Labels.






It's no secret that I pine for another Major Labels album, Aquavia remains one of my favourite albums ever. That influence is particularly prevalent on Carry The One and You Still Owe Me A Kiss and it'll be no surprise to find two thirds of the band are collaborators on Wilkerson. Bleu McAuley's Top 40 aims with other artists, can mask his musical knowledge and ear for a melody But when you get him on Power Pop, he is an absolute master, he knows which buttons to press, He presses all of them here. The arrangements are superb.

Likewise, Ducky Carlisle's involvement and mixing of half the album, shines through. Guest Appearances by Roger Joseph Manning Jr and Pat Buchanan only add to the quality. It is no fluke that the album was in the Top 10 of the IDHAS Albums Of The Year in 2018. Wilkerson's songwriting shines through. There's also some fine song sequencing. 






On a debut album, it would have been easy to open proceedings with something upbeat and chirpy. Something like the second track, Enough For Somebody, would have done the trick. Instead, Everyone Loves To Love kicks things off. Everyone Loves To Love is a 5 minute extravaganza, it's like ten songs in one, almost a megamix of what is to come. 

The Andrew Gold reference largely comes from Too Much Of A Good Thing. It is Gold to a tee, a wonderful singalong. How She Lost My Heart is a corking slice of Psych Pop with a harpsichord solo. There's not a duffer amongst these ten songs, if you want to sing the choruses, there's plenty, if you want something slower and chilled, you have it too. Melodic excellence, beautifully written, splendidly arranged. Wilkerson is an absolute masterpiece.






You can listen to and buy the album here or at the Big Stir Site here.


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IDHAS Ten Songs Mix 9



I Don't Hear A Single returns and there's a lot to catch up on. We begin with the 9th edition of the IDHAS Ten Songs Mix which is proving really popular. 10 songs in just over 32 minutes for your delight and education. 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 Vix 20 - Orla The Octopus

02 Sour Ops - Navy Blue

03 Robert Harrison - Real Life Satyr

04 The Fade - Stay

05 The Peppermint Kicks - I Don't Hear A Single

06 Grand Splendid - Magic

07 The Shivas - If I Could Choose

08 July Crowd - See You Around

09 Simon Bromide - The Waiting Room

10 Hushdrops - Psychic Space


IDHAS Ten Songs Mix 9



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Tuesday, 21 September 2021

Apologies!

 

Apologies for the lack of reviews and content on here over the past two or three weeks. This has been to due to a hectic period in real life work that has led to a bit of a work and sleep thing. This likely to continue until Sunday when things return to a more moderate pace. 

I will try to get a few reviews up if time allows and compile the ninth IDHAS Ten Song Mix. Please do listen to the current one. It is an absolute cracker and has been flying up the Mixcloud Global Indie Rock Chart. It will take up just over 30 minutes of your time and help people realise the strength of new music out there.

So normality from Sunday, but I can also tell you that October is normally a review per day month. It will be again this month. There are also some exciting plans ahead as the mist of the last year or two, but let's get back to the usual vibe before blabbing on about them.


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Friday, 17 September 2021

IDHAS Ten Songs Mix 8



An absolute cracker this week. 10 songs in just short of 37 minutes including four exclusives. This may very well be the best Mix yet. 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 Lazy Susan - Skywriters

02 Andrew Stonehome - End Of The Line

03 Andy Bopp - Bicycle Parts

04 Ward White - Let’s Don’t Die At The Stoplight

05 Death Party Playground - Make It Home

06 Scott Warren - Left Out On The Joke

07 The Bevis Frond - Brain Fatigue

08 Electrasy - Lost In Space

09 Rome 56 - Platinum Girl

10 The Mommyheads - Age Of Isolation


IDHAS Ten Songs Mix 8



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Saturday, 11 September 2021

The Sun Sawed In 1/2 - Sirens EP

 


So where do I begin with The Sun Sawed In 1/2's three decade career? Consistently excellent, their return is one of highlights of 2021 and boy does the year need some highlights. Here is a band that will not be stuck in a corner.

Tim Rose is one of the great song writing mavericks. I suppose you'd call him left field, but only because you just can't pigeonhole him. There are things coming at you from every direction and that's not just albums, it's individual songs.

Initially you'd probably try and pin them down as Power Pop or Pop Rock, but there was always far more than that. Psych Pop with an emphasis on Psych and the 2021 template has far more in common with Modern Pop without losing the quirkiness.



That may frighten a few, but if you listen to the band's history, you can perhaps understand how they got here. I admit that when I first heard that there were three planned EP releases, I thought why not an album? But Triptych explains the releases well. A Painting made up of three sections.

These EPs are really mini albums. Sirens is the middle of the three and comes in at 27 minutes. following on from Beaches In Bali which was 23 minutes. Sirens feels poppier than the first. Both are excellent, but this seems even more collaborative, more theatrical, bombastic almost.

You'll have heard Cat's Away on a recent IDHAS Ten Songs Mix and if not, be prepared to have your mind blown away. There is so much going on in the song, it's a song within a song within a song. "How Do You Do" indeed!



Sitting In A Tree is essentially a ballad, but with hints of Prog in the instrumentation and a killer Guitar break. The Cool Ivory Wonderful is even bigger, almost kitchen sink, somewhere between Bacharach and AOR with hints of neo Prog. 

The title track revolves around a catch-all chorus and again there is so much going on. The whole EP sounds like something in between The Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy Of Company B and Cinematic Rock. It may not be what you usually listen to, but you'll discover that's your problem not the band's. 

Power Pop it isn't and that may disappoint those 90s fans who want guitar, chorus and solo. However the final part of this threesome will delight the Power Pop fans  The Sun Sawed In 1/2 though are nearer to Oingo Boingo than Badfinger and thank goodness for that.



You can listen to and buy Sirens here. You would be wise to listen to Beaches In Bali too because both are pieces in a jigsaw that will soon be completed.



Friday, 10 September 2021

Lazy Susan - Long Lost (2021 Remaster)

 

Lazy Susan's 2001 debut album could have easily be part of the new IDHAS Monthly "Albums You May Have Missed" feature that begins later this month. However with this 20th Anniversary Release, the album deserves to be celebrated with the new. 

Away from Australia, the band could easily be described as one of the best Pop Rock groups that you've never heard despite a six album career. All the studio releases are great, but Long Lost is THE album. It is wall to wall Guitar Pop.



There will be many comparisons to Fountains Of Wayne, particularly on the singles Canada and Bobby Fischer when the wit is especially prominent. Crowded House will also spring to mind on the likes of Phone In Sick and Scuffed Up, although to be fair Lazy Susan are far more jaunty and less reflective.

The nearest reference though is the band appearing to be the Oz Squeeze. There is definitely a story behind the song vibe to many of the songs. The quality doesn't drop on any of the 13 songs. Most are beautifully arranged and far more complex than their apparent simplicity seems.



It really is hard to pick favourites, but I will go for two. Skywriters shows the Squeeze comparison at its finest. You just don't want the song to end. Bad Toupee is much slower, but lyrically deeper and just seems to hit home more with me.

There are so many albums that were missed first time around, but none deserve recognition more than Long Lost. It is one of the great Pop Rock albums and 20 years on, it delights me as much as the first time that I heard it. Highly Recommended!



You can listen to and buy the album here. At the very least, 5 Australian Dollars for the download is too good an offer to miss. Lazy Susan's Bandcamp site also has the two volumes of Songs Lost at Name Your Price.

Scott Warren - Shadow Bands

 

I loved Signal Hill Transmission's two albums, but lost touch with Scott Warren's solo career until his third album, Good Love, which was a really good Pop Rock album. It coincided with the launch of I Don't Hear A Single and so got lost in the melee of closing Anything Should Happen and opening IDHAS.

So with the release of Shadow Bands, it seems only fair to give Warren the attention that he clearly deserves. This album continues where Good Love left off, no bad thing. but the soundscape seems much bigger and wider. I've seen comparisons to both Oasis and Liam Gallagher and I don't see either to be honest. 

There is far more here that the obvious, song by numbers of the chugging Mancunians and Warren's voice has far more variation than Gallagher's. There is also far more variety. Yes the Brit Pop references are here, but the album veers into Psych Pop, Sixties Beat and 70's Pop Rock with ease


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A song like Mountainside is great West Coast McCartney Pop. Compare that to the splendid Psych Pop of Chemical Trails and you get some idea of the variety. She Walked Away From It All has a real Norwegian Wood feel to it and See Feel ventures towards Folk until the break out chorus.

The opener, Press Reset On The World is perhaps where the Oasis comparisons come from. That would probably be reviewers who read the PR and then listen to the first track without spending any more time on the album. This is the most Brit Pop that Scott Warren gets and it is still really really god.



Regret is wonderfully get it together in the country 60's, but the stand out is the magnificent Left Out On The Joke which is all Vanity Fare / Edison Lighthouse / Christie. It is a top notch 3 minute upbeat affair that demonstrates why any fan loves Pop.

There really is so much to like here. It reminds me a little of the path that You Am I's Davey Lane takes with his solo career. One slight niggle is that there could have been one or two more faster songs on the second half of the album. but that is a minor quiblle considering the quality demonstrated here.



You can listen to and buy the album here.


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Thursday, 9 September 2021

IDHAS Ten Songs Mix 7



Because we don't write about singles and individual songs, we wanted to utilise something simple to mention songs that we like until the IDHAS Audio Extravaganza returns.. Hence the Ten Songs Mix thing which will appear weekly. 

10 songs in 31 minutes and 35 seconds. A shortish way to improve your day. 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 Kitten Pyramid - Koozy

02 You Am I - The Third Level

03 It's Karma, It's Cool - Coffee Cup Circles

04 Pageants - Please Hurry

05 Bryan Estepa - Back To The Middle

06 Dave Cope And The Sass - The Great Theatre Of The World

07 Tvfordogs - The Last Days Of Rome

08 Tamar Berk- Shadow Clues

09 Ed Ryan - Hollow Man

10 Don Powell's Occasional Flames - I Won't Be Playing Wonderwall Tonight


IDHAS Ten Songs Mix 7



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Thursday, 2 September 2021

IDHAS Ten Songs Mix 6



Because we don't write about singles and individual songs, We wanted to utilise something simple to mention songs that we like until the IDHAS Audio Extravaganza returns.. Hence the Ten Songs Mix thing which will appear weekly. Ten new songs in 33 minutes this week.

We start September off with the 6th mix. Hoping to keep up our charting in the Mixcloud Global Indie, Indie Pop and Indie Rock charts, we have a cracking selection this week for you. Included is both the return of The Connells and The Toms. 

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 The Easy Button - She Doesn't Live There Anymore

02 Departure Lounge - Australia

03 Modern Amusement - Wren Street

04 The Arthurs - Laugh

05 The Toms - Tomplicated

06 Freak Waves - Quick To Complain

07 Brent Windler - Around The Bend

08 The Connells - Steadman's Wake

09 Hurry - In My Very Old Age

10 ANC4 - Go Easy


IDHAS Ten Songs Mix 6



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