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Sunday 31 October 2021

31 In 31


So Reigning Sound bring the 31 Reviews In 31 Days to a close. I have held back quite a few new and recent releases for November, so IDHAS will be busy next month. There just won't be the commitment for me to post something every day.

I've changed how I promote reviews on Social Media over the past couple of months. 31 Reviews in a month can just become Facebook noise and piss people off, so I've tagged artists weekly. With using Google Tools, I Don't Hear A Single has grown rapidly with far less reliance on Social Media. It also gets confusing to people on Facebook with having my own account, the IDHAS group account and the stand alone IDHAS page. 

But I may miss potential listeners and / or buyers with not doing as much posting. So if you like an album or review, please post it on your own account. The more people that discover new music, the better. I will be tagging all 31 reviewed artists on Instagram later. I have no idea how Insta works, it just appears like a load of photos to me, but that month end post is always really popular.


Reigning Sound - A Little More Time with Reigning Sound


Reigning Sound return after a 16 year absence and Greg Cartwright has gone even further back, reuniting with the original Memphis line up of Jeremy Scott, Greg Roberson, and Alex Greene and the results are spectacular.

Those expecting the shouty Oblivians Cartwright are in for a disappointment because this album is a beautifully produced reflection of past times and sounds. It is a cross between Rock (at times Garage) and Americana with a bit of Soul thrown in.

The title track, A Little More Time, is Springsteen-ish, particularly reminiscent of his work with Gary US Bonds. But I Don't Need That Kind Of Love is Rock And Roll and I'll Be Your Man is tip top Americana, very Texan. Oh Christine is a sort of Country Soul.

Make It Up is very much in Soul Revue territory, yet You Don't Know What You're Missing is great Guitar Pop, all it needs is a bit more Jangle. You Ain't Me is a really loose joy, at times like a Countrified version of The Faces or even The Black Crowes.

The closer, On And On is Stax with a Country Twang. The album is a real mix between the fast Rock (and Roll) and the slow Americana. It is a big sounding reflective album. I got tired of the mediocrity of Americana, when done this properly, I am ready to dip my toe back in the water. Highly Recommended!

You can listen to and buy the album here or in some splendid bundles here.


Saturday 30 October 2021

The Summer Holiday - B-Sides Volume 1


A strange review this for a wonderful Pop album. I have little information on it, other than it is a follow up to last year's Come Out, Come Out. Apparently Michael Collins is behind it, but it isn't the Michael Collins that I know of.

I reached out on Social Media without success and friend requested a likely candidate without reply. So all I can do until I can find out more, I can only tell you how Poptastic it is. Power Poppers will love it, particularly What Happens When You Lose which is so damn catchy.

Your Secret Is Safe is a much more straight ahead ballad, almost Top 40, Fake Mozart is pure Bubblegum and The Day The Sun Shines On Me is very much in Nick Frater territory. Circles could even be a prime time Guy Chambers song. 

Annie In The Shadows is from the same template that Power Pop forums have been raving about for years. Indeed all 9 songs are tip top. A real melodic chorus joy of an album and if these songs are actually B Sides, imagine how good the A Sides are. It is certainly in my "More Info Needed" file.

You can listen to the album on You Tube here. It is all available to listen to on Streaming Sites here. Also available to buy on the odd one of those.


Bordello & Clark - Atlantic Crossing


I wrote about Lo-Fi yesterday, so I'm not gonna blather on more about it. I mentioned there was a second example yet to appear in the 31 in 31 and here it is. A very different album to the Mythical Motors one, but no less valid.

Brian Shea (Bordello) hails from the same hometown as myself. A town decimated by Thatcher's 80s and so you wouldn't expect him to write something chipper and on first listen, he confirms that. But Bordello's wry, at times confronting, lyrics have long been his trademark. 

The man is able to write songs with a wry weariness, taking shots at the ridiculous hype of so much that the masses flock to. He is a lyrical wizard, something that gets lost when listening to his four track recording. He is the ideal example of the cult hero.

Ted Clark was the Singer and Guitarist in another cult American Indie Band, 20th Century Tokyo Princess. The Cincinnati band were a much noisier affair than The Bordellos, specialising in an in your face blistering attack on Garage Rock. 

Clark provided all the instrumentation here, with Bordello on Rhythm Guitar. The combination of the two was never gonna provide something immediately accessible, but repeated listens was always going to reveal the album's charm. Just like an album from The Bordellos.

There is an aching fragility to Shea's Vocal. It always seems to that he is about to burst into tears. Jingle Jangle is a fine example of this, very Ian Broudie like delivery that shows that catchy isn't out the question. Sunshine Rain Girl is even more catchy, very Housemartins.

Lonely Henry even ventures into a Rock And Roll, almost Skiffle. Wrong Country Song is akin to a 80's Glasgow Pop demo and Clark adds some wonderful sounds to Sixteen. The Girl With The Cadbury Purple Hair is great Psych and Watching The Garden Grow is magnificently moody in its melancholy.

Appearing on Roger Houdaille's excellent Think Like A Key label is quite a coup for the pair. It is fair to say that Roger and I share very similar likes and dislikes music wise and we both adore this. There is more depth than you imagine and Shea has lost none of his wit and venom. This may be his most accessible album yet and Ted Clark should be congratulated for that.

You can listen to and buy the album here or on Think Like A Key's site here.


Friday 29 October 2021

Mythical Motors - A Rare Look Ahead


There's been a shift of attention over the past couple of years from big sounding Vocal Harmony Pop Rock to Lo-Fi Guitar Pop. Both are more than acceptable, but recently, the volume of the latter has led to quality control becoming a distant second to the need to be compared to masters of the genre. 

If I read another comparison to Guided By Voices, I'll scream. Got a Guitar that is plugged in? Do you have a basic sound? Right, I'll compare it to GBV, no matter how unlike dear old Robert it sounds. It is just lazy writing. So I wanted to make a stand. 

Two of the remaining posts in the 31 in 31 will look at the great side of Lo-Fi. The second will appear tomorrow, today the focus is on the splendid Mythical Motors. Hailing from Chattanooga, (can you say it without adding choo choo?), the band don't have to join the wave of new pretenders to the genre, they've always been Lo-Fi.

However, in Matt Addison they have one of the great songwriters. Innovative, perhaps sometimes too much, there is a Pop sensibility much missing elsewhere. After last year's two albums, one Psych, one Pop, newcomers could be forgiven for being a little confused.

On A Rare Look Ahead, the Psych Pop appears less occasionally, this is Indie Pop Rock and it is fair to bracket them there now, the days of being labelled as Garage are gone. Listen to beauty of The Placement Of Things and you'll hear what I mean.

That's Why I Conjured You has a wonderful jangle about it. The No Name Followers is one of the ventures into Psych Pop and it is simply magnificent. Crashing Waves Of Fascination comes a close second, but it is the Guitar Pop that is most prevalent elsewhere.

Years Of June is just poptastic, Vanishing In Grey, the same. Rain Painting ditto. There are just too many examples to pick out. The songs are written and performed in a say what you wanna say and move on. If you don't like one, you'll like the next.

In 41 minutes you will be converted. If Lo-fi isn't your thing then lets club together to give them a bigger budget, although I suspect big sound would lose the charm. When people tell you something sounds like GBV, it probably doesn't. If someone tells you something sounds like Mythical Motors, you'll know it is great. Highly Recommended!

You can listen to and buy the album here or here.


Wednesday 27 October 2021

IDHAS Ten Songs Mix 12

An absolute cracker this week. 10 songs in just short of 41 minutes. More in tune with what's happening in the 31 in 31 this week, but a belting varied listen. 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 Sandra's Wedding - Love Everyone

02 Court Street Company - Modern Age

03 A.M. Slingers - Bad Penny

04 St. Jimi Sebastian Cricket Club - Until We Meet Again

05 Muun Bato - Smoke Vision

06 Greg Antista And The Lonely Streets - Tijuana Jail

07 Mothboxer - Hidden It From Me

08 Kitner - Suddenly

09 Queen's Pleasure - Empty Occasion

10 The Orange Peels - Pastels

IDHAS Ten Songs Mix 12


There's No Great New Music Around!


The above number of views to IDHAS would seem to be proof that the headline is wrong. A big slap with a wet fish to those who say all new music is crap. Thank you to all who visit and more importantly, listen to the artists and albums featured.


The Orange Peels - Celebrate The Moments Of Your Life


I don't use the term musical genius, because everyone seems to use it for the slightest thing, but if there is such a thing, then Allen Clapp is incredibly close to it. His band, The Orange Peels, suffer from both being ignored and being constantly labelled Power Pop, something they've never really been and are certainly not now. 

In a tortuous year for the band with family deaths and the near loss of their home and studio to the California Wildfires, the band have conjured up their most diverse and impressive album yet, a double no less. With a recent move to the Virgin Islands, this has become a sort of farewell to California and what a goodbye it is. 

The trio of Clapp, Jill Pries and Gabriel Coan make interesting intelligent music that is essentially Pop, but just labelling it that would make it seem far simpler and inconsequential than it is. There is such variety. Compare Whenever, which is a jaunty Sparks with Bates Motel sort of affair with the wonderful brooding 2 x 2.

Larkitekture is very mechanical, Bowie-esque yet at the same time a bit Marc Almond. Little White Bird is a crooner, yet Human has an all encompassing chorus. Then there is Mindego Hill is top notch Psych Pop, Toytown excellence. Magical Thinking is jaunty Synth Pop.

Those listening to just the first two thirds of the album would be forgiven for thinking that the album was a wonderful example of mid 80's UK Pop, but then you get to the real meat. Bookmarking the magnificent three part soundscape that is From The Sunflower To The Nightshade are two absolutely stunning songs.

From The Rosemary To The Rose is hypnotic, but Pastels may be the best thing that The Orange Peels have ever done. It is an incredibly captivating seven and a half minutes. Melody springs from everyone, it is a real feel good affair that despite its length, finishes way too soon.

Anyone expecting 65 minutes of jangling Something Strange Happens Guitar Pop are in for a surprise. A listen to the 2020 Autumn Fills The Skies Mix of that song would confirm the direction now. The Song is just as great in that mix, but very different.

Those who follow the band closely could have seen this album coming and will realise how outstanding it is. Newbies or Returners should listen to Celebrate The Moments Of Your Life as a debut album. This should be the soundtrack to your life. Open The Doors and let The Orange Peels in.

You can listen to and buy the album here.


Greg Antista And The Lonely Streets - Under The Neon Heat


As well as catching up, the 31 Reviews in 31 Days is a way of showing that I Don't Hear A Single has a wider remit than people think and there are a couple of things yet to come that you wouldn't expect to see on here. 

But as a pause, I've gone for something that people would expect to appear. Greg Antista And The Lonely Streets on great feel good three minute pop songs that maybe you'd expect to hear on the East Coast rather than West Coast Of America.

A quartet of veterans who know what they are doing and want to show you wat it's all about, this is great Pop Rock done at pace with just a hint of Americana. It is wonderful heads down stuff with big choruses and hooks aplenty.

The band's second album just never lets up. I defy anyone not to shake their fist and sing along to Tijuana Jail. Together Tonight is riff driven with an energy that seems to be lacking in younger bands. Lonesome Casualty has a splendid Jangle and Half Way To Whole gets all Punk.

There's even a surprise closer with Warren Does Warren (Carmelita) which goes all yee haw Country, unexpected but delightful. Under The Neon Heart rarely comes up for air, the riffs just grab hold of you. The Stand out is probably Rosalita (no not that one) with its wonderful twang.

The 38 minutes here won't change your life, but will make it feel a whole lot better. The band remind me a lot of The Amplifier Heads, but the songs have a much bigger sound. A Joyful feel great album awaits you. Highly Recommended!

You can listen to and buy the album here.


Monday 25 October 2021

Court Street Company - Crooked Dreams


Court Street Company are a five piece from Portsmouth, Virginia and Crooked Dreams is a fine Pop Rock Record. The cover of Big Star's Thirteen probably tells you the area they aim for, but there is a far bigger sound here, more commercial even.

Thirteen contains a lovely keyboard run from Carlin Field, but the album is more about the Vocal interplay between Guitarists' Allen Hudson and Jonah Grinkewitz. The sound reminds me of Everybody Else at times, a band that I loved, perhaps explaining the reason I'm so drawn to the album

There are more keyboards to Court Street Company though and perhaps a good deal more versatility. Science, for instance, edges towards Pop Punk ballad and contains a great melodic Guitar solo. Huck Finn starts with a Funky Riff and then becomes West Coast Pop. 

Facebook Queen even goes into late fifties / early sixties Diner Pop. Radio Relay is more street sounding in a let's do the show right here sort of way. Nothing To Lose is a gem of a song, piano led and a singalong gem. 

The band are at their best when the Pop Rock is more straight ahead. In Dreams is a wonderful closer. It's melodic, hook driven, vocally excellent with a great acoustic duet towards the end. Battle Lines is more in Modern Pop territory, but has another big chorus.

The stand out song is the opener, Modern Age which is everything that is required in a Guitar Pop and that chorus. Wow! There's so much to like here and so much promise. Crooked Dreams is a corking listen and well worth your time. 

You can listen to and buy the album at one of the links here. You can listen to all 9 songs on You Tube here. You can find out more about Court Street Company here.


Don Powell's Occasional Flames - Just My Cup Of Tea


Following from the trio's splendid debut, (IDHAS Review here), Don Powell's Occasional Flames prove that that album was no flash in the pan. The emphasis here is more Pop Rock and a little less Glam Rock and that allows the songwriting to breathe.

You find yourself listening less for tell tale Glam Rock pastiche and listening to  the lyrics more and what lyrics they are. They are so like comments and banter that men of a certain age adopt between their gaggle of friends. 

Not really Nostalgic, more now than then, more Bad Back than Bad Company, all beautifully written with a self depreciating wit and great one liners. The fun and jokiness is less up front than on the debut album, allowing wry smiles and nods.

There is also a less tribute feel. Coz We Luv You is a warm tribute to Slade (Powell was the drummer so that's allowed and Bernie And Elton are exceptions and the latter is more about writing twosomes. Elsewhere, the songs stand up wonderfully in their own right. 

Dreams Die Hard is a bluesy moody affair, If (Is The Middle Word In Life) has a gentle jangle to it and How Did We End Up Here? contains an ace string arrangement enhancing the melancholy. The key word here is still fun and irreverence with Midlife Crisis being the best example.

Don Powell may be the initial draw, but this is a trio that is the sum of its parts. Paul Cookson is a fine poet, aiding the lyrics and Les Glover's wit is a continuation of his joyful work with Henry Priestman. Glover is also a much underrated musician. I Won't Be Playing Wonderwall Tonight is still their best song and largely sums up what they are about.

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


Saturday 23 October 2021

S.M. Wolf - Precious Downtime


Precious Downtime is a splendid Pop Rock album, but labelling it as that goes nowhere near telling even half the story. The band's fourth album adds all sorts of musical references, but all of them revolve around the pure Pop of the album. 

S.M. Wolf are a sort of Indianapolis family of friends with nine people involved in the recording. Essentially though the backbone is a five piece led by Songwriter, Vocalist and multi instrumentalist, Adam Gross.

The previous album, Bad Ocean was a cracker, but this follow up takes the band into a whole new realm. You can tell that the enforced time spent on it, due to the outside events affecting us all, has allowed them the space to develop what they do. Maybe, hence the title.

Precious Downtime feels a little more retro than previous work. For instance has a real 70's Pop sound, part Funky, that just builds and builds across the five minutes. New Sky has a real west coast soft rock chill out about it. Eastern Town is another example of how slow doesn't have to be boring and adds a killer Guitar solo.

Let It Go is straight out Power Pop, a little out of kilter with the rest of the album, but wonderfully so. A Brighter Day is something that you could imagine The Beatles doing if they were still around in 1974. It is a song of great beauty.

Gross's vocal has a gentle laid back excellence, somewhere between Pete Shelley and Ian Broudie. The material here suits that vocal perfectly. Precious Downtime is a little more mellow than I expected and that just raised my enjoyment. This is an album of such grace and proof that you can tone things down without any song sounding the same.

You can listen to and buy the album here.


Friday 22 October 2021

ANC4 - Strange Tide


The Arvidson-Nilsson-Borgh-Osterberg Combo return for more Rickenbacker Jangling Pop Rock and Sweden's finest waste no time in getting down to business. Melodic, catchy and riff led, Strange Tide carries on from where the debut album left off.

I love them most when they venture into Psych Pop, unexpectedly and Go Easy pushes all those buttons. It is a splendid affair and worth the admission alone, but there is far more here to enjoy. Romantic Fool and its cockernee Beat Pop is another stand out, but you could choose any of these 15 songs and be delighted.

Need Out goes all Toytown with a great sideline of accompanying Country. Being Nice is right in Teenage Fanclub territory, while Everything Turns Blue is all West Coast 60s. There Goes My Baby is top notch Merseybeat and Lucky Me, Lucky You ventures into Country Rock territory whilst still keeping the Pop Beat and adding a great Organ Run. 

Generally, the Jangle is still there, if a little more in the background than the debut. Other influences such as Country, Beat and 60's Pop spring out. Was It Just A Dream is a perfect example of the glowing Pop Rock that is sprinkled everywhere.

Strange Tide is such an upbeat chipper album. It always seems easier to write a miserable, woe is me, song than something as feel good as ANC 4's output. For this they should be commended. I defy anyone to listen to this album without a smile. It is hook after hook.

You can listen to and buy the album here.


Bryan's Magic Tears - Vacuum Sealed


Bryan's Magic Tears are from Paris, but they specialise in an Indie Rock that is very UK and suitably hypnotic. I've seen all sort of labels from Shoegaze to My Bloody Valentine, so remember the maxim here that labels are in the eye of the beholder and are usually wrong.

Isolation borders on a Screamadelica dancing type of Space Rock. Greetings From Space Boys has repetitive riffs that would be at home on Rush's Permanent Waves or Moving Pictures without ever losing the thought of them being a Poppier Hawkwind. Excuses is great sounding Pop Rock.

Always could even be Modern Prog and Tuesdays (Bye Molly) is pure Madchester Baggy. You catch the drift here? Vacuum Sealed is not quite sure what it wants to be, but it takes you on a fascinating ride. You suspect that it wants to be from 1991.

However, the influences of the band stop that, maybe thankfully so, because this variation is what keeps the album fresh and so interesting. There's a Cinematic feel to some of the material and although that confuse some people, the soundscapes remain attention grabbing. 

Pictures Of You is simply gripping and Sad Toys is incredibly Psych sounding. Superlava is trippy almost Numan-esque across it's 9 minutes of mind bending Psych. There's so much here to get your ears into, but it will definitely need more than one listen.

You can listen to and buy the album here.


Thursday 21 October 2021

Scott Gagner - I Don't Get Out Much (Anymore) Video Premiere


We adored Scott Gagner's last album, Hummingbird Heart. So much so that it was in the I Don't Hear A Single Top 20 Albums Of The Year. So we are delighted to bring you an exclusive with first showing of the lead single from his fifth album, BloodMoon. I Don't Get Out Much (Anymore) is a great indication of what to expect from what is an outstanding album. The video offers a stylized twist on the numbing routine of being stuck at home during last year's lockdown.

The song itself was written and recorded in a single day during the summer of 2020, at the height of the pandemic. Scott only had the title and a few rough lyrics before heading to Flowers Studio in Minneapolis The studio — founded by Polara frontman Ed Ackerson — who had only recently passed away. Scott was apparently the first artist to book the studio in months


(Viewers can change the video to full screen by clicking on the You Tube bar).

Engineer Kristopher Johnson (Two Harbors) began getting drum sounds while Scott finished writing the song. Ed’s Interscope-funded arsenal of vintage Roland and ARP keyboards quickly became the backbone of the song. 

These were augmented by grand piano, Fender P-bass, electric sitar and gong (which was eventually reversed, providing a hypnotic "vacuum sound" heard at the top of the track). After a good vocal take, the song was wrapped by 6pm. 

BloodMoon, the 13 Track Album is released on 2 November and can be pre-ordered on Apple Music here or Amazon here. Pre-Orders will get instant access to the song "Rise." CD's are also available by emailing You can find out more about Scott at his website here or on Facebook here

I Don't Hear A Single offers this Premiere due to our admiration of Scott Gagner's work. There is no monetary payment or quid pro quo. 


IDHAS Ten Songs Mix 11 - Big Stir Special

Something a little bit different this week. The 10 songs are all from the splendid Big Stir Label. All songs are from albums initially released in 2021. That's this year you know! 10 Songs in just over 32 minutes. 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 The Brothers Steve - Griffith Observatory

02 The Lunar Laugh - I Wanna Know

03 Nick Frater - Not Born Again

04 Chris Church - Falderal

05 The Speed Of Sound - Tomorrow's World

06 The Stan Laurels - Florida Man

07 Sorrows - Street Punk Blues

08 Dolph Chaney - I Wanted You

09 Anton Barbeau - One Of Her Super Powers

10 The Armoires - The Night I Heard A Scream

IDHAS Ten Songs Mix 11 - Big Stir Special


Wednesday 20 October 2021

The Brothers Steve - Dose


We'll get the mention over and done with. We all need to get over comparing everything that Jeff Whalen does to that first Tsar album. It is over 20 years now and it will remain in my Top 10 albums of all time, but in truth that album wasn't really what Tsar were. They had more of a Punk ethic and a sound that was much more Rock and that reflected on the second album.

Ditto, The Brothers Steve are not Tsar, despite the heavy connection, nor would they want to be. We are a generation on from those times and I know I'm a different person in the intervening years and my musical tastes have expanded even more. More towards the new than the old, far more.

The Brothers Steve specialise in Melodic Pop Rock, but they are not the same as others in that genre. They are not trying to be someone else, they are not expecting to be the next big thing or shatter the world with their originality. They make great Guitar Pop songs that they want people to listen to and enjoy and they do it rather well.

The debut album was a fun listen that masked some of the quality of their ability due to how simple the songs sounded. The hooks and choruses were a given, but they masked the album's depth that repeated listens revealed. It also got a bit lost in the "Tsar's Back!" euphoria.

Dose is the bands follow up album (remember not sophomore) and it feels different. Not the hooks, they are still there in volume, nor the choruses, but the album taken as a whole. It feels more like a band album and you can tell love and attention has been paid to it.

The most noticeable thing is the harmonies which are multi layered and hark back more to the 60's than on that debut. There is also a greater variety. The slower songs fit beautifully and the arrangements are bigger. The Brothers Steve are not gonna rock your head off in a way Tsar might, but remember this is a different band.

There's a real Christie or Love Affair sound on Electro-Love, but it is tinged with Glam Rock. Talking of Glam Rock, Get On Up is pure Glam despite the lullaby opening, very Chinn Chapman. Mrs Rosenbaum is delightful slowed down Toytown while Wizard Of Love is all The Archies, you can imagine the song on a Scooby Doo film soundtrack. 

Better Get Ready again edges towards Glam Rock, indeed for most of Dose, you can imagine yourself in UK 1974, which is probably where I prefer to be. The stand out song though is Griffith Observatory, it's like three songs in one. The harmonies are wonderful, the song veers between late 50s Rock n Roll ballad and great 70s Pop Rock. It is a revelation.

The most pleasurable take from Dose is how it builds on what was an excellent debut. Great Great Pop oozes from every pore. You can tell that the band enjoyed making the album and that enjoyment feeds through to you to just sit back and sing along. Highly Recommended!

You can buy and listen to the album here. You can also buy it directly from Big Stir here.


Tuesday 19 October 2021

Sandra's Wedding - Pleasure Grounds


On listening to the first couple of songs here, you'd be forgiven for thinking that Sandra's Wedding are a great sounding 80's Guitar Pop band. Pleasant and relaxing to listen to, but so many others are too. I should've practiced what I preach, because here you have a great example of the album format.

People say the LP is dead and people prefer playlists, but there's no substitute for an album. You listen to 8 or 10 songs by the same artist that you've never heard before and discover your own little secret, your mood enhancer. The format has never had a better time. 

Gone are the days of bands thinking they had to fill a CD. You ended up with eight great songs and a load of filler or eight three minutes songs that became five minutes for no apparent reason. I digress though, because if ever a band were defined by an album, it is Sandra's Wedding. 

Those initial thoughts of mine were swept away by the whole piece. Yes you have Sunshine Pop and jingle jangle, but you also have Psych Pop, Pop Rock, IRS College Rock and vocal dexterity. The vocals are heavenly, they remind me of someone but I cannot think who, but it is definitely not Morrissey.

These songs are chipper and Dream Pop like, although I suspect lazy reviews will compare the band to The Smiths. I've not looked out for what others say, but I suspect  that The Housemartins will also be a comparison.  I can see that to a point and Sandra's Wedding come from the same coast.

There is similarity in the sound and more than a little in the vocal, but Paul Heaton's songs were all about the lyrics, Pleasure Grounds is far more about the sound, which has far more depth. Having said that Devil On My Stuntpegs is definitely in The Housemartins territory with its bossanova background and wonderful Brass. 

The stand out song here is probably Lovin' Life, a gem of a Pop Song with a slightly Psych guitar riff and the title becomes an hypnotic chant. Pleasure Grounds is ultra smooth with another great blast of Brass and a great mediterranean acoustic guitar strum. 

Love Everyone is almost Country in its feel, but is still top notch Pop. Council Pop is a magnificent venture into Psych Pop, unexpected and all the more welcome for it. For you Americans, we used to call Water, Council Pop. When I Stall is Jangle Dream Pop of the highest order.

Pleasure Grounds is an album that will have you still believing that it's summer. The Goole Trio have fashioned up an absolute winner. There is a lot of thought that has been put into the sound and that demonstrates the band's versatility and strengths even more. Highly Recommended!

You can listen to and buy the album here.


Monday 18 October 2021

Chris Church - Limitations Of Source Tape and Backwards Compatible (Ian Rushbury)


Don takes a breather from the I Don't Hear A Single 31 Reviews in 31 Days and hands over to Pop Matters writer, Ian Rushbury to cover the two Chris Church Reissues on Spyderpop via Big Stir. IDHAS is delighted that Ian has agreed to guest review.

It's November 26th 1922, and a team, led by British Egyptologist Howard Carter have been tirelessly excavating the tomb of Tutankhamun in the Valley of the Kings for almost a month. They’ve worked around the clock uncovering staircases, treasuries and antechambers, but what would all their work lead to? Would it be the untold riches of an opulent, but long-dead civilization, or would all their endeavours just lead to disappointment and the release of entombed ghosts? 

Imagine the joy, the wonder, when on that fateful day they discovered Tutankhamun’s burial chamber laden with priceless artwork, jewellery, and treasures. How could this monument to the craft and skill of humanity remain lost for so many years, undiscovered and unloved? Well, that’s a bit like Chris Church’s back catalogue, freshly reissued by the nice people at Big Stir and Spyderpop. 

Where this guy has been hiding, I have no idea, but he seems to have a huge back catalogue of stuff ranging from Hard Rock to Prog Rock to delicious Power Pop already in place. If you’ve got (in this writer’s opinion, the album of the year so far) “Game Dirt”, you’ll have an idea of what I’m talking about. 

But in a feat of post-modern retro-activism, his two previous albums – “Limitations Of Source Tape” and “Backwards Compatible”, have been dusted off and shared with a world who now have an inkling of what he’s all about. 

If you’re a regular to IDHAS, you may have read about “Backwards Compatible”, Church’s 2020 release. A delicious tangle of pop smarts and hard rock. The album is loaded with good things, but with an emphasis on loud guitars and the occasional wigged out Eddie Van Halenism. 

It starts strongly with “Someday’s Coming Fast”, a brisk pop gem that manages to squeeze in one of those widdly solos popular with pointy geetar wielding metalheads, between hook lines so catchy, they’ll live in your head forever. And that’s not even the best song on the record. 

“No Letting Go” may start off like something by Ratt, but it soon settles down into a nice mid-tempo groove. There are no ballads on “Backwards Compatible.” No art-rock experimentation. No daring crossovers. Just 46 minutes of Power Pop with the emphasis on Power.

"Limitations Of Source Tape" is a (slightly) different animal. Church takes his foot off the loud pedal a little and tunes like “Pollyanna’s Going Dark” and “Take a Knee” have a lovely lightness of touch, while “Bell The Cat” harks back to “Lifes Rich Pageant” era REM, which is a very good place to be. 

If you want a lazy comparison, Church is channelling the Posies here and their template of noisy guitars and sweet harmonies is used to great effect on this record and on “Backwards Compatible.” The real gem in a box full of jewels here is “Lost” which is giving Jon Auer’s “Songs from the Year of Our Demise” a run for its' money as the album of the millennium, so far. It’s superb. What else can I say?

OK, so the reissue of a couple of great records may not be up there with the discovery of the relics of a civilization that was responsible for giving the world mathematics, medicine, huge breakthroughs in construction and the first peace treaties between nations. But if you’re a pop nerd, it sort of is. 

These records and this year’s gem “Game Dirt” are the culmination of a lifetime of a man perfecting his art; polishing it to a high sheen and quietly sharing it with the world. If you haven’t got these albums, buy them. If you’ve already got them, buy them again. 

You can buy both albums on the Big Stir Site here. Alternatively you can listen to and buy the albums on Bandcamp here.  They are available as separate purchases or at a Special Joint Price. You can also buy Chris's current album, Game Dirt, at both places. 

You can listen to and buy further Chris Church Back Catalogue here.

You can read the I Don't Hear A Single Reviews from the two album's initial releases here and here.


A.M. Slingers - A.M. Slingers


You only know what you know or learn. Which is part of the reason why I'm covering an album that was released 18 months ago, although it did get a vinyl release in January of this year. I try to dig out new stuff that isn't on the PR or Band Emails and I do ok with it. I was called an Influencer by someone a few months ago. A term that I hate.

I treat the word influencer with the same contempt that I do with the words dropped, banger and sophomore. But some of the best things come to me by recommendation from like minded souls and A.M. Slingers came to be via a track played on Gil's excellent Power Pop Shoppe. That's why I'm so late to the party.

So having done the pre-requisite of all reviews in talking about myself for as much as possible, I should now turn my attention to the Chicago quartet and their debut LP simply because it is really great. There is a sleazy Power Pop vibe to it all, New Wave even, but it is at times loose enough for Garage Rock.

What it is though is incredibly catchy and melodic despite its seemed intentions to be a far more earthy affair. The songs are really well constructed and really catch you by surprise. The songs are generally nearer 4 minutes than the usual 2 of this genre, but that isn't because they are unnecessarily extended.

Take for instance, the magnificent Bad Penny. A song built on a splendid, almost Buzzcocks, riff. It is no off the cuff thing, I am sure other reviews will mention The Replacements a lot, but there is far more here to enjoy than just noise.

Every time you think you've nailed the band, they surprise you. Pink Dress is almost Post Punk, but still has a killer New Wave riff. Rock N Roll Heart wants to be Desert Rock, but the vocal makes it far more Garage. Even a simpler song like Sinking Feeling has a magnetic charm to it. 

At times, the odd song borders on the Hair Metal brigade, but without any of that genre's nonsense. Can't Fight is definitely venemous, but compare that to Second Guessing, which is very US 1983, a shouty dirty Power Pop gem.

Then there is the magnificent sprawling No Way Out to close the album. It is meandering towards a much darker place, out of time with the rest of the album. Approaching 6 minutes, it is hypnotic. Cry Cry is even built around a Goth like riff.

It is those riffs that make this album. No matter what direction it takes, the riffs grip you and place the album into far more commercial territory. I may be 18 months too late, but there's a lifetime left for you to enjoy this debut. Absolutely Top Notch!

You can listen to and buy the album here.


The Embryos - National Absurdatory


I'd slightly lost touch with The Embryos after three excellent Singles Club Releases. So I realised the error of my ways with the release of National Absurdatory, the splendid new album from the Chicago quartet. It is an absolute joy to listen to.

There's a welcome variety to their material in the type of songs they offer up, but this is enhanced due to all four of them taking on Lead Vocals at different stages. The band walk easily through Easy Listening to Psych Pop with all in between. They initially give the impression of a laid back affair which completely fools you.

Review wise, I have a habit of saving the best till last song wise. Well lets reverse that this time. Rattlesnakes was released as a single in April this year and it is a great song, gentle Psych Pop at its very best. Well that was an edit and here you have the full 7 minutes 14 of it. The second half of it is an instrumental wonderland. You just don't want it to end. It is worth the admission alone.

However, National Absurdatory doesn't end there, to be honest it is just the starting gun. Morning Birds is almost Philly in its feel, yet  Spend Tonight is more Rock n Roll. You Can Be A Mystery has a West Coast Jangle that could be Teenage Fanclub in relaxed mode and what a great Bass line.

Catching Fire is great 70s Pop Rock whilst Cosmic Wheel is easy listening joy. Someone To Hold me is heartbreakingly beautiful with its accompanying Country twang. The Funky Embryo is even a short funk instrumental jam which catches you by surprise.

All killer no filler here. The Embryos take you completely by surprise. There's a real laidback quality to what they do and then they just leave you floored with something unexpected. A magnificently arranged and played album awaits those who delve into it. Everyone should.

You can listen to and buy the album here.


Sunday 17 October 2021

Wilderado - Wilderado


Tulsa Trio Wilderado have had fans waiting for quite a while for this debut album. It has been three years since the last of their three EPs, Favors and although there have been singles to keep the interest high, lockdown etc has held back the much anticipated full length release.

That time has been well spent, honing the self titled album and it reveals itself to be even better than imagined. Sometimes the band come the nearest we probably will ever come to Modern Pop on I Don't Hear A Single. But that isn't anywhere near an explanation of what they do.

It is Max Rainer's vocal that allows the most variety, his voice is at one with the Top 40, yet equally adept at great Pop Rock and even Americana. That allows the band to stretch themselves away from one particular direction. 

Outside My Head leans toward Country and Take Some Time could be West Coast Easy Listening. Help Me Down even sounds like Campfire Americana. Don't let this fool you though because there are equally excellent Pop Rock moments.

Mr Major has a real "follow me" vibe with its hypnotic riff and break out chorus. The Worst Of It has another killer chorus and hints of The Killers in the instrumentation. The real stand out though is the wonderful, Astronaut, a low key verse leads into a big catchy chorus.

Underneath these 10 songs, there is a hint of melancholy, a story of ups and downs. You get the feeling that Wilderado could really rock out, but why should they when they can write and perform songs as good as this. A Trio who know what they are doing and the sum of its parts. This is great!

You can listen to and buy the album here. The album is available on CD, Vinyl or as a download.


Mothboxer - On The Flip Side


 I do listen to a lot of Pop Rock, so I think I'm allowed an opinion on it. It covers such a wide area (not as wide as Indie of course) that when an album hits the spot of many, a mass of artists tend to follow it until it becomes tedious. It's happened with Beach Boys wannabes, Jellyfish wannabes, Teenage Fanclub wannabes.

So when you know an artist who follows a path without ever trying to be anyone else, mastering a sound that never changes drastically, but does just enough to make you excited when a new release is on the horizon, they should be treasured. Dave Ody is one such man.

There may be an artist that I've covered more on I Don't Hear A Single, but I can't think of one. The Mothboxer albums are just superb. I'm not one for saying that I don't understand why a band aren't massive. Big sales doesn't mean big quality as I learned from a particular battering I got on a Duran Duran Facebook Group. Everyone there knew their sales numbers. But Mothboxer should be much much bigger.

Mothboxer's 9th full length album has everything that you would want on a Mothboxer album, but, as always, goes further. There seems to be more keyboards present, but worry not, these are not Rick Wakeman like. The keys tastefully enhance the songs in an unobtrusive way. 

Indeed, the Organ Run on Living It Up is magnificent and complements a pacey 60's Beat Songs. These keys aren't everywhere nor on every song, but they do make a surprising addition to the quality of the songs. On The Flip Side is just chocka with great melodic Pop Rock.

There's so much going on Be Out Here Forever, it is like three or four songs in one with the style changes. It starts off all Gerry Rafferty and ends as a real 60s all together now. On Repeat has wonderful multiple harmonies followed by the second epic of the album, Push Me In The Water which is an Alice In Wonderland type of effect. 

Hidden From Me is very Pop Rock 70s, the type of direction that Nick Frater takes. Never Been Gone is almost Jazz in feel and 10CC in sound. Lost And Found goes all Blue Mink. This is the most varied Mothboxer album yet. It still covers the area somewhere between 60's Pop and 80's Intelligent 80's Indie, but offers two massive songs that fully revel the talent of Dave Ody. Highly Recommended!

You can listen to and buy the album here. It is £5 for heaven's sake. well worth opening your purses. You can find out more about Mothboxer here.


Queen's Pleasure - Words To Live By, Suits To Die In (Name Your Price)


Amsterdam Quartet, Queen's Pleasure offer up a fascinating Indie album. There is a mine of influences on what is an angular affair. It can get a bit angsty at times, but is never overbearing. Jurre Otto's Vocals seem deliberately English.

There will be lazy comparisons to the Arctic Monkeys and there is far more here than that. Yes, Big Boys Loan is really anthemic, yet Starlet has a real New York sleaze about it. Come Around has a Psych feel in a Radiohead mesmerising way. 

How It Feels is a cross between Baggy Madchester and C86 in comparison to the urgency of Sitter's Pavement vibe. Panic From Dublin even edges towards latter day Bleu. Compare this to the Sci Fi Space Rock of Niels.

Two songs stand out most for different reasons. The brooding 6 minute closer, To Mirror, builds and builds until it hits a magnificent Brit Pop Guitar Solo. Empty Occasion is completely out of kilter with all that is around it. It is a killer Pop Rock song. There's a lot to like here. There is far more depth on repeated listens than first thoughts.

You can listen to and buy the album here. With it being at "Name Your Price", what have you got to lose?


Thursday 14 October 2021

Kitner - Shake the Spins


I'm not going to go on about labels again because it is as tedious for me as it is for you to read. Kitner have been lumped in with the EMO brigade and I just don't hear it here. This is Indie Rock, but a thoughtful toned down version of it. 

It has took a fair while to get to the Boston quartet's debut album, but it is well worth your wait. I've been hanging on to this for a few months and then I don't notice it has a first of the month release with all the 31 in 31 excitement.

There's a lot to get into here as the band follow various paths. The stand out song is Suddenly, a real jaunty Pop Rock affair that isn't that reflective to what else is here. Beth Israel is another stormer and that is splendidly shouty.

Below the surface, there is a real sense of melancholy, particularly in the lyrics. New Haven CT starts as a moody acoustic and although the mood doesn't improve, the song speeds up and adds instruments from everywhere. There is a hell of a lot going on in its 2 minutes 40.

Henry Miller '91 is almost Americana until a blistering Guitar Solo. Orient Heights is anthemic with a real rock out towards the close. Malden MA has a real rust belt feel with its Harmonica Rock and Junebug is an awesome affair, Keyboard Player Brianne Costa's vocal complementing and adding depth to the song.

The closer, If There's Anything Left, compares with any of the new breed of Folk Poppers out there. I think beautiful is the word to describe it. The time taken since 2019 to get this album out has definitely strengthened the album and the influences merge to provide an absolutely top notch album.

You can listen to and buy the album here.


Wednesday 13 October 2021

The Fade - Twenty - 27 - Seven


I had a message today asking me where all the Pop Rock was in the 31 Reviews in 31 Days. Firstly, we were only at Day 12. Secondly, it as though they have never actually noticed what IDHAS is about. I thought the days of everyone referring to it as a Power Pop Blog (which it has never really been and certainly isn't now) were over. But recently I've been receiving quite a few "This is Power Pop so you'll like it" emails. I am a Power Pop fan, but only Power Pop I like and my personal tastes spread far wider.

So to Dunfermline's The Fade. Now this is Pop Rock and excellent Pop Rock it is too. I played a song from their first album on the IDHAS Audio Extravaganza and meant to review the Worth Waiting For album and in all the melee didn't. So feeling really guilty, I want to tell you about their second (definitely not sophomore) album.

The Fade are a band from the 80s who reformed in 2015. Worth Waiting For was a fine album, but this is even better. The songs sound fully finished and what a sound it is. The six piece have a beautifully produced album in which the music is loud and clear. The riffs flow without ever taking over things in panoramic way. That all complements Raymond Donnelly's vocal.

Donnelly has the perfect voice for Pop Rock. He can belt it out, yet the vocal is mellow and easy to listen to. Therefore the band sound as comfortable in both Modern Prog and particularly AOR, without ever moving too far from the Pop Rock Territory.

Equally at home with a big ballad like If I Could or the Bon Jovi-ish Be With You. At times the piano makes the band sound like a rockier Deacon Blue, but they are best when they are anthemic. Stay, Summer Rain and Hold On take care of that wonderfully.

The Fade can certainly play, but it never gets showy, they specialise in great sounding chorus led songs. This type of stuff seems to have become unfashionable over recent years. I have no idea why. Maybe this lot can change all that. Here's hoping so because Twenty - 27 - Seven is a great album. Oh and why is a second album called 27? It's a tribute to the musicians who have died at that age. 

You can listen to and buy the album at one of these places here. It does cry out to be on Bandcamp though. 


IDHAS Ten Songs Mix 10

Apologies for the delay, simply due to Technical Problems. 10 songs in almost 35 minutes that go someway to showing the scope of I Don't Hear A Single. 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 The Kindest People - Seat At My Table

02 Richard Cuthbert - Tomato Plants

03 The Amplifier Heads - GlamOrama

04 Electric Looking Glass - Rosie In The Rain

05 Harborcoat - Transit Town

06 Children Collide - Trampoline

07 Andrew Howie - Partick Station

08 ANC4 - Go Easy

09 Edward Rogers - What Happened To Us

10 Ghosts Of Jupiter - On Bending Tides

IDHAS Ten Songs Mix 10


Tuesday 12 October 2021

The Kindest People - The Kindest People


The Kindest People are a quartet from Johnson City in Tennessee and their latest, self titled, album is an absolute corker. Indie Rock at its finest, Noisy, yet melodic, riffs abound in a wonderful feel good fayre. Unexpectedly singalong! 

The album has so many hooks that it borders on Pop Rock, but this is definitely the Rock end of the genre. The twin guitar attack just grabs you, shakes you and leaves you to bounce off in a feel good, get on with things sort of way.

The album is no one trick pony. No Parking Lot is a superb Pop Rock affair and Big Brain is wonderful Glam Rock. Even at a rare quieter moment on Consolation Prize. which starts with an early Fleetwood Mac intro, the band are so damn catchy.

The Kindest People are at their best when they let loose and thankfully, this is more than often. Seat At My Table sets the mood with its killer riff, Dark Days On The Homestead almost batters you into submission in a pleasing way.

Don't Wait For Me is a perfect example of what this lot does. It starts all calm and then just rips into an almost shredding riff. This is the beauty of The Kindest People. The songs build perfectly without every losing their effect.

If there is a problem with Indie Rock, it is that the songs rarely match the playing. Albums run out of steam with all the front loading, the rest all sounding the same. There's not a bit of that here. The last song is as good as the first. Certainly one of the best albums that I've heard all year and definitely the loudest.

You can listen to and buy the album here. You really should!