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Saturday 30 April 2022

31 Reviews In 31 Days In May

April has been a little bit of a right off for I Don't Hear A Single. Only 7 Reviews and a couple of IDHAS 10 Song Mixes are all that has been released to the world. All is fine, but a short explanation is necessary.

I have recently returned to the world of salaried management, something that I'd never thought I'd do. I'd been really happy consulting and doing what I want, when I wanted. But the last couple of years of lockdown and seeing few people, I wanted to get back into the big wide world. I know I can be cranky, but I do like being around people.

This opportunity came up and it was something that I have always wanted to do, it has nothing to do with music, but with animals and although management is quite stressful, bizarrely, I seem to be alright at it. So I am cutting back on some of the outside music writing stuff, concentrating on IDHAS and my small involvement in Big Stir.

I started the new role at the beginning of April and it has took this month to start to get the new venture on the way. Now I can finally get back to here and so May will be a catch up 31 Reviews in 31 Days. There may be a few missing days, but there will also be days with more than one review as well as plenty more content. That starts tomorrow.

I'm not usually one for talking about myself, but more than a few have been wondering where I was and if there was something more to my absence. Not a bit of it! People have also been asking if I will be at IPO Liverpool. I will be for a couple of days and will let people know when as soon as it is sorted. Again I only mention this as people are also asking. So onwards and errrrrrrrrrrrr upwards. See you tomorrow!


Tuesday 26 April 2022

Where's Don?


No he's not at Duckburg Stadium with the other Donald. He's been really busy with real life work. There's plenty of reviews to do and he promises to get some up before April is out. In the meantime, why not browse this year's reviews thus far?


Sunday 17 April 2022

Popboomerang - Marching Out Of Time (2CD)


With so much to listen to, I tend to avoid compilations. I am so lovingly bombarded by new music that I just can't fit them in and usually find that I don't learn much that I wasn't aware of. However, I will make an exception for the magnificence that is Popboomerang.

I was one of those who contacted Scott, one of the most passionate and dedicated music people around and offered my thoughts when he called time on the label. Whilst fully understanding his frustration with all the lockdown cancellations, I wouldn't ever want it to end at a dead stop. Surely there was an opportunity for a last hurrah.

Here is that Hurrah, although it isn't quite the last as there is one more release to come that I know Scott has yearned to unleash and that will be the fitting end. A second problem with a double CD compilation is how do you review the album without offending those that you don't mention.

So I urge everyone to go to the Bandcamp site and listen to the whole affair. These 40 songs are like a who's who of the Australian Indie scene and they showcase what a varied range of artists have fallen into Scott's gaze.

Whenever I think of the label, I think of Danny McDonald and he offers up Northern Gaze a real Jangling Power Pop joy. Then Nick Batterham, a real fave of mine provides a very different psychy cover of Teenage Fanclub's Everything Flows.

Bryan Estepa joins Hazey Jane for I'm Going in a big 60's Pop Extravaganza with a splendid twang. Then there is the magical Go-Go Sapien with the melancholic Baroque Pop of Metaphysical Resistance. The scope is shown by the mix of Brilliant Fanzine's One In 10,000 on which I was transported back to early 90's Club Nights.

The Wellingtons are an essential addition with the demo of Soda (You're Gone), New Wave Power Pop at its very best. Living Daisies provide some great Americana with the dual vocal and Georgia Fields offers up great Indie Pop with Snakes And Ladders. 

I've embedded just four songs, 10% of what is on show. This is a compilation that is far more than the sum of its parts, there really is something for everyone. Most importantly, it is a celebration of the whirlwind that is Scott Thurling, the nicest man in Guitar Pop.

You can listen to and buy the album here. The download is Name Your Price, but please show your support to future Scott musical endeavours by paying what you can afford.


Shaylee - Short-Sighted Security


Shaylee's latest album more than builds on the previous two and reveals the full scope of the Portland Oregon multi instrumentalist's range. Elle Archer, for Shaylee is she, offers up a masterful range of styles without ever losing her established cred.

Both the debut, Bring It Out Of Me and the follow up, The Life & Misadventures of Shaylee & Tarantula are great, but far more Indie sounding than this new album, probably due to the production and mastering. The latter had big hints of Power Pop. Both are available at Name Your Price On Bandcamp.

Short-Sighted Security is a much bigger sounding affair and the variety shows an incredible maturity. Lyrically, it is very much about lessons learned, but musically it ventures into many areas. It is as though everything done previously has provided the route to this, both musically and in life.

The stand out song is probably Ophelia, a sassy sounding offering that builds into a psych interlude and then breaks out into a splendid instrumental close. But elsewhere is just as ace and much different. Health is almost Garage Power Pop, Turned Inside us edges towards Americana.

Save Up is a melancholic sounding masterpiece that builds and builds and Please Talk To Me has an incredible Guitar sound that breaks into a massive solo, it is a wonderful listen. Stranded Living Room borders on new age Celtic, think Enya. 

There are big hints of Country that enhance the Guitar Pop and Soft Rock on what is an incredibly adept album. Away from the fact that Archer cannot be described as Indie any longer, the other take is what a guitarist she is. I expected the album to be good, I didn't expect it to be this great. Highly Recommended!

You can listen to and buy the album here.


Saturday 16 April 2022

IDHAS Ten Songs Mix 25

More Aural excellence as we reach Volume 25 of the 10 Song Mix. Almost 34 minutes of listening pleasure that demonstrates New Music is alive and in rude health. 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 Bugs - Old Youth Feeling

02 The Pillbugs - This Is A Wrap

03 Instant Karma - Come Clean

04 Shaylee - Ophelia

05 M Ross Perkins - Wrong Wrong Wrong

06 Monica Queen - I Gave You Love

07 The Welton Shipwreck - January Flowers

08 Bottlecap Mountain - Kool

09 Tucker Bingo - Ce Maux Faux

10 Minor Majority - Meat And Potatoes Metal

IDHAS Ten Songs Mix 25


The Pillbugs - Marigold Something


There are a number of inventive bands that have always been on my essential list and sit happily on shelves in plain sight to allow me to pick them out whenever I'm thinking that new music has got a bit boring. I'm thinking of the likes of XTC, Sparks, The Mommyheads and The Pillbugs. 

In the Anything Should Happen days, I wouldn't shut up about The Pillbugs, they are the best example of how Psych Pop can be so melodic and yet so out of the ordinary. I should really ask Mick to catch up with Mark Mikel as a follow up to his Art Into Dust excellent coverage.

Marigold Something has been ready for release for a long time. In 2018 it was noted as ready to release and it has been well worth the wait. Recorded at Dead Moth Studio in Maumee Ohio between 2014 and 2017, there is a lot of Pillbugs to listen to, but the quantity never effects the quality.

Last year, I heard the second half of the album which had been released as Part 2, I thought I have to cover this when I have the complete thing and now I have. It is truly wonderful, a magnificent adventure, if you are put off by the term Psych Pop, don't be because Marigold Something is as great, if not better as any Pop Rock album you could name.

So where to begin? With there being 26 songs (it was always planned to be a double album) it is hard to pick out a favourite as the band run through the full range if their songs and it is expansive. The White album-ish Making Her Music Louder, the Baroque Pop of  Marigold Something. The big 70s Rock of Xenophobia and the Psych Prog of Woman Of No Return. 

All of those songs are as great as each other, but no finer than the rest of the album. Compare those to This Is A Wrap is real 60's, almost Small Faces Pop and September Grey goes all Vaudeville Jazz. Miracles Come (Once In A While) is epic Pop Rock and Under The City Lights may just be the best song here, McCartney-esque at his most Beatle adventurous. 

Eye To Eye goes all Modern Prog, whilst Compromise offers up a Psych Jangle. The Sweet Side is as laid back as they get, Lounge Psych if there is such a thing, yet Strange Imagination could be a Pop song. Mrs Sneed reveals that The Pillbugs can also Plank Spank.

With such a long album, you could expect some filler or it to be thrown together. Not a bit of that here! A couple of shorter Marigold interludes break up the album beautifully. You also sense that every instrument to hand has been used. The track order has been thought out and no two songs sound the same.

The nearest band that I can think of that compares to them is Spygenius and I believe both bands are seriously under appreciated. Marigold Something is a Masterpiece. I've picked four songs out to embed as examples of the quality on display. But you could select any and I urge you to give the album I listen. My favourite band in my favourite genre.

You can listen to and buy the album here.


Tuesday 12 April 2022

Bugs - Cooties


Brisbane's Bugs return for their third album and this is the biggest sounding offering yet. A lot of criticism is written about Power Pop, plenty by me, but there is no better thing when a band gets it right. Bugs are a trio who are right on key, although I suspect they have rarely, if ever, considered themselves as Power Pop. The genre really does need youth though and here it is.

There is also plenty here for those who like the melodic side of Pop Punk and also Indie Guitar Pop fans will find much to enjoy. These are songs delivered loudly and at pace with just a two song slowdown in the middle. I'd love to hear this lot live. 

The trio are at their best when they are straight ahead, Old Youth Feeling and Bridge being the best examples. But a song like Diamond is wonderfully anthemic, very Australian and more than a little Pop Punk. In The Middle even gets a little Rap Rock. 

Coming To Me gets all College Indie Grunge without ever losing sight of the chorus. Alone Again is one of the slower numbers still has a great chorus. Decisions, Commitments & Plans is a little mawkish on the verses but cannot resist breaking out.

Cooties is a real up and at 'em album, splendidly so. There is nothing complicated in what the band do, but it is done so well on a what is a fine production. This Big Sound brings out the best in what they do in that they are not trying to educate you, they just want to get your limbs moving.

Bugs certainly deserve to break out from Australia into Europe and more relevantly the States. I suspect it is gonna take the writers such as I and the Radio guys to get the word out, so over to them. It is a long time since I've been reactivated to great Power Pop, well done Bugs! Cooties is top notch.

You can listen to and buy the album here.


M Ross Perkins - E Pluribus M Ross


The second (no "sophomore" allowed) album from Dayton Ohio's M Ross Perkins is a hark back to the classic Pop of the late 60s and early 70s. Perkins has an ability to make verses as catchy as the choruses, a real rarity as few do both.

Before we get to the music, the album is a testament to how good Home Recording can be. I hear a lot of home recorded stuff and it really is the good, the bad and the ugly. This isn't a criticism of some as you can be limited to the equipment and software you are using. The usual problem is the mastering which means the volume is way too low. Here is an example that could easily have been recorded in a professional recording studio. 

E Pluribus M Ross is a little GospelbeacH in places, but where it excels is in the quality of the song writing and in particular lyrically. A song like This One is a great west coast laidback pop rock affair, but the catchiness and unusual lyrics raise it far above the ordinary.

Tired Of Me has a wonderful jangle and is again as catchy as catchy can be. Mr Marble Eyes (Marbles For His Eyes) is exceptional 60's, almost Toytown, Psych Pop. It's Your Boy something that could be a little twee becomes a superb cross somewhere between Nilsson and Gilbert O'Sullivan. 

Butterscotch Revue is as great an example of what makes 70s Pop Rock so adorable and then there's Pinball Blonde which is a splendid venture into 60's Beat Psych Pop, another superb listen. Venti Gasp Inhale gets even more trippy, jangly Byrds like Psych, whilst underling the strength of Perkins's vocal.

The New American Laureate is another example of the song writing strength, a great Pop song with an ace country twang. Even the one minute long instrumental, The Clock Reads 60 Seconds From is inventive, a sort of cinematic intermission.

The closer, Funeral Of A Satellite is a brooding masterpiece. Again there are reminders of Nilsson whilst instrumentally it is very White Album. The song builds and builds, containing so much into just two minutes. Simply magnificent.

There isn't one mediocre moment amongst these 12 Tracks. I could embed any of the 12 songs, but as usual I stick to three that may vary from your own favourites. I urge you to listen to the whole album. Perkins is a lyrical genius and although it is only April, this is Album Of The Year material.

You can listen to and buy the album here. You can find out more about M Ross Perkins here.


Monforte & Durango - Talismania


I've had Talismania on repeat for the past week and the only regret that I haven't heard it earlier. Browsing around the internet, it would appear that all bar one have also had it pass them by. Whereas we normally concentrate on the new, the album was released in 2020 and seems to have had a re-release for the streaming sites last year. 

Recorded in Madrid by Spaniards Javier Monforte and Cybil Durango, this is an absolute gem. It is hard to label it, essentially Pop Rock, but with plenty of diversions into both Prog Pop and Psych Pop. It is beautifully arranged and produced affair with plenty of surprises.

The nearest comparison could be the Alan Parsons Project, if so it would be from their mega-selling days, but there is far far more to Talismania than that. The songs are far more varied and step in too many directions to be likened to just that.

Three songs sum up how varied this album is. Meet Me On The Windfields is very Deceptive Bends era 10CC until the Psych solo ending, Pale Withered Flowers is fantastic melodic 70s Pop Rock , yet Far Leys Tamworth-In-Arden is all Psych Chant with its Sitar and Bongos.

Bloomsday is Celtic, Days Of Gray is bang in Big Big Train territory as is The Smiling Hippie. The Raven And The Mare is laid back breezy melancholic lounge. The Song Of Yore has a symphonic soundscape that you just melt away in. Yet, A Banksy Moon goes all Brit Pop.

It is a long time that I've been so surprised by the quality of an album. I did suspect it might be something special when I first looked at the album cover, but I've often been disappointed when listening to previous examples of this. Talismania is an exceptional offering, I absolutely love it.

You can listen to and buy the album here.


Monday 4 April 2022

IDHAS Ten Songs Mix 24

Technical difficulties have meant a delay to the return of the Audio Extravaganza, so we move on to the next IDHAS 10 Song Mix. Volume 24 features our 10 favourite songs this week and is an absolute cracker. 34 minutes of joy!

The track order is compiled by what we think makes the mix flow, not by Track 1 necessarily being the favourite. All ten songs are wonderful, 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 Nick Piunti And The Complicated Men - Trying Too Hard

02 The Moneygoround - Be Nice To Everyone You Meet

03 The Hanging Stars - Black Light Night

04 Emperor Penguin - On The Motorway

05 Jay Byham - I Can't Take It Anymore

06 Papercuts - Palm Sunday

07 Squiggles - We Only Came Here For Your Hearts

08 Blunt Bangs - She's Gone

09 The High Water Marks - The Origins Of Names

10 Alex Carpani -Starless

IDHAS Ten Songs Mix 24


Saturday 2 April 2022

Papa Schmapa - Where Are You Now


Papa Schmapa follow up the highly rated Bela Mystic Music which you can read the review on here. Again the vocals are shared with Elysia Cristantello, although this time round songwriter Joe DelVecchio takes the majority of vocals. The difference in the two voices allows the material to become even more diverse.

I likened Christantello to Jacqui Abbott in my previous review and that comparison is just as pertinent here. Her almost Country voice aches in a Stevie Nicks way on You Told Me and becomes a little Emmylou on Keep This All In Mind.

The joint vocals on Come Bad Days blend beautifully and are aided by a wonderful Guitar Solo from Dave Profeta. With DelVecchio on lead vocal, the direction casts its net far wider. The Classic West Coast Rock of Warm is spot on and Fly Away is wonderful Lounge schmooze.

Where Are You Now builds and builds mixing a Rhythm And Blues riff with a great 70s Pop Rock feel. Love On The Line is a mix of Rock n Roll and Power Pop at a far greater pace than previous and still there is time for another Rock solo.

Love Reaction has an acoustic jangle that hooks you and It's All Over Tonight has big hints of Glam Rock. There is also an alternate version of You Told Me with a DelVecchio vocal that turns the song into more of a singer songwriter troubadour affair.

Both versions show of the respective strengths of both vocalist. Where Are You Now does sound very American, but it is many miles away from New York, at times more West Coast or Texan. It is a beautifully produced affair and a cracking listen.

You can listen to the album here. The album is available from the likes of Amazon here and available on the likes of Spotify, Apple Music and Google Play. 

CDs can be ordered at