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Wednesday, 31 August 2022

Blake - The Book On Love

 

Blake is the solo project of Julian Pugsley and The Book On Love takes his appeal even further. Possessor of a vocal that is very close to Al Stewart, particularly on a song like Until Tomorrow, where the likeness is uncanny. 

That has led to Folk Pop Rock comparisons in the past which, while partially accurate, haven't acknowledged the true scope of his talent. His material is a mix of the Retro and the poppiest of the poppy of the Indy 80s, particularly the best of the Glasgow scene.



This album demonstrates that scope more so than ever. Blue Star and Walking Away demonstrate Blake's excellence with something Folk tinged, but this is a small part of what he does and thus contained here. The latter even breaks out into an ace Psych Pop Guitar Solo.

The real key point to note is how wonderful the arrangements are. They take on unusual directions with unexpected interruptions evoking memories of the past, but also offer a unique take that so many lack. This is the real strength of the album, enhancing great songs to an even greater level. 



When the album lets loose, it excels even more. Lost Ground is a superb example. It is almost Anton Barbeau and is prime time Pop Rock. Happy is even a little Lloyd Cole, although far more chipper. Penelope Please is great Jangle Pop and The Circle has a fine Twang as well as probably the best arrangement and instrumentation on show. 

My own regret is that I took three months getting round to reviewing this. There seems to have been a lack of great song writing lately. Concentrating too much on the lyrics maybe at the expense of the song? The Book Of Love is ace and another Subjangle Triumph. 



You can listen to and buy the album here.


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Monday, 29 August 2022

Cadet Carter - Anthems For The Weak

 

Anthems For The Weak contains some great Power Pop. Yet if you read any reviews, they will all tell you that they are a Pop Punk band and compare them to the likes of Blink 182. Now I love Pop Punk, but my generation tend to think the genre is all robotic shouty vocals. Some of it is, a lot of it is not and this certainly isn't. It is fine melodic Guitar Pop.

Cadet Carter are Berlin Based and consist of Welsh Frontman and Guitarist Nick Sauter, Guitarist John Bauer, Bassist Passy Theisen, who are both Bavarian and Hungarian Drummer Benny Paska. They specialise in riff driven, Indie Guitar Driven Melodic Pop.



Choruses are big, Riffs are plentiful, solos are ace and never overdone and they are at their best when the pace is fast. This, the band's third album is extremely good at what they do. When they rock out a bit, I think of Feeder, particularly on Strangeways.

When they do get a bit shouty on Break Away, the feel gets a bit more Indie Rock and dare I say it, Pop Punk. You do get the sense that Cadet Carter are breaking through to a wider melodic album, but don't want to leave their roots behind. With a song as up and at 'em as this, you don't want them to lose their past.



But it is the Guitar Pop that grabs you most, it is anthemic and feel good. In The Clear is a little bit like a Grown Up Busted and A Million Times is based on a killer riff with a verse that wants to lead you gently to a massive chorus. 

The Best Part is great UK New Wave and Blinding City Lights is another big big Chorus. Theisen and Paskin hold everything together as a splendid Rhythm Section, ensuring that songs are fully formed. All in all, a really impressive album that should reach a much bigger audience than people want to aim it at.



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


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Sunday, 28 August 2022

Anyway Gang - Still Anyways


I'm really surprised that Still Anyways hasn't had far more attention in the three months since the second album's release, so maybe now is the time. The Canadian Supergroup have released their second album and it is really good, fun being the operative word.

Having four front men collaborating can be riddled with problems and the history of Supergroup albums is littered with dross. You can either get everyone trying to show how different and left field they can be or a backslapping mediocrity fest. Fortunately, there is none of that here, indeed the album is really cohesive as though this is a proper group, not a headline grabbing attempt.

It is helped by the quartet, all always coming across as regular guys in their day jobs. Sam Roberts, Chris Murphy (Sloan), Menno Versteeg (Hollerado) and Dave Monks (Tokyo Police Club) seem to have worked in a studio environment free of nonsense and pressure. 



This is a great Pop Rock album that often veers towards Power Pop. There are a few surprises, particularly the opener, Alternate View, but the template is great melodic catchy Chorus led Pop and it is joyous. In these bad news days, it is just what the doctor ordered.

Out Of Nowhere starts a bit Don Henley but the chorus verges on Pop Punk. It is incredibly catchy as indeed virtually all of the album is. Real Thing is great Power Pop, handclaps and all. Remember To Forget is a wonderful example of mid 80s UK Pop.

Don't Give Up On Your Dreams is incredibly chirpy aided by its keyboard run and a fine jangle twang. What's Left Of My Love is late 70s New Wave and you will have heard Reckless Reckless on an IDHAS 10 Song Mix with its Busted vibe.



Call On Me is a campfire or front porch, happy clappy in a let's do the show right here way. It is Petty-esque at times, dare I say more than a little Wilbury like. Love Is Here closes the album and it is another "Altogether Now" affair with a wonderful twang leading to a great closing riff out.

Anyway Gang have offered up a splendid sing along album. Far more than the sum of its parts, there is a real feel good bond in the group that just shows what can be achieved when you want a recording to be fun with no strings attached. It is wonderful. Highly Recommended!



You can listen to and buy the album here.


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Saturday, 27 August 2022

L.A. Mood - A Print Out Of The Sun

 

Melbourne Multi instrumentalist Dave Mudie has a history as an in demand Drummer and is on the stool for is Courtney Barrett. There is however another side to the musician as the man behind L.A. Mood. Following the two previous EPs, we now have the debut album.

A Print Out Of The Sun is a splendid summery affair that has more in common with the West Coast of the U.S. in sound and feel. Mudie's vocal is a sort of Power Pop drawl, sweet yet melodic. The material though lends itself more to Psych Pop. It is very second half of the 60s, wonderfully so.



The title track edges towards Toytown, something really fashionable to talk about at the moment, but also has a 60s Big Pop song busting to get out. Yet Stumble is a far more modern thing, a little James Taylor Explosion.

Open Age is a short instrumental that starts like some yee haw on a Country Porch and morphs towards something much heavier, Prog even. Alert Blue is a little jangly, part C86, part Swinging 60s. Lemongrass is a definite example of West Coast Drop Out at its finest.



Happy Boy is much more direct UK Beat Pop that swings along, but Time Waits On You is very different, a melodic Psych beauty, all it needs is a Bong. Floaty is a much jaunty singalong that leads into a wonderful instrumental break. 

The Stand Out though is Catch The Sun which had a great reaction when it appeared on a recent IDHAS 10 Song Mix, the obvious single. Mudie's voice reminds me a lot of Young Guv's, but the material is much more in Psych Pop territory, a genre that people think is all backward guitars, not as brilliantly Sunny as this fine album is.



You can listen to and buy the album here.


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Friday, 26 August 2022

The Happy Fits - Under The Shade of Green

 

The Happy Fits are probably bigger than the artists we generally celebrate on I Don't Hear A Single. Since I reviewed their last album, What Could Be Better, the trio have gone from strength to strength via a massive Spotify following, but more importantly a 20 odd date sell out US Tour last year.

Their third album has been much anticipated \and I certainly believe that they have outgrown here, but that is great. Our aim is always to push against the door and then move on. I had to review the follow up, particularly after the buzz that What Could Be Better gave me, in particular, the killer song, Hold Me Down.




You can read that review here. The news is that the band have moved on and at a fairly rapid pace. They've lost none of that quirky poptastic vibe, but the arrangements are bigger, the reach is much further and the songs have obviously had the time spent on them that they deserve.

Being a sort of Power Trio with Cello rather than Bass allows bigger and different arrangements and Calvin Langman's ability to write heartfelt downbeat lyrics and place them into incredibly upbeat sounding arrangements is Paul Heaton like.




The sound is much fuller, all encompassing even. Changes may be the stand out, but the dominant cello and the arrangement on Do Your Worst is indelibly Scouse Pop, not the only time that this comparison can be made. Little One is a potentially monster single, although truth be known, any of these 12 songs could be singles.

Cold Turkey (not that one) shows a willingness to step more into real Indie territory, it even has overtones on Sparks. Place In The World is McCartney Pop of the highest order. The band are about to embark on a large UK, European and US Tour. You'll see me in Manchester next month.




You can listen to the album here and buy it everywhere. The upcoming Tour Details are here.


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Thursday, 25 August 2022

Gymnasium - Hansen's Pop 'n' Rock '22 (2CD)

 

The current IDHAS 10 Song Mix's second track is Coast To Coast Companion and it is fair to say that it has the biggest listener reaction. Maybe, because we haven't had too much Guitar Rock on here for a while and at times this album really does blow your socks off.

The album is supposedly a concept album, which I don't really see and certainly shouldn't influence you as the songs stand alone really well. A myriad of styles make up the album, all of them centred around the Guitar and it is splendid to hear the Guitar front and centre.

Gymnasium is Boston's Charles Hansen with a load of guests and have no doubt that the man can play Guitar. At times there is a real over the top feel and when it is so, I'm reminded of Tom Scholz at times. But all the songs well written and beautifully arranged. The production is amazed.



Before Your Rocket Leaves The Ground is great 60s UK Beat, Bad Advice could be on a John Hughes 80s Soundtrack and Kren Black is ace New Wave (a little UK, a little US). The Scene Queen borders on Hair Metal.

Split Enz matches anything from those great 70s Pop Rock bands with a fine Glam Rock solo aching to get out. It is a splendid song. Common Angel is very The Who in the 70s. Arguing With The Setting Sun edges towards Modern Prog and Atlantic Sky is very Hutchence like. 



Another Time is great AOR and AOR is probably the default across the album, but there are examples of West Coast Rock, Yacht Rock, Psych Pop and more. But at no time does this sound like a Various Artists album. 22 songs is a lot to get through, but the 90 minutes fly by and you have certainly been entertained.

Hansen's Pop 'n' Rock '22 caught me by surprise as an album and a concept. There is no doubt that it is a great listen and at its best when it Rocks. One thing is certain and that is that Charles Hansen is an awesome guitarist and certainly someone to be taken seriously.



You can listen to and buy the album here.


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Various - Climb Aboard My Roundabout! The British Toytown Sound 1967-1974 (3CD)

 

I first got into Toytown via the A Trip To Toytown compilation that Mick Capewell co-authored and it opened a whole new world to me, It also introduced a lot of great fans into my life such as Mark Kirk and the wondrous world of Marmalade Skies.

I'm still in touch with Mick who continues to fly the flag wonderfully for all things of this era. His radio shows are outstanding. It is noted that Cherry Red label this as the first legitimate compilation as those who know, know, about those aforementioned times.

I haven't listened to much of what was around for a long time, largely with IDHAS being about the new. But I am a big champion of Psych Pop by the newer artists and constantly reference Toytown comparisons in such reviews leading to many questions about what is Toytown.

Toytown is a mixture of all things around Great Pop, mixing Baroque with weird hypnotic arrangements and inventing villages with oddball characters. Fairy Tales and Whimsy abounded in incredibly melodic, hypnotic even, songs. 

You have to listen to catch the drift properly, but if one song is an indication of what the genre is about, it is The Idle Race's The Skeleton And The Roundabout, a line from the song is the title of this compilation and it is hard to imagine Jeff Lynne being as inventive as this. Last Train To London it is not.

But I am sure that many ELO fans went back to see what The Idle Race were about, as well as The Move and those people should love this. Ditto XTC;s The Dukes Of Stratosphear's adventures which mirror a lot of what was happening in Toytown.

It is obvious that Mark Wirtz is present here on three occasions as well as the likes of The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band, The Syn, Alan Bown and Keith West. Bigger names such as The Kinks and David Bowie also appear.

But the real joy of Toytown is the smaller unknown one off bands. That is were the true discoveries are made. I don't profess to have a detailed knowledge of the scene, others are around who can direct you down wonderful holes.

Lots of this will have been heard by keen followers, but it is nice to maybe have better sources and original masters. I'm not a compilation sort of person, as I've mentioned before, largely due to time. But Cherry Red do a wonderful job in bringing delights to a new audience via the 3 disc sets.

This set isn't released until 28 October, but you can pre-order it now. I would suggest that you get in early because these releases do go out of print really quickly and they are an education. You will be surprised at how enchanted it makes you feel and how hooked you get. 

You can pre-order the album here.


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Tuesday, 23 August 2022

The Glad Machine - Hey



It's been five long years since The Glad Machine's self titled album, but thankfully the quartet from Northampton Massachussets have lost none of their chops. Indeed, there's even more variety on Hey. The foursome sound and blend as well as ever and the diversions are interesting and beautifully played.

Brad Thayer is still well in Robin Zander territory and the band's default is somewhere between Cheap Trick and Sloan, but the subtleties are more evident here. Eight songs, eight big choruses, wonderfully produced, this is an album of songs that rock out, but also two slower affairs that show a very different side of The Glad Machine.






Much as though that Thayer voice is distinctive, perfect for Pop Rock, Greg Saulmon's Guitar solos and particularly the riffs, make the band soar. Having said that Bassist Neil Robinson and Drummer Mike Franklin are one of the better Rhythm Sections that I have heard recently bearing in mind how the songs generally rock out.

Virginia is what the band does best, a verse that slowly builds into a massive chorus and San Francisco follows suit with an even bigger chorus and edges towards the better sort of AOR. Save My Place is the heaviest it gets as an ace slab of Indie College Rock that borders a little on Hair Metal.





Baby It's You is perhaps the biggest surprise, a little Monkees, a little Chinn and Chapman UK Glam Rock, wonderful sunshine pop through and through. Just wait for that Glamtastic Guitar solo. Days Gone By is a big anthem to close the album with a hypnotic bell sounding that vies with the Guitar Riff. It is the sort of thing that Aerosmith did so well in their Geffen days.

Then there is the magnificent Slow Motion July, a song that grows and grows on you. This is a very different Glad Machine with an almost Modern Pop Rock feel. The Glad Machine know what they are about and many may think they are at their best when they Rock, but the different avenues they take ]here that accompany that big Pop Rock are even more interesting, Highly Recommended!!



The album is released this Friday (26 August) and will be available on Bandcamp here, However, Brad has kindly put up my favourite tracks from the album on Bandcamp for this review and with the single, San Francisco, already up, you can listen to and buy those four songs now.

You will also be able to find the album on all the streaming sites.


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IDHAS Ten Songs Mix 35



Volume 34 hit No 2 in the Mixcloud Global Power Pop Chart and No 3 in the Pop Rock Chart and even more impressively made the Top 10 in the much wider Global Indie Pop Chart for the first time. Our 10 favourite songs this week come in at almost 37 minutes

The Mixcloud link is below and at the foot of the page is the Mixcloud Player which takes you directly to the music. Thank you for your continued listening. The Mix is certainly more popular than we ever expected.

Here is the playlist of the ten songs this week :

01 Frass Green - 35 Years

02 Gymnasium - Coast To Coast Companion

03 Nick Frater - Love Heist

04 The Glad Machine - Baby Its You

05 Jonny Weathers - Soulshine

06 St Dukes - Take What You Want

07 Holy Coves - Small And Nothing

08 The Saint Larsen - Middleman

09 The Photocopies - Might As Well Talk To Myself

10 Lords Of The Satellite - The Crow


IDHAS Ten Songs Mix 35



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The Photocopies - Between You and Me EP




Michigan's Sean Turner is a Londoner and The Photocopies and he follows a recent trend over the past few years of being the solo musician behind a band name. I'm thinking of Matt Julian of The Speedways, Michael Collins of The Summer Holiday and now The Photocopies.

All master catchy Guitar Pop in slightly different ways, but the results are splendid and built on choruses with earworm riffs. Turner has been incredibly busy over the past year or so and since February, The Photocopies have had a release every month, most being EPs. 

You can listen and buy them all on Bandcamp, but I've gone for just one and there is a reason for why I have chosen just one of the EPs and I will go into why later. So I've gone for July's Between You And Me, a fine four song selection.



Initially, the earlier releases were undeniably C86, probably the best more recent versions of that genre. But more lately, the songs have entered other areas. Here, Might As Well Talk To Myself is wonderful Power Pop. 

Elsewhere, Somebody's Fool is more rustic, acoustic and very Bolan-esque. Vexed is almost Rockabilly and only Anywhere Without You is anywhere near C86. These are four charming songs, low fi, but wonderfully so and as catchy as catchy can be.

Now the bigger news. On Friday, my great friend Darrin at Subjangle releases a three volume, 2 CD Set that rounds up The Photocopies output thus far and includes unreleased stuff. I am now off to Darrin's to mither him for a download of the set by saying I like Dream Pop very very very much. (Social Media Followers may have come across this subject over previous chapters).



You can listen to and buy this EP here and listen to what's gone before (and after). I will put the Subjangle link up as soon as I have it.


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Sunday, 21 August 2022

Frass Green - Buried

 

I took to Facebook at the weekend and in a Jon Landau moment declared that I had heard the future of rock and roll sort of thing. I didn't mean it that way, it was just my excitement at hearing a band that I hadn't heard before and the buzz that you get. That Buzz is still errrrrrrrr buzzing. Frass Green are a quartet from Washington DC but they sound like its 1994 over here in the UK. Wonderfully so! I see Brit Pop mentioned a lot in album reviews, largely by people who weren't there and watched it from afar and it is hard to believe it is nearly 30 years ago.

History is generally written by the victors and so many would have you believe that the genre was Oasis v Blur v Pulp v Suede. But it wasn't you know and really there wasn't really a Brit Pop scene, everything just lumped into it in a way that everything got called Power Pop for a good while. The preceding 90s years had all been Dance, gazing at your shoes and the aftermath of oh so miserable Grunge and it was time for the Guitar to make a proper comeback. The university size venues were free for booking, the FM Radio Stations wanted to play happier stuff and the late night stations wanted bands to interview and play live sessions.



The music press now consisted of a band of monthly magazines that had space to talk about Guitar music and da kidz wanted to be in a band rather than a Call Of Duty group. The scene was most interesting around the poppier edges.Some bands were already formed and recorded such as The Lightning Seeds and Dodgy. Others were new and joyful such as The Bluetones and The Supernaturals. Others didn't get the following that they deserved such as Octopus and Straw. I mention all this not as a nostalgia fest, but because Frass Green sound as though they have morphed from this time. 

These are great melodic songs that are beautifully arranged, all the right things are present, a great vocalist in Joe Antoshak and generally they are the sound of goodness. The rhythm section of Tyler Rippel and Antonio Peluso, on Bass and Drums respectively, drive these 11 songs and the Lead Guitarist, Matt Lachance is equally at home with both solos and riffs. Lachance even adds violin. Oh those songs!! You will hear three of them here, but the whole album just reeks of quality. The standout is 35 years, just short of four minutes and not one second wasted, anthemic to the extreme. The arrangement is a bit first Bernard Butler album.



Change could be written by Guy Chambers or Karl Wallinger. Farm Life is completely different to what surrounds it. A little bit lounge, a bitt- jazzy with a funk Bassline and all at a sedate pace. Buried has a gentle Acoustic intro and bursts into something that could be Los Angeles pop from 68 or UK Pop Rock from the mid 70s.Indeed there are other unusual intros to surprise you rather than songs just bursting in. I'm thinking Poem and Mysterious. Abigail could be The Monkees whilst Diane is a late 50s / early 60s American Graffiti strut.

You're Right (Is It Right For You?) and is splendidly chaotic. It reminds me a lot of The Supernaturals. Any Better gets a little too close to Oasis for my liking, but will delight many and Mural Music reminds me so much of the Liverpool scally bands of the 80s and 90s.No song seems to finish in the same vein that it started. This is really clever pop, particularly instrumentally and vocally. The quartet seem to blend perfectly. I suspect many more will pick up on Buried after its 9 September release. I could think of lots of words to describe the album, all I can think of at the moment is Wow!



You can listen to the three songs here and pre-order the album here.


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The Valery Trails - The Sky Is Blue

 

Brisbane based Trio The Valery Trails have offered up a wonderful album. It also reminds me of how difficult and frustrating genre labelling is. There is no doubt that The Sky Is Blue is Indie but Indie what? Not Rocky enough for one genre and too unlike Indie Pop which is generally full of Dream Pop. 

So what do you label this Indie Guitar Pop as? I know labels are pointless, but they do drag new fans in. However, The Valery Trails are wonderfully inventive, but not stuck in any one place. The every day punter wouldn't think of them as typically Australian with one exception. Make No Mistake is very very Go-Betweens, impressively so.



Maybe has a real IRS Indie Guitar Jangle and After The Show has a splendid Orbison Twang. The Sky Blue is wonderfully caught between Glasgow 1986 and Paisley Pop. There But For The Grace has that twang again but this time it is more in Mitch Easter territory.

These Times starts with a Girl Band 60s Intro then becomes more San Francisco 1967 and Zancudo goes all gentle Psych Pop. Sometimes is more UK Late 1970s New Wave than anything and works beautifully, underlining how varied the album is.



See My Fall is a little hippy trippy, but a little Canterbury with an absolute killer chorus. But there is no doubt what the showstopper is. Jaisalmer contains everything you could want in an Indie Guitar song, plus there is a fine intervention of Brass.

There is a real chorus hook. It compares to so many different times with the Jangle of The Windbreakers, the Brit Pop of say Northern Uproar and yet remains indelibly UK mid 80s. The Sky Is Blue is a top notch listen, a real example of how Pop and the Guitar can take you into so many joyful areas.



You can listen to and buy the album here.


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The Mommyheads - Genius Killer

 

As you can imagine, I listen to a lot of music. Not as much as old as I would like due to how intensive the new remit of IDHAS has become. I try to give everything that I like a fair crack, but there are two bands that have hit the spot over the six years of I Don't Hear A Single and both have been with me much longer.

These two are Ex Norwegian and The Mommyheads. Both are different to each other, but their common bond is that over long careers, their albums over the I Don't Hear A Single period have grown their reputation and stand as great as anything they've ever released.

Throughout their career, both have evolved and remained interesting. Each album has offered something different without ever losing their pop sensibilities. It is to be admired that they never falter to make albums for themselves that they know will hit the spot because of the quality on display.

So to The Mommyheads. I have had the latest album, Genius Killer, for a while. I've been itching to tell you about it, but I always prefer to do that when I can embed three or four songs. At the moment only Idealist has been made available to the general public, but I see quality writers of the Likes of Bill Kopp reviewing it, thankfully so. The album is released on 20 September.

So I wanted to give people a heads up and then do the review when the songs are available, In the meantime you can go to the band's Bandcamp site here as a lot of the back catalogue is at Name Your Price.




The Mommyheads have a unique ability to enter multiple genres without ever losing sight of the song. At times they can appear to be Queen or XTC, at others be a cross between Adrian Belew or a more focussed King Crimson and  a less wanky Radiohead, think of The Bends era.

Intelligent lyrics abound accompanying unusual chord structures and surprise departures. A song is only as long as it needs to be, if the odd one is six minutes, it is because it needs that time. Genius Killer is outstandingly original, yet reassuringly familiar.

I've posted the You Tube video to Idealist here, but the two killer songs are Privilege and the title track. Privilege is wonderfully Elephant Talk era King Crimson with many more lyrics. It is everything that the band do so well in three and a half minutes.

Genius Killer is a magnificent song, both instrumentally and lyrically. It sums up exactly how I feel about both the UK and the States at the moment. So good that it is the only song to appear on the IDHAS 10 Song Mix twice. I can't wait to telly you more about the complete album. In the meantime dig into that back catalogue. 


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Nick Frater - Aerodrome Motel

 


Nick Frater is prolific. An album a year is something that rarely happens these days unless you are Guided By Voices when they appear almost monthly. There is also much being recorded in between the releases, the man never stops.

There can be a danger with this. Frater's sugar sweet vocals across the ten year period risk becoming too much of a good thing with the sheer volume of music. Thankfully, he has avoided this by evolving album to album, not majorly, bit by bit and this has been both admirable and effective.

People may expect that Frater wants to be Paul McCartney or Andy Sturmer when I sense it is really Todd Rundgren that is the target, Aerodrome Motel sounds very and deliberately 70s as well as being the nearest thing to a group album. The vocals are certainly varied and fir the songs wonderfully.


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This group sound is aided by the collaborators that include Dana Countryman, The Vapour Trails, Nick Bertling, Whelligan, Joe Kane and Luke Smith. I'm particularly delighted about Smith as I burst into tears constantly about the loss of Ulysses. 

That 70s feeling covers the decade. Rough & Tumble adds a Thunderthighs like Sax and an hypnotic The Equalizer type background synth. Frater's vocal takes on a more earthy tone and the song moves at a rapid pace underlining the man's gift with a chorus.

Dancing With A Gertrude is very different, a big studio ballad, the type you used to hear on those classic 70s Pop Rock albums from the likes of Jigsaw when the singles in no way revealed the delights on the album. No Hard Feelings aches with a weeping twang.



Dear Modern Times is magnificent piano pop, beautifully arranged with a chorus to die for. White Courtesy Telephone is a great closer, part lullaby, part melancholic with a magnificent Country guitar steel twang.

The stand out song though is the splendid Love Heist, a potential pop single of the highest order. It is the type of song that you hear less and less these days with the singles chart being so irrelevant. Iain Hornal gets there at times, but nothing matches this. The chorus will stay with you forever.

Aerodrome is a wonderful album. I'm not gonna go on about it being Frater's best ever because every album he offers up is great, always a little different. It is like having a Brill Building in Croydon and oh those choruses!!!! Highly Recommended!



You can listen to and buy the album here, here and here and everywhere.


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Sunday, 14 August 2022

IDHAS Ten Songs Mix 34



Volume 33 hit No 3 in the Mixcloud Global Power Pop Chart and No 4 in the Pop Rock Chart. It was a little more Guitar Pop orientated that week and Volume 34 still has the chorus led songs, but also indulges in some excellent Gravitas Pop. Thank you to all you listeners and I do hope you visited the artist pages to listen to more.

Our 10 favourite songs this week come in at just under 38 minutes. The exclusive single from the upcoming Andy Bopp EP is something we are very proud of. So too the addition of Adrian Belew and The Fernweh.

After deciding that Genius Killer was a great closer to last week's mix, repeated listening convinced me that the song is an equally great opener. So it appears again for you to decide where it is best placed. 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 Mommyheads - Genius Killer

02 The Prize - Wrong Side Of Town

03 Adrian Belew - Backwards And Upside Down

04 Andy Bopp - King Of The Day

05 The Fernweh - The Wounds Of Love

06 L.A. Mood - Catch The Sun

07 The Needs - Funny How

08 R.E. Seraphin - Playing House

09 The Legendary Swagger - She

10 The Dead Century - Exit On An Interstate


IDHAS Ten Songs Mix 34



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R.E. Seraphin - Swingshift

 

Ray Seraphin turned lockdown into Collaboration Heaven and the resulting Swingshift is a melodic joy. It has underlined his reputation as an Indie Hero with seven songs, five originals and two inspired covers. Classed as an EP, with seven songs it is pretty close to a Mini Album.

I don't ever want to be involved with the Is It Power Pop nonsense, but I see the release classed as such and I don't really see that at all. This is melodic Guitar Pop and its Jangling Best. Anyone who selects Television Personalities and Wipers to cover is certainly not thinking Power Pop.



Swingshift also doesn't sound San Franciscan  having more in common on with perhaps Martin newell than that scene. Seraphin's gentle vocal complements the songs wonderfully. Built around riffs that hook and melodic solos that surprise you it is a cracking chorus led listen.

Big Break is Jangle Pop of the highest order whilst Stuck In Reno is more gently laid back with a wonderful country twang to enjoy. The Virtue of Being Wrong is outstanding, part Byrds, part latter day Teenage Fanclub.



Playing House even gets Glammy and the cover of This Time There's No Happy Ending is Psych Pop of the very highest order. Swingshift does nothing but enhance Seraphin's reputation. You can see him heading for the Godfather of Bedroom Pop rapidly. The man shouldn't be classed as underground, he should be over ground wombling free.



You can listen to and buy Swingshift here.


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The Happy Somethings - Running Away With The Happy Somethings (Name Your Price)

 

One of the big in the UK music wise (I know there are many) is that it has become so regional. The majors have become more and more London centric and the volume of Indie labels have evaporated leaving a world of self releasing. 

You would think that the supposed wonder of Spotify and the reach of the internet would make it much easier for Indie artists to reach an audience, but the problem is that you only find what you are looking for, you don't discover things any more. There are no happy accidents and you rely on people you respect to point you in some direction. 

There are some great Internet Radio Stations out there, but they are few and hard to find. I notice fellow writers and there are some wonderful examples out there, but too many rely on what they are fed. I see whole months of reviews that are from PR that I have been sent and I wonder do these writers ever try to discover things for themselves.



Which is where The Happy Somethings come in. There was a time when the trio would be lauded. They have more than enough tools to do the job. Great Pop that is not out of the text book. They can offer up chorus led joy with a lyrical depth to be honoured. 

You find yourself caught between singing along and concentrating on the lyrics. A band that can make you think yet tap your feet is surely something to behold. There is also an outstanding wit splattered across the catchiness.



They can be Jangle Pop, they can do Folk Pop. They can be B52s, Paisley Pop, Bananarama, The Armoires take your pick. They can also be as way out Indie as way out could possibly be. Sometimes twee, other times deep, but always with a hook. At times they can be Alisha's Attic. but they can also be The Seekers or give a Sun Sawed in 1/2 vibe.

They can write something as splendidly left field as Ego Testicle and yet also write a ballad as beautiful as Good While It Lasted. Then there are joyful Pop songs such as Not In This Life and Forward Now. Hopefully the fact that Subjangle have got involved will give The Happy Somethings the audience that they deserve, but don't necessarily crave.

Two albums and a number of EPs in, the band have collaborated with Subjangle to release this 24 song compilation. It is available as a Name Your Price, so what on earth have you got to lose? The sound of summer with songs that don't go on about how hot it is.



You can listen to and buy the album here.


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Saturday, 13 August 2022

Adrian Belew - Elevator

 


After the last review of a Live album and now Adrian Belew, you might be forgiven for thinking that IDHAS had changed its remit. Belew is neither new or under appreciated I hear Pedants cry, before they browse the review and head off to listen to more Big Star or Badfinger. 

Many will know Adrian Belew as the man who brought King Crimson out of hibernation or for his many sidekick activities with anyone who is anyone. Most people will have never listened to The Bears to realise that the man can in fact be a Pop star, certainly a Pop Rock star.

True he is an incredible and inventive Guitarist that can be three chord, play on a riff if you like, but he can also be avant-garde and Prog and Psych and is never ever uninteresting and on Elevator, he demands your attention/This album is wonderful Pop Rock.

Listening to the three opening songs that invention and variety provides a snapshot to what is in store for you. A13 is great Pop, at times a little ELO with an Express Train riff. A Car I Can Talk To is almost Rockabilly and XTC comparisons are ten a penny, but Backwards And Upside Down is very very Andy Partridge, wonderfully so.



The Power Of The Natural is gentle pastoral Psych Pop, all needs is a chant. You Can't Lie To Yourself is even a gentle Ballad, Beatle-esque maybe? Did I mention XTC? Well Attitude could easily appear on English Settlement and even gets a bit Sparks symphonic. 

Back To Love is cinematic, at times an electronic Prog Psych cross and more than a little 80s. Beauty is a superb pop song and Seventy Going On Seventeen is an awesome closer, lyrically adept with unexpected breakouts everywhere on what is essentially a Busker song. 

It is true to say that Elevator is all over the place and that is its charm. If one song doesn't hit the spot, the next one will and the vast majority do. It is fair to say that no one but Adrian Belew could create an album such as this. Creative, catchy and a lot ready to surprise you.

Do get out and see the Power Trio Live if you get the chance as the reports coming in are ecstatic. As for Elevator, Belew's next album will most likely be very different, but this is a tour de force. Yes Adrian Belew may be a Pop Star this week, so enjoy it while you can.


You can buy the album here and here and everywhere.


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Mark & The Clouds - Live At The Betsey Trotwood


We don't generally cover too many Live albums on I Don't Hear A Single. It's just a matter of available time really, so we save what we do cover to the occasional Live Sessions format. But we make an exception with Mark And The Clouds, partly due to the lack of being able to watch much over the past couple of years.

But mainly because these three are one of the best Psych Pop Power Trios and their last album, Waves, impressed us so much that it was in the IDHAS Best Of Year. What Waves did was introduce a much deeper side to the band. You can read the review here



The variance on Waves is fully demonstrated in the Live setting. 8 of the 9 Tracks are from that album and underline the strength of the release. They also fully reveal what a fine guitarist Marco Magnani is and how well the Trio click.

No One Makes A Sound goes into Cream territory and You Wanna Put Me Down is great sweaty UK Beat.  Waves almost becomes Lindisfarne and In The Big Crowd is great Pop Rock with a twang. The non Waves song is a fine cover of All Or Nothing sung by Bassist John O'Sullivan.



The stand out is the Psych Pop of You And Me In Space, a fine opener. The main difference here is that without the likes of the studio album's Brass arrangements etc, the songs sound more earthy, a little bit different and translate beautifully to the live show,

My one regret is that the magnificent Psych of Somebody Else isn't present. It is a mind blowing affair and I urge you to listen to it on the Waves album which is also on Bandcamp/ However, Mark And The Clouds underline how gripping the Power Trio format can be when it concentrates on the songs, not the technical ability.



You can listen to and buy the album here.


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Sunday, 7 August 2022

West Coast Music Club - Faded Scrapbook


Greetings From Ashton Park, West Kirby appeared in I Don't Hear A Single's Best Of 2020 and rightly so. It is an album that sounds as though it comes from the West Coast Of America, when West Coast Music Club actually come from my West Coast, the Wirral, over the water from Liverpool. 

The Brit Pop Rock sensibilities were around on that album and are even more so on Faded Scrapbook. Having said that, there are still nods to across the Atlantic Ocean, If You Only Knew isn't a million miles away from Neil Young and Ouija Doll is very San Francisco hippy Psych.



Hotel California (no not that one) is big Brit Pop, more than a little like Embrace with a decent song. The vocal is very Danny McNamara, but the song doesn't rely on endlessly repeated choruses. The View From Here could be described as Folk, more likely Psych Folk. It broods wonderfully. 

The real take from the album is how much the album Jangles, but does so in different ways. Now Or Never is more melancholic yet. Here It Comes Again heads towards Dream Pop and Faded Scrapbook is a Psych Pop Jangle. 



The stand out is the opener, Fanclub Favourite, a sort of The Posies meet Teenage Fanclub, it shows yet another string to the bow of WCMC and also underlines the band's development as this album is the band's most impressive yet.

It has been great to watch their development. I never ever expected them to come up with a song as frantic and Mid 80s fuzz as Serendipity and I'm delighted that they have. I could rightly say that this is the best West Coast Music Club album yet, but that would be easy. However this is much more than that. The band has evolved and continues to evolve. Well done all!



You can listen to and buy the album here. It is available as a CD or download.


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Northern Portrait - The Swiss Army

 

It has been a long time since Northern Portrait's excellent debut album, 12 years in fact. The Danish quartet's second album is just as great as you would expect, but they had better bring a note from their mum to explain their absence.

The Swiss Army inhabits a world somewhere between the UK Indie Pop of the second half of the Eighties and the Poppier end of Brit Pop. The band are not gonna overload you with big jangling riffs, relying on the depth of the songwriting and the masterful atmospheric arrangements.



This is great Pop, at times a little melancholic with a mass of thought put into all. Nothing contained inside is throwaway. A song like Business Class Hero is very close to Folk Pop, particularly with the harmonica addition. But the string arrangement rounds off the song beautifully. 

World Part History Part I and II is far more jaunty, hypnotic even and the music box has really been raided. The first part of the song is a little bit Pavement, a little bit Blur but the second part has the drum drive of The Doves.



You can see why the Glasgow Guitar Pop of At Attention was chosen as a single, but I suggest that there Once Upon A Bombshell, the second single was an even better choice. It is simply magnificent with a killer riff, the sweet vocals contradicted by that Peaky Blinders Riff and rounded around with some splendid organ.

Nineties Survivor is lyrically ace and reminds me of something out of Dunedin in the 90s. From Here Our World Expands has a fantastic arrangement and sounds a bit latter day Blur when the oompah had been left behind. Beautifully produces, beautifully arranged and beautifully sung, The Swiss Army is a triumph. Highly Recommended!



The album can be bought on Vinyl, CD or as a download from Matinee Recordings shop here. A special mention should be given to the label who constantly deliver excellence in unexpected guises. 


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Saturday, 6 August 2022

IDHAS Ten Songs Mix 33



It's time for a new 10 Song Mix. Volume 32 appeared in all 5 Mixcloud Global Top 100 Charts that it qualified for. The highest position was No 26 in the Indie Pop Chart. Thank you to all you listeners and I do hope you visited the artist pages to listen to more.

Our 10 favourite songs this week come in at almost 36 minutes. It sounds a little more Guitar Pop than usual, but still contains more than enough diversions. Please stick around until the end because The Mommyheads closer is wonderful. It just naturally fitted to finish the mix.

Also included is Butch Walker, who has not been in IDHAS or ASH land for a good while and thankfully the song contains no hand claps. 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 Beddy Rays - Wait A While

02 Push Puppets - Sometimes The Buds Never Flower

03 Richard Turgeon - Please Take Me Back

04 Das Phaedrus - This Land Wasn't Made For You And Me

05 Cadet Carter - In The Clear

06 The Happy Somethings - Ego Testicle

07 Robby Miller - Staying For The Weekend

08 Butch Walker - Holy Water Hangover

09 The Glad Machine - San Francisco

10 The Mommyheads - Genius Killer



IDHAS Ten Songs Mix 33



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