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Sunday, 5 February 2023

Strange Neighbors - Party Of None

 

Lyrically, Power Pop is not known for depth. It has progressed beyond I love you, yes I do, you know its true, but not into the intelligent, wit laden realms of the generations below the 60 plus brigade. They compare more with Intelligent Indie whose Guitar Pop has far more gravitas.

A prime example of the new breed are New York City's Strange Neighbors. The quartet produce a riff laden, chorus driven batch of songs that combine melody and a real adeptness in the writing that allows both humour and everyday observations to thrive.



Yes they can rock and do, but the arrangements show creativity and a determination to add diversions, never ever relying on the splendid riff to bring home the message. They are equally comfortable slowing things down as Simple Song more than adequately reveals.

You will have heard Hotline Psychic on the last IDHAS 10 Song Mix, a song that just hooks you. All cynical lyrics with a rapid verse and earworm chorus. Whoa! Is Me as also been a selection on a previous "Listening To This Week" and that could very well be the band's signature song.



Skeleton Boy is an absolute Power Pop gem and would get even greater attention, but for the two aforementioned blinders. It is hook laden with two ace Guitar interruptions. Then there is Window Watching which has a hypnotic rhythm to it and yet another killer chorus. Strange Neighbors could very well become a hi octane version of The Beths.



You can listen to and buy Party Of None here. You can find out more about the band here.


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The Features - The Mahaffey Sessions 1999

 


My love of all things Self, drew me to The Features. Finding that Matt Mahaffey and Seth Timbs's label Spongebath Records label, I managed to pick up a copy of the EP around 2001 and the next time, I heard about them they were on Universal and released the Exhibit A debut album.

The band went on to record another four albums before going silent in 2016. Then about a year ago, I heard that this could be released. I had no idea that it existed, although I'm some songs were released on singles or compilations. So this is like heaven to me.



These 10 songs were for the the planned debut album, but Spongebath went to the wall and so the recordings were shelved. Recorded at Mahaffey Home Studio in Murfreesboro, these reveal a splendid Power Pop album with an added keyboard slant.

As soon as you hear the opener, you know that you are gonna enjoy your ride. Serious could be The Cars going Power Pop and that Cars style keyboard is present throughout the album. Kari-Anne has a similar feel, but the keyboard is a little more 60s, although I'm reminded of The Knack.



Armani Suede is Sparks going Funk yet Exorcising Demons is more 60s Beat. Oh My Love is New Wave joy, maybe even a little Steve Nieve Attractions vibe on the organ. Paid To Think is great UK New Wave circa 1978. 

331/3 has a driving Bassline and Dark Room has a real Glam Rock stomp about it. There really is so much to like here. It is an ideal way for Power Pop Forums to talk about the past about a 2023 release. Here's hoping there might be a revival of The Features, it would certainly be welcome.



You can listen to and buy the album here.


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Saturday, 4 February 2023

The Habit Of The Rabbit - Living In A Hole In The Ground

 

I was brought up on 70s Rock and you forget just how splendid it could be. I listen to little of it these days, probably because so much has happened musically since, but then you hear an album like this and have a word with yourself about how you should go back there more often.

The album is a heady mix of both American and British Guitar Rock, the biggest surprise is that the trio are from Madrid. There is a real power in the way that they play and they are comfortable letting a gripping riff do the the heavy lifting.



There are big hints of British influences like Free and The Faces, yet there are equal parts of American Classic Rock, even Southern Rock  and Where Nobody Knows How To Laugh is Country Rock of the highest order and what a Guitar solo breaks out.

Keep It Out even adds a little Psych feel into what is mainly out and out riff rock. Half Unknown is fine Boogie Rock and Engraved On The Stone could be Power Pop in another life. The Story Of The Kelly Gang is pure Surf Rock.



For all this variety, what The Habit Of The Rabbit do best is Classic Rock and the best example is Watching The Sunrise which is like Joe Walsh leading The Faces. I mentioned what a great Power Trio they are, but the vocals knit everything together beautifully. Highly Recommended!



You can listen to and buy the album here.


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The Happy Somethings - A Gathering Of Sorts

 

The Happy Somethings return with their wonderful brand of chirpy Indie Pop and there isn't much joy in the UK since the Brexit nonsense descended on us like a big cloud of doom. This trio definitely do their bit and as always at Name Your Price.

There is a splendid lyrical adeptness and wit in tackling the everyday banal. Song titles like I Wish You Could Sing Like Tracy Thorn and all wrapped in melodic catch singalong joy. However this seemingly simplicity is a ruse at times.



Take for instance ,Stand Together which is an Indie, almost Psych Pop, Guitar Fuzz out and Worried Fools is great Jangly melodic Folk. The standout here is the sheer Pop of Anglepoise. Delivered as a sort of playground song but backed by Indie noise.

Tracey Thorn is delivered twice, once as a You and closes with an I. The former is delivered as a vocal ensemble in a 70s style strum along. The latter is a much moodier doleful acoustic tale of sheer frustration. Highly Recommended!



You can listen to and buy the album at Name Your Price here.


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Thursday, 2 February 2023

The Foreign Films - Magic Shadows

 

As I finally get in to 2023, there are some superb albums to tell you about, none more so than the return of The Foreign Films. Over a consistently stellar career, I still consider The Record Collector one of the finest albums ever and the triple vinyl version is like a work of art.

That album demonstrated the full range of Bill Majoros's musical ability and the length was no issue, in fact you wanted more. The two albums since then have seen a slight move away from some of the genre variety in favour of a mastery of Pop Rock. 

Both Ocean Moon and Starlight Serenade endorse this opinion and Magic Shadows my be the poppiest album of The Foreign Films career. This is no criticism. Majoros is one of the most listenable of artists and the latest is wonderful.

(Please note : The You Tube Links are UK and Europe only, To view in the States and Canada go here.) 




Majoros is joined as ever by Carl Jennings on Bass, Additional Guitar and Backing Vocals. Keyboards are taken care of by Rob Preuss and he is a big addition. As ever, the mutual appearances on each others albums is continued with The Nines' Steve Eggers on Backing Vocals on two songs.

If anything, Magic Shadows sounds more than a little 80s with its big drum sound and the general vibe. This is never more so on the excellent Perfect Future with the vocal in Russell Mael territory, particularly the Bates Motel period. It is a song that wouldn't be out of place on the Electric Dreams soundtrack.



Something that you will have heard is Cosmic Lover which took pride of place on a recent IDHAS 10 Song Mix. It is an absolute stomper in a Marc Bolan does Spirit In The Sky sort of way. Lost In Time has a real Twin Peaks feel about it, particularly with the driving Bass and haunting Guitar.

Everywhere you look, there are stand out songs. The best of which may be Cinema Girl (Magic Shadows) which has a real gentle Psych Pop feel, yet has a real big production 60s harmonic Pop soundscape with Backing Vocals reinforced by Steve Eggers. It is an amazing 6 minutes that is over way too quickly.

House Of Mirrors is wonderful Toytown joy, a vocal harmony masterpiece. Into The Light is pure Pop, almost Power Pop whilst remaining party-ish. Daydream In The Sun is all American Grafitti and then changes Tempo becoming a "lets do the show right here2 with a Duane Eddy twang.



Rainclouds is a big very 80s way with a guest appearance from Dave Rave on Backing Vocals. There really is so much to like here. If you have even a little interest in Pop Rock this is the album for you. It would be worth the admission for Cinema Girl alone, yet you have the bonus of 10 other splendid songs to accompany it. 

I have been a fan of The Foreign Films from the very off and I have never ever been let down. The keyboards play far more of a part here without ever detracting from the enjoyment. The melody count is off the scale. Magic Shadows is as good an example of how music can change your mood for the best. It is Highly Recommended.



You can listen to the album on all the streaming sites. A CD is on the way and I will update all purchase details as soon as I have them. You can listen to the full album song by song here.


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Wednesday, 1 February 2023

Oberon Rose - Purple, Blue & Crimson

 

Oberon Rose reach their fourth album and this is genre defying Pop Rock. The sheer musicianship of Tommy Oberon matched with the lyrics of Rebecca Rose would be ample, but the ability to offer up a musical jukebox making it difficult to label them and why should we?

Purple, Blue & Crimson is a guitar album, but they aren't afraid to add mellotron and some splendid 60s organ and on Rainmaker even provide a short more modern sample effect. All of these additions completely change what is a more laid back Classic Rock affair,



The title track is a cracking slab of melodic Psych Pop, as good as anything that you'll hear this year. Yet Four Winds is a moody slow affair, a little Country in parts. although essentially 70s Pop Rock with its big chorus and haunting guitar riff. Look out for a great understated solo too.

Abilene is real 60s Beat with its drum pattern and Farfisa like accompaniment, but again the chorus soars. Lazy Eye Of The Dawn is good ole boy Southern Rock with orchestral overtones and when it breaks out into the solo, it takes you to another level.



Broken Bow is a fine example of McCartney Pop, melancholic yet melodic. Seen By Angels is very Eagles until they hit paydirt. Revelation Mountain is a mix of straight ahead Rock with an almost Power Pop chorus and a shuffle on the verse.

The beauty of the album is not just the genre hopping, but how a song starts as one thing and then is changed completely by the chorus or a solo. Purple, Blue & Crimson may remind me of those great 70s albums, but it is a reminder that there hasn't been much of that sort of thing around for a while. When it is done properly, it as amazing. Oberon Rose do it perfectly.



You can buy the album on CD, Vinyl or as a download here. You can listen to the album on Soundcloud here.


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Tuesday, 31 January 2023

Listening To This Week

 


Another cracking selection of 11 Songs that fit the I Don't Hear A Single remit perfectly.

I think many of you know that I don't use Spotify or Apple Music etc. You Tube isn't ideal for anything much and a self compilation raised copyright problems and piracy. So I thought this weekly feature may be the best thing to tell you about these songs. 

This weekly fair is solely for submissions, not the usual stuff that we dig out ourselves.  Please investigate the artists further. 


Oberon Rose - Purple, Blue & Crimson 



Canadian Invasion - Songs Your Girlfriend Likes 




Shape Of The Sun - Have You Had Enough 



Pastis - Champagne For The Heartache 




Zepet - Picking Up The Pieces 



The Beaten - Rank & Title 





Loud Humans - Rough Country 



Escape Ring - Winning The War 




The Cruz & The Dukes Of Harlem - Stuck In Here 



The Hollow Frays - Guy Jim





Echo Tongues - Satan Is Calling Me 



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Sunday, 29 January 2023

I Don't Hear A Single Best Of 2022 : Top 5s Compilations And Reissues

 

So the end of 2022 is reached. Two Top 5s. I Don't Hear A Single doesn't cover many of both these categories, primarily because it is a place that is about the new. Phew! I'm glad this is done. It is a major piece of work, but is incredibly popular. Onwards into 2023.

Compilations




01 : We All Shine On : Celebrating The Music Of 1970     IDHAS Review




02 : Indian Summer     IDHAS Review 




03 :  Popboomerang - Marching Out Of Time     IDHAS Review




04 : Climb Aboard My Roundabout! The British Toytown Sound 1967-1974     IDHAS Review




05 : Miles Out To Sea: The Roots Of British Power Pop 1969-1975    IDHAS Review 

Reissues




01 : Bill Nelson's Red Noise - Art Empire Industry     IDHAS Review




02 : The Supernaturals - It Doesn't Matter Anymore Expanded Edition     IDHAS Review





03 : Sparks - Lil' Beethoven 2022 Remaster     IDHAS Review




04 : The Bordellos - Ronco Revival Sound    IDHAS Review 




05 : Ex Norwegian - Standby (13th Anniversary Edition)     IDHAS Review


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Saturday, 28 January 2023

I Don't Hear A Single Best Of 2022 : Top 10 EPs



Two more posts to go until I can move into 2023. Today it is turn of EPs. The format is the same as the IDHAS100, but this time it is just a Top 10.A reminder that anything reviewed on I Don't Hear A Single is highly recommended. 


No 1 : Fox Paloma - Retrospectacular      IDHAS Review





No 2 : The Mighty Observer - Under The Open Sky    IDHAS Review

 


No 3 : The Genuine Fakes - Extended Play Vol. 3     IDHAS Review



 

No 4 : the black watch - the neverland of spoken things          IDHAS Review
      



No 5 : The Prize - Wrong Side Of Town     IDHAS Review

       


No 6 : Squiggles - Look What We Have Done        IDHAS Review


 


No 7 : Scrambled Limbs - The Late Hour      IDHAS Review




No 8 :  Buddie - Transplant   IDHAS Review




No 9 : Jay Byham - Jay Byham    IDHAS Review




          
No 10 :  Neutrals - Bus Stop Nights       IDHAS Review




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Friday, 27 January 2023

Listening To This Week

 


I Don't Hear A Single largely caters for Album Reviews. Individual Songs don't get much of a look in. There is the IDHAS 10 Song Mix that is really popular, but Mixcloud have recently restricted how many mixes are archived. So I was looking for a way to let you know about songs we like on a weekly basis.

I think many of you know that I don't use Spotify or Apple Music etc. You Tube isn't ideal for anything much and a self compilation raised copyright problems and piracy. So I thought this weekly feature may be the best thing to tell you about these songs. Some may be included on future IDHAS 10 Song Mixes, but so much fights for this space on that.

This feature is solely for submissions, not the usual stuff that we dig out ourselves.  Please investigate the artists further. 


The Housing Crisis - Astral Appartments



Apollo Ghosts - Gave Up The Dream



Mother Sun - Blue Dream



Nothing But A Nightmare - Baggage Claim




Bar II - Wake Up




Friendly Antenna





Plasma Canvas - Election Year Relapse



Home - Sun To God




The Habit Of The Rabbit - Watching The Sunshine



Jud Benner - Salt Water Skin




The Peregrine Dives - Left On Massard




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Thursday, 26 January 2023

I Don't Hear A Single Albums Of The Year 2022 : The Cut Out And Keep List

 

This summarises the I Don't Hear A Single selections. The groups of 10 countdowns are below enabling you to read the IDHAS Review of the album and listen to a track from each album is embedded in the posts. We can now turn our attention to 2023 after celebrating what has been a great year for Pop Rock.

1 Bandicoot - Black After Dark

2 Richard Öhrn - Sounds In English

3 Dot Dash - Madman In The Rain

4 The Mommyheads - Genius Killer

5 The Beths - Expert In A Dying Field

6 Spygenius - Jobbernowl

7 Toni Tubna And The Stockholm Tuba Sect - When The Magic Went Wrong

8 Best Bets - On An Unhistoric Night

9 The Tambles - Scraping By

10 Outtacontroller - Come Alive

11 Lannie Flowers - Flavor Of The Month

12 Custard Flux - Phosphorus

13 Tamar Berk - Start At The End

14 Maple Mars - Someone's Got To Listen

15 Ward White - Ice Cream Chords

16 Amoeba Teen - Amoeba Teen

17 Greg Pope - Rise Of The Mythical Creatures

18 Communicant - Sun Goes Out

19 Fuzzbubble - Cult Stars From Mars

20 Skeleton Staff - Malapropism

21 The Green Pajamas - Forever For A Little While

22 Ian McNabb - Nabby Road

23 Uni Boys - Do It All Next Week

24 The Chrysanthemums - Decoy For A Dognapper!

25 Nick Frater - Aerodrome Motel

26 The Sun Sawed In 1/2 - Triptych (2CD)

27 Steve Robinson & Ed Woltil - Shadow Play

28 Bird Streets - Lagoon

29 Dave Cope - Killer Mods From Inner Space

30 The Toms - Stereo

31 The Bye Bye Blackbirds - August Lightning Complex

32 Emperor Penguin - Sunday Carvery

33 The Summer Holiday - Acqua

34 Andy Bopp - An Andy Bopp Compilation

35 Elvis Eno - A Startling Realization Of The Obvious

36 Whelligan - In The Mean Meantime

37 Phil Yates & the Affiliates - A Thin Thread

38 Derrero - Curvy Lines

39 Librarians With Hickeys - Handclaps & Tambourines

40 The Glad Machine - Hey

41 The Mellons - Introducing… The Mellons!

42 Chris Lund - Indian Summer

43 Rogers & Butler - Brighter Day

44 Sarchasm - Conditional Love

45 Adrian Belew - Elevator

46 The Happy Somethings - Running Away With The Happy Somethings

47 Rob Moss and Skin-Tight Skin - Now With More Rockets

48 Ex Norwegian - Spook Du Jour

49 Young Guv - GUV III

50 Affiliate Links - Enough Light

51 Anyway Gang - Still Anyways

52 Dungeon Of Skeletons - Patterns

53 Frass Green - Buried

54 Vanilla - Sideshow

55 The Chemistry Set - Pink Felt Trip 

56 The Morning Line - Scene

57 Push Puppets - Allegory Grey

58 Phil Thornalley - Now That I Have Your Attention

59 Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard - Backhand Deals

60 Wired Ways - Wired Ways

61 Karma Gambit - When Does Rock And Roll Start To Get Sad

62 Extra Arms - What Is Even Happening Right Now

63 Have You Ever Seen The Jane Fonda Aerobic VHS? - Maine Coon

64 Ball Park Music - Weirder & Weirder

65 Surf Curse - Magic Hour

66 Bugs - Cooties

67 Hans Pucket - No Drama

68 West Coast Music Club - Faded Scrapbook

69 Collage - Over And Out

70 Drew Beskin, & The Sunshine - Somewhere Sideways Same As You

71 Blunt Bangs - Proper Smoker

72 M Ross Perkins - E Pluribus M Ross

73 Bedroom Eyes - Sisyphus Rock

74 Mad Rollers - Get Mad

75 More Kicks - Punch Drunk

76 Melon Soda - Melon Soda

77 Superchunk - Wild Loneliness

78 The Fernweh - Torschlusspanik!

79 Static In Verona - Maybe Mayhem 

80 The Flashpot Moments - Very Far

81 The Minders - Psychedelic Blacktop

82 Nick Piunti And The Complicated Men - Heart Inside Your Head

83 Pulse Park - Phonac Music

84 Secret Molecules - Secret Molecules

85 Kevin Stevenson - Reality Alley

86 Walker Brigade - If Only

87 The Well Wishers - Blue Sky Sun

88 The Dead Century - The Well 

89 Northern Portrait - The Swiss Army

90 Gaz Hunter - Lysergic Soundscapes Of Dreamadelica

91 Starter Jackets - Dead Malls

92 Phil Angotti - Once Around Again

93 The Boys With The Perpetual Nervousness - The Third Wave Of

94 The Airport 77s - We Realize You Have A Choice

95 The Confusions - Black Silhouettes

96 Bigger - Les Myosotis

97 The Stroppies - Levity

98 The Smivets - Mountain Highway

99 Fontanarosa - Are You There?

100 The Wheel Workers - Harbor


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I Don't Hear A Single Albums Of The Year 2022 : Top 10



So we arrive at the Top 10! As mentioned previously, it has been a really difficult task putting these albums in order. My choices may not be your choices, but I think we have a varied 100 and there is something in it for everyone.

Well done Bandicoot! It has been a great year for Wales with some fine albums emanating from a great country. Strangely, for a UK site, Bandicoot have the first British Album Of The Year on IDHAS on the 7th Occasion.

01 Bandicoot - Black After Dark       IDHAS Review





02 Richard Öhrn - Sounds In English       IDHAS Review





03 Dot Dash - Madman In The Rain       IDHAS Review





04 The Mommyheads - Genius Killer     IDHAS Review




05 The Beths - Expert In A Dying Field      IDHAS Review




06 Spygenius - Jobbernowl      IDHAS Review





07 Toni Tubna And The Stockholm Tuba Sect - When The Magic Went Wrong       IDHAS Review




08 Best Bets - On An Unhistoric Night         
IDHAS Review




09 The Tambles - Scraping By        IDHAS Review





10 Outtacontroller - Come Alive        IDHAS Review




Finally, a mention for one album that didn't appear. The one main rule for the IDHAS100 is that an album has to have been reviewed on I Don't Hear A Single. Chris Church's Darling Please wasn't reviewed here, due to me reviewing it for a magazine that insisted that I did not review it elsewhere. I thought Chris would benefit from this bigger audience. There is a real possibility that the album would have been in this Top 10 if it had been reviewed.


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Wednesday, 25 January 2023

I Don't Hear A Single Albums Of The Year 2022 : 11-20



This year, the standard has been the highest since IDHAS began six and a half years ago. Narrowing things down to this 100 as been really difficult. For each album, I've posted a song from it and a link to the IDHAS Review where you can find further details and how to listen or buy the album.

A reminder that anything reviewed on I Don't Hear A Single is highly recommended. 


No 11 : Lannie Flowers - Flavor Of The Month     IDHAS Review





No 12 : Custard Flux - Phosphorus    IDHAS Review

 


No 13 : Tamar Berk - Start At The End     IDHAS Review



 

No 14 : Maple Mars - Someone's Got To Listen          IDHAS Review
      



No 15 : Ward White - Ice Cream Chords    IDHAS Review

       


No 16 : Amoeba Teen - Amoeba Teen       IDHAS Review


 


No 17 : Greg Pope - Rise Of The Mythical Creatures     IDHAS Review




No 18 :  Communicant - Sun Goes Out   IDHAS Review




No 19 : Fuzzbubble - Cult Stars From Mars   IDHAS Review




          
No 20 : Skeleton Staff - Malapropism         IDHAS Review




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I Don't Hear A Single Albums Of The Year 2022 : 21-30



This year, the standard has been the highest since IDHAS began six and a half years ago. Narrowing things down to this 100 as been really difficult. For each album, I've posted a song from it and a link to the IDHAS Review where you can find further details and how to listen or buy the album.

A reminder that anything reviewed on I Don't Hear A Single is highly recommended. 


No 21 : The Green Pajamas - Forever For A Little While    IDHAS Review




No 22 : Ian McNabb - Nabby Road      IDHAS Review





No 23 : Uni Boys - Do It All Next Week    IDHAS Review


 


No 24 : The Chrysanthemums - Decoy For A Dognapper!         IDHAS Review




No 25 : Nick Frater - Aerodrome Motel  IDHAS Review


 

No 26 : The Sun Sawed In 1/2 - Triptych (2CD)       IDHAS Review


  


No 27 : Steve Robinson & Ed Woltil - Shadow Play     IDHAS Review




No 28 :  Bird Streets - Lagoon    IDHAS Review


 


No 29 : Dave Cope - Killer Mods From Inner Space   IDHAS Review





No 30 : The Toms - Stereo       IDHAS Review




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Tuesday, 24 January 2023

I Don't Hear A Single Albums Of The Year 2022 : 31-40

 
This year, the standard has been the highest since IDHAS began six and a half years ago. Narrowing things down to this 100 as been really difficult. For each album, I've posted a song from it and a link to the IDHAS Review where you can find further details and how to listen or buy the album.

A reminder that anything reviewed on I Don't Hear A Single is highly recommended. 


No 31 : The Bye Bye Blackbirds - August Lightning Complex    IDHAS Review




No 32 : Emperor Penguin - Sunday Carvery        IDHAS Review





No 33 : The Summer Holiday - Acqua     IDHAS Review




No 34 : Andy Bopp - An Andy Bopp Compilation          IDHAS Review




      
No 35 : Elvis Eno - A Startling Realization Of The Obvious     IDHAS Review




No 36 : Whelligan - In The Mean Meantime      IDHAS Review


  


No 37 : Phil Yates & the Affiliates - A Thin Thread      IDHAS Review




No 38 :  Derrero - Curvy Lines    IDHAS Review


  

No 39 : Librarians With Hickeys - Handclaps & Tambourines   IDHAS Review 




 
No 40 : The Glad Machine - Hey       IDHAS Review




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