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Friday 31 March 2023

The Minks - Creatures Of Culture


Nashville's The Minks offer up their second album and it a fine listen. There will be lots of focus on Nikki Barber and rightly so. She has a great voice than can cover any genre you name, but this is very a much a band, proved by the variation displayed.

Newcomers would be forgiven, after hearing the title track, that this is gonna be an album with attitude. The song gives a sort of Garbage vibe without all the show off fuzz, but the song switches into a great Psych faze. Motorbike is also sassy but with a more Blues Rock tint. But the rest of the material here appeals to a much wider audience.

Sweet Treat is wonderful moody Americana, almost Country and I've Gotta Fly is even more melancholic, splendidly so. Yet, Take It Easy goes all UK 60s Beat. and Feelin' Good (no no that one) is driven by a storming Bass Line, heading more towards a Classic Rock area.

Another Trip is a little Fleetwood Mac heyday and Lavender is a great closer that builds and builds into a top notch Guitar solo. Berber gives the song everything and more. I'm not sure that the interludes work, they irritated a bit after my first listen as someone who listens to albums start to finish. But that is a minor digression on such an enjoyable listen

You can listen to and buy the album here.


French Alps Tiger - Switch Off All The Time


I'll say it again! Wales is on fire musically lately and despite the band name, French Alps Tiger are from Swansea. A friend mentioned them to me a few months ago, saying that they seemed a really promising shoegaze band. Now, I find Shoegaze largely boring, as interesting as errrr gazing at shoes. So I didn't pay much attention.

Then I heard Heavy completely separately and thought mm this is great, I'd like to hear more and so I got hold of the album and Wow! This is amazing. Incidentally, this is listed as an EP, but with 8 tracks at over 28 minutes, this is an album to me.

I guess you'd class this as Indie Rock, but it is far more than that. There is a wonderful vibe throughout that is more Psych meets Post Punk, a sort of Velvet Underground for da kidz of today, yet at time  it steps into the melodic, Tell A Lie, for instance, edges on Slacker and even gets near to a chorus.

Let Me Down has a wonderful street drawl and a killer riff that haunts. Punch In The Bowl has a wonderful stoner feel, meandering into your brain. Floor Is Lava gets all Garage Rock and even a tad 70s punky until a magnificent Psych Riff is revealed.

Lost Boys starts with an incessant drum beat and surf riff and comes out as something that would comfortably sit on Blur's 13 album. Gimme Yeh is slowed down and shows a completely different side to the band, all moody, a hypnotic melancholic joy of a song.

Heavy is the closer and treads into a sort of Gallagher vocal, but is far more interesting that ever came from Oasis and what a guitar sound. Switch Off All The Time is a superb, highly original, tour de force. What a storming debut album!

You can listen to and buy the album here. It is available in all formats. You can find out more about French Alps Tiger here


Thursday 30 March 2023

The Bouncing Souls - Ten Stories High


I Don't Hear A Single isn't generally in the habit of reviewing bands with 204,000 Facebook followers. It as least 200K more than our norm, but the return after 7 years of New Jersey's The Bouncing Souls is a reason to celebrate. I make this their 12th album and they are one of the best at what they do.

You could call them a proper definition of what Pop Punk should be, instead the genre gets stuck with impressions of rapid fire robotic vocals and people thinking its all kids in Baggy half pants. The genre is 3 decades and some old now and the best of the breed have survived and are much closer to Power Pop than you'd believe.

I love Pop Punk, not the dude vocalist talk singing, but the real masters of it. The Bouncing Souls fit that bill. This is loud anthemic chorus led melody, delivered at pace with an all together now vibe. It is raucous and highly addictive.

This band though have an ability to transcend the genre stereotypes. They can change direction partway through a song to make it even more catchy, take for instance Kenver and Shannon's Song. They can switch to UK New Wave (Andy And Jackie) or get close to Heavy Metal (To Be Human).

Higher Ground is even pure Power Pop. They are at their very best when they are anthemic, most notably on the superb Back To Better which reveals most about what their basic winning template is. Ten Stories High's 10 songs are over too quickly, so you have time to play the album again.

A special mention has to be made for True Believer Radio which may be the closest that The Bouncing Souls ever get to AOR without ever getting there. It may just be that Pop Punk now is just noisier Power Pop. I'm in if so. This album will certainly shake off the cobwebs. Wonderful!

You can listen to and buy the album here


Tuesday 28 March 2023

The Kynd - Timelines


The Kynd release their second album, 24 years after the first. After reforming in 2021 for live shows in celebration of the 25th Anniversary of the debut single, Egotripper and that splendid debut album, Shakedown was reissued as a Deluxe Edition.

But their plans were bigger. Having searched through the archives, the band realised how great their second album was going to be. Listening to Demos. Rehearsal Tapes and Studio Recordings, the decision was finalised to professionally record these songs at Bark Studios with Brian O’Shaughnessy.

As you might expect there are overtones of Britpop without the Mad For It nonsense. But there aren't as many as you'd expect. in fact the album sounds more like American Pop Rock. Something you might easily find on the Big Stir Label. 

This is helped considerably by Paul King's vocal which comes over as a cross between Mental As Anything and It's Karma It's Cool, maybe suited most to Power Pop. Alive, Alone is classic 60s UK Beat Pop and Work Shy crashes in as New Wave Mod Pop. Saturn Eyes has a fine sprinkling of Farfisa as does Whispers & Tones.

Spitfire Genius is classic Brit Pop, yet Homespun Genius is all Carnaby Street. Effervescent is a cracking venture into Psych Pop. Older starts like something off a Blondie 80's album before revealing a Jangle Pop cracker.

Grace is the big closer, coming in at just short of 6 minutes. Essentially, it compares to the great Pop Rock albums of the 70s, building and building to a wonderful weeping Guitar run. Timelines sounds more like the now and newly recorded, deserves to be treated as such. Highly Recommended!

You can listen to and buy the album here.


Monday 27 March 2023

Schizo Fun Addict - Love Your Enemies


Doing 31 Reviews in 31 Days allows me to venture away from the core of I Don't Hear A Single into things that I listen to when I'm away from the riffs and choruses that inhabit the majority of space here. It is also offers an opportunity to mention one of the great record labels of our times.

I would never call Schizo Fun Addict an easy listen, they are far too varied for that. Interesting sounds patronising, so lets call them wonderful. They are a band that can switch from a sort of Nico and The Velvet Underground to Bananarama in the blink of an eye.

They can do incredible 80s Pop, yet are just at home with deep Psych and that is the joy of being a fan. The three opening songs here sound like a completely different band to much of what follows. The twee Dream Pop of Forever Before, the UK 60s Beat of High School High and the Jangle Pop of Fate Chaser are all absolute tip Top Poppity Pop.

But it is what follows that has always appealed most to me. Outrun is atmospherically moody, magnificently so and Subway Lillies could be on the soundtrack of some obscure 60s French Film Noir, mixing Psych to a Bossa Nova beat.

Meet You In The Wind is melancholy to a big Drum Beat (slightly Burundi) and Activate is both Avant Garde yet incredibly melodic. Just waiting till you hear what they do to Houses Of The Holy's Over The Hills And Far Away, acoustic it isn't, it is inspired. 

It is also lovely to hear the excellent Lounge Bar Orchestra on the all too short lounge music of Reprise. Schizo Fun Addict frequent a planet that is all of their own, no mediocrity allowed. Special mention to Fruits De Mer too, a label that refuses to be ordinary and caters for a much wider range of music than it is given credit for.

You can listen to and buy the album here. You can buy the LP (Vinyl sounds so ridiculous) from FdM here, it is splendidly presented.


Listening To This Week


Listening To This Week is now on its anticipated regular Monday slot. 20 Songs this week, so I'll shut up to give you more chance to listen.

We added "Listening To This Week" to I Don't Hear A Single, it was to allow more single songs to appear here as IDHAS is primarily a home for Album Reviews. The IDHAS 10 Song Mix consists of songs that we discover ourselves. 

The addition of something that covered submissions seemed another way to cover tracks as I felt it was impossible to devote Reviews to one song. It was also a way to discover artists that we might have missed and we have. Some of the songs we have published will eventually lead to Album Reviews from the same artists.

So I thought this weekly feature may be the best thing to tell you about these songs. This weekly fayre is solely for submissions, not the usual stuff that we dig out ourselves. This is a fine and varied selection of songs. Please investigate the artists further. All links open in new windows to aid scrolling.

Late Check Out - Neil

Novelty Island - GoGo

Lipstereo - Push The Tide

Rival Waves - Meaningless Chaos

Carrying Torches - Small Talk

Augmented Hearts - Senses

Audio Drones - Technicolour

James Blonde - FOMO

Disconnectica - Somewhere Always

Vallory Falls - Rosie

Ray Romijn - Butterflies

The Underclass - Time and Fate

Wet Methods - Too Far Gone

Adam Camm - Abandoned

Sam Saunders - To Waste All Your Love

Light Atomic - LOVE BOMB

Crystal Ledge - Missing Home

Allapartus - It's Not That Bad

Milktuth - Take Ten

Moses Mikheyev - Whatever You Want (Keeping the Neighbors Awake)

Sadcult - Rain

Jake Thistle - The Dreamer


Sunday 26 March 2023

Friendly Antenna - Hello


What an absolutely splendid way to spend your Sunday evening. Hello is wonderfully gentle Neo Psychedelic Pop, beautiful in its formation and sound. 6 songs in just over 17 minutes, so more than an EP, so we will call it a mini album.

Friendly Antenna is Stockholm's Jonas Lundqvist and his vocal suits the material perfectly. As with any great Psych Pop confection, there are sounds coming from everything, unexpected ingredients that light up the compositions.

This is especially true on Walking On The Sun which is purposely a little chaotic, a sort of raiding the instrument cupboard affair. Head Upon Head is classic 60s Psych Pop that borders on Toytown. A ballad for the adventurous.

5000 Light Years gets a bit funky, but in a spacey way. yet Falling For UFO's picks up the pace, but the real stand out. Hey Ho Trip And Go which is poptastic, a wonderful ditty. The feel of the whole thing is so authentic. You imagine that is something from 1967 recently discovered. Highly Recommended!

You can listen to and buy Hello here.


Saturday 25 March 2023

Slouch - Slouch


Here is yet another Canadian triumph. Slouch are a trio from Ontario and they make a fair amount of noise at times, yet there is an ability to be really gentle and in between, there is some fine Melodic Pop Rock, the type that you often witness here.

I suppose you would call them Alt Rock, but there's also a lot of Slacker Rock about them. They also come across as a noisier Feeder. I really wonder why the UK doesn't produce this type of band anymore. There is, of course, a wave of Guitar bands here at the moment, but you just wish they had the balls of these three.

For all the melodic joy that is evident here, I have to say that it is the noisier offerings that appeal to me most. Clean Up Your Act is a great opener that must translate brilliantly Live. MODF is great chaotic fuzzed up sludge and all the better for it.

But I doubt many have come up with as great as Not Disappointed. It is splendid Indie Rock as catchy as catchy can be. Way She Falls follows a similar route, wonderfully melodic with a corking Guitar solo, it reminds me of some of the better Glasgow bands of the 90s who didn;t want to write Dance songs.

There is also a tender side to the trio, Dear To Me could be slowed down Britpop and when it breaks out, it doesn't go mad, keeping the melody close, holding fort until the power trio mode kicks in. It is a fine sampler to help understand the different strands of the band's output.

Small Dreams goes even further, full on Acoustic, almost Folk, the exact opposite of Slouch's template. The album provides the gritty, in your face songs that are the band's trademark sound. But there is much more that reveals the band to be no one trick pony.

You can listen to and buy the album here.


Friday 24 March 2023

Chris Church - Radio Transient


Have you got a minute to talk about Chris Church? He is possibly the most covered artist on I Don't Hear A Single and the only one who has been written about by all three of us. There is a reason for this. He never makes the same album twice, but always comes up with something that is more than interesting.

This is so much so that if you listened to just one album of his, you would get the wrong impression, love it or not. Over recent times we've had albums of Power Pop, Indie Rock, Lo-Fi and out and out Raw Rock. Radio Transient is probably his poppermost yet.

I have to admit to being a massive fan of Limitations Of Source Tape, my old Power Pop fascination won't let go, but this is even more accessible. At times you taken into a land of Hall and Oates and Todd Rundgren. There's plenty of jangle too. 

You will already have been given a hint with the wonderful Gong 'Til We Go and its hilarious video, well if you though that was catchy, just wait until you hear One More Chance To Get Over You, a killer song that underlines that you don't need pace to Jangle and adds a wonderful Guitar solo from Bill Lloyd.

Already In It is very much in the Pop Rock territory of Rundgren with its driving Bass line. Church has also not lost his lyrical bite either. I Think I Think I Like You opens with the line "You say you like me too much, well I do too."

I Don't Wanna Dance Wanna Dance With Me opens with "Every time I make it to the floor You strike a juxtapose. You’re in the corner with your too fast friends, worried about each others’ clothes." and again what a driving bass line.

It is not all Pop Rock though. There's a great vocal arrangement on Gotta Go, Gotta Ramble, a song that you can imagine on a mid 80s Film Soundtrack. Far Too Late has that 80s feel too, a Chris Church ballad, whatever next? 

But every Chris Church throws up a surprise and this time it is GCRT which has a real urgency with its rapid fire vocal. I'm also reminded a little of Alex Lifeson's later 80's Rush work instrumentally. It is an unusual opener, very 80s US New Wave, but highly effective.

There is also sterling drum work from Nick Bertling as ever and more angelic vocals from Gretchen's Wheel's Lindsay Murray. Isn't it time for a new album Lindsay? It is especially wonderful to hear Church jangling again.

Radio Transient is Chris Church's most accessible album yet, splendidly produced by Lori Franklin. It may just turn him into a Pop Star. Then again, his next album will probably be his solo Prog album. I doubt you will hear anything better this year. Highly Recommended.

You can listen to and buy the album here. It is also available at the Big Stir Records site here and all good record stores etc.


Thursday 23 March 2023

Mr! Mouray - What's The Stouray


Mr Mouray! are new to me, but Jaimie Vernon isn't. Jaimie, is a fine fellow writer, record label owner and inhabits the same music spheres as I do. He is a great, maybe the greatest, supporter of Canadian music and he is the bass player in Mr! Mouray.

So when he asked me to have a listen to this, to be honest, I wanted to like it and I certainly do. This is splendid 70s Pop Rock with melodic Guitar Pop at its heart. There is a wealth of variety but at the album's heart is wonderfully played chorus led joy.

Pretty In Ink is a great opener. The verse sounds a lot like John Dunbar and his John Sally Ride adventures. There's a lot in it, Riffs coming from all and surprise directions. It leaves a lot to live up to for the rest album, thankfully What's The Stouray doesn't falter.

Bromley Trolley is a mix of 60s UK Beat and 70s New Wave and Victoria's Park is wonderful Psych Pop. Whose Paying Now? is great Power Pop and Figure It Out even ventures into Merseybeat. You sense that Cats Can't Fly is the single, it presses all the right buttons.

There are two songs that particularly stand out for me. The Battle Of Agincourt borders on Prog and is certainly more progressive than what else is on show. Then there is the magnificent sprawling closer, Spider Monkeys On Mars. Almost 6 minutes of excellence.

A lot has been made of the recently defunct The Lickerish Quartet, but anything that they came up with is nowhere near as good as this. It is even a little Glam era Bowie. This quartet caught me completely by surprise. I am absolutely hooked.

You can listen to and buy the album here.


Andy Bopp - Space Camp EP

Andy Bopp is such a talent. He could just sit back and release different versions of his wonderful back catalogue or just throw away similar template songs that people would love with little effort on his part, but he doesn't, he is prepared to stretch himself and hopefully take fans along for the ride.

He seemingly left behind the Power Pop fraternity with an unwillingness to rewrite copy Myracle Brah songs and this marks him out as one of the most interesting artists around. With two more albums in the works for this year, hopefully this will be the year that everyone gets on board.

The Space Camp EP is probably his poppiest offering yet. Five songs, every one offering something different. The lead track, Same Old Love Song is really close to Modern Pop until it breaks out. Quite close to the intentions and vibe of the Maker album, but still offers up a more traditional Bopp chorus and solo.

Roger gets all piano pop in quirky Village Green style, a Glam riff dominates, bordering on 60s quirky Pop. Poison Girl heads into classic UK 70s Pop Rock with a storming an appropriate guitar solo. Princess Faith is splendidly anthemic and what a sing along chorus enhanced by some stunning Guitar work.

King Of The Day is an alternate version to the single and recent appearance on that excellent compilation. This version is an ace popped up version,  but I do miss the Guitar Twang on the original, However this would be a chart hit in more decent times.

I seem to spend my time banging my head against a brick wall in frustration at great artists who don't get the attention they deserve whilst mediocre peers or pretenders do. This month, I look at the 10 most popular posts on IDHAS thus far and there is some real hope in their variety. Andy Bopp should be a name on the tip of everyone's tongue. I'm doing my bit. How about you?

You can listen to and buy the EP here


Wednesday 22 March 2023

IDHAS Ten Songs Mix 50

The IDHAS 10 Song Mix reaches the half century with a new logo courtesy of Mr Rex Broome. We did think of doing something special for No 50, but then thought sod them. A treat 'em mean and keep 'em keen sort of thing. You've had a logo, now go and do your homework.

After Volume 49 had another clean sweep of the 5 Mixcloud Global Charts it qualifies, including a No 2 in the Power Pop Chart and No 5 in the Pop Rock Chart, we hope to continue our run. 10 splendid songs in 37 minutes for your aural pleasure. Here is the playlist of the ten songs this week :

01 Blueburst - Vanish

02 the black watch - off you go redux!

03 The Nude Party - Word Gets Around

04 Movie Jail - Porous Rock

05 Bottlecap Mountain - Canoe

06 The Whiffs - I Didn't Need You To Know

07 John Howard - No Return

08 The Crystal Teardrop - Nine Times Nine

09 Bitter Defeat - Pressure

10 Singing Lungs - Around Again

IDHAS Ten Songs Mix 50


Tuesday 21 March 2023

The Whiffs - Scratch 'N' Sniff


Kansas City's The Whiffs may be from Kansas City, but at times the quartet sound pure Brit. I compared their debut album, Another Whiff, to being a Stiff Records release. For their second album, they are much more UK New Wave. 

Scratch 'N' Stiff isn't as loose as the debut, but it has lost none of the hooks and the more polished result brings them out even more. This is a wall of memorable choruses that remind you how much you love Power Pop, despite the fan noise around the genre.

There are also big hints of Glam Rock, particularly on I Didn't Need You To Know. The Glitter Band springs to mind on more than one occasion. That's not to say there are no American influences, Won't Go Away is great Jangle Pop and Don't Know What Else To Do could be The Plimsouls.

Yet Oh Well could be Brit Pop and Romeo could be The Speedways, although its fair to say that The Whiffs are at least the equals of Matt Julian's lot. Verlaine even hints at the Garage roots of that wonderful debut album. 

From the opening bars of the opener, It's Not Over, you sense what you are in for and The Whiffs don't disappoint. Riffs that make you want to air guitar and oh those choruses! The song that really catches you out most is the wonderful Pretender, it is anthemic and another song that makes you want to get the Glitter out and what a solo!

A second album is often said to be difficult with the first having bags of songs built up in the years waiting for a deal. There is no such difficulty here. Power Pop can make you glow on the saddest of days. Scratch 'N' Sniff will do that in spades. Highly Recommended!

You can listen to and buy the album here.


Monday 20 March 2023

Listening To This Week


Listening To This Week is now on its anticipated regular Monday slot. 17 songs this week, our maximum limit, to get your lugholes active.

We added "Listening To This Week" to I Don't Hear A Single, it was to allow more single songs to appear here as IDHAS is primarily a home for Album Reviews. The IDHAS 10 Song Mix consists of songs that we discover ourselves. 

The addition of something that covered submissions seemed another way to cover tracks as I felt it was impossible to devote Reviews to one song. It was also a way to discover artists that we might have missed and we have. Some of the songs we have published will eventually lead to Album Reviews from the same artists.

So I thought this weekly feature may be the best thing to tell you about these songs. This weekly fayre is solely for submissions, not the usual stuff that we dig out ourselves. This is a fine and varied selection of songs. Please investigate the artists further. All links open in new windows to aid scrolling.

( Apologies! I am having real trouble with the Font Typeface on the song titles this week.)

Buddie - We'll Never Break

Inner Circle Club - Jetpack Dracula

The Pretty Flowers - Baby Food

The Sylvia Platters - Blue Juniper (Live at Malibu Sound)

Daymian Rhodes + Ben Boon - DOOM

Escher - Apocalypse

Kicking - Cheeks

Cashier - Fear of The Past

Scoopski - Double

By Far - Bittersweet

Animals On TV - MTV 2095

Johnny Cisneros - MOTIONS

Don't Watch The News - Nowhere To Go

The Great Gray Funk - Faceless

Stephen Chopek - Five Green Queens And Jean 

Kayls - On The Rocks

Super Jelly - Jitter Bombs


Sunday 19 March 2023

the black watch - future strangers


We are long admirers here of the black watch. It is their way they manage to blend a sort of 80s Indie Pop with Psych. Indeed, if you isolated John Andrew Fredrick's vocal, you could have him as a Smash Hits cover star.

They not only live in musical world that is largely their own, but Fredrick's gang are fast becoming a friends of I Don't Here A Single meeting. The magnificent Andy Creighton's guitar lights up the creations and we wait for a new album from The World Record, growing more and more impatient by the month.

The Neverland Of Spoken Things remains an amazing song since its EP Release and may be the very best thing on the album. Gretchen's Wheel's Lindsay Murray's angelic voice adds so much to the song. It is also noted that our Sugarplastic friend Ben Eshbach is also here with strings and orchestral arrangements.

This album is probably the most 80s vibe that we've had in a long while from the band. The title track is so spaced out that you believe the band are stoned. Wish I Had Something has a driving Bass line and a slight electronic feel and Fredrick's vocal not a million miles away from a Thompson Twin.

I was always attracted to the band by the Psych and They May Be Grey fits that role perfectly. Off You Go Redux  is Psych Pop of the highest order, an absolute gem. If this were the 80s, Nothing Left To Say would be an absolute smash.

There is even a wonderful closing Acoustic beauty in Julie 3 with a beautiful orchestral arrangement that reveals the beauty of Fredrick's voice.  This album sounds like a proper joined up affair. More thematic, more of a soundscape. Definitely an album to be listened to in track order and in full.

You can listen to and buy the album here


IDHAS And Streaming


This isn't a piece to go into the pros and cons of the streaming sites. People know my thoughts, but I want to explain why I Don't Hear A Single doesn't use links to the likes of Spotify and Apple Music. It is because we have always been primarily about the music and the musician. I understand that people may use it as a radio station and that is valid, but like any FM, Digital or Internet Station, it is hard to get your music played and listened to. Spotify is like anything on the internet, you have to know what you are looking for, so how do you discover anything new?

There are algorithms that pick up what you listen to and suggest other things, but you need to loads of songs so that that algorithm picks up on your listening habits more accurately. Listeners to the type of music we like are not always habitual users, more looking for something that hits the spot and playing that regularly. People think that I am on an earner from Bandcamp. I earn nothing from music, quite the reverse. I use Bandcamp because it is a place where artists can build an identity, have their music listened to and heaven forbid, maybe even earn some money. 

On the subject of algorithms, Bandcamp's algorithm has my tastes to a tee. Yes, I use it a lot, but I get a weekly email recommending five albums and without fail, I either know about them or they interest me. On Artist's own pages, they can recommend five albums and so like Blog Rolls it directs people to other similar artists. IDHAS is built around my own tastes, not all of them, so there is a fair chance that you may like something that I like. It is a bit more than other places who concentrate on say Power Pop or Indie Pop, but it still covers a very limited range. This can filter out the obvious genres that we don't cover.

Although our following is looked upon as large, we are in a limited area. But with the followers that we have, there is a chance that an artist will be picked up by other writers, DJs, record labels etc. I look upon us as a door opener. Artists are never going to get thousands of listeners, but as others pick up on the music, it can grow and grow. I am told we are influencers, a horrible word, which we are certainly not. But we are also not a place that relies on PR or music that everyone gets sent. Most of our time is spent looking for new music that is largely undiscovered by artists who couldn't afford PR or Pluggers.

I do get very frustrated by artists who don't give themselves a social media artist page, Bandcamp or internet home, because what IDHAS does is useless to them if potential listeners have nowhere to find you. Likewise when we link to other Blogs who don't link back, because it is about giving an artiste every chance. In an ideal world, artists would make some money from the interest we garner. Many don't, but at least we give them a chance. I just don't get that musicians are happy with plays or made up charts. I want them to be known for their music. 

So if you are looking for others to hear your music, the streaming sites are easy to use and give you a small chance of being heard, but don't you want like minded individuals to hear your music. Might there be a chance of making a little money to record the next album? There are many grifters and chancers out there, so why not rely on what you alone can do? Without paying anyone.


Saturday 18 March 2023

Local Drags - Mess Of Everything


Lanny Durbin underlines how great classic Power Pop can be when offered up by someone who knows what he is doing. Durbin across Starter Jackets and Local Drags never ever fails to deliver the hooks and choruses that are a pre-requisite of the genre in a beautifully arranged and produced format.

Local Drags is his solo project and he as always nails it across all areas. At pace, he compares with the likes of Lannie Flowers in his ability to not miss a beat. On the slower songs, he compares to Jeff Whalen with a vocal that never makes the song mawkish, too many do the latter.

Aloe is a riff driven crackerjack of a song, a gripping riff, a chorus to just applaud and a guitar break that is just the right length. On The Side is 80s Power Pop equal to the mighty Tommy Keene and Totally Down just jangles you into submission before the awesome solo kicks in.

Good For Nothin' reveals Durbin's other side, a melancholic acoustic joy that builds and builds into a fine singalong and even gets a little Americana towards the end. Heard About It is probably what Local Drags do best, a pacy riff driven with a great twanging solo.

The closer, Better Now is a little heavier sounding than what goes before, it reminds me a lot of The Speedways. It even feels looser than the other nine songs, but the constant building up just leaves you wanting more. 

A lot gets said about Power Pop, a lot of it uncomplimentary. It may do people well to bear in mind that is essentially happy songs about unhappy relationships. Power Pop should put a smile on your face and a spring in your step. Local Drags are Power Pop. Stop here first before you have any misconceptions and how great a listen, it can be.

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


Inner Circle Club - Do-It-Yourself Propaganda


What a revelation this debut is. It also underlines the problem with genre labelling. It is as it says on the tin, Indie Rock, but there is a lot more here than that and if a potential listener sees that tag, they may think of many things that are not a bit like this.

I'm not having a go at tags, people have to know at least a little of what the album may be. But maybe it is time to make subgenres more of a thing. A headline tag with secondary tags to direct the lazy or overwhelmed potential listener nearer to the heart of the matter.

Where as this is a real rockathon, there are ventures into Psych, Prog and Hard Rock without ever losing the duo's identity and ability to hook you completely with riffs and even singalong material. At time the vibe is a little Rush's Counterparts, although the songs are nothing like that album, instrumentally they are in similar territory at times.

Do-It-Yourself Propaganda is a heavier listen than some may be used to, but you know how we like to branch off and there is a lot to enjoy here if you open your ears fully. Indeed, on something like the magnificent Planet Destroyer, Led Zeppelin springs to mind.

Jetpack Dracula has a pounding bass line that just grips you that edges on Prog, Guitar wise. Bump In The Night flirts with 60s Psych, Hawkwind even, it is very spacey. Doomed even sounds far nearer to Glam Rock than you would think. Maybe if Black Sabbath had glittered up and wore platforms, they would have sounded like this.

Inner Circle Club is very Space Rock led, but also has a foot in the heavier sound of both 70s Classic Rock and a band like Illusions Of Reality. The only time that Inner Circle come close to the resurging Guitar band revival is on Cost You Everything, a song that shows off an unexpected versatility. 

It really is hard to believe that all this is performed by just two musicians. Atlanta's Nick Magliochetti and TJ Nickerson. The sound and production is massive. It will be interesting to see if there could be a live outing, because this is certainly an album that deserves a live audience. Highly Recommended!

You can listen to and buy the album here.


Friday 17 March 2023

King Tuff - Smalltown Stardust


Kyle Thomas's King Tuff made his reputation at the noisier end of Garage Rock. There were always signs of a much mellower individual underneath, but these songs seemed just an album one off to show he could do something different.

There were signs of a change on the last album when a focus on melody was managing to push the door open a little more, but with Smalltown Stardust the circle is complete. This is a joyous, retro album, very 70s and it is frighteningly good.

So much so that although King Tuff has a larger presence, popular wise, than I Don't Hear A Single covers, it is absolutely essential that others listen to it. For example, Portrait Of God could be something off a Bolan album or even UK cult hero, Comfort. 

The title track is wonderful pastoral Psych Pop and Tell Me is very much in classic Singer Songwriter territory, Piano Pop without too much piano. Rock River is a catch all "altogether now" 70s Chart Pop and Pebbles In A Stream is top notch Psych Folk.

The Bandits Of Blue Sky could be from one of those great UK Pop Rocks that sold masses when they stopped being singles and filler and became proper thought out LPs. Some of the orchestral arrangements are jaw dropping great particularly on the 60s Pastoral Psych of Always Find Me and the opener, Love Letters To Plants.

There is a real beauty to Smalltown Stardust, never more so than on the haunting closer, The Wheel when the lyrics expose an auto biographical feel. This album is the sound of s musician back in love with his music, maybe even the real Kyle Thomas. An absolutely wonderful listen!

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


Bottlecap Mountain - O! Fantastik Melancholy


I have become quite a fanboy of Bottlecap Mountain for no other reason than what a fine band they are. I'm not a great mingler with musicians, I'd have no time for reviews etc if I was. Since I stepped back a lot from Social Media, it has been even less. So music now is even more on what I discover myself, but there is the happy sound of a siren when returning heroes continue to deliver.

This is the Austin Texas quartet's sixth album and I came in at album Number 4. The IDHAS Review for Dismayland is here and the review for Fib Factory here. Both albums revealed an ability to offer variety without ever losing the quality.

Essentially an Indie Pop Rock band, they had no problem in stepping into Americana, Rock or Power Pop. Whilst doing this the lyrics were much deeper than you would expect and there was a social conscience that was always there in the background and sometimes right up front.

I hear something different here and I suspect it is down to natural progression. There is a much Rockier side to the album. They've always had this, but it has usually involved a looseness, here it is much more focussed without ever losing what the band are good at.

Fear not, there is nothing here to frighten the horses, there is plenty of what you might expect, but the departures invite even more applause at the range they can cover. My Little Demon is a wonderful joining of late 60s Rock and more than a dash of Metal with a Farfisa fighting to get in. It is superb.

The Ground even gets into Dylan And The Band territory yet still contains a wonderful piano accompaniment and you sense Blue Collar Rock fighting to get a turn without succeeding. Unicorn has a driving Bass line that dominates an awesome slice of 70s Mid West Rock. 

But there is plenty of beauty on show. Out On The Road is built on a riff that hooks you and contains a fine string arrangement. Ascension is built around a top notch motormouth delivery, but drenched in a meandering Americana melancholy.

Then there is the Pop Rock and probably the stand out song here, Canoe. It has a great Pop Vocal, matched by a booming riff and a surprisingly ace twee keyboard riff that breaks in. War Has Begun is short, heartfelt and charming despite its message

Dream On Come On is just about as Pop as Bottlecap Mountain will ever get and Astral Funk does indeed get funky.  Resurrection Blues is haunting and lonesome, a song that you expect to be sung in desert isolation by a cactus tree. Highly Recommended!

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


Thursday 16 March 2023

Bitter Defeat - Terrific Effort EP


New Zealand used to be known as the home of Indie Pop, you may even call it Twee at times but all that has all changed over recent years. There is now a wave of melodic, predominantly Guitar Pop, but certainly interesting sounds coming from the two islands. 

Welcome to Bitter Defeat, a five piece from Hamilton, who offer up melodic Guitar Pop Rock that lifts the soul. All four songs follow different avenues without ever looking as though this is an obvious effort to show versatility and variety.

Sugar Blind is great Power Pop and certainly knows which buttons to press providing a cracking example of what is great about the genre. Yet, Falling Down is a much rockier affair. It is an urgent form of Brit Pop with a blistering riff throughout.

Pressure is simply wonderful. A vibe of 60s Beat at its heart, but with an additional feel of Psych Pop and a vocal that could grace 70s Pop Rock. Waft is a splendid instrumental that just rocks your socks off with its mixture of Fuzz and out and out Classic Rock. This is a magnificent EP, you just wish there was more. Hopefully, we may get an album in the near future. 

You can listen to and buy the EP here.


Wednesday 15 March 2023

Peter Hall - About Last Night


Peter Hall's debut album, Light The Stars was in the IDHAS Best Albums Of The Year, hitting the Top 40. You can read the review here. About Last Night continues and builds on that success with an outstanding Singer Songwriter offering.

Everybody these days wants immediacy in their music, great today, forgotten tomorrow. when I've always felt that the songs that stay with you far longer are the ones that stand repeated listens, growing more and more until you realise that this may be with you forever.

About Last Night is also an ideal example of how great the album format still is. We don't need to be bombarded with playlists when a complete listen to the work of one artist's work leaves us far more fulfilled. This is an album that does just that, it is Pop Rock of the highest quality.

Hall's gentle vocal isn't that suited to the up and at 'em, so the concentration is on beautifully arranged melodic joy, splendidly sung with a chorus hook. This gentleness doesn't mean the songs are boring with killer guitar solos on the likes of Waiting For Nothing and the superb Nothing Happens.

There is also room for the upbeat Click Your Fingers, a real jaunty melodic joy of a song with additional fine vocal harmonies. The title track opens proceedings with a Jangle and a hook that just grabs you. Both of these songs are highlights.

However the real star of the show is the awesome The Autumn Stone. A really moody melancholic belter of a song that adds a lounge, almost jazz instrumental interlude. It is like heartbreak put to music. About Last Night is the finest example of how quality out bids all. Highly Recommended!

You can listen to and buy the album here.