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Sunday 31 December 2023

Shplang - Thank You, Valued Customer


It feels fitting to end the year with a great Pop Rock album, although there are more reviews to come in early January. It also fitting that the year ends with Big Stir who have had another productive year and could very well have saved the best until last.

The new Shplang album is absolutely wonderful and I can't think of a better album that explains what IDHAS does. It crosses genres with ease, offers big variety and is not afraid to step into the left field. That variety is what sets it apart from many albums in the genre.

There is an incredible wit and the directions taken are both intelligent and wacky. This is no ordinary album. It is at its best when it takes even more chances. It reminds me of the great Gravitas Pop of the great Indie writers such as Partridge and Hitchcock. There are so many ideas on show.

Songs like She, The Fair Bag Girl and Baby Hobo are both bizarre, zany and brilliant. The latter even enters Lounge. Das Diddley starts all Bo and then rips into Kraftwerk and adds some Prog Synth. It shouldn't work, but it does.

Little Mushroom Men From Mars is simply splendid Psych Pop and I'd love to know what goes through the band's minds, because these songs lyrically are like no other. They are like dreams transcribed on the written page.

There is even time to fit in more straight forward numbers. Everyone Can Change is an outstanding ballad with a killer Guitar solo. Understood may be the best Power Pop song that you will hear all year and adds Brass to the mix. Look Me Over is similarly great Pop Rock with hints of Psych.

This has been a really good year for Pop Rock, particularly the second half. But I am certain that you will hear nothing that compares to this. Wonderfully written, completely off its head and just jaw dropping in its scope. Superb!

You can listen to and buy the album here.


Sprinter - Sprinter


For all the attention that Sydney and Melbourne get, we've always had a keen eye on what is happening in Perth and most of the things we've enjoyed most have come from that coastal city and Sprinter are the latest example.

The quartet specialise on a brand of Psych Rock that edges towards both Pop Rock and Classic Rock, incredibly melodic where songs are built on wonderful soundscapes that just grab you, particularly instrumentally where the vibes just ooze out.

I've seen them compared to King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, which thankfully I don't really see. I have become more than a little bored with the album a weak mediocrity of that particular band. Sprinter are much more melodic, louder and far less pretentious.

The arrangements are big and bold with plenty of outstanding riffs and the band cross genres. The standout is probably Petty Pistol which gets more than a little Blue Oyster Cult, but there are delights over the place.

Evil Wizard, for instance, treads heavily into Modern Prog, splendidly so. Zipper borders on Pop Rock and the slightly gentler direction works just as well as does the addition of synth. The Whip could even be described as New Wave Psych and again built on a haunting riff. It is an absolutely killer song.

A big production also adds to the strength of the nine songs making this feel like a proper album, none of your playlist rubbish. This will appeal to followers who like things a little louder, a little more Rock if you like. It is an absolutely storming listen.

You can listen to the album here. You can also listen via these links.


Equipment - Alt. Account


My great friend Dennis Pilon's recent two Record Round Ups on Poprock Record have been excellent and inspiring, particularly his praise of this beauty. Toledo Ohio's are a vehicle for Nick Zander's songs and what songs they are.

Dennis mentioned that the album is Pop Punk adjacent and to some extent it is. That Pop Punk vibe on Hot Young Doctors and Minnow is obvious, but like the best of that genre, the Pop and Rock influence is most prevalent.

The songs at times sound like a rocked up Fountains Of Wayne, whilst also being a little Jeff Rodenstock in his melodic mode when the shoutiness is put to one side. The arrangements are wondrous, built on big riffs and great vocal interplay.

Those arrangements twist and turn unexpectedly and this just makes the listen even greater. Zander's lyrics are exceptional, weighty and have a big dollop of wit and self depreciation. But it is the sheer catchiness of the songs that grab you, vocally and instrumentally. 

The choruses are massive and the riffs inventive. The latter hook you completely. Alt. Account straddles Power Pop, Slacker Rock and more. There is a 90s feel at times, but the best of that decade. Too many of that type of album found it hard to keep you interested throughout, almost killer and filler.

This is another reminder to reviewers not to deliver their Best Of Years too early. Equipment could be my new favourite band. Although different in material, they remind me a lot of when I first heard Buddie. The album is jawdroppingly great. Wonderful!

You can listen to and buy the album here.


Thursday 28 December 2023

Poppy Robbie - Neighborhood Beautification Commission


Eugene Oregon's Robbie Phillips is Poppy Robbie and the album opens with one of the finest Attractions Era Costello sounding songs that I have heard in while in Heartbreak Scenario,  That is just one of the delights on show here.

From the Jangle Pop of Homesteader to the Americana drawl of Museum Of Dust, not a moment is wasted. Quite Alright is wonderful 12 String Power Pop that gets Pettyesque and Temporary Forever comes in at 6 minutes, part Brinsley Schwarz, part West Coast Outlaw Rock.

There is also a splendid sense of humour in abundance. Songs like Mr Pessimistic, a moody, almost bitter target that broods and the magnificently titled Robert Pollard Trading Card Collection, which as you might expect is very Guided By Voices.

Giving Up The Joneses is part Billy Bragg vibe mixed with a great Indie Pop sound of the 80s. Distracted is even almost a ballad, very Singer Songwriter in feel. The title track is another 6 minute affair, a real storytelling joy with Phillips showing his lyrical adeptness and has a wonderful breakout.

Neighborhood Beautification Commission is great Pop Rock with the emphasis more on Pop. Beautifully written and melodic, the album will be appreciated by IDHAS followers. There is a big Costello feel in the vocal, but this seems in no way deliberate. You can't change the way you sound and the material suits this impressively.

You can listen to and buy the album here.


Wednesday 27 December 2023

British Lions - British Lions Roaring Edition (2CD)


After Ian Hunter had left Mott The Hoople with Mick Ronson, the remaining band members formed Mott, adding Nigel Benjamin on vocals and Ray Major on Guitar. They recorded two albums and they were really good. Very different to the Hunter led band, but Drive On in particular was a great listen. Major was a fine guitarist and Morgan Fisher is never less than interesting.

They were fairly well received and sold quite well in the UK, but faired badly in the States. Nigel Benjamin was replaced by John Fiddler of Medicine Head fame. Morgan Fisher had been working with the last incarnation of Medicine Head and suggested Fiddler joined British Lions. 

The debut album here was released as Punk and New Wave had took off in 1978 and did little in the UK, but did surprisingly well in the States, a complete reversal of the Mott days. A cracking version of Garland Jeffrey's Wild In The Streets certainly helped.

Songs such as One More Chance To Run and Eat The Rich are equally excellent. The band were aided by an excellent Live reputation which is revealed here with the inclusion of the 11 live songs from the Old Waldorf show.

It is also worth noting the inclusion of Pretty Vacant in a medley. Wild In The Streets is really anthemic live. Also added are 4 demos. The follow up, Trouble With Women was turned down by both the UK and US labels, eventually getting a UK Release on Cherry Red in 1980.

Despite containing the excellent title track. Trouble With Women is a much heavier affair and the album to have is this one. Prof. Stoned has done a magnificent remaster of the album and British Lions are another fine addition to Roger Houdaille's Think Like A Key label.

You can buy the album everywhere and particularly directly from the TLAK site here.


Monday 25 December 2023

Mythical Motors - The Sunrise Registry


 I had planned to review June's Join Her Circus album, but on getting the artwork, I noticed that this had been released in September and so it makes more sense to go with the current one. The last time I wrote about Mythical Motors was the album prior to Join Her Circus, A Rare Look Ahead.

You can read that review here. Mythical Motors get compared to Guided By Voices a lot and there are similarities between Robert Pollard and Matt Addison. Both are charmingly lo-fi and you can add similar prolific tendencies. 

But Addison treads a different line, using Power Pop as his base, but willing to tread further afield. When he enters Psych Pop, he does it with verve. Take for instance the magnificent Roll The Distant Dice here, a song that would grace any album in that genre. 

Violet In The Known World is hippy trippy Orgone Box. But Tuesday With Light is gentle Jangle Pop and the title track is low key West Coast Guitar Pop, all harmony and melody. Arthur The Great is a wonderful closer, sparse, but incredibly effective.

The Power Pop is never far away though, All Long Gone, Lilian Midnight and It Belongs To Us All are splendid examples. Unified Lightning Theory is even in The Who territory. Very Pete Townsend. The whole album is a joy. There are no need for complexities, when you have all this melody at your fingertips.

There is still very much a say what you wanna say and get off feel, but Matt Addison remains one of the great songwriters, probably the best you've never heard of. The talent just oozes out of him and The Sunshine Registry is yet another magnificent addition to his catalogue.

You can listen to and buy the album here and maybe even grab Join Her Circus at the same time.


The Deflators - Check Your Pressure


A cracking 5 Track debut from New Jersey Trio, The Deflators. They specialise in a sort of 70s Garage Power Pop that borders on both melodic Punk and the late 70s UK New Wave, although the sound is very American.

Built on big riffs and a really tight Rhythm section, there is an up and at 'em feel without ever getting in your face, largely due to that melody.  Clever Girl is the stand out with its killer riff and its heartfelt lyrics. But the full range of what they do is across the EP.

I Need To Know is very UK Glam Rock with a hint of Punk, Guitar wise. Liar Liar is CBGB's Garage Rock and It's So Sad even treads into the NWOBH and does it incredibly well. SSLM closes everything with another fine affair that sounds more 90s than what's gone before.

You used to hear this type of EP regularly, but seem to hear little these days. Bands seemed to go for either a harder or softer sound as they developed. That makes this EP even more special. A really enjoyable listen that brings the past to the present.

You can listen to and buy the album here.


Listening To This Week Playlist

22 songs this week. There is no song preference in track order, just what we think flows.  I do hope that you can listen to all the songs across this week. The last listed is as great as the first and you have all week to listen.

This weekly playlist is solely for submissions, not the usual stuff that we dig out ourselves. All embeds open in new windows to aid scrolling. Links to the artists will also appear on I Don't Hear A Single Social Media sites over the next 24 hours. This will help you to discover more about the artists who appear here.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all!

Mo Troper - Not Ready Yet


True Stars - Smile 

The Freeloaders - Get off The Train

Mythical Motors - Unified Lightning Theory

The Telephone Numbers - Weird Sisters

Moonbeam Machine - lonely paper airplane

Trout Club - Mr. Mystery

Blue Beam - Going Nowhere

Blake - Solomon's Tump (2023 Remaster)

Explode The TV - After The Stars Burn Out

Deni Girl - Ironed To Death

Goodbye Dyna - Punk Rock Queen

Jeff Moller - Still Intact

Hurtsfall - December Snow

Sammi Lanzetta - Flush It

sleepingbagzzz - Unsubscribed

Aura Blaze - Life Calling

Abhi - Us

Fool of Stars - Motheater

Horse and Bass - Zero Hero

shira - always easy

Wilderman - Only One


Friday 22 December 2023

Super Cassette - Continue?


Super Cassette are brothers Max and Nick Gerlock, aided by Devin Hollister on Bass and David Rabkin on Drums. This is great Pop Rock that has its roots in Power Pop, but spreads its influences far and wide across the Pop genres.

Built around great riffs and catch all choruses. the latter of which arrive unexpectedly. There is an 80s feel at times, mainly due to synth additions, but there are also some great Guitar solos across low key verses and massive choruses.

Ember for instance is great Power Pop but starts as seemingly Indie Pop until that burst out chorus. Bastille Day is wonderfully upbeat and reminds me of The Sun Sawed In 1/2 at times. It also includes a mighty fine Guitar Solo.

Sliver is almost Disney Soundtrack to a Power Pop Beat and has another great Guitar solo. The band are also not afraid of going long. Ghost comes in at over 5 minutes and is epic, multi songs in one with an ease of changing direction. It even flirts with Psych Pop.

Continent goes all 80s Glasgow Guitar Pop and the title track even out Weezers Weezer, it is also a little Maple Mars. The beauty of Continue? is the sheer harmony and melody across the songs, be it vocals, instruments or songwriting. This is one of the great Guitar Pop albums of the year and a splendid debut.

You can listen to and buy the album here. It is also available on Vinyl, CD or Cassette.


Thursday 21 December 2023

The Young Hearts - Somewhere Through The Night


I do like The Young Hearts. I reviewed their second EP and also their debut album which you can find here. I've often written about how Pop Punk gets a bad rep. It is not all about robotic voices and riffs you've heard countless times and there isn't a pair of half pants in sight.

The best of that genre have crossed boundaries into Power Pop and beyond. The Young Hearts are a great example of this, they have not forgotten their roots, yet have expanded their sound through Power Pop towards an Indie Rock vibe, a little American maybe.

They have managed this without losing any of the melody, big riffs and anthemic choruses. They are a corking quartet and the UK provides little competition to what they master. Blessed with a killer rhythm session, a great guitarist and a front man who ensures that the melody and harmony doesn't subside, despite the frantic pace.

Just listen to the opening riff of The Way Back and tell me it doesn't hook you. They even get a little Celtic instrumentally on the slower, Our Hometown. A Charmed Society is very Green Day. I saw a review site note the band as Americana and was completely amused.

Passenger is a little Americana and a wonderful other side to the band, but it feels more Folk than Americana and there certainly isn't anything else that fits that genre. Then there is the title track which closes the album splendidly.

That closer is great Pop Rock, not as full on as what has largely gone before, if it had a little less pace, it might even sneak into Classic Rock.  It even adds Piano and Sax. You can imagine The Young Hearts being formidable live. Their second album is full of hooks and choruses. They are really good at what they do.

You can listen to and buy the album here


The Supernaturals - It Only Gets Worse

Most casual listeners would be used the happy clappy jaunty Guitar Pop and that is understandable as the first two commercial album releases mastered that. But the third album was very different and may be my favourite album of the band's output.

What We Did Last Summer is a wonderful offering. Far more restrained than what had gone before, songs largely concentrated, built on soundscapes and vocal harmonies, this was a Pop album with minimal guitar and of course contained the barmy Life Is A Motorway, a sort of Pet Shop Boys version of Go West Part 2.

The album went far more electronic and the James McColl vocals were nearer say Paul Heaton, but just as listenable as ever. As the chirp returned, I have often thought about a follow up to that album and It Only Gets Worse is it with spades.

Songs are just as addictive as anything that has gone before, but this album feels even more electronic. There is little Guitar, although its appearance on the magnificent Candle is really welcome. For all intents and purpose, this is an Indie Pop album.

Although very different to what Sparks do, McColl does have that ability to switch between self effacing lyrical greatness and repetition. Here the repetition is incredibly melodic, instrumentally is wonderfully moody and addictive.

The songs are also built on layers of vocals with instrumental themes that enchant you, but are not afraid of diverging. and are beautifully put together. McColl's voice is in fine fettle, it partially dominates It Only Gets Worse and that, of course, is a great thing. 

You can listen to and buy the album here.


Tuesday 19 December 2023

Mo Troper - Troper Sings Brion


There was a time, pre internet days, when my world revolved around inventive Singer Songwriters. We went on to term this period as Gravitas Pop in the Anything Should Happen days. These guys (and it was largely guys with the exception of Aimee Mann) were songwriters of the highest order.

Melodic, intelligent with unexpected arrangements and great great songs. I'm thinking Jason Falkner, Michael Penn, Matthew Sweet and Jon Brion. Our appetites were insatiable. It was too long between albums and so we gathered all that we could.

Radio Broadcasts, Rarities and some of the worse sounding bootlegs ever, but that didn't matter then as much as we just wouldn't entertain such sound quality now. The most elusive was Jon Brion and so we contented ourselves with gathering his monthly Largo performances.

There was also a fair amount of unreleased stuff to gather, including a 2 disc collection of demos and outtakes. We don't really do cover albums on here, but I'm not sure this counts as such as most of these recordings are of songs from that two disc set.

Brion gets an unfair rep with him only ever releasing the Meaningless album and his part in The Grays album. He remains largely unsung despite his work with much more mega artists and his exhaustive Film Soundtrack releases,

You never knew what you were gonna get with these outtakes, sometimes it would be all instrumental piano, at other times great straight ahead Pop Rock mixed in with complex arrangements and even some great Psych Pop. Across this album the concentration is on the great Pop Rock.

There is no better exponent than Mo Troper, probably the hottest Producer and Performer around at present and he has done a magnificent job. The centre piece is the jaw dropping Not Ready Yet, all 7 minutes of it. A mixture of Psych Pop and Classic Rock. It is a tour de force of a song and performance.

But this is an exception, the rest on show demonstrates how both Troper and Brion master melodic Guitar Pop.Contrast that to the Jangle Pop of City Sign and the wondrous West Coast Pop Rock of Any Other Way, both wipe the floor with much around over the past three decades.

Into The Atlantic is almost Piano Pop with a splendid Bacharach like arrangement and Pray For Rain benefits from its Parisienne instrumental arrangement. Then there is Love Of My Life (So Far) which is superb jaunty Indie Pop that is as catchy as catchy can ever be,

Troper deserves massive credit, both for taking on this project and for the arrangement, performance and sheer joy on show. His productions have showed another massive side to him and the treatment of these songs shows that there is much more to him than straight ahead Power Pop. Absolutely Fantastic!

You can listen to and buy the album here. If ever an album demands a physical release, it is this.


Monday 18 December 2023

Bory - Who's A Good Boy

I get to return the favour to Tim at Dagger Zine as I cover the Bory debut album too. Power Pop is experiencing a real revival at the moment and it is largely da kidz that are leading it. It is all worth noting that Mo Troper is involved in much of it and he is here again as Engineer and Producer. 

Whereas much that we've heard thus far is built on rockier guitars, the Bory album is a much gentler affair. At times Indie Guitar Pop, at others venturing into Slacker Rock and then there is the magnificent End Of The World, beautifully arranged and simply jaw dropping.

Bory is Portland Oregon's Brenden Ramirez, whose voice suits this song perfectly, likewise with the Indie Pop of We Both Won. But Ramirez is equally adept at Power Pop. Wreck jangles wonderfully to a Jeff Lynne like Power Pop Beat.

Feel The Burn is great West Coast Slacker Rock with ace vocal harmonies. Our New Home goes all Gerry Rafferty and North Douglas is a ringer for Dropkick. Sideline even gets Teenage Fanclub with an addictive riff. 

The biggest thing you take from What A Good Boy is that great riffs don't always need Power. The gentleness and calm displayed is just as effective as any rock out. A splendid debut album awaits your lugholes. Trust me, this album will charm you completely.

You can listen to and buy the album here. It is also available on vinyl.


Listening To This Week Playlist

25 songs this week and not a Jingle Bell in sight. There is no song preference in track order, just what we think flows.  I do hope that you can listen to all the songs across this week. The last listed is as great as the first and you have all week to listen.

This weekly playlist is solely for submissions, not the usual stuff that we dig out ourselves. All embeds open in new windows to aid scrolling. Links to the artists will also appear on I Don't Hear A Single Social Media sites over the next 24 hours. This will help you to discover more about the artists who appear here.

The Survival Code - Random Faces

True Stars - Sick Thing

Automatics - Flowers Of Freedom

Jyra - You've Got Heart


circle round a sphere - ones

Not Exotic - Keep Swinging

Adam Lempel - I Wanna Be Your Lover Baby

Multi Ultra - Move

High Chair - Terra Senza Tempo

Shrimp Olympics - big planes (that i'm in)

Froogle - Smoke Signals

The Deniros - Squire

Man Punches Bear - The Language We Speak

The Friends - Holiday

Alejandra O'Leary - Mine That Groove

Eruption Artistique - Ball&Chain (with The Smackbar)

Archer, Ian Dempsey - Erica Banana

So Many Wizards - T M

the unwanted overtures - after the show

Tough - Goodbye

Dogbear - Windows Down

Dark Dazey - Junk

Noah Colton - You Remind Me

22 HERTZ - Gravity