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Friday 19 April 2024

The Reflectors - Going Out Of Fashion


Los Angeles's The Reflectors reach their third album. Their last, Faster Action featured in our Best Albums Of 2021. You can read the review here. The quartet know exactly what they are doing and when you are as good as this, why alter the format too much?

The new wave of Power Pop is a heavier scuzzier brand of the genre. The Reflectors want none of that. This is the classic late 70s UK New Wave / early 80s version that was adored by the more open to the new participants on Power Pop Facebook groups.



I have to say that my life become much less stressful when I stopped frequenting those groups, but there are still a couple of great ones around such as Power Pop Overdose and Power Pop Record and members of those particular groups will absolutely love this, just as I do.

The band are particularly great when the pace quickens. Silhouette and Going Out Of Fashion are great examples. The former gets a little Hey Hey Let's Go, the latter is very UK 1978, almost Punk and should translate wonderfully well live.



Living In A Dream gets all Rubinoos, Just Can't Get Enough Of It is in The Speedways territory and Space And Time even gets more than a little UK Glam Rock. Time Is All I Have opens with a crackerjack of a riff and has more in common with the Not Lame Days.

Both All The Way Down and I Gotta Run are more in line with the basic template, but both are great melodic catchy Guitar Pop. The band though are comfortable in whichever direction they head and Going Out Of Fashion is in now way 14 songs that are all similar. There is great variety and this is great Power Pop.



You can listen to and buy the album here.


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James Sullivan - Vital Signs

 


I loved More Kicks, you can read the review of 2022's Punch Drunk here, and so now that James Sullivan has gone solo, it is interesting to see which direction he takes. Not only the direction, but More Kicks were such a great Power Trio, it is also interesting to hear the sound and vibe,

Sullivan was the leader of that particular trio, so you expect the songs to be great and they are. There are a couple of songs that you can imagine More Kicks doing, but this album is much more Indie and stripped back. This allows Sullivan to venture much further than the trio format.



There is a real Indie 80s vibe, the inventiveness and Gravitas Pop of say a Robin Hitchcock. The major surprise is that such a previously electric anthemic artist excels most on the Acoustic songs. La Rochelle is magnificent Baroque Pop that edges towards Psych Pop.

All I Wanna Do (Is Nothing With You) is a wonderfully gentle Acoustic, almost Americana song. There are also numerous surprises. Guilty As Charged is a cracking story telling song with a talking vocal and a fantastic Noise Rock accompaniment.



Back To The Start goes all Folky Dylan. Dronify is great 60s Psych. But there are also moments that you might expect bearing in mind Sullivan's past. Day Late Dollar Start is the sort of up and at 'em Guitar Pop that jangles and fuzzes melodically.

My Best Friend is another that nods to what was his major songwriting strength. The album is a little sparse instrumentally, but that suits the material. Vital Signs is an outstanding listen, different to most that is currently around. A real Indie songwriter album with a side order of unexpected arrangements.



You can listen to and buy the album here. It is available on Vinyl and CD and available as a Name Your Price download.


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Thursday 18 April 2024

The Dirty Nil - Free Range To Passions Deluxe Edition

 

Rather than tell you how great this album is all over again. My review from last year is below. The album sounds just as great as it did then. Now there is a link below of the newly released Deluxe Edition. The recent new single. Am I The Menace? and a rocked up cover of Total Eclipse Of The Heart. is added along with 9 Demos.

Incidentally, the band are in the UK for 5 dates from tomorrow and well worth opening your purse for. Should be a real Rock Out!


Ontario's The Dirty Nil offer up a raucous fourth album. Wonderful Pop Rock edging more towards Rock with a melodic swagger, the band are a perfect example of my preachy theme this year. The bands that are moving up the stairs most are Pop Punk bands that have matured.

Whereas, most progress is a move into a noisier Power Pop, The Dirty Nil have gone one step further, more akin towards potential Stadium Rock. Cheap Trick like in their appeal, if not exactly in their material, these four are a much rockier and noisier affair.



They haven't totally lost touch with their roots, Land Of Clover is wayward enough to remind you of past glories, but overall Free Rein To Passions is anthemic, riff laden joy, led by the top notch vocals of Luke Bentham. He has a voice that embraces the hooks, yet is equally at home with the loud.

Stupid Jobs gets all early Queen in shape and form and the title track even treads boldly into the Hair Rock of the 80s, all shouty attitude with an absolutely killer riff. Celebration also starts with some serious shredding, a little Extreme Pornograffiti in mood and more than a little Classic Rock.



Nicer Guy is a real "are you with us" anthem, pied piper like big Rock. Undefeated is well into Cheap Trick territory, splendid Pop Rock and the only time the band come up for air is on the closer, The Light, The Void And Everything when the Lighters come out for an Aerospace-ish corker of a song.

The Dirty Nil are a little noisier, a little rockier than you may be used to on here. But the album is a triumph and deserves a wider audience, hopefully appealing to people with a dozen cds to switch off Spotify. Beautifully produced, Free Rein is an absolute storm.



You can listen to and buy the the Deluxe Edition here.


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Richard Turgeon - Life Of The Party

 

I like Richard Turgeon a lot. He specialises in Guitar led Pop Rock that leans towards Power Pop It is fair to say that when I first covered him in 2017 for his In Between The Spaces album, which featured in our 2017's In Between The Spaces, this brand of Pop Rock was around a fair bit.

I don't quite no way, because the genre is generally a great listen, but the intervening years have been less forthcoming. Maybe it's the demise of the Bloggers and Review sites that were around then or musicians have given in with how difficult it is to get coverage, yet alone make a living. 



Turgeon is even more impressive as he plays, records and produces everything himself and his albums always sound impressive, so well made and performed. There is a default template that is always spot on. All Alone, Forgiveness and Our Fair City are good examples of this. All contain riffs that resonate.

But there are also times when he lets go. The riffs get heavier and the songs noisier. This is when he is at his best. I've Got You Now and What Could Have Been sound chunkier and edge towards Indie Rock. Sweet As Pie even gets close to The Posies.



Turgeon even masters the great Pop Rock of the 70s with the closer, Don't Forget Me When You've Gone with its string arrangement and piano pop feel. The vocal arrangement is particularly excellent and shows a different side to the Guitar maestro and adds a belting nostalgic solo.

Life Of The Party is a cracking album, as are Turgeon's other six. With all the melody, harmony, riffs and vocal excellence, you tend to forget what a great guitarist he is. He never overplays, every guitar interlude suits the song and if you like melodic Guitar Pop, this is definitely the album for you.



You can listen to and buy the album here. The CD is available on the Kool Kat label here.


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Tuesday 16 April 2024

The Flashpot Moments - Bombastic Fantastic

 

Having enjoyed 2022's So Far greatly. I feel guilty for missing out on 2023's mini album, Lucky Human Illusion, so I'm delighted to remedy my remiss with 2024 offering. Very Far was in our Best Albums Of 2022 and you can read the review here.

Although it planted its feet in Pop Rock, it wasn't afraid to rock out and venture into AOR and Classic Rock. Bombastic Fantastic heads into similar territory with a focus that is more on the AOR than the Pop without ever losing its melody or riff count.



The vibe is a little over the top, lyrically a little personal, but Tim Cawley never ever loses sight of the sheer catchy chorus led joy that constantly marks out his material. Reclamation is one of the opening songs on the current Listening To This Week Playlist and that gives you a good indication of what you are in for.

Having built up the Rock element, there are a couple of quieter moments that reveal that there is more here than meets the eye. Go Figure is gentle affair, almost Americana at times instrumentally with a weeping violin and a male - female vocal.



Feelgood Hit of The Winter starts gently, very 80s AOR with a big chorus and the Guitar constantly wanting to burst out. But the album is at its best when the tempo is high. A Phantom Taste rocks out of the blocks with its background riff. You sense that the song wants to blast without ever quite managing it.

Pull Spector is very Butch Walker or maybe more how Walker should be instead of the layered vocals and handclaps. Again the Guitar stands out and you realise that is the thing that grabs you most. You realise Commercial Rock can be addictive, if done this well.



You can listen to and buy the album here.


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Monday 15 April 2024

Listening To This Week Playlist



We normally don't want to go over 30 songs and I don't think that we've ever reached that, although we've been close. So it is with a little trepidation and concern that this week we go with 32. It is largely due to the amount that were Friday releases as we don't add to the playlist until a song has been released.We did consider doing a Part 1 and Part 2, but felt that that would take away the focus of the recommends.

There is a real quality and variety here and so we felt that holding a couple of songs back would be unfair to the relevant artists.  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. Thank you for supporting the new music from Indie artists.


The Gold Watch - Look Out Mars





The Flashpoint Moments - Reclamation





Ex-Giant - Dry Mouth





Tony Billings - Face The Fire (Single Mix)





Goddamn Wolves - Ah, Maria





Fallon Cush - Sweet Johanna





Plastic Tofu - Have Some Faith





The Soods - Astrid (Drive Away Slowly)





The Human Fund - Circa 1994





SMACKBEAT - Last Summer





Little Oil - Fig Leaf Crown





Corella - Lady Messiah




St. Jimi Sebastian Cricket Club - Soothing Nights





Eurekas - While The World Was Ending (I Was In A Rock & Roll Band)





Now Or Ever - Right Things AWAIT





Humdrum Book Club - 1997





Numb - Hello





Talkradio - Down





Oxsener - Disappointed





Jett Rose - YOU





Robbie Rapids - Dream Away (Reimagined Version)





Opt Out - Same Game





Lame Drivers - Become An Island





dapmuzyk - Rapture





Austin McGrath - Getting Real





High Tiny Hairs - Only Lonely





SMOON - So.. Sick





Oli Barton - The Light





Pluto The Racer - I Might Even





Rise Bailey Rise - Poster Boy





The Mosfets - Welcome To The Apartment Jungle





Work Wear - 64




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Sunday 14 April 2024

R.E. Seraphin - Fool's Mate

 

Ray Seraphin still lives in his lo-fi Indie world and for that we are incredibly thankful. You can read our reviews of Tiny Shapes and Swingshift here and here. So it is now time to write about his new album and it is suitably splendid.

When I say Lo-Fi, it can be a bit of a misnomer as Seraphin songs generally sound as though they have been devised in a big soundscape and then scaled down. Fool's Mate also finds him as part of a band and what a band it is. The album feels more Indie Rock orientated and definitely lyricaaly, it is a much darker affair.



Joel Cusumano of Sob Stories is guitarist, Daniel Pearce of Red, Pinks and Purples is Drummer, Josh Miller of Chime School plays some incredible Bass and Luje Robins is on keyboards. Add in that Owen Adair Kelley of Sleepy Sun guests on Acoustic and Slide Guitar and Jason Quever of Papercuts records and mixes at his studio and you have quite a cast.

I've compared Seraphin to The Feelies in the past and there is still a bit of that here, but the album feels more UK Indie 80s and IRS, largely due to the band format. Seraphin's gentle, almost whisper though holds all together and so ensures that the change is not dramatic.



The man can also be incredibly melodic. The Indie Pop of What We Don't Know is a touching affair about his relationship with his wife, Hannah Moriah, who accompanies him on vocals. Clock Without Hands is probably as jaunty as Seraphin gets, which isn't really that jaunty.

The album also flirts with Psych Pop, most notably on Contraband. There is even an unexpected Twang on the opener, End Of The Start. There's even a Lennon's Double Fantasy vibe to Argument Stand and Virtue Of Being Wrong is instrumentally incredibly addictive. Fool's Mate isn't an album that will get you belting out choruses, more sitting back in full admiration.



You can listen to and buy the album here. The album is also available on Vinyl.


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Paul Crane And The Overend Watts - Halfway Home EP

 


We don't often review 3 Track EPs, but this is the great American Classic Power Pop that we know and love/ Plus the faint connection to Mott The Hoople sucks us in with trio naming themselves after our beloved Overend sealing things.

Paul Crane of Bastards Of Melody fame has fashioned up great examples of the genre. All the pre-requisites are here. Big riffs, great choruses and melody explode out and I'm sure the DJs will be after individual songs for their Internet Radio shows.



Halfway House is the most straight ahead with its killer riff and its ace solo which includes a twang. Wondering is all Jangle, a little more laid back, but still adds a crackerjack of a solo. Dypsomaniak feels much more Not Lame 90s.

The song adds synth from Chris Bolger and the solo even gets a little Thin Lizzy and rounds off a fine EP. This is the sort of thing that I heard often, but much less these days. Hopefully, we might get an album in future because is the sort of joyous Power Pop that deserves to be heard.



You can listen to and buy the EP here.


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The Phase Problem - The Power Of Positive Thinking


The second album from The Phase Problem is superb. Largely, it compares with the current now of rocked up Power Pop. What's more it is on the excellent Cardiff label, Brassneck Records, and the whole thing is blowing out the water all of the UK being a musical wasteland arguments.

I'm not gonna get on my defence of Pop Punk box, but the genre suffers the same as another love of mine, Prog. The genres are obviously very different. But just as Prog gives the avoiders the notion of terminal solos and the flute, Pop Punk gives the impression of robotic talky vocals and songs at 100mph.



It would be a shame to label The Phase Problem as Pop Punk, even if that is the participants background is such, because The Power Of Positive Thinking has little of what the non followers would think the genre is. This is melodic catchy Guitar Pop of the highest order.

It is wonderfully noisy without ever getting shouty. There are all also departures such as the Hey Hey Let's Go of Demon Girl, the heavier Indie Rock of Fork In The Road with its blistering Guitar Solo and the UK 70s Punk of Middle Aged Lobotomy.



Indeed, at times there is a real 70s feel, very New Wave Guitar band and the better Punk bands who could hold a tune and play their instruments. Fallen Apart and Broken Word are fine examples of this. There's also an affinity with the States the odd time, especially Denouement.

The band can also get anthemic on the likes of Shadow Of Me and the excellent Heart On My Sleeve. They only come up for air on the closer, It's True and that still rocks out after the verse and may yet be the song that opens many more deserved doors. Absolutely Splendid!



You can listen to the album here. You can buy the album here, here or here.


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Saturday 13 April 2024

Get A Move On Man!

 


This week is traditionally one of the busiest real life non music weeks for me. So we are behind Review Wise and have loads to catch up on. Reviews will return at full speed tomorrow and with the exception of the Listening To This Week Playlist on Mondays, Reviews will be the sole focus for the rest of the month.

Loads of great albums to come!


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Monday 8 April 2024

Listening To This Week Playlist



Another week speeds by and 26 songs await you to cover the next 7 days. Every one is a winner. 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. Thank you for supporting the new music from Indie artists.

Born Lost - Sell The News




minuscule 605 - My Kind of Guy





Belefold - Am I?




Stanmore - A Ballad For Jennie




Late Cambrian - Late Bloomer




Spuzbet - Horrifying Clichés




Forgotten Tides - Help Me!





Alan Fakeman - Calling The Waters




Wine Lips - Stimulation




Ed Moody-Pugh - Guru Dev




The Wesleys - 25




The Midland Affair - Do You Hear Me Now




Jerry Velona - When I Wake Up




Screen Frogs - Transistor




Mansfield - Dreams Of Desire




The Looniest Toon - Analysis Paralysis





Crawling Crows - Alright





Woozlemania - All My New Pals!





Dying Habit - Hard To Say No




Big In Congo - TICK TICK TICK




Lizzie Esau - Wait Too Late




Cristian James - That's Alright With Me




Hollow Bodies - Battery Park Wallflower




Max Bernstein - Mirrors




Kirt - Thanks For Nothing




Vero Strange - King Of Dogs





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Saturday 6 April 2024

Aerial - Activities Of Daily Living


 

The return of Aerial is something to be celebrated. They don't make 'em that often, this being the third in 23 years. They emerged in that late 90s Scottish scene with a 2001 debut. The follow up, Why Don't They Teach Heartbreak At School was Goldmine's 2014 Album Of The Year and is an album that I continually play. 

Back with Duncan Cameron of Travis and Teenage Fanclub fame producing, this is essential Power Pop of the highest order and that is something that you get to say as often as you used to. Aerial also manage to straddle the genre.



Essentially the feel matches the best of American Power Pop from the late 70s to now. But the key is that the band can sound like Feeder, Teenage Fanclub, Fountains Of Wayne or Busted. Their appeal can be universal and they are wrapped in harmony and melody as well as, if not better than, any Scottish Guitar Pop band can.

The band are best known for their pace and there is plenty here to prove that. Thet even sound like The Posies on An Encore And A Cover Song. Cadence is more than a little easy Weezer and Bad Tattoo reveals how they can integrate Beach Boys harmonies into Guitar Pop.



Pixelated Youth is classic 90s College Power Pop and may be my favourite here, but I'm also aware of how great the band are at slowing things down. Run These Lights and Silversand being the best examples. More important than anything is that Aerial have not lost their chops. I can think of no band better at what they do.

There is also a general feeling that Brits don't take to this sort of Power Pop much. The interest since the album was announced proves that opinion is misguided. If you are good enough, people will come. The UK scene has become incredibly regional, but this can be an album to partially ignite the interest in the genre. Magnificent!




The album can be listened to and bought everywhere. Most notably from Aerial's website here. It is available on vinyl and you can find it via the following links here. You can also listen to the whole album without all the signing up nonsense here.


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The Society Of Rockets - Tough Trip Through Paradise

 


I suppose that you could call San Francisco's The Society Of Rock veterans now, but they show no sign of reducing the quality of their output. We love 'em here. Their albums have great variety. Just as you think they are one thing, they become something else song to song.

Picking two songs next to each other sort of shows what I mean. The Other Side is all Psych Pop and the UK Beat of the late 60s that was partially revived during UK New Wave. Smoke And Mirrors is a cross between American West Coast Rock and UK 70s Pop Rock with some incredible Organ runs.



This continues throughout. For a band who can be so Guitar heavy, it is brave to open the album with the mellow, gentleness of Amen, but it works. Lo and Behold that is followed by the magnificent Doors Are Open with its Jangle and killer vocal and chorus.

Make It Right is moody weeping Classic Rock, part The Eagles, part Dropkick. Yet Getting Along is Gospel like whilst getting more than a little George Harrison. Golden State has a splendid jaunty instrumental that matches biting lyrics and has a corking lazy vocal. It also adds some killer Tijuana Brass.



After the pacer listen that was Unearthed, Tough Trip On Paradise reveals the band's mellower side a bit more. The arrangements are superb and reveal them to be at ease with any direction. They master all that they do easily.

When the pace picks up, it is a reminder of how adaptable The Society Of Rockets are, With such variety, it can be hard to hold listener's attention. There's not a bit of that here, you excitedly wait for what's next which is all that any album can do and Tough Trip Through Paradise underlines the benefit of albums. Save those playlists for mix tapes and lose yourself in quality.



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


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Friday 5 April 2024

The Dynamo Hymn - The Dynamo Hymn

 


As the 2010s progressed and the music writing grew way beyond expectations, I seemed to get out and about far less. However, I always found time for Pugwash, usually at the splendid Hebden Bridge Trades Club with my great friend, Nick.

Pugwash were a great live band and Shaun McGee was a key part of the quartet with his inventive Bass Playing and impressive Backing Vocals. He now takes centre stage as vocalist of his own songs as well as adding that superb Bass playing and more.

Even better, the album contains three quarters of the Pugwash line up. Tosh Flood takes time from his Divine Comedy duties to collaborate on Guitar and Keyboards and also produces. Joe Fitzgerald also helps out on drums, so it is a reunion of three quarters of that classic line up whilst Thomas Walsh continues his solo career.




Pugwash early member and long time associate, Duncan Maitland also guests. There are obviously similarities to Pugwash, particularly on The Third Time Round and the splendid Here He Comes Again and overall the influences will be no surprise.

Those influences include Beatles 68, Idle Race, The Move, Pop Rock akin to the likes of Liverpool Express and hints at times of Jimmy Campbell in the vocal and the production. Satellite latterly contains a wonderful Baroque arrangement.




It's Too Late even hints at Glam Rock whilst drawing up images of those great 70s Pop Rock albums that everyone seems to be rediscovering. Colours is great UK Beat, reminiscent of The Kinks and White Album Beatles. It even flirts with Psych Pop.

Andy's Waltz is part Jeff Lynne, but also hints at the likes of 10CC whilst Without is a great moody melancholic closer. McGee's vocal is superb and you wonder why he hasn't gone up front more. This is the sort of album that I thought I would never hear again from the participants. It has made my year. Magnificent!





You can listen to and buy the album here. A Vinyl Release is planned.

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The Trafalgars - About Time

 


The Trafalgars may be an Adelaide Trio, but their sound is very Brit. Great Brit Guitar Pop that encompasses 60s UK Beat and Rhythm And Blues, 70s Glam Rock and New Wave and 90's Brit Pop. They are really really good at it.

They've been around for 20 years with early EPs. They've supported acts that are well known to followers here such as Ice cream Hands, Even and The Stems. After a break that extended to a decade, they are back and About Time is splendid.



Songs are a melodic joy, built around big riffs, even bigger choruses and Guitar solos that complete a top notch listen. Whichever direction they take, harmony is dripping out copiously. They don't come up for air often, but don't hit you over the head with a hammer as too many do Brit Pop wise, desperate to be all Oasis cool.

Company Time is all Platform Boots set to West Coast Jangle Pop. She's My Girl is Power Pop with a hint 80s AOR and a whole lot of Byrds Jangle. I've Gotta Know is up and at 'em with its big Who like riffs.  Girl is a cross between UK Beat and top New Wave.



Get You Back Again slows things down with its mix of 80s Pop Rock, 90s Power Pop Revival and its awesome Petty-esque Jangle. Doing It Fine is ace Power Pop and although closer, Live In A Dream rocks things up, there is more than a hint of Psych Pop and a lovely small section that gives a big nod to the early Beatles.

The centrepiece though is the magnificent 6 minutes that is Davey Parker. A real storytelling song in the style of Ray Davies, very 60s, but also very Brit Pop. It opens with a glamtastic riff and unusually for such a long style, it is over way too soon and has a wonderful instrumental close. The best song on possibly the best album that you will hear this year. 



You can listen to and buy the album here. It is available on Vinyl too.


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Monday 1 April 2024

Listening To This Week Playlist



24 songs have been chosen this week to more than interest your sense of sound. 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. Thank you for supporting the new music from Indie artists.


The Shop Window - Blues




Rocket Radio - Don't Give Up




Barbara - Mein Fräulein (Paul Steel)





Dan Parker's Damage Report - MY FRIEND




This Time For Real - Hanging On




Professor Hollman - Boy Toy




DEAFLOVE - Modern Times




Stephen EvEns - A Bee



Twilight Stunt Work - You & I



 

Tablefox - Don't Wait For Me To Be What You Want Me To Be




fanclubwallet - Picture Of Her




Goddamn Wolves - Nowhere




Fuzzing Nation - Chance




Fool Of Stars - Sol 436




Lirra - Not Okay (Kansas City Version)





Alex Alavi - Praying Mantis Man




Cameron Leahy - Critic



Palmer - Tennessee




Bunko - Aftermath




The Cruz & The Dukes Of Harlem - If You Want My Money (You Must Come and Get It) (Radio Edit)




Mars County - In Our Prime




Hello Ground - Low Key Thing




Owen Marchildon - Heavy Dreams




Little Oil - Hey Judas




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