Google Tag

Thursday 30 November 2023

Dolph Chaney - Mug


Another returning hero on IDHAS. I suppose you might consider us generally having a Pop Rock base and so I can tell you that Chicago's Dolph Chaney is probably the nicest musician and man in Pop Rock. Forever modest and appreciative, I'm not sure that he appreciates what a great singer songwriter that he is.

His previous two albums, 2020's Rebuilding Permit and 2021's This Is Dolph Chaney appeared in both of our Best Of Years and now we have Mug. As well as this lyrically being an open your heart affair, the guests also take the songs into unexpected directions.

Firstly multi instrumentalist Nick Berlin adds greatly to album as well as producing and mixing the offering and throughout our lifetime, I can't remember when Bertling hasn't added gold dust to an album. The wonderfully acoustic Cool In The Sunshine is enhanced by the backing vocals of voice of an angel, Gretchen's Wheel's Lindsay Murray. 

The centre piece is the magnificent Piano Pop of Bad Bet with some stunning Piano and Organ from Brian Simms. However, I don't want to give the impression that it is the guests that make the album, because they just enhance it, these are the performances of Dolph Chaney and his songwriting.

From the AOR of Good Luck With All That to the Jangle of How It Really Was. From  the Americana of Love Around You to the urgent back story of Californiagain, Then there is the epic West Coast Rock of Only Hope, a splendid thing that approaches 6 minutes. Ice Cream Embers even enters 80s Pop Rock.

For all the depth on show here, there is something really special when Chaney lets rip. Mr Eli threatens to explode but manages not to detonate. But Celtic (The Mirror) doesn't hold back courtesy of some top notch guitar from Walker Brigade's Jeff Charreaux and the rock out vocal from Chaney.

Mug is one of the great Singer Songwriter albums, lyrically adept, heart warningly melodic and a wonderful production of 13 special songs. Varied, but incredibly well hell together, the songs provide a platform for Chaney to continue to his forward momentum. By The Way, I want one of those mugs.

You can listen to and buy the album here


The Lunar Laugh - In The Black


Oklahoma's The Lunar Laugh get their fourth album review on here, which is a rarity, so there must be something special about them and there is. You can read the previous three here and here and here.They specialise in a sort of Monkees 70s Pop Rock Update with Glam Rock Guitar Solos.

This is most explained by the wonderful Fake It Till We Make It. But throughout the album, Bubblegum Pop isn't too far. Even the twang and Country-ish instrumental vibe of Stranger Than Oz has big hints of 60s Bubblegum.

Pour Votre Santé is a great reminder of the ace 70s Pop Rock bands such as Jigsaw, Pilot and Liverpool Express and has a real popped up Soft Rock feel and an added great Guitar Break that allows the song to change into a more West Coast vocal harmony affair.

Still Gets To Me is great Jangle Pop with flashes of Power Pop, whilst Picture Perfect has a weeping Guitar run, very West Coast, sort of Doolin' Dalton Eagles. Out Of Love is all bop-she-wop 60s let's do the show right here fayre. 

So So Long even has a real 1977 Disco Rock feel accompanied by a Guitar interruption of say The Outlaws. In The Black is a corking gentle melodic joy and I can't think of a band that suit my beloved Big Stir Records more.

You can listen to and buy the album here and it is Bandcamp Friday tomorrow.


Tuesday 28 November 2023

Christmas Songs And Albums


The image isn't me, but it could easily be. 

Just a reminder that we don't do Christmas songs or albums. Never have and never likely to. Personally, I can't be doing with all the forced jollity and cover songs. We are also an all round year place, so I don't see the point of songs that appeal for a month and then get in the way when people are backtracking the reviews. That also applies to Listening To This Week

But on a site opinion, as artists may relate to you, we have a big backlog of album reviews to get through in December and intend to hopefully start the best of year earlier than the Mid January onwards run that we normally cover. We aren't one for rules. Our only rule for the Best 100 Albums is that they have to have been reviewed on here. 

So if we don't get a move on, there will be some that we want to appear that won't. Listening To This Week upcoming releases also dictate that there aren't masses of slots left on that prior to Christmas.

Sorry and all that, but there are plenty of other sites that will cover your jingling bells.


The Smivets - How We Fade


Last Year, I discovered The Smivets completely by surprise and reviewed the Mountain Highway album here. It was an album that came from nowhere on a new artist site that I had never visited before and is so good that it made the Best 100 Albums Of The Year.

The Smivets are a one man affair, Uttoxeter's Steve Smith who describes himself as a music dabbler. You really would think this is a group, it so well performed, arranged and produced. How We Fade shows that Mountain Highway was no flash in the pan.

This is glorious Rock, genre defying rock, largely 70s orientated and covering everything from Pop Rock to Classic Rock and all in between. Not only is it instrumentally ace, but the album is incredibly lyrically adept and it is the genre crossing that adds to the interest.

The opener, Galaxies, is awesome blasting through Indie Rock, Psych, Prog and Melodic Rock. Keep The Change is another monster affair, this time more of a Classic Rock bent. To The Fires is top notch Prog whilst England Sleeps is West Coast Rock as if it were performed by Lindisfarne.

Alpha Male Arse borders on Psych Rock, yet My Car's A New Pair Of Shoes is closest to Merseybeat. Cutting The Cord is more getting it together in the country late 60s Rock. Tulip sounds more than a little Gabriel era Genesis, although acoustically so.

How We Fade is a crackerjack of an album. It is a Rock album and not all of our followers lean towards something so Classic Rock. But this is such an inventive and well put together that it just demands your attention. 2 out of 2 in the IDHAS Best Of Years methinks.

You can listen to and buy the album here.


No Tears - Heart Shaped Eyes


Power Pop has suffered in the past from fans who wanted it to be particularly one thing and artists and reviewers who didn't want to be associated with it because of this. I've been vociferous about this as I believe the genre is a broad church and there is no doubt that the excellence of the music was lost in a wave of pointless fall outs.

Its revival of late has been on the backs of the new younger breed of artists, most who don't really care about what's gone before, most have probably never heard of Power Pop until their music was deemed so. This revival is just as melodic and riff driven but there is a slightly harder rockier edge.

So it is refreshing to listen to an album that is unashamedly Power Pop. Retro vibe wise, indeed reminiscent of the great 80s Power Pop when keyboards became a part of the mix and No tears have such a lot in common with say Donnie Iris. 

No Tears is Kristianstad's Christoffer Karlsson and Heart Shaped Eyes is a wonderful joyous listen. If you like Power Pop, you will love this. There is also a side issue to be discussed about how a country like Sweden continues to produce so much great Guitar Pop.

Just listen to Electric Eyes and you will be hooked. The song has everything from the opening riff through the chorus and hooks that you can ever need. Even when Karlsson deviates from the template, it is to some other period of the genre.

Echo In My Head is pure UK New Wave with a big hint of Glam Rock. Get Away even gets close to The Glitter Band. Broken Mirror adds some great Sax to its 60s feel and the background could be Wizzard. It is left the two closing songs to really divert your attention.

The Silence Is Speaking is largely instrumental, 80s style and a little melancholic. Without Your Love is Grand Ole Opry fairy and a fine duet with Beatrice Rosdahl. But is the Power Pop that will grab listeners most, particularly as there has been so little like this lately.

It is also interesting that I discovered the album via a single submission for Listening To This Week with little known about IDHAS. I think some think that LTTW is a separate part of what we do here, but the two are interlinked and it has really opened up our audience.

You can listen to and buy the album here


Monday 27 November 2023

Listening To This Week Playlist

Listening To This Week has hit its second year. How time flies! Initially set up for this Album Review site to pay attention to the great singles around, it has become surprisingly popular and is probably the most work we do here with all the listening and compiling.

We are still an Album review site, but what LTTW has done is bring a whole new audience to I Don't Hear A Single and this audience is as equally engaged as our regular followers and they listen to the archive here. So we win all around. IDHAS is as popular as ever and new artists get the chance to bring their music to a very interested audience.

27 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.

Steven Wright-Mark - Change

Perry Moon Band - Sounds Of The City

The Sonic Redemption - Johnny23

M'Grasker - She’s Drugs

Fresh Art - Come In Waves

Transistors - High Hopes

The Violet Parade - Soldier

The Regulars - Wastin' Away

War & Peace Party - Maggie Knows

Papa Satch - I'll Be There

Tonight's Hero - Nothing New Under the Sun

The Pierce Kingans - Procrastination

Makeshift Stopgap - After the Storm

Megayacht - Caviar Eyes

The Avelons - Blondie

Dream On - Flashing Blade

Stanmore - Waiting

Camping Lagon - Slotche

Joe Nacco - Who You Once Were

Zach Madden - Patience

Juppe - Andy, I Have Your Lighter

The Fourth Wall - Never A Part

Mortigi Tempo - Full Sail Vertigo

Shoulder Season - Why Would I?

Carl Dolphin - Head Gasket

Psychic Shakes - Little One

Sherbet Tone - Late Summer's Eve (Rustling Leaves)


Sunday 26 November 2023

The World Famous - Totally Famous


Imagine that Not Lame still produced a newsletter and list of new releases. If so then this debut album would certainly feature heavily. The Los Angeles five piece nail the 90s Pop Rock that we know and love. If I tell you that three of the five are guitarists, you will know that you are in for a treat.

There used to be a cascade of this type of sound, but year by year, that market seems to have dried up into a trickle. Think prime time Fountains Of Wayne, mid period Teenage Fanclub and many that drifted at the edges of the 90s Power Pop Revival.

There is also a West Coast mellow rock vibe on more than one occasion and nods towards the great UK 70s Pop Rock albums. There is also a tendency to change genres part way through a song which is fascinating and splendid.

For instance, Delinquents starts all Weezer and then unexpectedly turns into something more 70s Country Rock. This sort of thing just adds to the enjoyment and variety and there is plenty of variety. Hollywood Pawn has massive hints of prime time UK Glam Rock. 

Lipstick Trick is 70s Melodic Pop to a tee, Heartburst is even a little Lemonheads with dashes of modern day TFC and Love Song For A Lost Friend mixes 90s Slacker Rock with big heaps of Classic Rock and reminds me a lot of a rocked up Dropkick.

There's also a real wit in many of the lyrics when they could easily use the throwaway I Love You type in other hands. There's also a real Jangle Pop joy about Danvers Opening. In future years, this will be looked upon as one of the great debut Pop Rock albums. I'm a bit confused about the album cover though, seems more Metal than Guitar Pop. 

You can listen to and buy the album here. It is also available on Cassette which is a format that I don't intend to return to as I haven't got enough pencils at IDHAS House.