Friday, 18 May 2018

IPO Liverpool 2018 Preview : mylittlebrother

Back onto the IPO Liverpool Previews with the outstanding mylittlebrother. Here I talk to head honcho, Will Harris.

What made you start as a musician/band and who were your influences?

I've been playing music since I was very small, and have been in various bands since my teens. mylittlebrother began whilst I was on a break from touring (playing piano for Aaron Wright  My girlfriend asked me why I hadn't recorded my own stuff and I gave her feeble excuses until she persuaded me to try.

I recorded the first song ,"Nosedive", on my own in my bedroom and a local rehearsal room in Carlisle, and released it with no expectations. It got picked up by Tom Robinson's Fresh On The Net, which led to exposure and airplay on BBC Radio 6 Music and Radio 1. It got some unbelievably good reviews, so that gave me the confidence boost needed to get a band together and start playing live.

My influences are very varied. One of my earliest memories is making a mixtape from my Dad's old vinyl singles (I would have been 4 or 5). I remember particularly loving Telstar (The Tornadoes), Red River Rock (Johnny & The Hurricanes), everything by Simon & Garfunkel (particularly The Sound Of Silence), Good Vibrations. Also Return To Sender by Elvis (because I thought it was about a horse, ("she rode upon it").

Since then my tastes have broadened. I still adore 60s pop, but I also listen to a lot of Midlake, Grandaddy, Flaming Lips, Mercury Rev etc. Simply put, I just love good music and any good music that I hear influences my writing.

What are your thoughts on IPO and Liverpool?

We hadn't actually ever played in Liverpool until we were asked to play IPO 2016. We had a wonderful time playing, watching the other bands and exploring a fantastic city. Playing at the Cavern is obviously a huge honour for any musician.

To play in a venue with that kind of history is a really special opportunity and IPO brings so many like minded people together that it is even more special, so we're over the moon to be coming back.

What are your current and future plans?

We've pretty much finished our new single 'Cyanide' which will be out in June. The date hasn't been set yet, as we need to get the Promo ball rolling... This will be the lead single from our new album which will be out later in 2018.

The new material reflects our live sound more than our older stuff, so it's a bit heavier sounding, but still maintaining the melodic, harmony-laden nature of our music.

What appeals to you about Power Pop?

Melodies and harmonies. They are a constant in my favourite songs and I think that Power Pop is a genre that really celebrates and explores them. Also, a bit of crunchy or Jangly Guitar never goes amiss either!

What's the Cumbrian scene like at the moment and how do you and POwer Pop fit in?

The Cumbrian scene is booming. There are so many high quality musicians around, from singer songwriters like Melanie Baker and Christian Moss, to Penrith bands Kveis and Beachmaster There are a lot of great melody writers in the area. And of course Kontiki Suite are playing IPO on the same day as us and they are utterly wonderful!

You can listen to and buy the band's back catalogue here. mylittlebrother play The Cavern Club, both Front and Back Stages on Saturday 19 May.

Thursday, 17 May 2018

I Don't Hear A Single Radio Show Episode 44

The IPO Previews get a day's break and the Album Reviews are itching to follow. In the meantime, I Don't Hear A Single's Radio Jamboree reaches Number 44 tomorrow night. There's even a couple of Guest Bumpers to enjoy.

The I Don't Hear A Single Radio Excitement is broadcast on KOR Radio at 8pm UK Time on Fridays, repeated at the same time on Saturdays. Due to increased popularity, a Monday Night Repeat has been added at 8pm.

You can listen to it here.

Also, a reminder that the show is archived the following week on Mixcloud. You can listen to the other forty three shows and two Xmas Specials here.

Here's this week's playlist :

01 Tsar - I Don't Wanna Break-Up
02 A View Of Earth From The Moon - Don't Do It For The Payoff
03 Jackie Daytona - Uptown Baby
04 Preoccupied Pipers - Jackie Blue
05 The Cleaners From Venus - In A Provincial Town
06 Spygenius - I Don't Hear A Single Promo
07 The Stanleys - Everybody Dance
08 Tommy Lorente - Supernova
09 Smash Palace - Right As Rain
10 Luke Haines - I Sometimes Dream Of Glue
11 The Armoires - I Don't Hear A Single Promo
12 Bernard Butler - Not Alone
13 Rob Bonfiglio - Spread This Feeling
14 Richard Turgeon - Big Break
15 Diamond Hands - Caught Up In A Memory
16 Scot Sax - Where Do You Go To Cry
17 Lisa Mychols - Goodbye To All Carousels
18 Las Rosas - Tax Man
19 Cut Worms - How It Can Be

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

IPO Liverpool 2018 Preview : The Rogue State Circus

The Rogue State Circus are  from Northampton and specialise in a sort of Indie Folk Rock. Although built around a strong Acoustic background, the Power Pop Influence is plentiful. Here Jon Delaney talks about the band.

So tell me about Rogue State Circus.

"Rogue State Circus were originally formed in 2009 when Duncan and I met and first performed at IPO Liverpool in 2010. We released our first LP "Songs From The Sea of Serenity" in 2011. Tracks from that first LP such as "Everything Under The Sun",  "The Angels and The Astronauts" and "Dandelions" had extensive BBC and Independent Radio airplay. We've become a regular fixture at Regional Festival Main Stages.

I write the songs. The flexible line-up of the Band currently consists of  me on Lead Vocals and Guitar, Duncan Bisatt 0n Bass and Vocals, Karl Muddiman on Keyboards, Simon Barr on 12 String Guitars and Charles Hathaway on Drums or Rai Clews on Cajon/Percussion.

Additionally, the band are also often joined by Karen Angela on Vocals.  We enjoy playing stripped down acoustic sets as well as fully fledged electro-acoustic ones."

So who are your Influences?

"I'm influenced heavily by the Classic Power Pop of the 60's and 70's through New Wave and 80's Pop too. I like everything from the Fab Four to Prefab Sprout, Bacharach to Big Star, Kinks to Killers, Crowded House to Costello, Magazine to The Manics, Steely Dan to the Stranglers, We love a good Jangly tune with 12 strings and Acoustics, very much part of our eclectic sound.

Rogue State Circus is first and foremost all about the songs and the songwriting - we're known for being "truly, truly genre-warping" (Kevin Buxton - Kontra Roots) - I've always loved great songwriting and I'm still working on it.

I'm a great believer that if the song works on solo vocal and acoustic guitar or piano alone then it's probably fit for purpose to be "Power Popped up" arranged and built on by the whole band."

So what are are your current and future plans?

"We've just completed our 12 track second LP "Songs From The Sea of Storms" with Platinum Producer Gavin Monaghan (Editors, Nizlopi, Sherlocks, Twang, Scott Matthews, OCS, Blinders) for release this summer. and

As the title suggests, the songs have a slightly darker edge this time round.  We've also got another 11 tracks already partially recorded with Gavin for the third LP in our "Lunar Trilogy" prospectively called "Mare Imbrium" (Sea of Rainbows) and hopefully to be completed for release next year."

........And Your Ambitions?

"Relatively modest. We just want people to hear and enjoy our songs and play them to as many people as possible. We all totally adore playing live and now, thanks to the encouragement of the production wizard that is Gavin, are finally learning to love the Studio too.

We're looking to play more festival and gigs all over the place, garner more Blog coverage, reviews and Radio Play. We see our audience as being people who like premium strength, melodic Power Pop songwriting with well crafted lyrics and also appreciate a passionate, energetic live performance.

We're really looking to enjoy IPO once again as audience as well as performers. It's a first class festival full of real enthusiasm and joy, David and Rina providing the lead. We love Liverpool, for The Beatles, The people, The Graces and The Cathedrals  (and whisper it, three of us are LFC fans).

So if we manage to win a few hearts and minds for our own music while we're there, so much the better."

The Rogue State Circus are soon to release their new album, you can hear songs here. The first album can be listened to and bought here. The band play both The Cavern Club and The Cavern Pub on Monday 21 May.

IPO Liverpool 2018 : Deborah Henriksson

Deborah Henriksson grew up in Morristown, New Jersey listening to Pete Seeger, Buffy St. Marie, Leontyne Price, and Giuseppe Verdi. She moved to Sweden in 1978 and that is her home base now.  She trained her folk voice to classical music vocal ideals, before returning to a back to basics untrained Vocals in 2009.

She has released five albums, her most recent two with original songs in partnership with Producer, Mats Nyman.  Deborah's latest album, Near And Far was released in August 2017 and made it to the first round of the American Grammy's in the category Best Pop Vocal Album.

If you like Contemporary Folk with a Pop / Celtic / Americana edge then this will be right up your street.  Later in May a hour long show in the Netherlands will feature Near and Far, and Henriksson will talk about the making of the album and the writing of the songs.  Live performances follow in Sweden and new single releases are planned.

It is hoped that her IPO appearance will ensure that more people will support Deborah's excellent music adventure. You can listen to the Near And Far album here. You can find out more about Deborah here and support her here.

She plays The Cavern Club tonight and The Cavern Pub on Thursday 17 May.

IPO Liverpool 2018 Preview : Sleuth

Sleuth are the bookish indie popsters from Wolverhampton, home of England’s first automatic traffic lights. Radio broadcasts include BBC Introducing 6 Music and BBC Radio WM with live appearances including The Northern Sky Festival with Gaz Coombes and John Bramwell (I Am Kloot).

The Valentines Day release of the Coming Up For Air EP was the cover of Ryan’s Gig Guide for March 17, with a double spread article hailing the EP as ‘truly remarkable’ with ‘excellent songwriting’.

The band is Chris Taylor-Ashcroft (myself), Becky Pickin, Andy Miles & Carl Bayliss. Their influences are Elliott Smith, Bowie, The Beatles, Beach Boys and Bob Dylan. A new EP should be released in the next month or so.

New EP should be ready in the next month or so. Ypu can listen to and download the Coming Up For Air EP here. They play The Cavern Club, both Front and Back Stage on Friday 18 May.

IPO Liverpool 2018 Preview : The Seasongs

The Seasongs are a bright and breezy Spanish Trio. Spain isn't given the necessary kudos for it's contribution to Power Pop and Pop Rock. There's a burgeoning scene over there, as well as super Record Labels such as You Are The Cosmos.

You may have heard The Seasongs on the IDHAS Radio show. If not, then they are certainly worth investigating further. Here I talk to Carlos from the band.

Who were your influences?

"Our biggest musical influences come from bands like The Who, The Beatles, The Kinks, The Byrds, Big Star and David Bowie. Mainly classic bands from 60's/70's. We love riffs and vocal harmonies, so naturally we love Power Pop.

Most of our songs are created from a riff, so maybe The Who are our main influence, though we recognise The Beatles as the greatest band ever.  Pete Townsend is a real great influence in many ways.

We have been writing songs in English for a long time but for some time now we are writing in Spanish since this is our native language. But our essence remains the same, we love melody.

Why music?

"Music is Life and Life is Music. Sometimes happy, sometimes blue, sometimes happy and blue at the same time. There's a connection between ourselves and the Universe through music.. it's something magical.

We feel better when we are playing or writing songs. Music is a need, it's that simple. Our songs are a part of us so we love them."

Tell us a little about the history of the band?

"We've been playing as The Seasongs since 2003, though the origin of the band starts in 2000 with a garage band called Piso99 (99th Floor). We have released two albums, "Out Of The City" in 2012 and
"Buscando el sol" in 2015. We've also recorded five EP's from 2003 to date.

Our latest EP is titled "Días y noches" from last year. It' is released on Vinyl by the Spanish label Clifford Records as is the"Buscando el sol" LP. It's been recorded, mixed and produced by Pepe Bermejo (Bass player in Happy Losers, Mamá and Los Imposibles).

We have performed many gigs over the years, supporting both international and Spanish bands like The Jeremy Band, Stefan Johansson, Ugly Beats, Wiretree, Dropkick, Squire, Cooper, Happy Losers, Bang 74 and the José Estragos Band..

This year we'll be playing at IPO Liverpool for the seventh time. We also played at IPO Stockholm in 2016. Our albums are also available by Jam Recordings (USA), Kool Kat Musik (USA) and This Time Records (Japan).

A song from our first album titled “New Love " is included in the compilation CD International Pop Overthrow, volume 15. The band line up is Óscar Granero: vocals, guitars. Carlos L. Vigara: vocals , bass and Jaime Bará Viñas: drums, percussion.

What are your current and future plans?

"Well, our nearest concerts are at The Cavern Pub on Friday May 18th, 10pm and at The Cavern Club (backstage) on Saturday May 19th, 5:45pm.

Furthermore, we'll be supporting the Australian power-pop band The Stanleys in Madrid at Fotomatón on May 26 and the great Scottish band Dropkick in Madrid at Fun House on July 14.

We're planning to record a new album this Summer. We have enough songs to release a new LP."

What you think of IPO and Liverpool

"IPO is the best pop music festival in the world. We have been playing at IPO from 2010 to date.  We have lived great moments there, playing, listening to bands we look up to and discovering other bands we hadn't heard of before. We are grateful to David Bash for this.

We love The Beatles, so we love Liverpool: a magical city where the Beatles spirit remains on every street."

As previously mentioned, you can see The Seasongs in The Cavern Pub on Friday 18 May and at The Cavern Club on Saturday 19 May. You can listen to and buy the band's latest EP here.  You can also discover The Seasongs' Back Catalogue here.

Friday, 11 May 2018

IPO Liverpool 2018 Preview : The Stanleys

The Stanleys are dear to my heart for a number of reasons. I'd always looked upon the Power Pop strength to be in the US and Australia despite it's roots here in the UK. That strength seemed to have diminished in Oz until The Stanleys reminded us it hadn't gone away. Plus they are honourary members of the Big Stir crowd.

The single, Amy, featured in my Top 10 singles of 2017 as you can see here. The debut album set a IDHAS Radio record. The Stanleys became the only band to have the whole album played on the weekly show. The review of the debut self titled album is here.

So it has been nice to chew the fat with Mark Di Renzo about the band's history, the scene and that extraordinary debut album.

What made you start as a musician / band and who were your influences?

"I guess you could say music was in my blood and I grew up around music so it was unavoidable … but a very good unavoidable!  My grandfather, Giovanni (on my dad’s side), played bugle in the Italian army in the Second World War.

My dad, Charlie, built his first guitar when he was 16 and still plays a little guitar, but more keyboards now. He ran a music business for many years with music studios, his own brand of speaker enclosures (which I use – Di Renzo Custom Sound), road cases etc and at the age of 74 he still is active in some of the aforementioned activities.  My older brother John plays guitar and has been a member of The Stanleys live band since our first ever show.

I started on piano as a kid, but to this day, only really dabble in the playing of black and white keys.  I played and sang in school bands in primary school and graduated to the real stuff in senior school, but only took up bass guitar when I got to university.

Initially my influences were more of the perhaps classic rockier bands, growing up listening to the likes of Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, The Rolling Stones, Kiss and The Beatles. I probably discovered Power Pop more in my teens with bands like Cheap Trick, Hoodoo Gurus, The Posies, Fountains Of Wayne and Perth’s own DM3.  I still think all that music is great!"

What are your thoughts on IPO and Liverpool?

"IPO has a special place in The Stanleys' hearts since we played our first ever gig at IPO LA back in 2011, before playing anywhere else in the world.  We hadn't even played my home town Perth before.

My previous band Gigantic had spoken to David Bash about playing his International Pop Overthrow Festival, but despite touring the US three times we never quite made it.  David and Rina are wonderful people and the IPO community of bands is one that shows each other much love and support the world over.  We've made so many friends around the world through IPO.

As for Liverpool, ask me again after my first visit there to play IPO.  But all reports from others are good ones and to play a venue that has hosted The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Queen, The Who, Oasis and so many more is an absolute honour.

I also love traditional UK food – Fish And Chips, Shepherd's Pie, English Breakfast etc, so I want to try Liverpool's Scouse, which I hear can be quite a delicious stew.  I'm very excited for the visit!"

What are your current and future plans?

"We've been lucky enough to have had quite an overwhelmingly positive response to our debut album so we're still busy touring it.  We've had a recent visit to the US and Europe and we're back to Europe again for the "Everybody Dance Tour".

This time we're playing the UK, Sweden, Germany and Spain, where our European label is based.  We've even learnt a few songs from Gigantic (most particularly for the Spanish audiences), but I'm sure we'll bust out a couple for the UK and other shows also.

After that we'll take a breather.  Tomas is busy finishing off another Caddy album, which will be one to listen out for later this year and Jamie has had his second child so is taking time out for family commitments.

I've been the only lucky one from the studio band who has gotten to tour the album along with my brother on guitars and some other great musicians from Perth and Italy.  There will be a video coming out for Everybody Dance a little after the tour.

I imagine that I'll be ready for a break from gigging by then.  Amongst other things I'd like to improve my cooking skills.  I make a mean Lobster Pasta, but outside of that my food production repertoire is rather limited!"

What appeals to you about Power Pop?

"I think it is mostly about the melody for me.  Great melodies that you can sing along to, together with some crunchy guitars played with gusto and presto musical magic!  I feel the "Power" part of Power Pop is really important for me. The "Power" is the passionate part and a very essential ingredient."

What's The Oz scene like at present and how do you and Power Pop fit in?

"The Oz scene, like most scenes around the world, is pretty healthy as far as talent goes across many genres.  We have the same problem shared by other countries in that there are way more bands than venues and opportunities for exposure for those bands.

As far as Power Pop goes, it's been a dirty word down under for quite a few years now.  There are actually very few bands playing Power Pop down here.  That said I feel Aussie Power Pop had a great 2017 with fantastic albums from the likes of Wesley Fuller, The Naturals, The Wellingtons and The On And Ons. It's just a matter of time until Power Pop is cool again.

Our fan base is certainly bigger Overseas than it is in Australia. We've played way less shows here than we have in the US and Europe  That said, since we released our album, we've been asked to play more shows in Australia in the last few months than we have in our entire 7 or so years of existence and the gigs have been really fun.

We're kicking off the Everybody Dance Tour with two shows in our home town with a great Sydney based rock band called Front End Loader.  I'm sure it's going to be good times, followed by even more good times making new friends across Europe and catching up with some old ones too.  See you soon!"

You can listen to and buy the band's album here. The Stanleys play The Cavern Pub on Thursday 17 May and The Cavern Club on Friday 18 May.