Friday, 17 November 2017

Partner - In Search Of Lost Time

Throughout the second half of the 90's onwards, I have been extolling the virtues of Alisha's Attic. A lot of my circle thought I was mad, that I'd lost all my Rawk credentials and it'd be The Spice Girls next. They are still wrong.

Too many people associate AA with the cooky I Am I Feel, when they are a duo who got better and better and their third album, The House We Built is an absolute pop masterpiece, Pretender Got My Heart being the best single that people will never hear.

I mention Alisha's Attic, not just because Partner are a female duo, the Pooles are sisters, Josee Caron and Lucy Niles, are not, but the spirit of that UK duo is never far away from my thoughts as I listen. They are certainly a more rocked up version, but that dual vocal works in a very similar manner.

I've seen the Canadian duo compared to The Breeders, Green Day and Dinosaur Jr. I don't hear anything like that here. Partner are more like a higher fi version of Ween, certainly the wit is there. People will obviously look for female comparisons, but there aren't many around.

Gross Secret is very Alannis Morrissette in structure and vocal, Creature In The Sun is a bit KD Lang, but these songs have far more in common with early Weezer and one thing that isn't in doubt is that Caron can play Guitar. It's this Lead playing that takes Partner on to another level, bordering on the Power end of Power Pop.

The solo on Remember This is blistering. The album does lose a bit of steam, but that's only because the front half is so strong. Opener, Everybody Know is a classic example of how to write a Pop song, hooks, an almost rap on the verse and a guitar solo to play on your tennis racket.

Comfort Zone is pure Weezer, Angels From Ontario reminds me of that third Alisha's Attic album until it goes all wonderfully rock out. There's also real wit in the lyrics, particularly on the likes of Daytime TV.

In Search Of Lost Time is an astonishingly accomplished debut album. This is great great Pop, I can't wait to hear more from the band. Well done all. You can listen to and buy the album here. You should!

Thursday, 16 November 2017

I Don't Hear A Single Radio Show Episode 22

The I Don't Hear A Single Radio 22 has just been sent to the lovely people at KOR for tomorrow night. It's a corker.

This year shows no sign of letting up. The first cut of the show was 45 minutes too long. So this week, there are no archive songs. 17 new tunes to direct your ears to including one by 50% of XTC.

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 first twenty one shows here.

Here is this week's playlist :

01 Bullet Proof Lovers - One Last Night
02 Shrug Life - Temp Job
03 The Moms - Good Job
04 Crime Scene - The Real Thing
05 TC&I - Scatter Me
06 Hi-Standard - Time To Crow
07 Vista Kicks - Gimme Love
08 Role Models - I Want More
09 Kerosene Stars - Lost
10 The Stars Explode - Matthew Sweet
11 The Cleaners From Venus - Scarecrow Hair And Saucer-Eyed
12 Treadmill Trackstar - Better Thing
13 Dirty Fences - Teen Angel
14 Watts - All Done With Rock n Roll
15 Rare Monk - Artifice
16 J Eastman And The Drunk Uncles - On Your Dime
17 Felsen - You And I Will Meet Again

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Dave Kerzner - Static

I've often said in the past that although I am known for Power Pop and Pop Rock, I have a much wider taste and a particular penchant for Prog. I'm talking King Crimson, Rush in side long mode, Gabriel era Genesis.

As for Modern Prog, I love Big Big Train, Porcupine Tree and Francis Dunnery, but I normally back away from the genre. This is because I find it over produced, kitchen sink how fast can you play rubbish. The songs are forgotten in the race to show technical dexterity.

Normally, this would be reviewed as part of The Garden Of Earthly Delights section, but it's so good that it deserves to be stand alone. Static is a corker of an album. Normally when you hear the words Rock Opera, you run as fast as your raging legs will take you. Also when you find that Dave Kerzner is a keyboard vocalist, you think capes and long long cape worn solos.

Well for those in the know, Sound In Contact's Dave Kerzner is not a bit like that. With the odd exception, such as Reckless and Statistic, the keyboards are hardly around, this is twin guitars and you'd probably not know this was a Rock Opera if I hadn't told you. Also, before you get sniffy about Prog, remember that both Dave Gregory and Colin Moulding are largely in this fold now.

Kerzner's second album is far more in the Big Big Train, Gilmour led Pink Floyd mode. Indeed Big Big Train's Nick D'Virgillo guests as do the likes of Porcupine Tree's Colin Edwin, Steve Hackett. Kerzner's core group and live outfit feature the splendid Fernando Perdomo.

For all the great arrangements and playing on show, Static is all built around Kerzer's superb voice. It has a mellow quality that rivals Jeff Lynne or Eric Stewart, but he can stretch out like a Colin Blunstone or John Wetton. This is unusual in the genre, in which vocalists line up to sound like Peter Gabriel.

Indeed, the title track could be ELO and the strength of the slower numbers such as Right Back To The Start reveals that vocal quality.  Millennium Man is very Alan Parsons Project and State Of Innocence is a wonderful harmonic ballad.

For the majority of this album, you'd label it as a great Pop Rock album. However, Prog is not forgotten as the closing The Carnival Of Life is a 15 minute Prog Masterclass, all time signature changes, just what us Proggers get off on.

Static is an exceptional album, it deserves to be listened to. You can buy it here and everywhere.

Nick Knowles - Every Kinda People

When I started IDHAS, I stated that I'd only review things that I liked. I'd wrote some cracking bad reviews in the past, but it's much easier to write something negative. But I felt that I wanted to celebrate what was good and ignore what was bad. So if I don't particularly relate to something, I don't review it.

For the Nick Knowles album, I make my one and only exception. It's brought a whole new meaning to the word music. It is as though he's got someone else's teeth in whilst singing these songs. Even Karaoke singers find it hard to ruin a song as good as Andy Fraser's Every Kinda People. Nick manages to do just that.

Nick says that not a lot of people know that he plays guitar and sings, sadly they still don't. I've no problem with TV Presenters making albums if it means people go out and physically buy albums, this though should earn Andy Fraser 37 and a half pence.

The Universal PR person was obviously pissed when they wrote about Nick's rich timbre lending itself to crisp dark nights and roaring fires. Warning Kids! Do not put CDs on the fire. The promo video above has surely been directed by Ricky Gervais. His Mid Atlantic vocal is straight out of Billinge Labour Club 1976.

Nick obviously wants to be Robert Palmer as he has form for this as you'll see below. The one good thing about the album is that it only has eleven songs on it. Also, at least his version of Every Kinda People is not as bad as his version of Here Comes The Sun.

I was so outraged about this album that I will be returning it to B and Q tomorrow to steady that wonky French Dresser by the door.

The Tomboys - Sessions One And Two

Being Big In South Florida wouldn't normally drive the masses to listen to a band, for that's what The Tomboys were. In the 80's, the trio spent their teens to mid twenties garnering that reputation. They've now decided to remix and remaster their back catalogue and release it across four EPs of which these two provide the first half.

Not only that, but these recordings are provided as free downloads. These days the threesome have moved on to different things, so it's fantastic to discover their lost past. Vocalist and Guitarist, Tommy Anthony has been a member of Santana since 2005.

Raul Malo will be best known to most for founding The Mavericks in 1990, whilst Joe Alonso ran a successful music business. The first EP, Sessions One, is very much the New Wave that we all know and love, a mix of both UK and New Wave. UK beat, US harmonies.

The final song on that EP nods far more towards US AOR, think Foreigner, certainly a crunchier guitar sound. The second EP builds on that AOR direction, although the opener, Always After You, is a bit more like The Knack doing AOR.

Open Your Arms starts like a Rush Signals Era song, Malo's Bass is Lee like, whilst Anthony's Guitar is Lifeson like. The song though is pure Adult Orientated Rock. Whilst Extremes is very Bass driven, almost Thin Lizzy doing a slow moody.

I can't wait for the other two EPs. In the meantime there is no reason at all not to head over to the band's website and download these EPs now. You can download both FREE here.

Monday, 13 November 2017

Wesley Fuller - Inner City Dream

Melbourne's Wesley Fuller offers up his first full length album and it's great 70's Pop. A mixture of Bubblegum, Jangle and images of 70's Kids TV shows. There's a real charm throughout the album that is both endearing and admirable.

Both Inner City Dream and It Can Change My Ways are pure late 60's Bubblegum, The Archies spring to mind. Yet, Someone to Walk Around With is all 70's Glam Rock, handclaps and all. Whilst, Morality is like a theme to a 90's Japanese Cartoon series.

It's not all poppity pop though, the moodier Miranda Says is slower and atmospheric, very early 80's before the UK scene was taken over by make up and what you wore, almost BEF. No More Chances could be on a late 60's Film Soundtrack, all trip Beat Pop.

There's also signs of a more New Wave direction, away from the Pop to a darker experimental side, never more so on Biggest Fan. After the excellence of last year's Melvista EP, Inner City Dream moves on apace and promises even more for the future. If there's a better single than #1 Song around I haven't heard it. It's all jingle jangle and even has a cars like keyboard break.

You can buy the album everywhere. Sound samples can be heard on the likes of Amazon here.

The Nines - Colour Radio (American Transistor)

Steve Eggers and Bill Majoros were a marriage made in heaven in my eyes. In fact I often have dreams in which they are in a Supergroup with Andy Partridge and Jason Falkner, but enough of my fantasies. On his third outing in The Nines, I still expected that at some stage Majors would turn the band into an Oranges And Lemons era XTC.

Although you get the odd sign of this in for instance, the solo on Maybe If You Stayed, the XTC connections are lesser if you except the chorus hooks. Whereas The Nines started as a sort of cross between XTC and ELO, leaning more towards Partridge, here they are very much more in Lynne Territory.

I remember Lennon saying in his latter days that if The Beatles were still around they'd sound like ELO. At the time, the outcry was deafening, it would be interesting how that would be taken today with Lynne's stock being so much higher. It would be nearer to say that if they were around now they'd be The Nines.

Unlike the previous album, Alejandro's Visions, reviewed here, Colour Radio is far more in traditional Nines Great Pop territory, in fact Eggers's voice is in fine fettle. Straight off with the opener, Crazy Little Girl, the song is all ELO hooks and harmonies with a vocal similar to Jeff Lynne's shouty On The Third Day era.

The McCartney Pop of Maybe If You Stayed has that incredible Majoros solo and again ELO like harmonies. But it's not all Lynne references and there's still XTC nods. We're Alright is classic Partridge and Majoros does his Dave Gregory bit to perfection.

The ballad, Guess I'm Crazy, is pure Eric Stewart and The Nines go funky with You Can Get More Than This with it's great keyboard solo. It doesn't always work, In Our Younger Days is a corker of a song spoilt a little by the Kelly Groucutt chorus.

That's a minor quibble though. For A Lifetime is in Peter Skellern territory, a good thing. Don't Be Losing Your Game is a kind of dancing Andrew Gold and he's nicked Peter Frampton's gizmo. I'm Lucky is one of those ballads that Macca should write and doesn't and hasn't for a long time.

To close it all, we have the Christmas song, Believe In Christmas. Unlike my friend Stephen Schnee, I wouldn't care if I never heard a Christmas Song again, all that forced jollity and celebration of the twee. It's a fine ballad, if a little sickly. But I'll forgive anyone who can write as great a piano romp as On And On She Gets By.

Colour Radio is a great pop album. The Nines are battling with my beloved Rush as my favourite Canadian band. Same again next year please Steve and Bill, can we have more Foreign Films soon. The album is available everywhere. You can listen to additional sound samples at CD Baby here.

Ed Ryan - Furious Mind

Ed Ryan's previous album, Roadmap, was reviewed here and Furious Mind follows on with all that was great about Roadmap. The songs are beautifully constructed taking up the rockier space in Power Pop.

Loads of hooks, soaring choruses, everything you need from an album. As I mentioned in the previous review, despite being a multi instrumentalist, it is Ryan's playing that deserves special note. It really is outstanding, even when slowed down on the likes of Take Me Home it still stands out.

Songs are largely built to maximise the chorus, but on I Know I Know, there is potentially three choruses. So Hard is almost a Ziggy Ballad and Lullaby has a great vocal, it caught me completely by surprise.

There's a few more chances taken here, particularly on the slower songs, but it's the sure fire Power Pop that Ryan excels on most. Songs like Drifting and Any Time You Want showcase his talent for writing something that hooks you and then there's that Guitar Playing which is exemplary.

You can listen to and buy the album here.

Sunday, 12 November 2017

The Garden Of Earthly Delights

The Granite Shore - Suspended Second

I purposely wanted this to appear in The Garden Of Earthly Delights section. Simply because I want this section to be useful to those not looking for the Poppier stuff that I concentrate on, but at the same time for those Pop fans to realise what else is around.

I'm a massive Fan of Nick Halliwell's Occulation Recordings, not only for dragging The Distractions back into public view. Any label that has John Howard on it is doing something right and every sign tells me that this is a label to reckon with.

The Granite Shore's second album is a cracker. Halliwell may have a plaintive vocal, but there is a fantastic structure and melody to the songs and the choruses don't half hook you. The seriousness of the message isn't lost in this follow up, but the debut album, Once More From The Top was a bit too reflective.

Suspended Second contains songs that seem a bit more jolly, even if the lyrics are not for Brexiteers. I defy anyone to write a song as beautifully melancholic as Someone Else. Ditto the nine minutes plus of The Performance Of A Lifetime which features completely addictive Backing Vocals.

Halliwell describes the album as Angry Pop, that's too easy a tag. The depth of the songwriting shows that he is being way too modest. The inclusion of Occulation label mates allow the vision to be reach fulfillment.

The Distractions' Steve Perrin is present as is The June Brides' Phil Wilson. The dulcet tones of John Howard are here as is that extraordinary piano playing. Arash Torabi and Ian Henderson complete the sextet.

Nick Halliwell has offered up an exceptional album on an exceptional label. You can listen to and buy the album here.

Bad Badger - Serpent Mother 

Wichita Falls's Bad Badger have fashioned up an excellent album. The band are labelled with the all encapsulating Indie Rock. I mean what exactly is that these days? It would appear to be anything that is potentially Rock and not on a major label. Does it have quite a few synths on it, is there much guitar, no, oh that'll be Indie Pop, yes, oh that'll be Prog.

Serpent Mother is pure Rock and on something like New Pigs, the instrumentation is Caress Of Steel like, it's wonderful psych prog. Then there's Band Of Wagons which you'd expect to be on the Fruits De Mer label.

Lucid Livin' is so laid back it is almost asleep. Anna too is more of the same, mesmerising. Indeed the whole of the second half is far more dreamy and trippy than the pulsing of the first half. The two halves are divided by an interlude, all albums should make this mandatory.

This is a corker of an album, extremely mature, as well as grabbing the Nada Surf and Lemon Twigs crowd, Bad Badger should garner a much older following. Indie Rock indeed!!!!!! This is pure psych and all the better for it. I'll pass this on to my good friend, Chris Sirett at The Perfumed Allotment. I know he'll want to cover it too.

You can buy this everywhere including CD Baby here and Amazon here. Listening samples are at both places. Ignore the categories though. Blink 182?????

Trent Reznor And Atticus Ross - The Vietnam War (Original Score)

The Garden Of Earthly Delights section was always meant to be something away from what I generally cover on IDHAS. It was intended to be away from the Power Pop and Pop Rock and from now on, it will appear regularly and do just that.

Nine Inch Nails which is essentially Trent Reznor have been known largely for Industrial Rock, really enjoyable but hard listening. Reznor's soundtrack work with Atticus Ross, who is now also a NIN member has been largely different.

Although Reznor had worked alone with Scores for David Fincher, since his collaboration with Ross on 2010's The Social Work, the projects have developed considerably. Their scores fit the films beautifully, yes this is ambient, but it is also effective. Not as up itself as some ambient music can be. Think Bill Nelson, who also makes wonderful albums in that field, although there are perhaps too many.

Ken Burns and Lynn Novick's excellent Documentary series, The Vietnam War, is a big watch, 10 episodes taking up 18 hours. So although there are two different albums to accompany it, there is room for both.

The alternative soundtrack will be the one people naturally gravitate to. That is a bit obvious with it's Simon And Garfunkel and Creedence Clearwater Revival. All a bit Now That's What I Call Classic Rawk. Surely most people have this stuff already.

This double disc is the gem. It's very moving, can be listened to as background music or in depth. If you are composing an Electronic Music score, you have to make it interesting, it can't just rely on a Prog like repetition of the same theme.

Reznor and Ross manage that. It's a fine listen briefly or through all 95 minutes. This score can be compared to a modern day Classical Composer's work and there is still more than enough room for this and three minute love songs.

You can buy this everywhere. The likes of Amazon have sound samples here.

Artful Dodger - The Complete Columbia Recordings (2CD)

I rarely cover Back Catalogue on here unless it is something dear to my heart. A number of reasons. I cover a bit elsewhere, I've spent far too long over the last two decades, listening to and writing about the past, but mainly because I prefer IDHAS to be about the new and unappreciated.

However, if the right band come along, I'll say a few words and this is a few words.  Artful Dodger are one of the great lost Pop Rock bands, akin to Liverpool Express in the UK. Their self titled debut album and the follow up, Honor Amongst Thieves have appeared on CD before, but the masters were dreadful and they fetch very high prices these days or did until perhaps not.

1977's Babes On Broadway has never appeared on CD and although it's not a patch on the previous two, it's great to have it available again. These three CBS albums have Single Versions of Scream and Can't Stop Pretending added to the two disc package.

Sadly 1980's finale, Rave On was on Arista and so the wait for that continues. Big In Cleveland, I suppose describes Artful Dodger with their Raspberries Pop. But this is great Pop Rock. Don't confuse the band with the UK Artful Dodger or you will get a nasty surprise.

This can be bought at Amazon here and everywhere else. Sorry for the quality of the song examples. There's not a lot available.

Crime Scene - Alter Life

Crime Scene's Alter Life slipped out without fanfare at the start of the year and it deserves much greater attention. It pushes all the right Pop Rock Buttons and enhances Sweden's reputation as purveyors of great pop.

Ulf Holmberg may be known more for his guitar excellence instrumentally, but he's also been involved in some great Pop. The self titled Longplayer album lit up 2011. It was very much in Jeff Lynne mode but worked beautifully.

As well as being a part of the splendid Manticore, Holmberg is in the four piece from Upsala, Crime Scene. The resultant album is still very much in the 70's or even latter day Beatles, but this is great melodic pop. Think Badfinger or The Raspberries.

All the hooks are there and the tricks, hippy Eastern guitar on Old Sage Moon, the Harrison like slide on On A Limb. The title track is one of those big 70's anthems that close Alan Parsons Project albums.

If it does get a little ELO in the odd moment, it's more ELO Part 2 than Jeff Lynne. Mother Of Troble is all Glam Rock with a Keith Emerson like organ opening. This is excellent Pop Rock, nothing out of the ordinary, but beautifully done.

You can listen to sound clips and buy the album at the likes of Amazon here.

Shrug Life - Shrug Life

Dublin's Shrug Life are tied in with Seattle's excellent Jigsaw Records and this would appear to be a match made in heaven. Jigsaw do not get enough praise for their contribution to Guitar Pop and the world would be a much poorer place without them.

As for Shrug Life, well they are 2017's answer to The Housemartins. The same glorious lo-fi, the rapier wit about the mundane and the chirpiness of the material. The trio are just the thing in this Post Brexit Trump World. Forget about it for a bit and celebrate the every day rubbish and nonsense.

There is seriousness here though, again Paul Heaton like, the chirpiness delivers a serious view. Your Body is about Pro Choice in a Proclaimers style delivery. At Times, this wit about the mundane can be compared to Half Man Half Biscuit and there are the similar folky tones around some of the songs.

Never Bored rocks out as much as you could expect Shrug Life to and that song still returns to a calypso like rhythm. Skype Calls has a lyric that you would expect from The Bordellos or Colin's Godson.

I'm not sure what Free Bird II is meant to be, but it's wonderfully anarchic, all jangly with lo-fi budget versions of Guitar solos at either end, a sort of Pound Shop Skynyrd. The hilarious closer, Japanese Bonus Track, is a country folk summer with an almost Morrissey vibe.

This album is an absolute joy, One of the best things that I've hears all year and probably the most satisfying. Wit, lyrical depth and all done in a charming poppy manner. It's an absolute corker, well done Shrug Life.

You can listen to and buy the album here.

Thursday, 9 November 2017

I Don't Hear A Single Radio Show Episode 21

The I Don't Hear A Single Radio show hits Number 21 tomorrow.

Some great stuff as always. Apologies for the delay in reviews, they'll be appearing across the next three days. It's been busy with other stuff that you'll hear about in the near future.

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 first twenty shows here.

Here is this week's playlist :

01 The Zutons - Tired Of Hanging Around
02 The Sunset Spirit - No Time To Pretend
03 The Nines - Maybe If You Stayed
04 P76 - Postcard from Bondi
05 Richard Thompson - Valerie (Andy Kershaw Session 1987)
06 Sitcom Neighbor - Your Turn Next
07 Mothboxer - Get It Right
08 Daisy House - Desdemona
09 Doctor And The Medics - Burn
10 John Howard - From The Morning
11 The Brixton Riot - Little Spark
12 Wesley Fuller - All the Colours Of Sadness
13 Jeremy Neale - Averse To Try It
14 Red Cabin - Garden Walls
15 Dirty Fences - Teen Angel
16 Worriers - Not Your Type
17 The Red Plastic Buddha - Cosmonaut
18 The Morning Line - All Mine

Thursday, 2 November 2017

I Don't Hear A Single Radio Show Episode 20

The I Don't Hear A Single Radio show reaches the Number 20 tomorrow.

It's another good 'un, a bit of extra Psych Pop this week and so a cut down on the usual three archive songs. You'll know the opener though which was my teen anthem and is still probably my favourite single ever.

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 first nineteen shows here.

Here is this week's playlist :

01 Eddie And The Hot Rods - Do Anything You Wanna Do
02 Third Of Never - 18 Strings
03 Martin Carr - Damocles
04 The Screens - Jennifer Jones (Radio Edit)
05 Telyscopes - Alcoholics (The Last Drop)
06 The Ragamuffins - Oxygen
07 The Luck Of Eden Hall - Reflected
08 The Yellow Melodies - The Urban Cyclist
09 Idle Jets - Atomic Fireball
10 The Tomboys - Always After You.mp3
11 The Condors - Matter Of Fact
12 The Zags - A World Away
13 Ed Ryan - You're My Kind Of Fun
14 Titty Citty - Granny Got Game
15 Rockford - Tuck Me In
16 The Bordellos - Genre And Gender

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Alice And The Lovers - Boneyard

Alice Offley's Alice And The Lovers have made great appearances at Liverpool's IPO and fit in well with the surrounding Power Poppers. This is despite, the trio, veering more towards Indie Rock tinged with Blues Rock. Imagine a more interesting and chance taking Sheryl Crow.As well as being a great Bass Player, her Solo performances are on Piano when the depth of her songs are revealed even more.

The new single is a corker, released for Halloween. Boneyard is produced by fellow Swindon acolyte and IDHAS hero, Andy Partridge. Not only that, but it's mixed by Mike Chapman. It's a humdinger of a song, a bit Dusty Springfield leading a Power Trio. Highly Recommended.

You can buy the single here and find out more about Alice here.

The Nature Strip - Beetle Bones

I covered The Nature Strip's Presents album in March here and so I'm delighted to tell you that the band's third full length album is with us. The Sydney based outfit have built on their excellent past, but reached out further with this splendid affair.

The songwriting has previously been handled by John Encarnacao, this time round it's split 50 / 50 with Pete Marley. So all the New Wave influences are still there, but they've been broadened to include departures into Funk, Blues Rock and even Synth Pop.

Fear not though, these departures are all still held together by Encarnacao's vocals. Even something heavier like Hildegard unt Winifred could still be The Sugarplastic if it were not for the Guitar riffs and solo.

There's also great detail in the album, experimentation and depth. The Brass on Eye Section is another interesting departure, an almost Andy Partridge type intrusion. The XTC comparisons continue and so it will be no surprise that John Encarnacao and Drummer Jess Ciampa are part of probably the best XTC Tribute band, Scarecrow People.

Great Big Wave is a corking slice of Psych Pop, Save The Hive could easily be an outtake from XTC's Mummer and the Stripped Down I Wanna Do The Right Thing is great New Wave. Miss You More could be on a mid 70's Jigsaw album. The centrepiece is probably Waterfall, far more laid back, very Jefferson Airplane, with a sublime organ solo.

There's more than enough here to keep previous followers happy, but there is also a departure to drag more in. These departures enhance what you hear rather than deflect. Beetle Bones is professionally recorded and arranged in a way that continues the band's journey forward without deflecting from what they are good at.

This is a great album and deserves your attention. You can listen to and buy the album here.

Monday, 30 October 2017

Chris Church - Limitations Of Source Tape

John Borack rightly recently compared Chris Church to Matthew Sweet. The difference this year is that Limitations Of Source Tape is better than Sweet's recent Together Forever. That's not decrying the Matthew Sweet album, it was fine, just a little too much of the same, this album is far more enjoyable.

The album is a varied selection underlining why he's so highly rated in the Power Pop World. The CD Release show featured guest appearances from Lannie Flowers, Bill Lloyd and The Pengwins which shows what exalted company he is in.

The beauty of Chris Church is that there is an energy that flows through his songs. Whether they are slowed down or move apace, there's never a disappointment. Fall Into Me and Something Completely bear classic Matthew Sweet comparisons but the trippy Psych Pop of Ostinato has hints of Michael Stipe.

Understudy Blues is also reminiscent of those IRS Glory Days, I Can Feel is wonderfully moody, Perfecto could be The Jayhawks. Saving the best until last, Better The Devil You Know is a crackerjack of a song, a little Del Amitri, it's an absolute smasher.

Limitations Of Source Tape is a really beautifully crafted affair, unexpected chord changes, songs that break out, songs that slow down, a great listen. There's been some fine albums this year, this is another. If not the best album thus far, then certainly one of them.

You can listen to sound samples and then buy the album on Amazon here or Kool Kat have the physical version here. It should at the very least be on your Christmas list.

The Saints Of Second Chances - For Everyone

The Saints Of Second Chances are a five piece hailing from Austin Texas. They've fashioned up a crackerjack of an album that mixes everything from Classic Rock to Power Pop to American Glam Metal.

Steve Weisburd's vocals lend their self more to those harder moments, but Too Soon To Tell is such fine Classic Rock song, all chorus and rock riffs, that the album is worth the admission for this alone. You may have heard it on last week's radio show.

Bitter End could be The Cult, Running Away is almost melodic metal with an Alex Lifeson like Moving Pictures chime. Move Along is Glam Metal. Long Way Home starts with a Tie Your Mother Down riff and almost becomes Slade.

Room For Everyone is classic Pop Rock, all Pilot or Jigsaw like, even classic Sweet with the high pitched voices. Gone reminds me a lot of Mr Big, the UK ones, not the big haired Yanks. The two You Tube examples here show that the band can do great Pop Rock. Turn Around is a cross between Liverpool Express And The Motors. Running Away is built around a killer riff.

The Saints Of Second Chances cover all the bases and there's a lot of music in these 14 songs. Probably best when they rock, they are a great addition to the IDHAS archives. You can but the album at CD Baby here and at other establishments.

Sunday, 29 October 2017

Pink Beam - 2017 Singles EP

I get a fair few submissions and I listen to them all. There's a sadness when something doesn't push your buttons. I hope I never lose sight of music being so precious to those who make it and realise that I am not the arbiter of taste.

Having said that, there is nothing more satisfying than a band submitting something that pricks up your ears and makes you query why you haven't heard of them earlier. There's something special about a band that makes you think I must get this on the radio show, people have to hear this.

Double that specialness when you find that your good friend Wayne Lundqvist Ford is putting that same song on his radio show as the second track on his upcoming show. In less motivated moments, I feel sometimes that Wayne and I are single handedly trying to keep Power Pop and Pop Rock relevant in Europe.

We vary off in different directions, but always meet in the middle and what I do with the Radio Show was inspired by Wayne. I always start the I Don't Hear a Single off with an archive song, so I always look at the second song as the crucial one, the one that makes the statement.

Write Me A Letter is just that, it has everything that you want in a Power Pop song, hooks galore. something you sing along to after three listens and just can't get out of your head. I wake up humming the tune.

I only ever associated Rockford with my beloved Cheap Trick, now I can Pink Beam add because this three song EP is the bees knees.  It's really varied. Did You Ever Really Think You'd Fall In Love is a spiralling song. Starts like Joe Jackson and ends with a lead guitar anthem reminding you of the better days of Brit Pop.

Boys On The Side is like a popped up Del Amitri. This EP promises so much, I can't wait to hear future stuff from this four piece, this is a mighty effort. I'm going to change the format of the end of year award as I've only ever gone for the album of the year. There's been so much great stuff this year and Pink Beam will be amongst the deserving.

You can buy and listen to the EP here.

Thursday, 26 October 2017

I Don't Hear A Single Radio Show Episode 19

The I Don't Hear A Single Radio show reaches the Number 19 tomorrow.

This may be the best episode yet, he says in using all his marketing savvy. It is a cracker though and to continue the shameless linking, there's a Halloween reference or two. Be thankful I am not displaying my Christmas wares.

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 first eighteen shows here.

Here is this week's playlist :

01 Dodgy - Making The Most Of
02 Pink Beam - Wrote Me A Letter
03 Partner - Everybody Knows
04 The Connection - (It's A) Monsters' Holiday
05 Alice And The Lovers - Boneyard
06 Catholic Action - New Year
07 The Pengwins - Go Away
08 The Saints Of Second Chances - Too Soon To Tell
09 Chris Church - Better The Devil You Know
10 The Len Price 3 - Start Stop Lilly
11 The Dollyrots - I Do
12 Cotton Mather - 40 Watt Solution
13 Chris Lund - Remember The Daze
14 Sparkle Jets UK - She May Be Nice
15 Gift Horse - Down In The Valley
16 Johnny Chastain - Now Here Nowhere
17 The Incredible Vickers Brothers - Mirrors
18 Dave Kerzner - State of Innocence

Saturday, 21 October 2017

Groovy Uncle - A Clip Round The Ear

The Medway collective led by Chatham's Glenn Prangnell return for Album Number Six and it's their best yet. This is Psych Pop at it's very best, more on the Pop side, say more the first incarnation of The Move than Pink Floyd. Having said that, Oil And Colour Man would fit comfortably on Relics.

Cardiff's Suzi Chunk is again present and this allows the album to be divided into two. When Suzi moves to the Mic Stand, it's more for Burt Bacharach type kitchen sink dramas and these work equally as well as the great Pop that surrounds it. An exception to this is Got Up And Gone which could be Jacqui Abbott in it's delivery and pace. It also has a great Pearl And Dean type ending.

The duet on Things I've Been Meaning To Say is wonderful, part Peter Paul And Mary, almost The Seekers. Above My Station is a charming little ditty with it's early Lennon like vocal. It's the Psych Pop that appeals most to me, but that's probably because it's been such a while since I've heard it done so well.

Mrs Saywell Says and Our Gary's No Fool are splendid affairs that you can imagine being in a technicolor film starring Michael Bates. The aforementioned Oil And Colour Man is a revelation of song.

The whole album takes you back to a more innocent age. Little Essays about a world before everyone knew everything. Not only is it charming, but it's also beautifully arranged. The vocals from Prangnell and Chunk are spot on. Both deserve a wider audience.

You can buy the album on vinyl from the band's website here. Ray at the excellent Kool-Kat has the release on CD here. A Clip Round The Ear is also available for download at the likes of Amazon here. The album and the band's back catalogue is also available on iTunes.

Friday, 20 October 2017

The Stanleys - The Stanleys

Power Pop is a broad church these days and away from the pointless arguments of what is and isn't, but this self titled debut is as good an example of what is as any around. I get a similar thrill listening to it as I did when I first heard the Somerdale album last year.

It's also nice personally to be back on familiar territory and first and foremost, Power Pop is what I do and I have in my hands, a possible album of the year for the genre. I know it isn't, but it seems ages since I've heard something so akin to the reason that I got into Power Pop.

Every one of these 11 songs get you singing along to the chorus, each hooks you and starts the feet tapping. I'd heard for a few months that this release was gonna be something special, a true Power Pop album. Well  it is!

This isn't Merseybeat, think New Wave 1978 - 1983 and the glory days of Not Lame. Not only that but there are plenty of Glam Rock influences. particularly on songs like Cigarette Glow. I'm constantly reminded of The Plimsouls And The Romantics, although What Are We Gonna Do? could have been written by Kimberley Rew.

At other times, I'm reminded of the likes of Michael Carpenter with the chimes and hooks on My World. Always is very Nick Piunti. Hefner is a glammed up version of The Knack. Everybody Dance is pure Chinn And Chapman Smokie.

The album doesn't let up for the first eight of the 11 songs. Then the Somerdale comparison kicks in with This Time Goodbye. Summer is Brit Pop Dodgy and the closing Kid's Gonna Rock is a real teen anthem. All this ignores Amy, the opening song and probably the best single that I've heard this year.

I try and make the I Don't Hear A Single Radio Show as varied as possible and so to devote over half of last week's show to the whole album is a testament to how good it is. The Stanleys may very well have grabbed the Power Pop Trophy back for Australia.

You can listen to and buy the album here.

Johnny Chastain - Plot Points To Nowhere (Free Download)

Lots of promise here from Chicago's Johnny Chastain. Plot Points To Nowhere is a very American album, not that is ever a problem. At it's best it is reminiscent of the likes of John Mellencamp, particularly when it rocks.

Now, Here And Nowhere and the title track are such examples. These two songs are very much on the road ditties and both roll along really nicely. Add to these, s great vocal on What I Might Have Said and variance of Upright Bass and Sax on Where Do We Go From Here and you have an album that is hard not to like.

The only problem is that there isn't enough of the up tempo, so the heavy reliance on the slow and acoustic, excellent though the playing is, makes the album that bit duller. Kid's Got Moxie even has an Aztec Camera feel and is another fine song.

I certainly don't want to appear too critical, there is surely a great future for Chastain, maybe the next album could rely more on the rockier songs. There's certainly lots of encouragement to make it worth listening to and as a free download , what have you got to lose?

You can listen to and download the album here

The Red Button - Now It's All This (2CD)

Seth Swirsky's last solo album, Circles And Squares was reviewed here. It remains one of the Top 10 visited posts here and that is a testament to how good the album is. During that review, his Red Button adventures weren't mentioned and I'm delighted to say that can now be remedied with this release.

The Red Button consists of Seth and Mike Ruekberg. 2007's debut album, She's About To Cross My Mind was refreshing departure from the Big Rock that was around at the time. It's a Power Pop Gem, all jangling and chiming.

Whilst that debut was very much in the McCartney Pop of the 60's, there was still plenty on it to update a more modern audience. I personally felt that it was very much in the territory of The dB's. Floating By is one of the great lost Psych Pop songs, XTC like in it's structure.

Can't Stop Thinking About You is a popped up Tom Petty jangle, Gonna Make You Mine is a Farfisa joy that you'd expect to hear as the opening theme in one of those mid to late 60's UK films for "the kids". There's so much great Pop here, particularly for Revolver fans. Loads of hooks.

The band followed up the debut album, with 2011's As Far As Yesterday Goes. Equally excellent, it wasn't just a sophomore release. It keeps hold of what made the first album great, but spreads it's wings a little more. Easier would grace any great Mid 70's Pop Rock of your choice.

Album Number 2 is if anything a slower more reflective affair that works beautifully. On A Summer Day could be 10cc. I Can't Forget is Classic Merseybeat. Running Away could be The Strawbs or Lindisfarne.

Marty Scott's revival of Jem Records continues apace and just reissuing these two fine albums would be more than enough. However there's more. a second disc contains six new songs and four Unplugged versions of songs from As Far As Yesterday Goes.

The six new songs leave you hopeful of a third album from the duo. With the exception of Solitude Saturday, these songs are even more Lennon McCartney like and the former could be Al Stewart. I really can't recommend this double disc affair any higher than just to tell you to get your wallet out tout de suite.

You can buy the album from today everywhere.

Thursday, 19 October 2017

I Don't Hear A Single Radio Show Episode 18

Back to normality after a week's break from IDHAS.

The I Don't Hear A Single Radio show is brought to you by the Number 18 tomorrow.

It's been a great week for new releases and such. So much so that only this week's opener is an archive track.

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 first seventeen shows here.

Reviews are back on here from tomorrow.

Here is this week's playlist :

01 Feeder - Buck Rogers
02 Third Of Never - Austerity
03 Shrug Life - First World Problems
04 Groovy Uncle - Our Gary's No Fool
05 UV Pop - Anyone For Me
06 Horizon Arcs - Fast Forward
07 Future Teens - In Love Or Whatever
08 Kris Rodgers - Rock N' Roll Radio
09 Avora Records - We Happy Few
10 Berwanger - The Astronaut
11 The Moms - Good Job
12 Robyn Gibson - 5D
13 Salto - Home Again
14 Takotsubo Men - Tony Szabo Destroyed Everything
15 Linda Perhacs - Crazy Love
16 Gentlemen Jackals - Waiting For The Day

Thursday, 12 October 2017

I Don't Hear A Single Radio Show Episode 17

The I Don't Hear A Single Radio show reaches the Number 17 tomorrow.

It's a Special Edition providing the opportunity to listen to one of the best Power Pop Albums of the year ahead of this weekend's review. The full self titled debut album from The Stanleys is exclusively played for your listening pleasure.

As if that wasn't enough, the front end of the show sees the return of Custard and Liverpool Express with possibly the reissue of the year.

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 and there are plans for some more US Friendly times.

You can listen to it here.

Also, a reminder that the show is archived the following week on Mixcloud. You can listen to the first sixteen shows here.

Here is this week's playlist :

01 The On And Ons - Not The Only One
02 Ian Person - Whatever It Takes
03 Skytone - Second Hand Shops
04 Custard - In The Grand Scheme Of Things (None Of This Really Matters)
05 The Two Tens - Streetlight
06 New Politics - One Of Us
07 Liverpool Express - Every Man Must Have A Dream
08 The Stanleys - Amy
09 The Stanleys - Cigarette Glow
10 The Stanleys - What Are We Gonna Do
11 The Stanleys - My World
12 The Stanleys - Always
13 The Stanleys - Hefner
14 The Stanleys - Everybody Dance
15 The Stanleys - Say You Will
16 The Stanleys - This Time Goodbye
17 The Stanleys - Summer
18 The Stanleys - Kid's Gonna Rock

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Liverpool Express - The Albums (3CD)

In the halcyon days of Anything Should Happen, Billy Kinsley was the ideal artist for what that Blog celebrated. He was involved in not one but two classic lost Pop Rock albums, added to his Mersey Beat standing. What more did you need? He is one of the mainstays of that genre, yet few of the general public laud him. Hopefully that's about to change.

Billy Kinsley was a founder member and vocalist (with Tony Crane) of The Merseybeats and left, excepting a brief departure in 1964, after their glory years were fading in 1966. He duly formed a vocal duo called The Merseys with Tony Crane, famous for the first cover of Sorrow which was a massive hit. Bowie would later also cover this McCoy's B Side.

His tie up with the equally excellent Jimmy Campbell in Rockin' Horse resulted in 1970's Yes It Is, an album that is still celebrated by the Power Pop Community. nearly five decades on. The band are held in the same esteem as say Badfinger, despite this being their only album. Indeed their only live outing was as Chuck Berry's Backing Band on his 1972 Tour.

After a period out of the limelight, but still touring, Kinsley re-emerged in Liverpool Express in 1975. Rapidly signed to Warner Brothers, their debut album, Tracks, has remained an album that fans have been waiting for on CD for a long long time. 

Containing the hit singles, You are My Love, Hold Tight and the superb, Every Man Must Have A Dream are essential listening. Tracks is an album that any lover of McCartney type pop should own. It warrants it's position in the Top 10 Pop Rock albums of the 70s. The album lit up 1976.

You've heard of Big In Japan, well Liverpool Express were big in South America, very big. Whenever we discussed Liverpool Express, the fans from Chile, Argentina, Brazil etc waded in with their thoughts. The album was heavily bootlegged over there. Here you have 3 Bonus B Sides to add to the enjoyment.

The two follow up albums Dreamin' and LEX are not quite as good, but are still highly sought after. Dreamin' appeared in 1978, it was a rushed recording in between touring. Like many debut albums, Tracks had a lot of material honed before the studio recording, Dreamin' didn't. It got lost in the Punk and New Wave adventures of the time. 

It's a really decent album and So Here I Go Again is a fine single, Dreamin' is a great song, but compared to Tracks, it obviously suffers. The addition of the single Don't Stop The Music as one of the three bonus tracks is a welcome one. That got a lot of play on local radio, but sadly did no more.

The third album, released in 1979 contains 3 covers amid it's nine songs. Games People Play is a really nice stab at Joe South's original and the Kinsley original I Want Nobody But You is great, but largely the times dictated that the band had served it's time. The two single B Sides are added to the original album here.

In 2002, Kinsley released a Greatest Hits which is now inessential, thanks to this set. A reformed Liverpool Express released a new album, Once Upon A Time in 2003, but the moment had gone.
Billy Kinsley still tours with The Merseybeats. 

I was really disappointed to discover that I'd missed out on an excellent Spencer Leigh, 4 part documentary on Billy on Radio Merseyside a few years ago. If anyone has a recording of this, please give me a shout.

I Don't Hear A Single largely concentrates on the new, but as a collector, I never lose touch with my past. I have to say of all the reissues this year, this one delights me most. All three albums and eight bonus tracks. Cherry Red have made an ageing man very very happy. 

You can buy the set here and everywhere.

Thursday, 5 October 2017

I Don't Hear A Single Radio Show Episode 16

Episode 16 of the I Don't Hear A Single Radio show is tomorrow.

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 and there are plans for some more US Friendly times.

You can listen to it here.

Also, a reminder that the show is archived the following week on Mixcloud. You can listen to the first fifteen shows here.

Here is this week's playlist :

01 The Icicle Works - Understanding Jane
02 The Succesful Failures - All Wrapped Up
03 The Wild Young Hearts - My Oldest Friend
04 Mister Heavenly - Blue Lines
05 Belinda - Adi Shakti
06 The Young Hearts - Bloom
07 J Roddy Walston And The Business - Numbers
08 The Two Tens - Stuck In My Head
09 Michael Penn - A Bad Sign (Live At KCRW)
10 Tom Baker And The Snakes - Say Goodbye
11 Richard Turgeon - Look Away
12 My Little Hum - Geography Lesson
13 Hey! Hello! - All Around The World
14 Kevin Ayers Lady June And Ollie Halsall - Speeding Heart
15 The Granite Shore - Buyer Beware
16 Per Gessle - Ge Allt Du Kan

My Little Hum - Remembering Houses

My Little Hum are husband and wife duo Yuri and Dan Jewett. The San Franciscan duo's debut album is out on Allen Clapp's formidable Mystery Lawn Music label. Yuri's voice is sugar sweet. imagine Saint Etienne's Sarah Cracknell ditching the electrics.

There's plenty of interest away from the norm here, the guitar on Geography Lesson lends itself to a real psych pop strum, but the steel guitar takes it to another level. Take Care Of You is very Throwing Muses in a good way.

Take Care Of You is like Susanna Hoffs fronting The Church in a slower mode. Rise Over Run is all angular riffs, think Pretenders, with hints of Jangle. Very C86. Steep Ravine is very reminiscent of Susanna Hoffs solo album vibe.

There's also some real depth in the darker two part Alberta, a much moodier affair. There's some really interesting guitar work from Dan Jewett, very different to the songs that it aids. In fact, that's the great thing about Remembering Houses.

The vocals would normally grace a Girl Pop album with big choruses, yet are not used like that in any way. You'd expect to hear moody aching guitar and it's far more inventive, Johnny Marr like at times.

The solo at the end of Alberta II is refreshingly original gripping. There's also a cover of Buzzcocks' Ever Fallen In Love, a favourite song of mine forever. This style may wear a little thin in the UK with the number of TV Adverts doing this with similar songs, but elsewhere, this very different take will please many.

You can listen to and buy the album here.

The Forty Nineteens - Good Fortune

I've been doing a fair bit of catching up lately and this has involved listening a lot of old and new and some very different stuff. So it's nice to review something very much on my home territory. It's also nice to acknowledge the Kool Kat label's continued output and prosperity. I love talking to Ray, his enthusiasm is infectious, but I don't make enough time to do it. Too busy being busy, IDHAS taking off in all directions, all of them crap excuses.

Temecula's The Forty Nineteens inhabit a world somewhere in between Garage Rock and Power Pop, I suppose you'd call it Beat Pop. They are equally at home on songs like My Camaro and Purple Microdot in UK 60's Beat. Alternatively, the killer single, And Such And Such is in prime Plimsouls territory.

What they do know is how to grab a riff and ram it home. The Longer I Wait could be great 70's Pop Rock with a real jangle and a Classic Rock chime. Let Love In is classic Merseybeat. It's however the more recent nods that grip me most.

Two Pillows reminds me of The Searchers Sire Recordings and therefore leads me to The Records. Crocodile Tears and Another Day are so The Romantics or Paul Collins' Beat. The latter another potential riff out single. Overall, the band are like a popped up Fleshtones and as such Good Fortune works brilliantly.

You can listen to and buy the download here. More relevantly you can buy the CD at Kool Kat here.