Sunday, 24 September 2017

Arts & Leisure - Rescued Objects

It's been a fairly quiet Summer, release wise, but that's about to change with some fine releases due in the next couple of months. Few will match the new Arts & Leisure album, this is great Pop, putting the pop in poptastic.

The Sacramento band's breeziness and outright chirpiness is just what's needed in these times. The jangle mixes all that is great with California Sunshine Pop but with a more English sound. It works beautifully.

There are plenty of Girl Pop references, all of them good. Here I Go could be 60's Psych Pop, but Rescued Objects nods to the most harmonic examples of the genre. Part Time You is all 80's Postcard Pop with a real Orange Juice jangle.

The opener California Goth Pop is a stormer of a song, the vocal reminds me of Shelley Poole and her better Alisha's Attic adventures, Cure For Today is so Go-Go's. Call Down The Night could be Sarah Cracknell.

Violet Black could be Lush and the closer, the brooding Last Call is a splendid way to show that this is a band that are going places. Arts & Leisure are certainly not some retro tribute. There's so many musical directions, 60's Pop, 70's New Wave, 80's Indie and 90's Sub Pop. All blend into a crackerjack of an album.

Vocals wise, Gerri White reminds you of so many great pop vocalists away from those mentioned. Think Susanna Hoffs, Debbie Harry, Louise Wener, but this is very much a band album. There is some real guitar depth coming from Cory Vick. This is one of the best things that I've heard all year.

Special mention should also go to Allen Clapp's Mystery Lawn Music. I have long been a fan of The Orange Peels, but since MLM was set up, there are some fantastic albums coming through. Each one different. indeed another album from the stable will be reviewed later in the week.

You can listen to and buy the album here. You should!

Friday, 22 September 2017

The Mock Turtles - Turtle Soup Expanded Edition

The Manchester scene from 1988, coined Madchester a year later, has names that roll off the tongue. Amongst James, Stone Roses, Happy Mondays and Inspiral Carpets, were The Mock Turtles. That scene, not unlike Brit Pop, had some real gems away from the obvious.

The Mock Turtles' 1990 album, Turtle Soup, was one such stand out. I'm really surprised that it's taken until now to reissue. The difference with this band was that although they had the Madchester template, trippy guitars, vocals a tad like Morrissey at times, there was far more depth.

Turtle Soup nods to a much wider area, there's late Sixties Beat, Psych and even mid 80's Goth Riffs. There is essentially a real pop heart to the album and riffs and jangles to hold on to. There are also early nods to Shoegazing. The sad thing is that most people will remember them for one song and those with a deeper knowledge for two of the band members.

Martin Coogan is the band leader and the older brother of Steve and actor, Martyn Glyn Murray was the guitarist. Also thanks to Vodafone and Sky Premier Football coverage, Can You Dig It has become anthemic and a reminder of those early 90's days. More recently, And Then She Smiles was the theme tune to the Sky TC Series Stella, again alerting the masses to what a great little band these were.

It's enough that Cherry Red have reissued the album itself, it deserves that, but unlike a lot of reissues, there are tons of extra stuff and it's not throwaway. Turtle Soup's 11 original songs have been expanded to a massive double disc affair of 41 tracks.

Amongst these extras are the early EP's, singles and b sides and seven demos. Those early EPs are again essential listening. The whole package is a credit to the label. Turtle Soup has been out of print for so long, that just throwing it out would have garnered much interest. The fact that this has been so properly curated makes it well worth your pocket money.

You can buy the album here and everywhere.

Thursday, 21 September 2017

I Don't Hear A Single Radio Show Episode 14

Catching up on loads of reviews and there are far more to come. In the meantime, it's the 14th 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.

15 new tracks including a splendid Ricky Ross solo version of Raintown and two archive tracks that bookend the excitement.

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

Here's what you are going to hear this week.

01 Northern Uproar - Any Way You Look
02 Deer Tick - Don't Hurt
03 Arts And Leisure - California Goth Pop
04 Together Panagea - Kenmore Ave
05 Ricky Ross - Raintown
06 Joey Sykes - That's American Life
07 Francobollo - Wonderful
08 The Movielife - Ghosts In the Photographs
09 The Heartache State - Honey Slide
10 El Goodo - I Sit And Wonder
11 Psychotic Youth - The Voice Of Summer
12 Watchfires - We Will Always Forget
13 Bubblegum Orchestra - The Other Side Of Midnight
14 Paul Bertolino - Typical Girl
15 The Toms - No Visual Signs Of Love
16 Declan McKenna - The Kids Don't Wanna Come Home
17 The Colourfield - Castles In The Air (Extended Version)

Francobollo - Long Live Life

Francobollo's debut album has been a long time coming, but it's definitely been worth the wait. Although based in London, the band are predominantly Swedish and you know our thoughts about the Swedish Scene and it being so much more inventive than the UK for a number of years.

With most of the Scandanavian artists that are covered here, the emphasis is usually on Pop Hooks. Well Francobollo are very different. There are hints of everything and all of it is left field. There's a real Psych feel at times and on Kinky Lola, they are almost Beefheart.

There's also a real rustic feel, yet a song like Future Lover sounds like something off Drums And Wires. There are also times when early nineties indie springs to mind, but then they can get as noisy as The Jesus And Mary Chain.

It's the space that the band leave that appeals so much. You could compare them to a noisy Daryll-Ann.Radio sounds again like early XTC or more relevantly, Talking Heads.There's so much here to admire, but be warned Long Live Life needs repeated listening to fully appreciate what it does.

There's so much here for the listener, the album will appeal to left field Glam fans, early UK and US New Wave admirers, C86 and IRS lovers. The band also have a superb live reputation and are on tour in the UK next month, so it's a real chance to see them before they get massive.

I listen to a lot of stuff, probably too much, but my ears always prick up when I hear something that is great and more importantly, different. Long Live Life is that, you should buy it now. You can get the album on vinyl or CD here or buy it to download everywhere.

The Movielife - Cities In Search Of A Heart

It's great to have The Movielife back in our lives after their split in 2003. Vinnie Caruana has since led I Am The Avalanche, whilst Brandon Reilly has been in Nightmare Of You. Although there's more than enough variation present here, it's the more melodic tones of the latter band that shine through.

I've always considered The Movielife as good as if not better than Taking Back Sunday, yet all the plaudits went to TBS. The great news is that the Long Island outfit are in as good a form as ever and have added a real maturity to their sound.

While Laugh Ourselves To Death and Blood Moon point to their past, Ghosts In The Photographs is bordering on Power Pop and there's even a ballad with Pour Two Glasses. The closer, Hearts is a dark moody strum.

Cities In Search Of A Heart is at it's best when it tones down the noise and lets the melody get out, most prevalent on Mercy Is Asleep At The Wheel, which could almost be Green Day. There's been quite a few reformations lately, good, bad and ugly. The Movielife are in the good camp.

You can buy the album here and everywhere.

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Deer Tick - Deer Tick Vol.1 and Deer Tick Vol.2

Deer Tick offer up two albums released on the same day, but fear not, this is no Use Your Illusion providing one good album from the two. Volume 1 and 2 are distinctively different, perhaps underlining the schizophrenic nature of the band previously.

The difference can be compared a little to Neil Young when he plugs his guitar in or not, but that's a bit simplistic. The first album is a really interesting take on their Roots and Americana influences. The second rocks out in Replacements mode, the band you sense Deer Tick always wanted to be. You sense John McCauley always wanted to be Paul Westerberg.

The fact that the albums got made at all is testament to McCauley's recovery from the chaos in his private life. Father, Wife To Be, drugs, you name it and it's got in the way. So when the news came of potential recordings and a mellowness and settling down in all things personal was both a relief and also a concern.

Would this calmness dilute the band's strength, the erratic was at times the charm? It's true that things seem less intense musically, there seems far more sharing of duties, Dennis Ryan and Ian O'Neill get a turn at vocals and it works over this amount of material. It's still McCauley's drawl that works best.

Vol. 1 works beautifully and is almost a jam at times, interesting melodies, great strum alongs. Card House and the magnificent Sea Of Clouds work best. This is the sort of stuff that I generally listen to less, but the album captivated me in a way that surprised me.

I knew I'd love the second volume and oh how I do. It is more on my home territory. Plugging those guitars in completely changes Deer Tick, it's all riffs and organ, wonderfully ramshackle, yet incredibly focused.

McCauley's lazy vocal delivery works well with the riffs and choruses that integrate it and in Mr Nothing Gets Worse, you have a real Westerberg / The Replacements vibe. Both these albums are worth the admission. Don't be tempted to just buy the noise or the roots, both played side by side show the versatility of Deer Tick. The band's return is more than welcome.

You can buy the albums at the band's Bandcamp site here or they are available at all good record stores etc etc.

Thursday, 14 September 2017

I Don't Hear A Single Radio Show Episode 13

The Radio show has just been put to bed and is brought to you by the number 13 this week.

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.

12 new and three archive tracks for your delight

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

Here's what you are going to hear this week.

01 The Supernaturals - The Day Before Yesterday's Man
02 Sparks - Missionary Position
03 David Myhr - Spellbound
04 Copper Dalton - Brand New Moon
05 Shout Out Louds - Jumbo Jet
06 The Sherlocks - Will You Be There
07 Ted Leo - The Future (Is Learning To...)
08 Nick Garrie - The Moon and The Village
09 Rooney - Two Steps Ahead
10 The 1957 Tail-Fin Fiasco - Swings And Roundabouts
11 Fake Laugh - You Do Know
12 Kyle Vincent - Wake Me Up (Original Version)
13 Sewage Farm - Top Of The World
14 The Cheap Cassettes - Worse 'N' Better
15 John Miles - Overture

Monday, 11 September 2017

Ted Leo - The Hanged Man

Ted Leo has always given the impression of a man straining at the leash, even Aimee Man didn't seem to calm him too much. His angry new waved up Power Pop made you think he'd be Neil Finn if only he'd tone it down.

But why should he? 2004's Shake The Sheets was a perfect template for Political Indie Rock, all clever venom about the right to question things. Since then he suffered from two record label collapses and the economics of being an independent musician in these times. Hence there are no Pharmacists here, although Chris Wilson drums.

As excellent as The Both are and how Aimee Mann and Leo complement each other, there was a yearning here for a new solo album and it seemed that none would be forthcoming. The Hanged Man proves that wrong and is exactly why the man has been missed. The album sounds less urgent and direct than Leo's previous offerings and all the better for it. Anyone who can write a song as urgent as The Future (Is Learning To....) deserves a full listen and although that is the stand out song, there's much more to enjoy.

The Nazarene is very Neil Finn, compare that to the sheer noise of the opener, Moon Out Of Phase, a glammed up, fuzzed up joy. Run To The City is in classic mid 70's Pop Rock Territory, Can't Go Back is all jaunty Ben Folds piano pop.

The Little Smug Supper Club is so early Joe Jackson or Elvis Costello, an absolute cracker, Anthems Of None stays in that late 70's UK New Wave Territory. The closer, Let's Stay On The Moon is a brooding sprawling 6 minutes plus to calm every thing down, a really personal song that Ted Leo seems to want to get out of his system and you glad to hear the result.

It's been seven years since The Brutalist Bricks. The Hanged Man has made every hour of the wait worthwhile. All 14 songs add something more to the Leo Rucksack. This is an absolute gem of an album. You can buy the album everywhere and you should.

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Sparks - Hippopotamus

First up I am a Sparks fan, when the Queen Of Burtonwood grumbles about the amount of music here, I blame Ron and Russell Mael. 43 years ago the first album that I bought was Propaganda, so for four fifths of my life, Sparks have been close by. I'm also a little different to a lot of similar aged Sparks fans who think everything has always been fantastic and hunky dory. The 80's were not very kind to Sparks, there are some real clunkers away from Whomp That Sucker and Angst In My Pants.

Ron Mael should be celebrated as one of music's great lyricists, rather than the weird guy on the keyboards, no one writes lyrical couplets like Ron and that's why most of the 80's output irritates me because an album like In Outer Space sounds so twee and is lyrically banal. It's as though the songs were phoned in.Sparks have always moved in whichever direction they pleased and they've took a lot of the fans with them, but what they've also managed to do is bring the young along with them, appealing to a student audience whatever the year is.

There's also an irritation here concerning some reviews from people who are putting up Sparks as National Treasures who have always been beloved, they treat Jeff Lynne and ELO the same way, there were times when both couldn't get a decent hearing. The thing I love about the band is that they treat every album as though it was a debut and the people who buy it are assumed to be hearing Sparks for the first time.

This has been a fine approach and meant that the history isn't what brings a lot to the party, the listeners hooked at listening to Dick Around would listen to an album like Indiscreet, one of my Top 10 albums ever in bemusement if they heard it before Hello Young Lovers. This is their first song based studio album in nine years and the three before have been incredibly inventive, so how would Hippopotamus compare to their recent form and general back catalogue.

Well, the album is wonderful, truly so, no two songs are the same, it even closes with a duet with Operatic Soprano Rebecca Sjowall. The collaboration with Franz Ferdinand, FFS, revealed that Sparks were writing three minute pop songs again and there's plenty of that here with the likes of What The Hell Is It This Time?, A Little Bit Of Fun and the magnificent, Missionary Position with it's piano riff. The latter could be one of their best songs ever, praise indeed, it sits happily here and could sit just as well on Kimono My House.

Ron Mael's lyrics are at the top of their game, as are the song subjects which are as left field as you could ever want. The wonder of Ikea, people and their petty prayers and the title track asks how so many things got in the pool such as a Hippopotamus, a woman with an abacus and a Volkswagen Campervan. I can only think of one person with such lyrical depth about banal subjects and that's Randy Newman.

There's plenty here for those who, like me, like their Sparks weird and enough for those who like the dance and a host of great great Pop. Whatever stage you joined Sparks at, it is catered for and the album as a whole stands up alone beautifully, so you feel free to get hooked. The upcoming live tour promises much, particularly with the marvellous Mini Mansions in tow. Live you can expect lots of Hippopotamus in the set, 8 of the 15 songs I believe and all the favourites, plus a couple of surprise inclusions.

How many bands have survived 45 years and have a new album out that sounds as fresh as the first? Sparks don't rest on their greatest hits, they are interested in the now but are grateful that you like their past. Without doubt, this band changed my life and showed what music can mean to you. I wouldn't want to be the 11 year old me again, but thank goodness I've still got the Mael Brothers.

You can buy the album here and everywhere.

Hello Bear - Do You Want Ants... Because That's How You Get Ants!

Norwich quartet Hello Bear's mini album is a splendid 7 track affair. Although still leaning towards Pop Punk, there's tons of influences to make it far from ordinary. Although many will hear Weezer here, it's not quite that.

Do You Want Ants? is a far more English take on the genre and so the emphasis is more on Pop. Strength Is Not Your Strength gets Glam Rock like at time, almost call call and response. Manuka Honey has a clever dual vocal.

There's also a cleverness in the lyrics that isn't always noted when listening to the riffs and you also feel that the Power Pop is fighting to get out. The album is at it's best on Afternoons Delight which is a bit like The Feeling on Speed. More of this jauntiness promises much for the future.

You can listen to and buy the album here.

Thursday, 7 September 2017

I Don't Hear A Single Radio Show Episode 12

After a bad dose of Norton Internet Security Upgrades taking me back to 1998, the server is back in action and the reviews can recommence because I can get at the music. The service returns to normal with the start of a big catch up over the weekend.

The Radio show has just been put to bed and reaches the round dozen this week.

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.

14 from the department marked new and three archive tracks for your listening pleasure.

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

Here's a sneak preview of tomorrow night's excitement.

01 Tsar - I Don't Wanna Break-Up
02 DM3 - Monsters
03 Daisy House - Looking at Me (Stop!)
04 Pezband - Drop Me A Line
05 Neil Finn - The Law Is Always on Your Side
06 Owsley - Coming Up Roses
07 Bill Nelson - I'm Dancing
08 The Young Hearts - Medicine
09 Luke Seymoup - Jailbird Sing
10 The Hangabouts - Twelve Songs
11 City Boy - Walk On The Water
12 Bubble Gum Orchestra - The Beatles Made Me
13 Shake Some Action - Starting Again
14 Fernando Perdomo - Spotlight Smile
15 Oh Wonder - High On Humans
16 Gentlemen Jackals - Waiting for the Day
17 Mordecai Smyth - Heading Back West

Thursday, 31 August 2017

I Don't Hear A Single Radio Show Episode 11

After a welcome break, the reviews return tomorrow and there's a lot to come over the next few days.
Today was the prep of the I Don't Hear A Single's Radio Show which reaches number 11 this week.

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.

Again, it's light on the Archive stuff, but the closer is a 12 minute blistering live performance from Be Bop Deluxe.

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

Feet can be tapped to the following :

01 Fast Romantics - American Love
02 Hello Bear - Afternoons Delight
03 Muscle Souls - Beautiful Fool
04 Sparks - Hippopotamus
05 Ted Lukas - Speak Less, Say More
06 Luke Haines - Marc Bolan Blues
07 Huxley Rittman & The Rusty Hitmen - If The Shoe Fits
08 Game Theory - Between The Bottles
09 A J Davila - Beautiful
10 James King And The Lonewolves - Fly Away
11 Daniel & The Real Feels - City Girlfriends
12 The Difficult Stranger - Fall In Love With You
13 Dan Wilson - Closing Time
14 The Weeklings - Paperback Writer
15 Be Bop Deluxe - Blazing Apostles (Live)

Thursday, 24 August 2017

I Don't Hear A Single Radio Show Episode 10

I Don't Hear A Single's Radio Show reaches double figures this week. 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.

It's a cracker, I could've filled two hours, so I've had to cut the usual two or three archive tracks for this week only.

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

Here's what you can groove along to.

01 One Like Son - New American Gothic
02 The Pot Beach - Bloody School
03 Title Tracks - Protect Yourself
04 Bryan Estepa - Rattled and Rolled
05 Magpie - Daisy Paints Her Fingers
06 The Singles - Phone Call
07 The Rationales - Under the Gun
08 Any Version Of Me - Some Saturday Morning
09 Mothboxer - Get It Right
10 Dot Dash - Searchlights
11 David Kurtz - Good Things In Life
12 Coke Belda - Run To Me
13 Edward Rodgers - The Player
14 Stanley June - Holding On
15 The Bishop's Daredevil Stunt Club - The Woman Who Got Old
16 Plasticsoul - Biff Bang Pow
17 Star Chamber - Sleeper

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Magpie - Picasso On A Log

I'm absolutely loving the Magpie EP. Somerset isn't generally at the centre of all things poptastic, but this foursome from Frome certainly have all the melodic chops and hooks. Delving further, you discover that the band are made up of members of two excellent bands.

Andy Morton and Mike Poulson are in Bronco Bullfrog, Paul Tozer and Chris Woodland are from The Bad Detectives. Neither of these bands give you an advance warning of what to expect from Magpie. The Bad Detectives are very much in shake rattle and roll territory and Bromco Bullfrog are one of the better examples of more recent UK Psych Pop.

What you get is some classic Summer harmonic pop, very much in the mould of a band like The Legal Matters, but with far more in common with the Sixties. The EP is like a cross between mid 60's UK Beat and late 60's California Pop and it is a fine listen.

She Knows Where I Live is Brit Pop at it's best (two and a half decades before the Gallaghers), it has a lot in common with The Move's debut album. Don't Turn Your Back On The Sun is all Don't Let The Sun Catch You Crying. Wrote Me A Letter is all west coast jangle.

Daisy Paints Her Fingers is when it gets a bit more Psychy, it reminds me of something that would be on The Orgone Box's Debut. A very English social commentary, like Judy Over The Rainbow. Ulysses are very much on my mix tape (er playlist) at the moment and so I'm delighted to note that Luke Smith has recorded and mixed the EP.

You can listen to and buy the album here for a bargain 3 dabs. You should, it's a cracking little listen.

Thursday, 17 August 2017

I Don't Hear A Single Radio Show Episode 9

I Don't Hear A Single's Radio Show comes to you with the Number 9 this week. 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 eight shows here.

Without further ado, here's the playlist for Tonight. 14 songs you may not have heard before and three that you should be ashamed of yourselves if you haven't.

01 Silver Sun - I'll See You Around
02 Magpie - She Knows Where I Live
03 V Sparks - Death Of A Star
04 Terry Shaughnessy - Volcano
05 Amoeba Teen - Dear Rosa
06 Young Hunger - The Things I Think (But I Don't Mean)
07 Dent May - Hello Cruel World
08 Paul McCann - Everything Is Free
09 Material Issue - Goin' Through Your Purse
10 Jon C Butler - Mr Rock N Roll
11 John Shuttleworth - One Cup of Tea Is Never Enough
12 Bernard Fanning - America (Glamour and Prestige)
13 Michael Penn - A Bad Sign
14 Colin's Godson - Beautiful Mediocrity
15 Trip Wire - Growing Old
16 Frantic Chant - Upside Doon Towers
17 Kara Mosher - Survive

Sunday, 13 August 2017

V Sparks - New Sensation

Wow! Chicago's V Sparks are Glam inspired chaos. The New Sensation EP has so many ideas across it's six tracks that you have to think that October's upcoming album is just going to blow your head off. With so many ideas, not all are going to work, but the sheer ambition just leaves you applauding loudly.

Of course, a new take on Glam Rock has been done before to limited success, think Mika or Scissor Sisters and there is a bit of that here. The difference with V Sparks is that the potential talent is much broader and the influences far wider.

The wonderful Death Of A Star is a standout, all big Guitar at a rapid pace with chord changes and Rush refrains enveloped with hook after hook and fighting with Queen influences. It's a stormer of a song that completely grips you. There could b a whole album contained within it's three minutes.

The title track starts off like poor 80's Disco, but not for long, it sounds like a modern day version of The Cars. Sebastian begins with a Muse like intro before ascending into pure unadulterated Glam Rock. The opener, Hey Love, again has loads of different hooks fighting for attention and a great Glam chorus.

It doesn't always work, there's a great song waiting to get out of Join The Freak Show, but I'm not sure about the spoken word part. Amongst all this melody and ideas, the closer, Contender is far more straight ahead and that works beautifully too.

There's been big hopes from these quarters in the past. Foxy Shazam's self titled third album promised similar things to be followed by mediocrity, There is so much promise here though. If the album consolidates this EP, it will be up there for my Album Of The Year. New Sensation was an enthralling surprise, one of the best things that I've heard this year.

You can listen to and buy New Sensation here.

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Terry Shaughnessy - Songs From Another Life

I first came across Terry Shaughnessy as the front man of The Universal and what a great front man he is. commanding the stage. Songs From Another Life is very much a nod to the better days of Brit Pop. Great songs, played well, no frills.

The album is very reminiscent of Ocean Colour Scene and the re-emergence of Paul Weller as some sort of Brit Pop Godfather. The difference is that the songs aren't as one dimensional, have more depth and are arranged far better.

There's strings and brass and the songs are not as shouty as those two examples. As a devotee of The Jam, I am no Weller solo fan. I think he gets away with mediocrity because of who he is. This is the sort of album, he could and should make and I'd love him again.

I had a conversation last night about how the current scene is a mixture of everyone wanting to experiment badly, usually with synths. The thing that suffers is the songs, so it's refreshing to hear an album as good as this. Do we really want more meandering shoegazing, no we don't. We want proper songs, played well, something to sing along with rather than nod our head to.

The great news is that Shaughnessy has offered up exactly that. The choruses are big, the arrangements are great. Where as you may be used to an album like this to throw in the odd slower acoustic led number, Songs From Another Life has plenty of them.

Those slower songs are acoustic based, reflective, but have a real depth and quality to them. But it's the anthemic up tempo numbers that grab you more, particularly Volcano. Can You Feel It is a real riff led modern Mod Pop song. Shine On could be 70's Glam Rock with it's stomp backdrop. Let It Burn is a pure Rock Out.

Songs From Another Life is a refreshing change from all the nonsense that is currently around. Song driven, as I noted earlier, it's the sort of album that Paul Weller should make and doesn't. Very different to a lot of the Power Pop, I report on, but with similar hooks.

You can buy it here and elsewhere.

Friday, 11 August 2017

Somerdale - Maggie Says It Again

I've never done lists, I've never seen the point. My favourites change weekly and a lot of the time, you are comparing Apples with Oranges. I have always picked an album of the year and for I Don't Hear A Single's first year and for the first time ever, I named two albums as my joint albums of the year.

Nick Piunti's Trust Your Instincts album is his best yet and that shared the spotlight with Somerdale's third album, Shake It Maggie. Nick Piunti is on Marty Scott's revived Jem Recordings Label and the fantastic news is that Somerdale are now signed to Jem. Having the weight of Jem behind them, a label that includes The Anderson Council, Nick Piunti and The Bayonets on it can only help give Somerdale the success they clearly deserve. I really do rate them that highly.

The album really is so good that it deserves wider attention, so the band returned to the studio to add four new songs to the original masterpiece. All four are great additions and you've probably heard them on the radio. I know my colleagues at KOR Radio are well into them.

I've incorporated my original review below. You can buy the album for download or as it should be heard, CD, at Amazon US and Amazon UK.

Now this is the territory that I always feel at home in. New Jersey's Somerdale are a three piece power pop group that would easily be at home in 1975 UK fighting it out for a Top 5 spot with some Chinn and Chapman prodigy.

The album really is high class Pop Rock. In ASH's nine years, this is the sort of thing we usually celebrate. However, it's normally some lost album that we fawn about, Jigsaw, Pilot, Ace, you name 'em. We've often mused about why there are no new bands doing this now. Well now we have Somerdale.

This sort of 70's Medium Wave Territory is something I spend a lot of time listening to and trust me, I know my stuff. I also get to listen to a lot more badly done stuff than good. "Shake It Maggie" has been the biggest surprise for me for a long time. It's fantastic.

Don't get the impression that the album is derivative, because it's not any way. It doesn't wear it's influences on it's arm. the songs just gently remind you of that time.

"Take It From The Top" could be Liverpool Express and should probably be the lead single. "Waiting For You" could be Jigsaw. On other songs, you hear 10CC, The Arrows, Andrew Gold, the list goes on.


"Puddles Of Me" could be prime time Badfinger.  "She's Leaving California" hints at a rocking John Miles. The biggest surprise is that Somerdale are American, they sound so English. Finally for the Power Pop Kids, well there's "The Coolest Kid In The Room", pure Fountains Of Wayne.

I remind readers often that this place is not for the gushing, I receive a lot of music and it's always appreciated. However I have a policy of only reviewing things that I like. I've done hatchet jobs on things that I don't in the past, I'd rather not these days, it's unfair and I just choose not to review them.

So when I tell you that this is the best thing I've heard in ages, you can trust that remark. Shake It Maggie is, it's a superb listen and right up my street.

I Don't Hear A Single Radio Show Episode 8

I Don't Hear A Single's Radio Show reaches Number 8 this week. 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 seven shows here.

Without further ado, here's the playlist for Tonight.

01 Trickster - Let It Lie
02 The Rationales - Ready To Go
03 Propeller - Summer Arrives
04 Fangclub - Common Ground
05 Karla Kane - The Lilac Line
06 Nick Heyward - Baby Blue Sky
07 The Sunset Spirit - No Time To Pretend
08 The Naturals - I Don't Need A Car
09 The Rubinoos - Nowheresville
10 Vegas With Randolph Featuring Lannie Flowers - The Weekend's Coming
11 Tony Wright - Opposites Attract
12 My Little Hum - Geography Lesson
13 The Nature Strip - Tide Song
14 Matthew Sweet - Music For Love
15 The Armoires - Fort Ashby
16 Big Big Train - The Second Brightest Star

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Nick Heyward - Woodland Echoes

One of the biggest surprises that I've had after the release of Nick Heyward's new album is people that I know saying that they are surprised at how good he is. I thought most of my circle knew that, yet there are still people who think of him as the youngster in a cricket jumper who was around for a bit in Haircut 100.

People still associate him with the Teen Pop of Love Plus One and either assume what followed was more of the same or the end of it all. Incidentally, Haircut 100's second album, without Nick, Paint And Paint has recently been released as a 2 disc affair by Cherry Red and that's excellent too.

After that splendid first Haircut 100 album, Heyward released three great solo albums in the 80's to diminishing returns. However he returned in 1993 and we all know how modern music writers think music began with Brit Pop and Oasis and Blur, so someone may remember his return as all references lately seem to start at that point.

The one great thing about Brit Pop was the Pop around the edges. There was plenty of it if you listened, most notably by the likes of Dodgy, The Bluetones and The Supernaturals, but much more too. One such inspiring album was the poptastic From Monday To Sunday from Nick Heyward. It lit up the year.

It was all jangly and wonderful with the lead single, He Doesn't Love You Like I Do and the magnificent Kite. This was followed by the equally ace, Tangled and the The Apple Bed, which could be my favourite album on the Creation label. The latter was released in 1998 and until now it was his last solo affair.

He released an album of poems narrated by Greg Ellis in 2001, Open Sesame Seed and the excellent collaboration with India Dupre, The Mermaid And The Lighthouse Keeper. There has never been a drop in quality, so the hope was that his anticipated return wouldn't be a let down. Well it isn't, not in any way.

Woodland Echoes is a brilliant listening experience. It's also very a much more reflective affair, reflective in a way that something like XTC's Skylarking is. It is also an album of two halves. Lots of different styles, but the jaunty pop that most fans adore is all in the second half.

Before you get to that, there are some fine songs to get your ears attuned to. The McCartney Beatles strum of Love Is The Key By The Sea with some great harmonies, the Country Folk of Mountain Top, the shuffle of Who? and the funky backdrop of The Stars. All are great songs.

It's that second half of the album that brings that seductive pop, Baby Blue Sky and in particular, the magnificent Perfect Sunday Sun. The latter could be the best thing Heyward has ever written with it's jangle hook and lyrical depth. It's a crackerjack of a song.

Ass to these two gems, more jangle and an infectious chorus on on I Got A Lot and the captivating love song, I Can See Her and you have a real feel good, beautifully written album. That's even without mentioning, the sweeping Jayhawks like closer, For Always.

You can always tell how good an artist is by the price of their Back Catalogue on Amazon. You won't pick up any Nick Heyward CDs up for buttons.

You can buy the album everywhere and there are some special editions here.  I should also give a mention to a recent Live Show that you can watch online or on some UK TV Platforms. The set for Vintage TV is excellent. Vintage TV is really providing some great Live stuff. It's not the rubbish cut and paste video site that it used to be. You can watch the set here.  

You can hear 30 second sound samples of each track here. There are also videos for Baby Blue Sky and Mountaintop here.

The Singles - Sweet Tooth

We talk about how Power Pop has become a catch all category that captures anything that is melodic pop and that offends some and irritates others, thinking it holds them back. Well there is no doubt at all that Los Angeles's The Singles are Power Pop.

You can go to any of the three main surges in Power Pop, Merseybeat, Late 70's New Wave and the early 90's break out and the band would happily fit in. At times it's straight ahead Cavern stuff, but there are more times when they nod to the other two ages and it's that that is the most interesting.

Sweet Tooth is a cracking little record, songs that chime and hooks that hit you from the off. It's also a real grower of an album. What at first seems a little simplistic, add layers on repeated listens, particularly songs like You're The Only One and the wonderful, Phone Call.

Dawn is like one of those ballads that the Glam Rock bands used to do, their slowie if you like and in keeping with that theme, Nobody Knows is Bay City Rollers Pop like with hints of mid 80's Scots Pop. Voodoo has a real 60's UK Beat Backdrop.

The likes of Gone and If You Want Me, You Can Have Me are just great melodic pop, in fact the whole album is. It's real singalong and air guitar stuff, exactly what a great Power Pop album should be. It's not revelatory, but so few are doing this kind of album these days, it's make a refreshing change.

A song like Sweet Tooth deserves to join the Power Pop Classics and the aforementioned Phone Call is my particular fave, it's all a bit spiky and psychy, far more aggresive than the rest of the album, superbly so. I can't recommend the album highly enough.

You can buy the album at the links here.

Saturday, 5 August 2017

The Rationales - Upstream

Amidst all this Power Pop and Pop Rock paraphernalia, people tend to forget that I am first and foremost a music fan and collector. I just became noted for Power Pop through the past 20 years or so, but my tastes go far deeper. As noted by Mew opening last night's Radio show, I'm as home with Prog as Pop.

There's a Power Pop connection with Boston's The Rationales. Their early days offered up songs that sounded like they had been recorded in Ardent Studios, very Big Star, but as their ten year career has developed, they have become far more than that.

Upstream is an American Rock album, but don't let that dissuade you. because there's a lot of different styles contained within what is an exceptional effort. Indeed after distancing the band from Power Pop, the opener Ready To Go could be The Motors, a real slice of 70's UK Pop Rock with some killer guitar.

Just to show that variance, Trade You has a real Afghan Whigs feel and a real Southern Rock meandering guitar solo. Under The Gun is a sweeping gem, like a rocked up Wilco, the hints of Steel Guitar exploding into far more. A crackerjack of a song.

All The While starts all Doolin' Dalton era Eagles, even getting funky, only to be followed by the Southern Rock chug of Climb The Ladder. Take A Ride With Me is all Fleetwood Mac Rumours vibe, but it's the closer Dulcinea that grips you most.

I've seen The Rationales labelled as Americana, I don't see that at all. There is a connection with the better end of that catch all genre, say the rockier songs of Wilco or the harmonies of The Jayhawks, but the band have far more depth than that.

Whilst this still feels like songwriter David Mirabella's band, the six piece complement each other beautifully. They've developed into a proper band and it shows. There's a depth to their songs that is admirable and engaging. Upstream is one of the best albums that you'll hear this year.

You can listen to and buy the album here.

Friday, 4 August 2017

Page Appearance

Apologies for the basic look of the Blog. Updating the code a few weeks ago had left some bugs on the Blog that need fixing.

I've switched the Blog to the basic look whilst these are ironed out.

Once the Reviews are all posted, the work will continue to update the look to something beyond it's 1998 flashback.

Thursday, 3 August 2017

I Don't Hear A Single Radio Show Episode 7

I Don't Hear A Single's Radio Show reaches Number 7 this week. 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 six shows here.

Without further ado, here's the playlist for Tomorrow Night.

01 Mew - The Zookeeper's Boy
02 Nick Heyward - Perfect Sunday Sun
03 Cait Brennan - Bad At Apologies
04 Kerosene Stars - Lost
05 Guided By Voices - The Birthday Democrats
06 Suzes - A Stones Throw
07 Colin's Godson - Stadium Rock
08 Lisa Mychols - Stories In Your Mind
09 Somerdale - Shake It Maggie
10 Fake Laugh - You Do Know
11 The Singles - Sweet Tooth
12 The Carousels - Wishing Well
13 The Bye Bye Blackbirds - Earl Grey Kisses
14 Young Hunger - The Things I Think (But I Don't Mean)
15 Ralegh Long - Upwards Of Summer
16 The Mighty Wah! - Heart As Big As Liverpool

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Colin's Godson - The Timely Demise Of Colin's Godson

Glasgow's Colin's Godson inhabit their own strange, yet wonderfully fascinating pop world. Imagine Half Man Half Biscuit with a Power Pop backdrop, rather than Folk. The band are certainly prolific, hot on the heels of this, a further album is planned for October.

The influences are everywhere, Sultans Of Ping to Frank Sidebottom and the Pop of the likes of The Supernaturals and Silver Sun as well as Devo and the twee keyboard stuff of the 80's. The vocals can be a bit plain, ditto HMHB, but the pop semsibilities shine through.

Stadium Rock is in Weezer Territory whilst Paul And Linda sounds like something off a Jane Wiedlin solo album. Country Wall is sideshow Blur, whilst Secret Sunday takes that a stage further into pure Brit Pop.

Match,com is all UK New Wave, but it's those Half Man Half Biscuit references that continue to hit home. The everyday lyrics and subjects point to those four lads from The Wirral and something like The Krypton Factor could actually be them.

In 24 minutes, the album manages to incorporate all these examples plus Prog and 60's Bubblegum Pop and yet there's still something endearingly unique about the band. It's a confusing, but fulfilling journey though the record collection of these Glaswegians.

Buying the CD is the way to go because you get a Comic Book and other stuff with it. But the digital download is available to listen to and then buy, should that be your preference. You won't be disappointed.

You can listen to and buy the album as a download or CD here.

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

It's Time For You To Have Your Say

In the Anything Should Happen Blog Days, an annual feature used to be to get what the users and followers actually thought and wanted. It strikes me that with I Don't Hear A Single now expanding into so many different directions, that it may just be the right time to find what you want. ASH never stood still and why should here?

So please be free with your thoughts on what you want from here, it's about the music and supporting the bands. Would you like more of the same or something different? Do you like the format? Do you like the new Blog Look? Should the Blog be promoted more or less?

Are you interested in Archive stuff or do you want a separate place for that? Should everything I write and review go on here or should it remain for the new and under appreciated?

What do you think of the Radio show? Do you like the format, would you like additional shows concentrating on different things, more chat or just the one show to be extended. Facebook wise - is there too much or too little promotion?

Should we get more people involved to offer up different views? Do you want to be involved? Do you want your Blog or Radio Show affiliating into here, do you want this affiliating into yours. Any comment or opinion is valid. I don't cry if people tells me something is rubbish, I just take it out on Crash.

Whether you are a fan, reader, musician, label, promo company etc, all views are welcome. You can comment in this thread, via email, Facebook, Twitter, whatever makes you most comfortable. I'll leave this thread open for a week or so.

Please be honest too, if something bugs you, just say. This is an ideal opportunity for you to get the music site/s you want.

Over to you!

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Various - Songs. Bond Songs : The Music Of 007

I'm not usually a fan of Cover or Tribute albums, I don't often see the point, but Andrew Curry does a great job when he fashions up one for his Curry Cuts label. Often it's the subject, Lite Rock, The UK Second Wave and now Bond Themes. More often it's the artists he gets involved, the majority of which are Power Pop Royalty.

I was talking to Ray at Kool Kat earlier in the year and were both agreed on Tribute albums, but were looking forward to this, Ray also suggested an Odyssey And Oracle tribute and I'm looking forward to Futureman Records take on Matthew Sweet, but I digress.

The problem with Bond songs is that the originals are definitive versions, known to all, so to beat this you have to a cracking note perfect version of the original, something completely left field or the artist has to be worth the admission alone. Fortunately, Curry's compilation manages all three.

The gem is The excellent Corner Laughers covering the Italian Version of Diamonds Are Forever, this left field approach works beautifully. The way Lisa Mychols rocks up The Man With The Golden Gun is also a real treat.

Freedy Johnston's Acoustic strip down of For Your Eyes Only is great, Jay Gonzalez does a similar Tex Mex strum through A View To A Kill. Brandon Schott gets Jake Gideon involved in an intriguing sped up Tomorrow Never Dies.

Cliff Hillis, who is currently going through a real top notch phase does a cracking lazy version of Writing's On The Wall. In all these unusual takes though, my absolute Popdudes cover of Live And Let Die, it's a truly faithful rendition and suitably ace.

The concept worried me a bit because of the strength of the original versions, but Curry Cuts has done a great job of providing a new look at the songs and garnered some fine names to do them. You can listen to and but the album here.

Fast Romantics - American Love

Canada's Fast Romantics have always been an interesting band, but have suffered from a revolving door line up centred around Matthew Angus and Jeffrey Lewis. Angus and Lewis have now expanded the band into a really interesting six piece and here's hoping it can stick together, because the resulting American Love is a fine album.

The addition of Kirty, a singer songwriter and multi instrumentalist has expanded the sound further, particularly in her accompanying background vocals. The sound is big, certainly E Street like. although the sound reminds me more of big sounding UK Bands like The Alarm and Simple Minds.

There is a 80's Rock vibe to the album, but 80's in a good way, the keyboards aren't up front and the riffs aren't echoed. There is also a real political theme in the lyrics, but I suspect many won't necessarily pick them out, although Anti Trump lovers will like them a lot.

Julia was the single that showed what this incarnation of the band was capable of and it still sounds great here, almost Pete Wylie's Wah like. Runaway Girl does sound very Noughties' Springsteen, but I think it sounds more like Springsteen doing Ian McNabb a la Girl In Their Summer Clothes.

How Long Is This Gonna Last is Kirty on lead vocals and again it feels UK, almost Transmission Vamp. Matthew Angus is a great front man and band leader, you feel him and his songs will end up rocking some Stadium and there would be some joy in that, certainly more than hering the medioctiry of the likes of Kasabian.

A lot seems to have been made about how American the album is. I can see bits of that and the album's title emphasises this. But to me it feels far more like a big sounding UK album. The sort that used to be made when budgets were much higher. Either way, American Music is a great album and more than worth your attention and cash.

You can buy the album everywhere.

Star Chamber - Seeing Circles

Los Angeles's Star Chamber offer up their debut album and it's a great listen. The band consist of three Tamaccio's and Corey Bissell and although it's obvious that singer, Amanda will get most of the attention as she fronts the band, they really are the sum of their parts.

Her vocals are sugar sweet and probably more at home in a Power Pop outfit, but there's a real crunch to the band with a great rhythm section and some stunning guitar at times from Bissell. Whilst Star Chamber will get lumped in with the Indie Rock brigade, there is far more to them that.

The Classic Rock solo on Roadrunner and Proto Prog riff on Cold reveal a variance and adaptability unusual in the genre. Sleeper is a wonderful thing, a brooding strum with western overtones, a real gem of a song.

Although Amanda shows she can croon great pop on Take My Hand, almost Fairground Attraction, Star Chamber seem most content as a cross between early Radiohead and Porcupine Tree. Imagine if either of those were fronted by Natalie Merchant and you get the idea.

Seeing Circles is an intriguing mix of styles, beautifully played and captivating. The fact that it's a debut album gives the band even more kudos. Well done all! You can buy the album here.

Paul Heaton And Jacqui Abbott - Crooked Calypso Deluxe Edition

I was losing faith in music before The Housemartins rattled my cage. The New Romantics had left me cold, it was all about dressing up, not the songs and MTV meant even Top Of The Pops became a showcase for multi million pound videos on exotic islands. I sort refuge in the States, listening to Paisley Pop, IRS and Mitch Easter related bands.

The UK had become a wealth obsessed pile of self obsession. Bar the odd Aztec Camera or Icicle Works, none of what I heard related to my life. When you see every industry around you being closed down because it could be, a dole generation, someone singing on a yacht meant contempt. Then in 1986, I heard The Housemartins. This was great lo fi pop, beautifully and intelligently written, hints of Soul and Gospel, but at it's best when the three minute ditties were politicised. You could hare Thatcher tunefully. Me And The Farmer is probably my favourite single of the 80's.

By 1988, it was all over. Paul Heaton and Dave Hemmingway formed The Beautiful South. The choruses were still there, as was the acidic wit, but the music had greater depth, ranging from pop to easy listening, the bite was still there though. In a collection of songs known more for singing along to, the masterpiece is Let Love Speak Up Itself, a jazz tinged masterpiece.

For their fourth album, Miaow, Jacqui Abbott joined. This was a double bonus for me as Abbott is from my hometown St Helens. A Town that isn't famous for much now that the Glass has gone. She added a country tinge to the songs, another variation on the pop theme and songs such as Good As Gold, Don't Marry Her, Perfect Ten and Rotterdam became chart and fan favourites.

This was my favourite period for the band and after Jacqui Abbott left in 2000, the band continued until 2007 with diminishing returns. Paul Heaton's solo career was interesting, he could never be anything but, however it wasn't widely appreciated apart from those who took the time to listen.

In 2013 Heaton And Abbott reunited, culminating in the 2014 debut album from the duo, What Have We Become. The album is a real mix of styles, Abbott's voice is in wonderful form and it was Paul Heaton's best writing since the criminally underrated, Painting It Red. The album was a hit and I hoped for more.

2015's Wisdom Laughter And Lines continued the variation and the great mix of voices. There's even a Rock out on The Horse And Groom and some great pop on The Austerity Of Love. Overall the album is more reflective, perhaps a tad too much. So what about their third album?

So we reach 2017 and the good news is that Crooked Calypso is probably the best album of the three thus far. There is certainly less quirky pop. Heaton's writing is as bitter sweet as ever, but this feels very much like Abbott's album. Her voice is in fine form and she leads on the more memorable songs.

There's a real soul tinge on the album, Gospel Soul on I Gotta praise, Disco on He Wants To, which is very much in Sharlene Spiteri territory. She's Got The Garden is one of those bitter relationship rants, lyrically superb, to a Motown beat. It's Philadelphia late 70's on People Like Us.

Blackwater Banks is Irish Folk, The Lord Is A White Con is all Brother Lee Love, Silence Is Blue Mink with reminders of Ob-La-De Ob-La-Da. Love Makes You Happy is all Roy Orbison backdrop. He Can't Marry Her is the sort of big ballad that Glen Campbell was noted for. It could be a Jimmy Webb song.That's not to say the Pop isn't sprinkled around. Your Bit Of Stuff is classic Housemartins and The Fatman is a real romp through the best of Beautiful South.

The Deluxe Edition adds four songs and it gets even more interesting here. Since My Dearest Husband is all jaunty Brass with a killer chorus, The Future Mrs Heaton is lounge Jazz, the sort of moody ballad that Heaton does so well. Market Street is a 9 minute calypso. The Dice keeps that feel with a shorter more melodic bite. think 10CC's From Rochdale to Ocho Rios.

The Deluxe Edition is the one to buy, although 16 songs may be a little much for the casual listener, the additional four add a lot of variance. Heaton's songwriting remains as wonderful as ever, he's one of the better lyricists that this country has produced and the blend of voices works beautifully. Finally the band seem far more accomplished than Beautiful South days and the arrangements have more depth.

Highly recommended, Crooked Calypso is a fine album, a reminder that talent will out in these days of manufactured mediocrity. You can buy the physical product here and the download is available everywhere.

Dream Machine - The Illusion

Matthew Melton is a talented guy. For 10 years, his Power Pop and Pop Rock reputation has grown and grown via Snake Flower 2, Bare Wires and most notably, Warm Soda. Warm Soda became College Rock darlings who were breaking out to a much wider audience.

Warm Soda's fourth album, released in May, suddenly became their final album. There was no touring, no promo, just an announcement that Melton was now part of Dream Machine with his wife, Doris. The sound is a marked departure.

Doris Melton is a heavy influence on Dream Machine, her keyboard playing has fashioned up a mix of Prog Rock similar to the likes of Rick Wakeman and ELP. This 70's feel is complemented by more than a nod to late 60's Psych.

Matthew Melton's pop sensibilities are still around and so amidst all this trip out stuff, there are still plenty of choruses such as on the Deep Purple esque, I Walked In The Fire with it's glam chorus. Caught In A Trap is all Classic Rock. Nothing Left's dreamy background has another great chorus hook.

The Illusion was released simultaneously with the Warm Soda album, providing confusion, but the album is splendid in what it does. In a world were Psych has become so derivative and Prog so over produced, this album hits all the right notes and sounds.

As ever with Matthew Melton, chaos seems to follow. The promo for the album included an interview that expressed the couple's views on immigration and feminism that led to them being dropped by their label, Castle Face Records. The album is now self released on Fuzz City Records. The demise of Bare Wires showed that nothing is ever simple with Melton.

One thing I've learned, over too many years to recount, is that it is best to separate the music from the musician. I've met a lot of my heroes and sometimes you wish you hadn't. Two of my greatest friends have political views that I disagree with intensely. To me it's about the music and if you get along with the artist or agree with them, that's great, but I find it best not to confuse the two.

You'll also find no Facebook presence from the band. The Meltons look upon Facebook as something that brings the worst out in people and perhaps this is a decent point. We do surround ourselves with like minded people. It's slightly different for me with what I do, but I certainly do not want to see another plate of food or someone telling someone sat next to them how much they love each other.

There is a second album planned for October which is more piano led and it would appear that Dream Machine will be a vehicle for experimentation. No mean thing. This is a great album, a listen from start to finish thing, just don't expect Warm Soda.

You can listen to and buy the album here.

Friday, 21 July 2017

Davey Lane - I'm Gonna Burn Out Bright

I've always been a You Am I fan, they are ensconced firmly in Indie Rock and where as that can be a bit ten a penny over here, it's less so in Australia which as always done bluesy grit rock and Power Pop and more recently singer songwriters and an edge towards Country.

There's no doubt that when Davey Lane joined as Lead Guitarist, first appearing on 2001's Dress Me Slowly, the bands sound got bigger. It also departed more from the template with hints of Psych and Power Pop at times. They had found themselves one hell of a guitarist.

So when Davey Lane's first solo album was muted around 2014, there was the usual worries of great guitarist going solo. I dreaded it would go all Big Boy Rock, particularly with his time spent in Jimmy Barnes's live ensemble. There's also a worry that band members who go solo, try to show how much talent that they've got and how they are so different than their band. Most end up over produced messes.

The resulting Atonally Young was far from that, there was variance, it was different to You Am I, but it nodded more to Beatlesque Pop and late 70's New Wave Stiff Records than Guitar Extravaganzas. Perhaps having been a one time addition to the Crowded House live band, should have given us all a clue.

Atonally Young was crowd funded and made for 15 grand and it sounded as though it cost much more. Even more impressive was a Covers Disc that was part of the Crowd Funding Project. The covers were inspired, a mixture of The Beatles, Nick Lowe, Todd Rundgren and even XTC's Earn Enough For Us.

So we arrive in 2017 with Lane's second solo album and it's even better than that debut. Overall it's firmly in the Clever Pop Department, with lots of hints of Psych and certainly far more keyboards than you'd expect.

The opener, I'll Forget Yr Name is all riff, with a chorus that hints at Supertramp's Logical Song. It's like an update on Mid 70's Pop Rock or Martin Rushent getting hold of a UK late 70's New Wave outfit. It's a stormer.

She's A Timebomb is like a psyched up Cheap Trick. A Lesson In Cause And Effect is Feeder type Brit Pop, I'll Set U Free is like Small Faces on LSD. Sinking May is pure Roddy Frame fronting The Motors.

The whole feel of the album is poptastic, wonderfully melodic. As a Psych Pop fan, I love it when the album veers that way and both the early Floyd like Komarov and the trippy Hit The City are wonderfully so.

At times, Lane's voice is very similar to The Orgone Box's Rick Corcoran, a real compliment. That really works on the brooding meandering Headley Grange, the only time the album slows down and it still morphs into a Brian May type Guitar solo.

The only downside is Witch In My Mind, which does seem forced, a Nile Rodgers type groove that is a bit plastic funk. However this is a minor quibble and after all this goodness, you'd expect the album to end on a high and boy, does it. You Had Me On Side is anthemic, it starts as a sort of lounge affair, rocks out and then ends as a soundtrack to an 80's Industrial Wasteland Film Soundtrack. A corking 8 minutes plus.

If you'd have said to me at the start of the tear that a guitarist from You Am I would be vying for my album of the year, I'd have laughed at you. As we reach the end of July, I'm Gonna Burn Out Bright is certainly doing that. It's a wonderfully cohesive effort, plenty of variance, but demonstrably melodic.

Well done that man!