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I Don't Hear A Single
  Updated Mon, 20 Aug 2018 19:24:37 +0000
Category I Don't Hear A Single RadioIPO Liverpool 2018Sugarbush RecordsThe Garden Of Earthly DelightsBest of 2017Mick DillinghamThe RagamuffinsGretchen's WheelNick PiuntiBig StirSomerdaleThe StanleysXTCAlbum Of The YearBeaulieu PorchDot DashFernando PerdomoMartin NewellMothboxerPlasticsoulThe ArmoiresThe JunipersThe Legal MattersAlbum Of The Year Radio SpecialAllen ClappBill LloydCheap TrickChris ChurchChris RichardsCrime SceneDavid James SituationDom MarianiEd RyanFelix Hagan And The FamilyGreg PopeIan McNabbJohn HowardKurt Baker ComboMichael CarpenterMo TroperMott The HoopleNick HeywardPezbandPink BeamPugwashRob BonfiglioRob Clarke And The WooltonesRobyn GibsonRyan Allen And His Extra ArmsSeth Swirsky.SloanSparksSumnerThe Anderson CouncilThe BoppThe BordellosThe Cherry BluestormsThe FlywheelsThe Gold NeedlesThe John Sally RideThe Luck Of Eden HallThe MoveThe Nature StripThe NinesThe Orange PeelsThe Sunset SpiritThe Well WishersWeezerWyatt FunderburkYou Am I1881A View Of Earth From 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Dot Dash - Proto Retro
Category Dot Dash

I'm a Dot Dash admirer and they certainly are prolific. This is Album Number 6 in just 7 years and it's an absolute corker. In my review of the previous album, Searchlights, here, I remarked that it seemed a move away from their Garage Rock roots to a slightly noisy New Wave Power Pop. That direction has become far more apparent.

Now a trio, the Washington DC band, have edged nearer and nearer to a Power Pop Trio. Proto Retro has far more in common with The dB's or even more relevant, the Glasgow scene of Teenage Fanclub and BMX Bandits.

There's a real emphasis on Jangle here, the pace is slowed down in favour of melody and harmony. Terry Banks's Vocals are a revelation and it seems the tighter trio format suits them. I recently reviewed Black Vinyl Shoes for a magazine and the vibe here is pretty similar.

It's not all Scots Pop, there are departures, Green On Red is a noisy departure that works well and the excellent TV / Radio is splendid UK New Wave Power Pop, all sing along. Run And Duck For Cover is The Byrds doing Madchester.

The real joy though is that jangle. Never more so on the superb, Unfair Weather which could be The Housemartins. Special mention too for World's Last Payphone, a wonderful song that can be downloaded free. Proto Retro is a million miles away from the ramshackle earlier Dot Dash Days. Both are equally great, but this much nearer to my heart.

There's a lot of Jangle around at the moment from lost bands to new wannabes, much of it is mediocre, few can do it this well. This album is a corker and should be added to your collection forthwith. What are you waiting for?

You can listen to and buy the album here.

Bird Streets - Bird Streets
Category Bird Streets

In those halcyon Anything Should Happen Days, the emphasis was on forgotten artists and albums from the previous 20 years, rather than the regular fuss on Rock Excess and Mop Tops from the past. It came to celebrate great Singer Songwriters such as Michael Penn, Matthew Sweet and Jason Falkner. Fast Forward to I Don't Hear A Single. IDHAS's mission was to celebrate the new and under appreciated that had albums out now. John Brodeur was a name that frequently crops up.

So imagine all the excitement when the Bird Streets Telegraph started to buzz. John Brodeur was bringing out a new album with Jason Falkner, Wow! It was being released by Omnivore, a label that carefully selected new albums on quality. Think Chris Price, Cait Brennan etc.

As the release date neared we were treated to a track and Betting On The Sun was everything that I hoped it would be. If this isn't the IDHAS Song Of The Year, it will have been beaten by something truly wonderful.

Brodeur's previous album, Little Hopes, is an outstanding thing of beauty, but it suffered from a lack of promotion and support. His first album as Bird Streets trumps all that has gone before, it's an exceptional listen.

He's always been a great songwriter from the quirky beginnings to now, but Bird Streets reveals a greater experience in what appears to be an almost auto biographic affair. There's a realisation here of what's been gained and lost and it's more about things lost. This isn't a bitter affair, more of a realisation of what went wrong and an acceptance that things are better now.

It's also helps that Brodeur is one of the best lyricists around. "I remember when we were tighter than Steely Dan" being one example. This is where Jason Falkner comes in. The arrangements are tighter here, the glitter and polish more dazzling and the radio friendliness. Considering everything was played by the two, the quality of that playing is admirable.

From the opener, Carry Me with it's Stipe like verse and it's Glam Rock chorus to the closing, Until The Crown which has a chorus that could be John Waite or Kenny Loggins, the album is wall to wall, back to front quality. Direction is Paul Simon-esque in it's storytelling.

Stop To Breathe has an aching riff and it's here you realise how good John Brodeur is at writing choruses, a fault sometimes of Jason Falkner, who is the best verse writer around. Same Dream could be a jaunty TV Sit Com Theme, think Friends Territory. Same Dream is the only time that the lyrical soul searching gets melancholic, again I turn my thoughts to Paul Simon.

What you have here is one of the best albums that you will hear this or any year. Brodeur confirms himself as one of the great songwriters of this generation. The collaboration with Jason Falkner helps reveal that even more. Album Of The Year Material? You bet!

Betting On The Sun is getting a lot of Radio Airplay and rightly so, it's an absolute wonder of a song, I can't easily describe my reaction on first hearing it. It would also be a wise man that delves further into John Brodeur's past. You can listen and buy back catalogue, including Little Hopes, here.

You can buy Bird Streets here. You can also buy the CD at Kool Kat here. You can find out more about Bird Streets here.

David James Situation - Redondo Sunset
Category David James Situation

I reviewed David James Situation's third album, Aquarian Comedown, last year. You can read that review here. I'm delighted that number four has now been released. The great news is that everything that was great about Aquarian Comedown is present, but with added va va voom.

Home is pure Deep Purple with it's John Lord like keyboard riff.  The title track is a Prog Pop two minute instrumental. Even a song like Any Other Day which is AOR in essence fits in a killer Pop Rock Chorus that is very Chris Rainbow and then there's the Thin Lizzy guitar solo.

The opener Infra Riot romps in with a killer riff and is followed by Faces which is Space Rock with an addictive synth riff, probably my favourite track. In fact, choruses are a big thing here and James can certainly write them, Believe being another example.

I Should Know is more familiar territory, it's a jangling two minute Power Pop Treat with a fantastic solo to match. Lay It Down is much heavier, almost Southern Rock. Trying And Flying is built around an acoustic strum when all around it is trying to break out.

Redondo Sunset is fantastic Melodic Rock, it's less in your face than Aquarian Comedown could be, nearer AOR and it works wonderfully. This is because the song structure and writing is so good. Melodic Rock isn't about Living On A prayer or The Final Countdown it's about this. David James Situation deserve a much greater audience, it what this music is made for.

You can buy Redondo Sunset and DJS's back catalogue here. You can also buy at CD Baby and listen to sound samples at both sites.

William Duke - Quatro
Category William Duke

San Francisco's William Duke reaches his fourth album and has fashioned up Sunshine Pop of the highest order. Whilst you can still hear the Acoustic Americana influences of his previous solo outings, Quatro heads nearer and nearer to his Power Pop Bye Bye Blackbirds earlier days.

There's a melodic joy, a real Beach Boys nod at times that emphasises how great the harmonies. As a Brit, I think of McGuinness Flint and Gallagher And Lyle at times, even a fleshed out, bigger sounding Stealers Wheel.

This Brit Folk Pop / Pop Rock influence is most notable on Junk #2, but the variety of material is what impresses most. Hotels And Meetings is Pure Pop Rock, think of Steve Winwood, particularly with the added Organ.

Hotels End is all synth led in Alan Parsons Project world. The countrified shuffle of Cue Up The Memories mixes beautifully with Cal Pop harmonies. Complications #1 is on more familiar Jayhawks Territory.

Thank You is slowed Tom Petty, but the stand out is the opener, Caroline And The Silver Screen. It's a meandering, jangling tempo changing wonder of a song that closes into Psych Pop. One of the best songs that I've heard this year.

So take notes now on how you can buy this cracker of an album. Quatro is available at Name Your Price on Bandcamp, but there is a better way to buy it. It's available on CD for a bargain price as a Deluxe Edition that includes the previous album, The Dark Beautiful Sun.

The version of Dark Beautiful Sun on the 2 Disc Set contains 9 Bonus Tracks. So you get both CDs and a load of extra tracks 10 dollars. You can listen to the album and buy the album here. You can also buy the Double CD Deluxe Edition from Ray at Kool Kat, a great supporter of the music that we love.

The Sick Rose - Someplace Better
Category The Sick Rose

You must catch up on Someplace Better, an album released earlier this year by Torino's The Sick Rose. Produced by Ken Stringfellow, this is good old traditional Power Pop. The production is very modern, but the vocal sound is very 60's Beat.

Chock full of hooks and riffs with a bravado, not dissimilar to DM3, it's a cracking listen. How To Be Your Friend is probably the stand out, but any of the 11 tracks will get you jiving and at the bargain price of 5 Euros, it's a must buy.

You can listen to and buy the album here.

Crystal Drive - Crystal Drive
Category Crystal Drive

For someone who is constantly having a go at the "Guitar is Dead" mob, you may be surprised for me to be championing what is essentially a synth album. If I told you the artist was from Michigan, you'd expect them to be one of Keith Kingensmith's Futureman gang.

Well, George Szegedy is from Lansing in Michigan, he is Crystal Drive and the self titled album is wholeheartedly synth. Although, I've never been a lover of twee Synth Pop, I have always had a penchant for someone who comes up different.

Crystal Drive have a pop edge, very similar to the excellent Ooberon, but it's all synth riffs that border on Prog at times. Call it Prog Pop or Synth Rock, it certainly has hooks that grab you. You may have heard Execute on the radio show and that's just one example of the great riffs contained here.

Chemical Children could be early Numan, Moonlight could be a melodic 808 State, Function Like You could be something on Mute in the 80's and morph's into Sparks In Outer Space mode. However, the main theme is addictive pop. None more so than Knowing The Way which could easily be a synched up Buggles.

What a great album this is. I like being surprised. I was!  You can listen to and buy the album here.

The Glad Machine - The Glad Machine
Category The Glad Machine

Amongst this barrage of reviews over the next few days, there's a couple of albums that I've been meaning to tell you about for a while. First Up is The Glad Machine's self titled album, an album that rocks with a vengeance.

The four piece from Northampton, Massachusetts reside in a territory somewhere between New Wave and AOR, it borders on the likes of Cheap Trick and Sloan. Brad Thayer's vocals are in the mould of Robin Zander, particularly on something slower like the jangly, Cake.

There's a real pace to most of the 11 songs here, which is exactly what is needed. Very much, Classic Rock Territory, but full of melodic hooks and riffs. The opener, Homecoming even as a Cars like keyboard riff.

Tonight is a song that probably explains The Glad Machine best, built on a riff, tempo changes with a melting guitar solo. 18 Days is pure Brit Pop, Wake Up's verses are Squeeze like until the big chorus. Hooks aplenty here, expertly produced, this is a top notch affair. I love it.

You can buy the album at Amazon or CD Baby. You can also listen to all the tracks on the band's website here.

The Pretty Flowers - Why Trains Crash
Category The Pretty Flowers

Los Angeles's The Pretty Flowers have been gaining a growing reputation in the lead up to their debut album. Regular comparisons to Superchunk and The Replacements seem both fair and wide of the mark. Yes they can get down and dirty, but there are far more hooks and choruses here than you may have been led to expect.

Electrical is all riffs that can be compared to The Cult or Post Punk UK / New Wave. Chip My Paint starts with an ace riff and then romps into Australian Territory like a more melodic early version of The Church or a rocked up Go-Betweens.

Temple Of Gunpowder could be Robert Pollard on a bigger budget, Sitting Duck is Liam Gallagher like in it's sneer. Corner Of The Stars is all Glasgow Jangle. Although you can see the US Connection, think of The Strokes with better lyrics and melodies, there is something UK about the feel of many of the songs. The stand out is Some Girls, a splendid Power Pop joy.

I am blown away by Why Trains Crash. I expected Fuzz Rock and got it, but there is far more depth, far more hooks and riffs aplenty. This is a fine debut album. Don't expect any slow songs, it would just stop the roll they are on. Highly Recommended!

You can listen to and buy the album here.

Danny Wilkerson - Wilkerson
Category Danny Wilkerson

When we look back on the year, we may very well find that most of our favourite albums are from the last couple of months, indeed I'd expect many of these albums to be adored a decade on. Right at the front is the magnificent Danny Wilkerson debut album. Known, of course, as one of The Pengwins and to some as the ex Mayor of Annetta North in Texas, Wilkerson has fashioned up one of the great Pop Rock albums. The album features a who's who of collaborators and although, the feel is very much McCartney Pop, many more are brought to mind, 10CC, Andrew Gold and particularly, The Major Labels.

It's no secret that I pine for another Major Labels album, Aquavia remains one of my favourite albums ever. That influence is particularly prevalent on Carry The One and You Still Owe Me A Kiss and it'll be no surprise to find two thirds of the band are collaborators on Wilkerson. Bleu McAuley's Top 40 aims with other artists, can mask his musical knowledge and ear for a melody. but when you get him on Power Pop, he is an absolute master, he knows which buttons to press, He presses all of them here. The arrangements are superb.

Likewise, Ducky Carlisle's involvement and mixing of half the album, shines through.Guest Appearances by Roger Joseph Manning Jr and Pat Buchanan only add to the quality. Special mention also to the Spyderpop label, a label close to my heart. Any label that has Lannie Flowers and Chris Church on it is worth your attention. You can now add Danny Wilkerson.

Wilkerson's songwriting shines through. There's also some fine song sequencing. On a debut album, it would have been easy to open something upbeat and chirpy to open proceedings. Something like the second track, Enough For Somebody, would have done the trick. Instead, Everyone Loves To Love opens proceedings. Everyone Loves To Love is a 5 minute extravaganza, it's like ten songs in one, almost a megamix of what is to come. The Andrew Gold reference largely comes from Too Much Of A Good Thing is Gold to a tee, a wonderful singalong.

I've played a couple of songs on the Radio Show, Carry The One being one, a particular favourite, it reminds me a lot of Velveteen Queen, the sort of song that Paul McCartney used to write, soothing and anthemic. How She Lost My Heart is a corking slice of Psych Pop with a harpsichord solo.

There's not a duffer amongst these ten songs, if you want to sing the choruses, there's plenty, if you want something slower and chilled, you have it too. Melodic excellence, beautifully written, beautifully arranged. Wilkerson is an absolute masterpiece.

You can buy the album at Spyderpop or the likes of Amazon. You can also listen to sound samples and buy the vinyl at CD Baby.

I Don't Hear A Single News
Category News

There's been masses going on in the background IDHAS wise, hence the reason for being quiet over the past few months. Rather than announce it all with a big fanfare, you'll know as soon as the relevant parts are up and ready. I can tell you that I Don't Hear A Single is branding out in plenty of directions.

All should be up and running by the end of August. Part of the reason for the 2 week Radio Break was to get all this extra stuff down to earth.

The only thing to tell you about at the moment is a change of Twitter name for the Blog. It was @anythinghappens from when Anything Should Happen was rampant. As most of the contact is now IDHAS related, it makes sense to change it to something people can find easier.

The Twitter Account is now under the name, I Don't Hear A Single. The new twitter handle is @hearasingle

My Facebook account is amazingly getting near the 5,000 limit, so you will see a dedicated Facebook Page for IDHAS in due course.

The rest of the week will be spent getting the major backlog of reviews up on the Blog and from next week, you'll start to see some of the new excitement being announced.

Onwards And Upwards Blah Blah Etc Etc


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