Friday, 17 November 2017
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
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.