Thursday, 25 November 2021

Peter Hall - Light The Stars

Released: 26 Nov 2021
Label: _
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Peter Hall, from Nottingham UK, returns with his debut album after last years beautiful EP - There's Something Wrong With Everyone. It is a stunning album, demonstrating well-written, sophisticated indie pop.   

The album opens with 'Save Yourself' which is rich in melody with a memorable, anthemic chorus. His music recalls Teenage Fanclub's softer sounding later music. 

My favourite here is 'Two Twenty Two' a heartfelt ballad of the highest standard. The production is epic and orchestral, like many of the songs here. The object of affection is a record (could it be The Beatles...?), rather than a love interest, as in most songs. 

Other highlights include 'Dream of the Sun' which is an emotional listen with some devastating lyrics - "I don't need no Tarot to know whats coming next. I'm waiting for the arrow to hit me in the chest". It bought to mind some of John Lennon's solo music.

 'The Best Idea' is another epic, melancholic ballad which will get you emotional. Lyrically, it is very honest - "I don't know what's night or day. I just dream along the way."  

A superb debut album, full of memorable songs, written from the heart. Highly recommended.

Tuesday, 16 November 2021

Rural France - RF

Released: 29 Oct 2021
Label: Meritorio Records
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Rural France, based in Wiltshire UK, are a recent discovery for me. Their songs are short, sweet and very catchy, recalling the best of early 90s indie pop.   

The album opens with 'Clementine' which is straight to the point, 2 minute pop, as many of the songs are here. The lyrics are melancholic, about being bogged down with family life and the sacrifices e.t.c. Melodically, it is very upbeat, with hints of early Teenage Fanclub and Pavement.

Other highlights include 'Hosepipe Ban' which is quite lo-fi and Summery, with superb pop hooks. 'Sling Your Hook' is more of the same, with quirky lyrics and themes of alcoholism. 'You Haven't Been In Love' is another standout song here and a simple, heartfelt ballad you will want to play on repeat.

A hugely enjoyable indie pop album, full of memorable songs which don't outstay their welcome. Highly recommended.

Wednesday, 10 November 2021

Tigers & Flies - Among Everything Else

Released: 12 Nov 2021
Label: Violette
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Tigers & Flies, from Manchester, are the latest band to join the superb Violette label. Violette are best known for releasing Michael Head's album Adios Senor Pussycat back in 2017. There are vague similarities to Pale Fountains era Mick, with Tigers & Flies.   

The album opens with 'Night Time Mood' which is very 80s sounding, recalling Orange Juice. It is a little bit messy, with a slightly heavier edge, reminiscent of post-punk. Television had to be an influence here too.

My favourite here is 'Half' which is a heartfelt love song, with an anthemic chorus, full of longing - "When you leave, half of me walks away too. Don't leave as I need the half of me that is you." It is well produced and the brass really adds to their unique sound.

Other highlights include 'Bat and Ball' which is full of attitude and swagger. The trumpet solos towards the end of the song are impressive. 'Don't Let Her Walk Away' is emotional lyrically, and about a painful break up. Again, this song is gloriously chaotic towards the end. 'Headspace' has a distinct guitar riff running throughout which will stay in your head, from first listen.

A superb album from a unique band, full of brilliantly varied songs. Highly recommended.

Monday, 8 November 2021

The Brothers Steve - Dose

Released: 15 Oct 2021
Label: Big Stir
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The Brothers Steve, from LA are back with their follow up to 2019's debut #1, which finished highly on my end of year list. The new album is a wonderful listen with more enjoyable power pop anthems.   

If you aren't familiar with Jeff Whalen's (of the band - Tsar) solo album '10 More Rock Super Hits', it is also well worth checking out.

The new album opens with 'Get on Up' which is a fun party song, and a fusion of the glam rock of Bowie, with the 90s indie of Primal Scream, with some Rolling Stones thrown in too!  My favourite here is 'Next Aquarius' which is superbly catchy with hints of 60s Pysch. 

Other highlights include 'Mrs Rosenbaum' which has Beatles vibes and some wonderful storytelling, with wistful, melancholic lyrics. 'Electro-Love' is more instantly memorable guitar pop. 'Sugarfoot' is a bit silly lyrically but will bring a smile to your face.

A hugely enjoyable follow up, full of power pop brilliance. Highly recommended.

Tuesday, 2 November 2021

Sandra's Wedding - Pleasure Grounds

Released: 1 Oct 2021
Label: _
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Sandra's Wedding, from Goole UK, have been one of my favourite new discoveries of this year (found through the brilliant Janglepophub music blog). Their new album is a highly enjoyable listen, recalling the best of 80s jangle.

'Lovin' Life' is my favourite here and is feel good guitar pop at its best. It is very Summery and anthemic, even on these cold Autumn days.

Other highlights are 'When I Stall' which particularly brought to mind Pale Fountains era Michael Head. 'Love Everyone' is uplifting, melodic and again a joy to listen to. 'Council Pop' is more moody sounding with hints of 60s Psych and chiming guitars.

A wonderful album, full of guitar pop gems with memorable melodies. Well worth investigating.

Friday, 29 October 2021

Eoin Dolan - Mirror Liver

Released: 29 Oct 2021
Label: _
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Eoin Dolan, from Galway, Ireland is a recent discovery for me. I was drawn in by his superbly melodic and catchy psych/guitar pop. It is also worth checking out his older songs - 'Ocean Girl' and 'Superior Fiction' if you are new to his music.    

His sound drew to mind the 90s indie of Super Furry Animals. The new album is a wonderful listen and has the unusual theme of Neolithic/Bronze Age Europe.

It opens with an atmospheric instrumental before launching into 'Amulet of Love' which is acoustic folk at its finest. The lyrics are quite pastoral and is about gathering Harvest. 

'I Have Got It Wrong (Again)' is my favourite here and is  instantly memorable with an anthemic chorus. The electronic, keyboard sounds make it unique, as well as the subtle melodies. 

Other highlights include 'Mirror Liver' which is sweet guitar pop with hints of The Beach Boys, and more recent band Real Estate. 'One World Of Mine' is beautifully heartfelt and stripped back, with some lovely harmonies. 'Blackcurrant Wine' is more atmospheric pastoral folk, with hints of Psych. It has experimental vibes, slightly reminiscent of Pink Floyd.  

A superb album, with a variety of sounds - from more ambient sounding Folk to Electronic and Psych pop. Highly recommended.

Thursday, 21 October 2021

Ian M Bailey - Songs To Dream Along To

Released: 15 Oct 2021
Label: Kool Kat
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Ian M Bailey is back with a new album after the superb Shots of Sun EP from earlier this year. It features the songs on that, including the sublime 'Slow Down River' and 'Take it or Leave It'. His sound is heavily influenced by The Byrds and Crosby, Stills and Nash.   

The album is co-written by Daniel Wylie of Cosmic Rough Riders, whose recent album 'Atoms and Energy' from this Summer is also well worth checking out!

It opens with 'This is Not A Feeling' which is uplifting guitar pop at its finest. It has some lovely harmonies and Americana vibes, with hints of The Jayhawks and later Teenage Fanclub.  

Other highlights include 'The Sound of Her Voice', a lovely ballad with hints of Gram Parsons. The orchestral production is wonderful. 'I'm not The Enemy' has a slightly heavier edge, reminiscent of Neil Young. 

Closing song 'The Best Out Of Me' is one of my favourites here. A heartfelt ballad of the highest standard which is guaranteed to get you emotional.

A superb album, full of beautifully melodic, well crafted songs. Highly recommended.