Tuesday, 30 June 2020

The Mariners - The Tides of Time

Released: 26 June 2020
Label: _
Listen and Buy Here

The Mariners are a new band from Nottingham, UK. Although their sound is very typical of Liverpool, influenced by the likes of The Beatles, The La's and The Coral.

Their album is gloriously retro. It opens with 'Send My Love To You' which is a very simple 2 minute pop song with 60s Psych vibes. 

'Gimme More' is wonderful and echoes The Kinks and The Zombies. The standout track on the album is 'Cathy Come Home' which has a superb opening guitar riff. But my favourite overall song of theirs is the B-Side 'She Said So' which is an absolute lost gem and well worth checking out as well.

Other highlights include 'Bring Her Back To Me' which has hints of Love's A House is not a Motel.

'Dreaming of You' is more charming Beatlesesque Pop but this music never gets old and the band do it well.

A strong debut album, with many memorable songs. Highly recommended Psych pop.

Sunday, 21 June 2020

Reno Bo - You Can See It All From Here

Released: 1 May 2020
Label: You Are The Cosmos
Listen and Buy Here

Reno Bo is a songwriter from Nashville and a recent discovery for me. His new album is superb guitar pop with some Americana vibes. He also plays in the band Neon Castles.

'Baby Blues' is anthemic indie rock with a chorus that really soars. There is some great guitar work, which is the case throughout the album

My favourite song here is 'Second to Last' a beautiful pop song. It had Wilco and XO era Elliott Smith vibes. 'Take Cover' is another lovely song and more 80s sounding with hints of Springsteen

Other highlights include 'Old Glories' which is wonderfully melodic with wistful lyrics and feelings of longing. 'This Time Again Tomorrow' is another favourite of mine and has Crosby, Stills & Nash vibes.

It ends on the epic title track 'You Can See It All From Here', which is is a very moving ballad and brought to mind R.E.M. 'Everybody Hurts'. 

A really enjoyable album, with well written songs and superb musicianship. Highly recommended.

Friday, 19 June 2020

West on Colfax - Barfly Flew By

Released: 17 June 2020
Label: Greenhorse Records
Listen and Buy Here

West on Colfax are from Lancashire, UK. Their album is full of wonderful Americana tinged guitar pop. You would have thought they were really from the US, on first hearing them.

It opens with 'Choke Hold', which is my favourite song here. It is melodic yet anthemic, with 90s vibes of The Lemonheads as well as The Jayhawks. 

'Misty Morning Blue' is a love song, simple yet heartfelt. Its well written and memorable with some great guitar work. 

Other highlights include the epic 'Cowgirl of the County' which is hard-hitting and has themes of alcoholism. The lyrics are very vivid and also a bit philosophical - 'Life is a rolling rodeo with many highs and many lows and love is a bucking bronco wild and free.'

'This Ole Heart' is a stripped back campfire love song. There is a timeless quality to it. 'Tinsel Heart' demonstrates some brilliant storytelling and has feelings of melancholy. 'Light Again' is very moving and closes the album perfectly.

A superb debut album, with so much depth. Highly recommended.

Tuesday, 16 June 2020

Brandi Ediss - Bees and Bees and Bees

Released: 1 May 2020
Label: Futureman Records
Listen and Buy Here

Brandi Ediss, of Massachusetts, is a new discovery for me. Her album is full of melodic, heartfelt folk pop songs and well worth a listen.

It opens with 'Bees and Bees and Bees', which is quite short with quirky lyrics. Its about dwelling on conversations with a potential love interest, comparing it to bees buzzing. 

Her sound is stripped back and folky and she has a unique voice with a lovely tone. 'Chicago' is about being in a new place and feeling isolated. It is raw and honest lyrically, like many of the songs here. 

'I Didn't Try' is my favourite on the album. A great pop song about life not going quite the way you wanted it to. Its something a lot of people in their late 20s and 30s could relate to - 'By now I could have had my shit together if I'd only tried. I could have had a job and a dog and a place in the city, and a boy who would call me pretty. But I didn't try.' There is something quite heartbreaking about it too.

'Stupid Boyfriend' is humorous and playful in tone. 'I'll Keep You Warm' is a beautiful love song. The lyrics are very moving, with such sweetness and innocence. It is wonderfully produced and the strings really add to the emotional impact.

A superb album, full of charm, with memorable songs and quirky lyrics. Highly recommended.

Friday, 12 June 2020

Gary Olson - Gary Olson

Released: 29 May 2020
Label: Tapete Records
Listen and Buy Here

Gary Olson, from New York, is better known as the singer of Indie pop/Psych band - The Ladybug Transistor. The band released some great music, 90s onwards. I am particularly fond of The Albemarle Sound (1999) and Can't Wait Another Day (2007) albums.

This is his first Solo album and its full of beautifully melodic, sophisticated pop songs. The sound is reminiscent of bands like The Pearlfishers and a lot of the music you get on Marina Records.

Opening song 'Navy Boats' is sublime and quite melancholic, singing of lost ships in a bygone era. The production is wonderful with the strings and trumpets towards the end. 

'Giovanna Please' is my favourite song here. The beautiful strings make this so uplifting. There are elements of storytelling, which is the case throughout the album. A lot of characters are mentioned.

Other highlights include 'Some Advice' which again has descriptive and wistful lyrics. The melodies are slightly 80s sounding and very memorable. 'Afternoon into Evening' is a more upbeat pop song and had Go-Betweens vibes.

A lovely and relaxing listen. Perfect for hazy Summer days. Highly recommended.  

Wednesday, 10 June 2020

The Devonns - The Devonns

Released: 5 June 2020
Label: Record Kicks
Listen and Buy Here

Soul group The Devonns are from Chicago and this is their debut album. Its a different genre from the albums I typically review here, but I was really drawn in by this.

I was first aware of them a couple of years ago when I found their song 'Come Back' on the International Pop Overthrow Vol. 21 Power Pop compilation. It is the opening song here, and an epic ballad. It has the magic of old Soul and Motown from the 60s. The chorus really soars and the strings towards the end of the song add to the emotional impact. 

'Tell Me' has hints of Sam Cooke and sounds like it could have been a hit in the 60s era. 'Think I'm Falling in Love' is a ballad of the highest standard. Again the orchestral production makes this sound timeless.

'Blood Red Blues (Protest Song)' is a heartfelt and hard-hitting song against gun violence. The issue is communicated so well in the lyrics - 'We all know what we've got to say, but everybodys scared of the NRA'

Another highlight was 'So in Love With You' which is beautiful and has a laid back feel to it. A magical album. Perfect listening for Summer evenings.

Monday, 8 June 2020

The Vapour Trails - Golden Sunshine

Released: 19 June 2020
Label: Futureman Records
Listen and Buy Here

Scottish band - The Vapour Trails are back with the follow up to their album 'See You In The Next World' (which finished towards the top of the Colours Through The Air best of 2019 List). I had really high expectations for this album and it didn't disappoint.

The new one is more 60s Psych guitar pop greatness. Opening song 'Golden Sunshine' was familiar to me. It was originally released as a demo on the 'Godspeed It' single from last year. This new recording really brings the song to life with sparkling guitar riffs and superb harmonies.

'Dr Barnes' strongly recalls The Beatles and The Byrds, who are clearly the biggest influences here. 'Lonely Man' is the best song (other than Golden Sunshine) on the album and a great memorable guitar pop anthem. 

'Sometimes (Thinking of You)' is more of a moody ballad and sounds different to anything else on the album. The focus is more on the vocal harmonies and the lyrics are quite heartbreaking. 'Nothing rearranges. I'm spinning to the ground from your roundabout.'

Other highlights include 'Strange' which has a big anthemic chorus. 'Behind you' features an opening riff reminiscent of Gene Clark's  Elevator Operator, obviously a deliberate reference. The band wear their influences on their sleeve. 'The Conversation' has more Mexican vibes, and melodically it brought to mind Husker Du - Pink Turns To Blue.

'Why Wonder Why' has vibes of Love - Live and Let Live. The album closes on the beautifully delicate 'Seabird'. A strong follow up album, and the songs really shine. Perfect Summery guitar pop.