Sunday, 22 November 2020

Teenage Waitress - Love and Chemicals

Released: 13 Nov 2020
Label: Colorama Records
Buy Here

Teenage Waitress is the work of Southampton based Singer-Songwriter - Daniel J Ash. This is his debut and it is full of catchy, melodic indie pop gems. Daniel was previously in the band - The Lost Boys and their song 'Addicted' is well worth checking out too. 

Highlights of the album include 'The Mess You Made Me Make' which is wonderfully anthemic and upbeat. There are hints of 80s electronic, but not overwhelmingly so and it still sounds modern. The hooks recall all the finest Power Pop of the 70s. 

'I'm Leaving Berlin' is superbly catchy with an infectious chorus you can sing along to. There is also a hint of melancholy in the lyrics. 

My favourite here is 'You Ain't Got It Bad' which is instantly memorable and highly melodic indie pop. I could imagine this being a huge hit at the Festivals in the Summer. 'First Draft Love Song' has more chilled, ambient vibes and reminisces about a past love. The layered vocal harmonies in the production really add to the emotion.

'Maniac' is upbeat and poppy but quite dark in theme, singing of a disastrous date. 'You'll Lose My Love' is another favourite here, a simple love song with early Beatles vibes. Epic ballad - 'Sweetie' brings the album to an impressive close.

A hugely enjoyable listen, full of memorable, anthemic pop goodness. Highly recommended.

Friday, 20 November 2020

Allyson Seconds - Bag of Kittens

Released: 14 Nov 2020
Label: Big Stir
Listen and Buy Here

Allyson Seconds is a new discovery for me. This is a reissue of her debut album from 2009. I don't normally review too many reissues but this didn't get the attention it deserved, first time round.

It was written and produced by Anton Barbeau, one of Psych/Power Pop's best 'lost' songwriters. He has had a busy year, having already released two albums, including the epic double album Manbird.

'I Used To Say Your Name' is one of my favourite songs here. A very moving ballad. Allyson's subtle vocals suit the music perfectly and it has a lot of warmth.  'Boat Called Home' has country vibes and reminded me of some of Paul McCartney's solo music

Other highlights here include 'If I Could Bring You Trouble' which is a lovely duet with Anton. It is highly melodic and memorable with 60s vibes and a hint of Psych. 'Dig My Pig' has a lot of Byrdsian charm and the high vocals really add to the emotion. 

Title track 'Bag of Kittens' is wonderfully quirky. It has a childlike sense of fun. Also on the release are four unreleased bonus tracks. The best of these is 'Octagon' which is uplifting, summery guitar pop at its finest.

A really enjoyable listen, full of well-written melodic songs which will stay with you. Highly recommended.

Friday, 13 November 2020

The Pierce Kingans - Pierce and Love to All The World

Released: 13 Nov 2020
Label: Subjangle
Listen and Buy Here

The Pierce Kingans, from Vancouver, have been one of my favourite new discoveries of this year (found through the brilliant Janglepophub music blog). This is a new compilation featuring the sublime Rona Sessions EP of this year, and a selection of songs from their previous EPs. 

Pierce Kingan has played in other Canadian bands - The Prettys and Psych band The Orange Kyte. His solo material is wonderfully lo-fi, with glorious melodies and unique lyrics.

It opens with 'How Could I Forget' which is a gorgeous and simple love song. Only having one line, its power is in the melody, and it is very moving. The sound is reminiscent of The Everly Brothers and The Beatles.

'So Close' is a beautiful, stripped back ballad. The fragility and intense emotion in the vocals, is remarkable. 'Only Wanted To Be' is another standout here and the layered vocal harmonies are superb. 

Some of the songs here do have a slightly heavier sound too, although still filled with melody. 'It's Bleed Too Long' is upbeat and anthemic, recalling Pixies and early Radiohead. 'Spontaneous Human Busting' reminded me of the most thrash punk side of Nirvana. 'Pray' is eerie, hypnotic and brilliantly weird. 

'Opportunity Opus' is more charming Beatles-inspired guitar pop. Despite having old influences, the music still feels modern and relevant. It stands out against many other artists in the genre.

A wonderful variety of songs, with melodies which will stay with you from first listen. A superbly talented artist, well worth investigating.

Friday, 6 November 2020

Rosie Abbott - Magnified

Released: 2 Oct 2020
Label: _
Listen and Buy Here

Rosie Abbott, a singer-songwriter from Nottingham, UK, is a new discovery for me. I was drawn in when I first heard her single 'Hold On', as part of the Big Stir singles series. The B-side to this - 'I Don't Mean To Block Your Sunlight' is superbly catchy and I found it hard to believe it was only a b-side.

Her album Magnified is a wonderful listen with hints of Baroque pop and more experimental Folk. It opens with 'Magnified' which is a piano driven ballad, with later Beatles vibes. The layered vocal harmonies are very impressive.

'I Confess' is a dark and moody ballad with melancholic lyrics. The theme is regret and reflecting on a past relationship. Musically, it is arranged perfectly with a great guitar solo at the end.

Other highlights include 'Alice Died', which is more upbeat and folky with elements of storytelling. Lyrically, it is heartbreaking - "So sad to see how she'd become as brittle as a flower drying."

'Always Time' is another favourite here, a simple, stripped back song with lovely vocal harmonies. 'Yes' is an intricate, emotional folk song and an acceptance of a marriage proposal. 'The Look in our Eyes' is the most 'pop' song on the album and brilliantly melodic with inventive lyrics. 

A wonderfully accomplished album, especially as Abbott self-recorded this in lockdown. Highly recommended.


Sunday, 1 November 2020

The Thomas Scott Quintet - Marionette

Released: 22 Nov 2020, Pre-order now
Label: AV8 Records
Pre-order Here
Tommy Scott, better known as the singer of Britpop band - Space, releases his debut solo album. It is a beautiful listen, and a modern Baroque pop masterpiece. 

It opens with 'Shadowland' which is wonderfully atmospheric and eerie. The production is highly orchestral with sweeping strings. The guitar work is also superb with some epic guitar solos. His distinct, powerful voice suits the music perfectly.

'She Smokes Oblivious' is a fine example of indie/guitar pop. Its hard to find comparisons, as its so unique, but it brought to mind Echo & The Bunnymen. 

The standout here was 'Crowded World' which again reminded me of Ocean Rain era Bunnymen, with its grandeur. The lyrics express such a sadness and longing. 'Marionette' has some dark lyrics and is divinely orchestrated. It also brought to mind Nick Cave in places.

Other highlights include 'End of the World', a gorgeous ballad. It is highly melodic and perhaps a bit more subtle than most of the songs here. Again, it had classic 60s baroque pop vibes. 'God Made Me Ugly' is more upbeat, anthemic guitar pop and very enjoyable.

It ends on 'Treasure Chest' which is hugely emotional and again beautifully produced. A stunning album, full of powerful songs. A highly recommended listen.