Thursday, 21 October 2021

Ian M Bailey - Songs To Dream Along To

Released: 15 Oct 2021
Label: Kool Kat
Buy Here

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.

Tuesday, 12 October 2021

Shebeat - Remember Love

Released: 6 Aug 2021
Label: _
Listen and Buy Here

Shebeat is the work of songwriter Jodie Schofield originally from Liverpool. This is her heartfelt new single and it shows simplicity is often the key with music.   

The sound is quite lo-fi and vaguely reminiscent of The Velvet Underground. It has 60s vibes and brought to mind some of The Beatles earlier, more stripped back music too. There aren't many words, but sometimes its not needed and it still manages to be full of emotion. It is a beautiful ballad and instantly memorable. 

As far as I can see, there is no album yet but there are more songs to check out on her Bandcamp. Highlights include 'So into You' which has a similar vibe and is quite laid back and atmospheric. Again, it has lo-fi production and sea sound effects. 'Believe' is an uplifting pop song of the highest standard. 'Catch Your Breath' is another favourite here, its simplicity brought to mind Daniel Johnston.

A wonderfully unique new Artist, with some lovely songs and hopefully an album will come soon.  Highly recommended.

Saturday, 25 September 2021

Blake - Kaleidoscope

Released: 24 Sept 2021
Label: Subjangle
Listen and Buy Here

Blake is the work of songwriter Julian Pugsley and he is back with a new record after last years HMS Blake album and best of double cd (the perfect introduction to his music, should you require one). The new album is also full of superb guitar pop gems with plenty of great hooks.   

His sound is heavily inspired by The Beatles and Donovan. It is also reminiscent of more recent bands Gorkys Zygotic Mynci and Belle and Sebastian. The production is fairly retro, using old equipment from the Abbey Road studios to give it an authentic 60s sound.

It opens with 'So Good', which is wonderfully catchy, recalling the energetic 70s Power Pop of Cheap Trick. 'Andrea Everywhere' is uplifting and fun with Summery Mexican vibes. Title track - 'Kaleidoscope' is a homage to The Beatles, especially their more Psychedelic side. 

'Paisley Patterned Love' is a favourite here and is 60s inspired jangle of the highest standard, recalling The Zombies. It is instantly memorable and will have you singing along.

Other highlights include 'Let Yourself In' which is superbly melodic with heartfelt lyrics - "There's a key that matches my emotion and you can let yourself in." 

'Blood On Their Hands' is an angry protest song about Capitalist corruption and the lives lost as a result of it. It has a heavier edge than anything else here, showing there is a lot more to Blake than just pretty pop songs. It ends on the acoustic 'Whenever You Call My Name' which is subtle with lovely harmonies.

A superb album, full of well-written songs with a variety of styles and influences. Highly recommended.

Friday, 17 September 2021

Novelty Island - How Are You Coping With This Century?

Released: 15 Oct 2021
Label: _
Listen and Buy Here

Novelty Island is the work of Liverpool songwriter and producer - Tom McConnell. This is his debut album and it is full of wonderfully jangly Beatles-inspired pop goodness.   

It opens with 'This Bird' which sounds like it could easily be a lost Paul McCartney song. The chorus is superbly melodic and catchy, recalling the bygone era of the 60s, when it was all about the songs.

'Cowboy on a Bicycle' is a quirky song about a Cowboy who has lost his horse. It has vaguely Country vibes and brilliantly inventive lyrics. - "I just had a fight with a disagreeable Volcano who'd seen my horse out of town."

'Jangleheart' is my favourite here - and is as gloriously jangly as the title suggests, with Byrds vibes. The way the chorus builds up, also brought to mind Teenage Fanclub, and the song has so much charm, just as theirs do.

Other highlights include 'Listen' which is more laid-back and melancholic. It is well produced with trumpets and piano, recalling later Beatles. 'I'll Sleep in April' is more brilliantly memorable pop with hints of electronic and some impressive harmonies.

A superb debut full of well-written songs and lovely melodies. Highly recommended for 60s guitar pop fans.

Wednesday, 8 September 2021

The Treasures of Mexico - Always The Shadows

Released: 27 Aug 2021
Label: Spinout Nuggets
Listen and Buy Here

Medway indie pop band The Treasures of Mexico are back with a new single. I have been aware of this band for a while as it consists of members of The Dentists, who were a superb indie/psych pop band. If you aren't familiar with them you should probably check out the song - 'Strawberries are Growing in my Garden (and its Winter time)'.   

The new song has hazy Summery vibes. It is a fine example of anthemic guitar pop. It features Beth Arzy (of Jetstream Pony) on backing vocals. The guitar riffs are instantly memorable. It brought to mind their song 'Don't Need Water' from the 'Everything Sparks Joy' album which is also well worth checking out. 

The B-Side is a cover of Yo La Tengo's Autumn Sweater, and the two songs go together perfectly. Highly recommended especially if you are a fan of more 80s/early 90s indie.

Wednesday, 1 September 2021

The Pierce Kingans - The Peacekeepers EP

Released: 30 Aug 2021
Label: Boat Dreams from the Hill
Listen and Buy Here

The Pierce Kingans, from Canada, are back with a new EP. There have been quite a few of them since last years superb compilation cd on Subjangle. This one particularly stood out for me.    

It is full of unique, melodic songs, which are instantly memorable on first listen. The style is quite lo-fi and 'Outsider' which is why I prefer them to a lot of other new music around.

It opens with 'To Your Heart', which is superbly catchy. There are hints of electronic, and the melodies are kept simple and upbeat. It is hard to find comparable artists but it brought to mind The Strokes and Daniel Johnston. It also has the simplicity of The Kinks.

'Choices' is a favourite here - a heartfelt love song with some superb vocal harmonies. This one has Zac Martin on lead vocals. 'Goodbye More' has lovely melodies and even though the lyrics are quite simple, it is so effective.

It ends on 'Staying Up Late' which is beautifully raw and honest lyrically - "Love is hard to talk about and accept, I have songs that I can sing, lovingly inept."

A highly recommended EP from a wonderfully unique artist.

Sunday, 22 August 2021

Hushtones - Greetings From The Other Side

Released: 6 Aug 2021
Label: Hubris Records
Listen and Buy Here

Hushtones, from Liverpool, are a recent discovery for me. I only found out about them as they supported Michael Head (which I bet was an amazing show). Their debut album is a superb listen and a blend of indie, guitar pop and psych.     

It opens with 'Greetings from the Other Side' which is full of wonderful harmonies and instantly memorable. They do remind me of more commercial indie bands like Blossoms and Wolf Alice.

The guitars are slightly heavier on 'Sinking', which is more moody sounding with some great pop hooks. It is quite anthemic and there are hints of punk too.

Other highlights include 'Never Let Me Down' which is a slower ballad with hints of Fleetwood Mac. There are some beautiful, soaring vocal harmonies. 'I've Got Time' is my favourite here, with more late 60s/70s psych vibes, bringing to mind Shocking Blue.

It ends on 'In Your Head' which is more stripped back with some heartfelt lyrics. Again, the male/female vocal harmonies are superb.

A wonderful album, full of enjoyable guitar pop anthems. Highly recommended.

Wednesday, 18 August 2021

The Sails - Brighter Futures

Released: 26 May 2021/6 Aug (cd release)
Label: Kool Kat
Listen and Buy Here

The Sails are a recent discovery for me. They have been described by Mojo Magazine as the UK's best Power Pop act and it is easy to see why.    

I recommend people who are new to the band to check out the best of compilation - 'Bang - The Sails Best Of 2006 - 2020'. Melodic guitar pop gems, such as 'Peter Shilton', 'Bang!' and 'She is all that Matters' are to name a few of the best songs here.

Their sound has strong 60s vibes, of course recalling The Beatles. The new album opens with 'Crying out Loud' which is fun and very retro with superb pop hooks.

My favourite here is 'The Shakes' which has John Lennon vibes, with plenty of Psych goodness and some great guitar work. 

Other highlights include 'Super High Powered Lovin' which is wonderfully catchy. It is simple 3 minute guitar pop at its finest. 'Fireworks' is hypnotic and eerie, the swirling psychedelic sounds are strangely atmospheric. Stripped back love song 'Stranger Things' is lovely and subtle and provides a much needed ambience.

A hugely enjoyable album and a must for fans of 60s guitar pop. Highly recommended.

Monday, 16 August 2021

The Wife Guys of Reddit - Wet and Tired EP

Released: 25 Jun 2021
Label: _
Listen and Buy Here

The Wife Guys of Reddit, from Glasgow UK, are a recent discovery for me. Their new EP is well worth checking out and has 90s indie rock vibes. It is full of superb guitar riffs and quirky lyrics.    

It opens with 'Jangled Up In Blue' which brought to mind Pavement and Nirvana. The sound is quite lo-fi and at only 1 minute 24 seconds, it still manages to be catchy and leave an impression. The lyrics have attitude/anger and seem to be speaking of an argument in a relationship.

'66' is more laid back sounding, with thought provoking, vivid lyrics. - "Its hard to close my eyes to the cracking of the tile names left on the bathroom floor" The heavy guitar work brought to mind Sonic Youth.

'Adelina' is dark and atmospheric, reminiscing about teenage years. It has an eerie-ness to it and has you hanging on to every word. 

It ends on 'Hard Tack' which is more upbeat and reminded me of The Vaselines. The lyrics are very fun - "Life is a biscuit and I'm going to waste it."

A superb EP and highly recommended end of Summer listening.

Tuesday, 10 August 2021

RW Hedges - Year After Year

Released: 3 Sept 2021 (Download now)
Label: Wonderfulsound
Listen and Buy Here

RW Hedges is, in my opinion, one of the most underappreciated UK Songwriters of recent times. This is his fourth album, and like the previous two, it involves the help of co-writer and producer - Luca Nieri. 

The album is a highly enjoyable listen, full of short but sweet, melodic guitar pop gems. It opens with 'Piece of String', which recalls the 60s of The Kinks and The Beatles. It is instantly memorable and has so much charm. The lyrics are heartfelt, yet with a child-like simplicity.

'Far and Wide' has more melancholic vibes with gorgeous Baroque pop production. The lyrics are beautifully vivid  - "Old hearts will empty out their tears and woes. You laugh but the colour in your face, it goes."

'She Calls Through The Night' demonstrates some superb storytelling, and is a homage to Film Noir. 'Weathervane' is lovely and unique with hints of Americana. It is quite playful lyrically with themes of creativity and art. 'Who's to Care' is a moody, atmospheric country song. Musically, it is wonderfully arranged and produced, with skilled pedal steel provided by BBC Presenter - Matt Allwright.  

My favourite here is 'A Travelling Road' which is joyous and uplifting, with glorious vocal harmonies. At times it recalled The Byrds and The Zombies. It ends on 'Year after Year' which has more 50s Everly Brothers vibes. 

A timeless album, which although short, has many beautifully written songs with superb melodies and hooks.  Highly recommended.

Thursday, 5 August 2021

Sister John - I Am By Day

Released: 30 July 2021
Label: Last Night From Glasgow
Buy Here

Sister John are an indie pop band from Glasgow and a new discovery for me. This is their third album and it is a wonderful listen, full of heartfelt, ambient songs.  

It opens with 'I'll Be Your Life' which is quite stripped back with Jesus and Mary Chain vibes. It is a devastating love song, full of yearning and some morbid lyrics - "I'll be your life, I'll do the calculation. I'll make sure they know you prefer cremation."

'In My Place' is my favourite here, and the most pop sounding song on the album. It is bittersweet guitar music at its finest, at times recalling The Velvet Underground.

Other highlights include 'How can I keep it Alive?' which is moody and very atmospheric. Amanda McKeown's vocals demonstrate so much emotion and a longing which is rarely heard in recent music. 

'Died Down' has slightly more electronic vibes. It is again very heartfelt with vivid lyrics and themes of depression, life and death. - "I'm waiting for my life to be summed up in five, I'm wondering what the drive is, drive to stay alive."

It ends on 'Glasgow Is A Rainbow' which is an epic ballad with later Beatles vibes. The production is lovely with strings and piano, adding to the emotional impact.

A beautiful album, full of well-written songs with so much melancholy. Highly recommended.

Tuesday, 3 August 2021

Langan, Frost and Wane - Langan, Frost and Wane

Released: 30 July 2021
Label: Goldstar Recordings
Buy Here

Langan, Frost & Wane, from Philadelphia, are a recent discovery for me and this is their debut. It is a wonderful Folk/Psych album with plenty of great storytelling, lovely melodies and musical arrangements.  

It opens with 'Perhaps The Sorcerer' which brought to mind the English Folk of Jethro Tull and Fairport Convention. The lyrics are quite fantasy/fairytale themed. It is beautifully produced, with flute and intricate mandolin work. 

'The Dandelion' is my favourite here, with surreal lyrics and memorable melodies and hooks. It has 60s Psych vibes too, and at times recalled Donovan.

Other highlights include 'King Laughter' which is more Baroque pop meets Folk and very catchy. The heartfelt and whimsical -  'Learn the Names of the Plants' has a lot of charm and is unique for recent music.

'She Walks Alone' is a dark love song with feelings of regret and longing. As with many of the songs here, the storytelling is superb and very atmospheric.

A highly recommended listen, especially if you love more folk sounding music.

Friday, 30 July 2021

RW Hedges - Interview

RW Hedges is one of the best, relatively unheard, songwriters in the UK today. Together with songwriting partner Luca Nieri (right in photo), they create wonderful pop songs, with lovely melodies and hooks. Their sound recalls the 60s of The Beatles, Kinks and The Left Banke, also with hints of Americana and 50s Doo-wop.

On 3 Sept this year, he will be releasing his fourth album - Year after Year. It will be released on the superb Wonderfulsound label. I catch up with RW Hedges and we talk about the new record and everything music related!

Q. You will soon be releasing 'Year after Year' the new album and follow up to 2019's Western themed 'The Hills are Old Songs'. What can we expect to hear? Does it have a theme like the last record?

A. Hi Julie, what to expect? I always hope to deliver a memorable song so I hope they can expect that. And I thought the same for The Hills are Old Songs but that was themed more like for a play? Here, if there is a theme, it could be song itself.

Q. What were the main inspirations for the songs? Were there any Artists, Films or Literature which inspired the writing?

A. Last year Luca and I felt the project we had was in the wrong time so we shelved that again and Luca suggested a set of songs more in the key of music we used to play/listen to from the early to mid 60s very much Kinks, Zombies and Beatles but also Bert Jansch or folk blues. There are even hidden American songbook elements in the odd line or structure. There is what we call a song triad and that happens with the first 3 tracks. It has a Noir story, a west coast journey and some songs that are about the writing process in a way. We didn’t need a library shelf dedicated to this; any research was done on the jog.

Q. Tell me about the recording process. How did you end up working with Matt Allwright (BBC Presenter) who provides pedal steel?

A. It all came together quickly, we know Matt Allwright through my mate Scott who runs Balcony shirts in Uxbridge (check our Tunnel Vision podcast show) Matt was quick to realise his parts and intuitively he played on the ones that work for pedal steel beautifully.

Luca is studio head musician as well as producer, all those lovely electric guitars, drums, bass, organ piano and bv’s is all Luca. He is a king of arrangements too! I’m ever so lucky. But I had to fashion my chords, melody or lyrics to the occasion. And my friend Dan Towler, also a songwriter, did some amazing additional vocals and you can’t tell which of us is which. I like that.

Most of all I like writing songs with Luca. He can always help a line or a chord along with fluidity. You need all these elements, I think.

Q. The album is very short - 9 songs and around 20 mins in total. Is there a reason why you go against the 'standard' durations which most songwriters today follow?

A. I think partly in order to go against the standard of 5 minute songs, if I’m honest. It isn’t as if you can’t listen again? There are lots of good long songs when the writer feels or the song shows they should be. Here we kept the songs lean, with a good chorus. I know they are popular but anthems are not my bag.

Q. For you, what constitutes as a 'great song'?

A. When a word is combined in perfect wedding to melody and vice versa. It is hard to write convincingly I reckon. 'My Heart Stood Still' by Rodgers & Hart is a song I love, and I love them. That is a gold standard writing team. I look to them and use them as a bar way too high for me.

Q. Did you start writing songs at a young age? What started your love of music?

A. I sang to my mum at night as a baby, so I am told. I was in school choir and later in a Youth theatre where I met half of my first band that Luca was drummer in. I played Joey Biltmore in Guys and Dolls, Burt in Blitz, Mr Fox in Pinocchio. I love acting. Started writing at 14. It was all about guitars and gigs and sweating a lot back then.

Q. Is there a song you have written, or an album you are most proud of?

A. 'Signal Man', 'Haven't Seen Her in a While', 'Just a Fool', '80's Beach Emotion'. The album I am proudest of is 'Year After Year' (contractually obligated). I really like some of my comedy songs but my songs with Luca are the best really.

Q. What started with your fascination with The American Songbook, Broadway Musicals e.t.c.?

A. I was feeling low one day, I didn’t know what to do so I watched South Pacific which I’d seen along with many musicals before but this time it hit me properly. All the color and passion and brilliance of it. I then ordered in books and searched for hours to find more and more information. Luca and I both looked at chords and listened and talked a fair bit. The American songbook has had a massive effect on our great songwriters; Davies, Coward, McCartney and more.

They are sadly overlooked now, people like Dorothy Fields. But anyone who reads this can start up with the brilliant Afterglow radio from beautiful Bloomington Indiana. Mark Chilla has an archive and you’ll find the standards are a treat.

Q. Your first album Almanac (2008) is very different to your later ones with Luca Nieri. Do you find it better to work in a team? Does it affect the songwriting/creativity?

A. It is much better for me to be in a team. If the producer is also a proper musician and then an actual writer who really sees a way forward then you are so close to a tighter vision? The discussion is very important. So are surroundings. We write in a spot off the grid, and I do collage art, whilst Luca is a brilliant artist and can turn to graffiti or stark pencil works and paintings that are brilliant. Art is a really important part of our vision; it is as much therapy as music. Luca edits our videos taking all artistic responsibility into the fold. It is a way and it does help gel stuff to be honest. On a personal note, I would like access to a bunch of Jazz musicians in Prague. We could record and then have food just off of Charles bridge?

Q. You recorded a number of superb demos with your old band Starky (90s/early 00s). How do you look back on your experiences with the band? Will the songs ever be released?

A. We were good. Had lots of fun. Luca was 1st drummer then went off to do all manner of brilliant music and art. Our next drummer was Jody Moroney (great drummer name) who now plays with a few acts including a project with Little Barry.

We never released a thing. The band we were gigging and writing madly and recorded most of our stuff on Tascam 4 trks later 8 trks. I had a side blues and folk novelty gig of sitting on pub stools and belching at people. I was pretty good, I was honest and no-one was then really. The open mic nights were a scam. I went for travelling gigs and the odd residency.

Q. What are your favourite experiences/places you have visited e.t.c. whilst making music?

A. Greek Islands. It is the purest light in the centre of the world and you can breathe and be yourself and melt into the landscape.

Q. Do you have any plans for new projects, gigs e.t.c. in the future?

A. We are writing all the time for different bits n bobs. But we will try to do a Christmas song every year from now if we can, since we have done 4 these few years and we really enjoy it.

Check out Luca’s Etrurian Shades album. I love the Luca Nieri albums and people should hear all of them. Certainly, Spring to Summer 2022 is a goal for the next project from Luca and I.

Preorder the new album Year After Year, here on Wonderfulsound 
Release date: 3 Sept (though expected Aug), 2021

Saturday, 24 July 2021

Wojtek the Bear - Heaven by the Back Door

Released: 16 July 2021
Label: Last Night From Glasgow
Listen and Buy Here

Scottish indie band - Wojtek the Bear, are back with a new album. It is a sublime listen, their sound brought to mind fellow Scots -  Trashcan Sinatras and Aztec Camera. 

It opens with 'Ferme La Bouche' which is upbeat with an anthemic, catchy chorus. There are hints of brass, which reminded me of one of my favourite 80s bands - The Pale Fountains.

The gloriously melodic 'One Things For Certain' is the standout here, with lovely strings, and slightly melancholic lyrics. 

Other highlights include 'Luck or Design' which is a sad breakup song but surprisingly upbeat. It has some heartbreaking lyrics - "I used to think you were a prize. Now your words cut like knives." 

'Heaven by the Back Door' is another highlight here, with sweeping harmonies. It has themes of religion, finding who you are e.t.c. 'Packing Parachutes' is a very emotional listen with strong emphasis on the beautiful strings, which are prominent on this album.

A wonderfully produced album, full of well-written songs. Highly recommended.

Thursday, 22 July 2021

Ali Horn - Balcony Boys

Released: 16 July 2021
Label: _
Listen and Buy Here

Ali Horn, from Liverpool, is a recent discovery for me. His debut album is a superb listen, with hints of Velvet Underground (particularly Lou Reed) and Echo and the Bunnymen.  

It opens with 'Sun it Rises' which is wonderfully atmospheric and laid-back. It has some really psychedelic lyrics - "Find a girl that makes you see explosions the sky, sit her down and tell her all the colours in your mind".

'Feels like Home' is more of a moody love song, full of longing. The hooks are superb and it even has a fantastic whistling solo. 'Managed Decline' recalls The Velvet Underground - Sweet Jane and is very Summery sounding. 

'Badman' is my favourite here and is more Folk. It is a very heartfelt break up song. 'La Brea Tar' is heartbreaking and deals with themes of depression and poverty. 'Balcony Boys' is slightly more electronic, with the 90s vibes of Spiritualized. 

It ends on 'End Credits' which is upbeat but with quirky and morbid lyrics. - "So sing a happy song, cos I know that it won't be long till we are lying there eternally."

A Superb debut album and highly recommended Summer listening.

Friday, 16 July 2021

Peter Hall - Two Twenty Two

Released: 12 July 2021
Label: The Beautiful Music
Listen and Buy Here

Peter Hall, from Nottingham UK, is back with a new single after last years wonderful EP. 'Two Twenty Two' is more sophisticated guitar pop of the highest standard.  

It is a superbly melodic ballad with sublime harmonies, recalling The Beach Boys and The Beatles. On the whole, it also drew to mind more modern bands Trashcan Sinatras and later Teenage Fanclub. 

The lyrics are wistful and full of melancholy - "Two minutes twenty-two, to fall in love with you. We span so fast and fell so quick." The big soaring chorus is instantly memorable. 

A timeless song and judging from this, the album will definitely be one to look out for. Highly recommended.

Tuesday, 13 July 2021

Sometime Songs - Sometimes Songs EP

Released: 26 May 2021
Label: Wonderfulsound
Listen and Buy Here

Sometime Songs is a collaboration of artists on the superb Wonderfulsound label. To my knowledge, the music is by The Superimposers (brilliant Psych/Indie band on the label). Vocals are by Americana Artist - Angelina.  

'Shooting Stars' is one of those magical songs you don't hear too often today, which recalls Motown Soul of the early 60s. The production reminded me of 50s doo-wop as well, especially the backing harmonies.

Angelina's vocals are very unique and have vibes of Patti Smith. The vocals and music, although from completely different genres, compliment each other perfectly.

'Borderline' is more ambient and laid-back sounding. It again has that magical production.

A superb EP from a label where you are always guaranteed to find something different and unique. Highly recommended.

Saturday, 10 July 2021

Mt Misery - Once Home, No Longer

Released: 25 June 2021
Label: Prefect Records
Listen and Buy Here

Mt. Misery, from Hartlepool UK, are a recent discovery for me. Their debut album is a sublime listen of lovely, well-written indie pop gems. 

It opens with 'The Dreaming Days are Over' which is wonderfully laid back with hints of Teenage Fanclub and Real Estate.

'Tell Me (What's on your Mind)' is my favourite here and a superb love song with Belle and Sebastian vibes. The lyrics are very heartfelt without being too twee.

Other highlights include 'Taken by the Tide' which is slightly more upbeat with a catchy chorus. The music is still very soft sounding and melodic. 'I Was Wrong' is a breakup song of the highest standard. It is immediately memorable, with heartbreaking lyrics.

It ends on 'The Thought of Losing You' which has some lovely harmonies and is reminiscent of The Velvet Underground - Sunday Morning. 

A superb album full of beautiful melodies and emotional lyrics. Highly recommended.

Saturday, 3 July 2021

The Shop Window - The State of Being Human

Released: 25 June 2021
Label: Spinout Nuggets
Listen and Buy Here

The Shop Window, from Maidstone UK, are back with their debut album. It is a hugely enjoyable listen, recalling the best of 90s indie. 

It opens with 'Mannequin Lies'. The sound is reminiscent of RIDE with some superb vocal harmonies. The chorus really soars and has that uplifting, euphoric feeling of Summer.

Other highlights include 'Out of Reach' which is anthemic indie at its finest. The song is so memorable, especially the chorus, with shimmering jangly guitars.

'Break Down Walls' is lovely and melodic, with very heartfelt lyrics, about barriers in a relationship. 'Evacuate' is superbly catchy and upbeat, with more emotional lyrics. There are hints of The Cure in here as well, especially in the guitar sound.

My favourite here is 'Sad Eyes' which is so moving and has themes of growing old and dementia. - " All you have now is the past, The future has gone beyond your grasp." It is never overly sad and negative and highlights the importance of remembering the good times. 

A beautiful folk instrumental - 'Jack's Lullaby', ends the album perfectly. It has magical, film soundtrack vibes. 

A highly recommended album full of anthemic songs which will stay with you.

Saturday, 26 June 2021

Eggs on Mars - Brighter Now EP

Released: 25 June 2021
Label: Subjangle
Listen and Buy Here

Eggs on Mars, from Kansas City, are a new addition to the ever growing Subjangle label. They have had quite a few self-released albums and would say 'Mama Pancake' (2018) is well worth checking out too. The song 'Red Haired Darling' especially stood out. Their sound is wonderfully lo-fi, with hints of Velvet Underground and the 80s jangle of Flying Nun records (The Bats, The Chills e.t.c). 

The new EP opens with 'Fingers and Lips' which is lovely and melodic with strong pop hooks. There are hints of early Teenage Fanclub in here too. 'More' is very short and sweet with 60s vibes.

Other highlights include 'Brighter Now' which is very upbeat with simple melodies which stick in your mind. The production is quite basic with added electronic keyboard bits, giving it that bedroom pop/lo-fi charm. It ends on 'Handbills' which is still quirky and upbeat pop.

A highly recommended EP from a band well worth checking out, especially if you love more lo-fi jangle.

Thursday, 24 June 2021

Dany Laj and the Looks - Ten Easy Pieces

Released: 11 June 2021
Label: We Are Busy Bodies/Rum Bar
Listen and Buy Here

Dany Laj and the Looks, from Ontario, are a recent discovery for me. Their sound is a fun blend of Americana, 50s rock n roll and Power Pop, making their album a highly enjoyable listen.

It opens with 'Don't Keep Me Guessin'' which is really anthemic and upbeat. The male/female vocal harmonies are superb and its so uplifting it will have you singing along. It is the standout on the album and I could imagine it as a Summer music festival favourite.

Other highlights include 'Pick It Up' which is more brilliantly anthemic Power Pop and is infectiously catchy. It brought to mind Cheap Trick and Material Issue.

'In Other Words' is a slower ballad, still highly melodic and heartfelt. The production is quite stripped back and rough, giving it that retro feel. 'Who's Pickin On You' has more wonderful pop hooks. 'You and Me' sounds like a lost 50s/early 60s radio hit with more Country vibes.

A highly recommended album, especially if you love melodic and hook-laden Power Pop/Americana.

Tuesday, 22 June 2021

John Myrtle - Myrtle Soup

Released: 18 June 2021
Label: Sad Club Records
Listen and Buy Here

London Songwriter John Myrtle is back with his debut album after a wonderful EP back in 2019. It is more 60s inspired jangle with so much charm and melody.

It opens with 'Get Her Off My Mind', which is the standout song here. His sound recalls early Kinks and there are some superb harmonies. It is sung so sweetly but without being too twee. 

Other highlights include 'Here I Go Again' which also has 60s vibes and brought to mind The Velvet Underground - Femme Fatale'How Can You Tell If You Love Her?' is more perfect pop which strongly reminded me of The Lovin' Spoonful - Did You Ever Have To Make Up Your Mind?.

'Spider on The Wall' is a lovely Syd Barrett-inspired song. The lyrics have a child-like simplicity and it is perfectly whimsical. The album ends on 'Remember Holly Park', which again has some beautiful harmonies and wistful lyrics.

A highly enjoyable listen and much recommended for fans of 60s guitar pop.

Sunday, 20 June 2021

The Catenary Wires - Birling Gap

Released: 18 June 2021
Label: Skep Wax Records/Shelflife Records
Listen and Buy Here

UK indie pop band - The Catenary Wires, are a new discovery for me. The group includes Amelia Fletcher and Rob Pursey, who have played in the bands - Heavenly and Talulah Gosh. Their new album is wonderfully melodic with dreamy harmonies, separating them from other indie pop acts. 

It opens with 'Face on the Rail Line' which is superbly atmospheric and so beautiful it drew me in straight away. It has an ethereal quality which is hard to describe, you just have to listen to it really! Their overall sound brought to mind Saint Etienne, and the 80s indie of The Go-Betweens. 

Other highlights on the album include 'Always on my Mind' which is more upbeat and Summery. There are hints of The Beach Boys too. 'Mirror Ball' is a highly enjoyable love song, reminiscing about the 80s, with quirky lyrics - "Be Jason to my Kylie". 

'Canterbury Lanes' is more memorable indie pop with superb harmonies. The album ends on 'The Overview Effect' which is sweet guitar pop at its finest. It has vivid, wistful lyrics full of regret - "If we put the chances we had thrown away into a room, it would be the biggest room we ever knew".

A wonderful album, full of nostalgia, with melodic well-written songs. Highly recommended.

Thursday, 10 June 2021

The Mariners - Tales from the Great Central Line - Volume One

Released: 11 June 2021
Label: _
Listen and Buy Here

The Mariners, from Nottingham UK, are back with their second album. It is more jangly 60s inspired guitar pop, which is great if you love that kind of thing. They may not be all that original but they have such charm that it is hard not to like it.   

It opens with '(That girl called) Mary Jane' which is sweet and upbeat. The simplicity is reminiscent of early Beatles and The Kinks. 'There Before Time' is more Psych sounding but it sounds a little too much like The Zombies - She's Not There.

My favourite on the album is 'Dear Genevieve' which reminded me of The Coral. It is a heartfelt love song from Father to Daughter. It is so sentimental but in a good way. 

Other highlights include 'Ooh La La' an upbeat song about poverty and unemployment, with some great storytelling. 'Jennifer' is catchy guitar pop at its finest which brought to mind The Beatles - I'm a Loser. 'Catch My Breath' is a lovely acoustic song about growing old, with some quirky lyrics. 

'Hey Mister' is  about the death of a valued member of the community. It is sweet with a child-like innocence which makes it even more sad.

A superb album and fans of 60s guitar pop will find a lot to love here. Highly recommended.

Sunday, 6 June 2021

Colours Through The Air Summer Playlist

Its that time of year again so for a bit of fun, I have put together a Spotify Playlist of my favourite underappreciated Summer songs. These are not the ones you will hear played on the radio e.t.c. all the time. There is a mix of recent and some older ones.

Some old favourites are The Pale Fountains - Crazier (it just isn't Summer without that song) and The Velvet Underground - Who Loves The Sun (which I know is obvious but it had to be there!). Also The Zombies, Beach Boys and The Kinks.

More recent favourites include Nick Frater, Rosie Abbott, The Corner Laughers, Dunkie, The Vapour Trails, and many more. I also had to include my Dad's (Chris Fowler) song written during the lockdown and looking forward to the Summer. It is all superb guitar pop, so I hope you enjoy!

You can listen to the Spotify playlist, including more songs here

Friday, 28 May 2021

Kevin Robertson - Sundown's End

Released: 28 May 2021
Label: Subjangle/Futureman Records
Listen and Buy Here

Kevin Robertson, of Scottish band - The Vapour Trails, releases his first ever solo album. I had high expectations for this and it did not disappoint. As you would expect, it is another album of jangle pop perfection.   

It opens with 'Into The Black' which is ultra melodic and Summery. The gorgeous harmonies, of course, recall The Byrds and Teenage Fanclub.

Other highlights include 'Settle Down' which has fantastic pop hooks and a slightly more Country sound. The subtle banjo sounds really add to it too and at times it brought to mind The Traveling Wilburys. 

'See How We Love' is very heartfelt with some wonderful harmonies. It launches into the superb 'Telepathic Minds' which recalls the best of 60s Psych and is one of my favourite songs here.

'Loves Blue Yonder' is the standout of the album and is memorable guitar pop of the highest standard. It is one of those songs which sticks in your mind and has you singing along straight away. 

It ends on 'Yesterdays Reign' which has vibes of The Beatles - Tomorrow Never Knows. A hugely enjoyable listen, particularly if you love 60s inspired guitar pop. Highly recommended.

Thursday, 27 May 2021

Daniel Wylie's Cosmic Rough Riders - Atoms and Energy

Released: 2 Jul 2021/Pre-order now
Label: Last Night From Glasgow
Buy Here

Daniel Wylie, of Cosmic Rough Riders, returns with a new album. I have been aware of his music since discovering the 'Enjoy The Melodic Sunshine' compilation years ago. It was as melodic and summery as the title suggested and filled with superb guitar pop songs.   

The new album is not quite as jangle poppy but has more Americana vibes too. It opens with 'The Bruises and the Blood' which is a dark song about domestic violence. It is heartbreaking and addresses the dilemma of someone listening in and unsure whether to intervene. The sound is reminiscent of R.E.M.

'Heavens Waiting Room' is a deep and wistful song, looking back on life and coming to terms with death. The guitar sound brought to mind Waterpistol era Shack, which can only be a good thing.

My favourite here is the gorgeous love song 'Our Love Will Never Die' which has vibes of Neil Young. It is wonderfully heartfelt, without being overly sentimental.

Other highlights include 'Ruth The Truth', a bittersweet country pop song with some great storytelling. 'Listen to the Sound of the Rain' is another favourite here. It is very atmospheric with 70s Americana vibes. 

It ends on 'Saddle Up The Horses', a Western themed song, with vivid lyrics, reminiscing of childhood. Again, it is beautifully atmospheric and a joy to listen to.

A wonderful album from a superb, yet relatively unheard, Songwriter. Highly recommended.