Thursday, 28 January 2021

Ian M Bailey - Shots of Sun EP

Released: 25 Jan 2021
Label: Greentea Productions
Listen Here
Buy Here

I was first aware of Ian M Bailey through his band The Lost Doves. Their album from last year is lovely guitar pop with hints of Americana. I especially love 'She's Waking Up To Close Her Eyes' on the album, which is highly worth checking out too.

This is Ian's first solo EP and it still has melodic country vibes. This time, it was co-written by Daniel Wylie, better known as the singer of Scottish band - Cosmic Rough Riders. If you don't know them, Enjoy The Melodic Sunshine is a good starting point, full of lost guitar pop gems. They did have some success in the early 00s including an appearance on Top Of The Pops.

The EP opens with 'Take It Or Leave It' which is rich in harmonies and superb pop hooks. The sound is reminiscent of the 60s, particularly The Byrds, with hints of the more Americana style of Buffalo Springfield. 

'Whats Happening Now' is more laid back and melancholic. The production is very stripped back and focused on the vocal harmonies. 'Slow Down River' is more upbeat and again very Byrds inspired but if you love that kind of music, as I do, it is hugely enjoyable.

It ends on the sublime 'Everything Will Be Alright', which has beautifully subtle melodies and soft vocals. It brought to mind later Teenage Fanclub (particularly Gerard Love's songs). A wonderful EP which couldn't be more up my street! A highly recommended listen.

Thursday, 21 January 2021

West Coast Music Club - Thinkin'

Released: 15 Jan 2021
Label: 72RPM Records
Listen and Buy Here

West Coast Music Club, from West Kirby UK, are a collective of songwriters/musicians. This is their latest single, written by Martin Adams. Although I was aware of their album from last year, this is their strongest song so far. 'If I Had A Dream' from the last album is of a very high standard too - brilliantly anthemic indie pop.

'Thinkin'' is more of the same and sounds like all the best indie from the 80s/90s. It particularly drew to mind The Go-Betweens and Teenage Fanclub. The melody and hooks are instantly memorable.

The lyrics are heartfelt and the simplicity of the overall song gives it so much charm. It definitely has summery vibes too as it is quite jangly and upbeat.

Well worth checking out, especially if you like any kind of melodic guitar pop. Highly recommended.

Tuesday, 12 January 2021

The Shop Window - Out of Reach/Evacuate

Released: 29 Jan 2021
Label: Spinout Nuggets
Listen and Buy Here

The Shop Window, from Maidstone UK, are a new band to watch out for in 2021. They released a few singles last year, including 'Sad Eyes'. This was a fine example of anthemic indie pop, with melancholic lyrics about visiting an elderly grandparent. Well worth checking out too if the band are new to you.

'Out of Reach' is their new 7 inch single on indie label - Spinout Nuggets. It is more wonderful indie pop, with late 80s/early 90s vibes. It bought to mind the more jangle pop side of Ride and The Stone Roses. The song is gloriously anthemic with a soaring, memorable chorus. 

The other side has 'Evacuate' which is more of the same. The melody bought to mind the best parts of Oasis' early songs. 

A superb single which had me wondering whether The Shop Window could be the breakthrough artist to really put indie/guitar music on the map again. Highly recommended.

Wednesday, 6 January 2021

George Boomsma - Chinatown EP

Released: 6 Dec 2020
Label: _
Listen and Buy Here

George Boomsma, from Yorkshire UK, is a fairly recent discovery for me. His new EP is a beautiful listen, with fabulous orchestral arrangements. The sound bought to mind the Folk of Nick Drake and Jeff Buckley.

Opening song 'Chinatown' is a delicate and heartfelt love song. It is intense with a lot of melancholy and the strings really add to the emotional impact. Lyrically, it is quite powerful and vividly describes a love slipping away - 'Your melted frame, it caused me to feel the point to insane, but you felt so real.'

'In Rose' is again intense and moody sounding. It has atmospheric orchestral production and would not sound out of place on the soundtrack of an epic film/tv drama. 

'SamSara' is a sweet and heartfelt song, reminiscing about love, family and happy times. It is a peaceful and moving listen.

It ends on 'Run On' which is charming, pastoral Folk. The instrumentation is beautiful with intricate guitar picking, reminiscent of Bert Jansch, and sweeping strings.

A magical EP which really takes you to another place when you listen. Highly recommended.

Sunday, 3 January 2021

Starry Skies - Do It With Love

Released: 14 Nov 2020
Label: Foxstar
Listen on Spotify
Buy Here

Starry Skies is the work of Glasgow's Warren Mcintyre, a songwriter who has been on my radar for a while. This is his third album and 2018's 'Be Kind', and 2012's 'Ask the Animals' are essential too. His sound is indie tinged with folk. If you like King Creosote, Malojian e.t.c. you will love this. 

It opens with 'I Want You To Know' which is melodic and anthemic guitar pop with heartfelt, uplifting lyrics. It is instantly memorable and has some country vibes too. 'Do It With Love' is more of the same and the male/female vocal harmonies are perfect. The melody has hints of Prince - Raspberry Beret.

'Here Comes The Moon' is another standout here. Its not a thing like George Harrison's song of the same name and has more Velvet Underground vibes.

My favourite here is the gloriously melodic 'Sweet Honey Blue'. A stripped back ballad with honest and emotional lyrics. It brought to mind Teenage Fanclub's more soft sounding, later music. 

'It Would Take Every Wave' is an epic closer and a beautiful love song. It has wonderful, vivid lyrics. - 'Now I see all the leaves that dance through our skies. Seen all the raindrops that may have been cried.'

A lovely album, with well crafted, heartfelt songs. Highly recommended.