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.