Thursday, 26 May 2022

Gabriel's Dawn - Gabriel's Dawn

Released: 30 May 2022
Label: _
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Gabriel's Dawn are an indie pop band from The Midlands, UK and this is their debut. It is a highly enjoyable listen, recalling the best of 60s West Coast guitar pop.   

The band consists of members of other bands, including - The Silver Factory and Alfa 9 (who I absolutely love).

'Loose Canyon' opens the album and it is melodic, Americana-tinged guitar music at its finest. There are some glorious vocal harmonies and the chorus is wonderfully uplifting.
Other highlights include 'I Don't Believe (In the Summer of Love)' which has more chiming guitars, of course recalling The Byrds. The lyrics are melancholic and full of longing - "You took my heart and its not enough for you." 

'We' has some lovely melodies and also brought to mind indie pop band Alvvays. 'Tell Me Which Way' is another favourite here and is instantly memorable like much of the best retro guitar music.

A superb debut from a band well worth investigating. Essential Summer listening.

Monday, 23 May 2022

Kevin Robertson - Teaspoon of Time

Released: 13 May 2022
Label: Subjangle/Futureman
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Kevin Robertson, of Scottish band The Vapour Trails, is back with his second solo album. Like the previous ones, it is full of Byrds-inspired, 60s style guitar pop with lovely melodies and hooks.   

The album opens with 'Tough Times (Feels like That)', which has an iconic opening guitar riff, reminiscent of rock classic - Smokestack Lightning.

The standout on the album is 'Trippin' Back' which is wonderfully catchy, with West Coast style harmonies. It is instantly memorable and the chorus will have you singing along.
Other highlights include 'Rather Hide' which is a lovely pop gem and at just over 2 minutes, it will have you reaching for repeat. 'Moments of Reflection' is more melancholic and brought to mind Teenage Fanclub's later music. 'Don't You Dwell' is gloriously Psychedelic and a joy to listen to. 'Misty Dew Soaked Mountains' is uplifting and atmospheric, with hints of Country.

Highly recommended Summer listening, especially for fans of retro guitar pop.

Wednesday, 18 May 2022

The Shipbuilders - Spring Tide

Released: 6 May 2022
Label: Mai 68
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Liverpool indie band The Shipbuilders have just released their much anticipated debut album. Their sound is a superbly melodic blend of indie, folk and 60s Psych.   

The album opens with 'Stranger's Lament', which strongly recalls fellow Liverpudlian bands - The La's, and The Coral. It is brilliantly atmospheric, about a Sailor returning home from their travels.

The standout on the album is 'Hanging Me At Dawn' which has elements of traditional Folk storytelling, with heavy Psych guitars. The result is so effective and wonderfully unique for recent music.   

Other highlights include 'Fault Line' which is catchy and upbeat, with some bleak lyrics about living in poverty e.t.c. 'Silk Road' is a lovely guitar pop song with hints of The La's - There She Goes. 'The Moon' is an epic Indie Folk anthem which brought to mind The Stone Roses.

A hugely enjoyable album, and recommended listening for fans of both retro guitar music and 90s indie.

Thursday, 12 May 2022

The Jerrys - Ready or Not

Released: 4 May 2022
Label: _
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The Jerrys, from Chicago, are a recent discovery for me. Their new album is an enjoyable listen full of energetic and catchy guitar pop.   

The album opens with 'Alicia' which is full of superb pop hooks. The sound is reminiscent of great Power Pop bands of the 70s, especially one of my favourites - Flamin' Groovies.

The standout on the album is 'Love Me Now and Leave Me Never' which is melodic and instantly memorable, showing that simplicity is often the key with music.   

Other highlights include 'Lean on Me' which brought to mind the 60s Psych of The Seeds and The Rolling Stones. 'Just Us Three' has Americana vibes and is more stripped back with twangy guitars.

A superb album, and perfect listening for fans of more retro guitar music and Psych. Highly recommended.

Wednesday, 4 May 2022

M Ross Perkins - E Pluribus M Ross

Released: 18 Mar 2022
Label: _
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M Ross Perkins, from Ohio, is an artist I discovered last year, from his wonderful cover of Bill Fox - Bird of the World (A Byrdsian jangle gem, well worth checking out). His new album is full of his own Summery guitar pop with 60s West Coast vibes.   

The album opens with 'Industrial Good Day Mantra' which is highly melodic and uplifting, with Beatles vibes. The production is very retro and Baroque Pop in style.

'Wrong Wrong Wrong' is my favourite here and superbly catchy, of course it recalls The Byrds and also The Beach Boys - Come Go With Me. The lyrics are quite sad about not being understood, relationship problems e.t.c. - "Spare me all your mighty sources, curb your complimentary courses, I've been through a few divorces."  

Other highlights include 'Tired of Me' which is more instantly memorable, Byrds-inspired jangle. 'Mr Marble Eyes' is glorious Psych with surreal lyrics. 'Pinball Blonde' is hugely enjoyable and demonstrates superb storytelling. 

A brilliant album, full of wonderfully melodic pop gems, with entertaining lyrics. Highly recommended.

Saturday, 30 April 2022

Man Behind Tree - 3

Released: 29 Apr 2022
Label: Subjangle
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German indie band - Man Behind Tree, are a recent discovery for me. Their new album is an enjoyable listen, recalling the best of 90s guitar music.   

The album opens with 'California Zephyr' which is catchy with an uplifting chorus. The sound is a combination of West Coast harmonies (Crosby Stills & Nash) with the slightly heavier guitars of 90s Yo La Tengo.

'Bird Survivor' is slower and more melancholic, with an anthemic chorus. It is instantly memorable like many of the songs here.  

Other highlights include the gloriously Summery '99' which has more superb harmonies. 'Just Like Everyone' has great pop hooks and brought to mind Teenage Fanclub. '86 Mustang' is very upbeat and fun, ending the album on a high.

A superb album, and perfect listening for hazy Summers Afternoons. Highly recommended.

Thursday, 21 April 2022

Tamar Berk - Start At The End

Released: 22 Apr 2022
Label: _
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Tamar Berk, from California, is back with her second album, after her superb debut last year. It demonstrates more wonderful guitar pop, with plenty of great hooks and energy.   

The album opens with 'Your Permission' a moody ballad about a problematic relationship. It is instantly memorable with later Beatles vibes.

'Tragic Endings' is upbeat and anthemic, with melancholic lyrics. - "I read the endings of books before I even turn to the beginning. My heart can't take surprises anymore. I'm losing faith in happy endings." 

Other highlights include 'Alone Tonight' which is superbly melodic, heartfelt guitar pop, with hints of Aimee Mann. There are some excellent guitar solos towards the end. 'Real Bad Day' is brilliantly catchy with a slightly heavier Punk edge. 'Just Be' is another standout and is more acoustic sounding with country vibes.

A hugely enjoyable album, and perfect Summer listening. Highly recommended.

Friday, 15 April 2022

Amelia Coburn - The Ebb and the Flow EP

Released: 1 Apr 2022
Label: _
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Amelia Coburn is a relatively recent artist in UK Folk. I was first aware of her song from 2016 - 'Song of the Sea Rover' which demonstrates superb storytelling. Her lovely ukulele playing and delicate vocals, make her stand out from contemporaries.   

The new EP opens with 'Please Go Gently' - a beautiful lullaby. The lyrics are wonderfully heartfelt and vivid. - "Relief is found in silver lined clouds to wash over you like rain."

 'Where Leaves are Blown' brought to mind the traditional folk of Joan Baez. 'Sandra' is a simple account of an ordinary day in the life of Sandra. The lyrics are thought provoking, hinting at sadness under the surface.

My favourite here is 'Oh Captain! Guide Me Home' - a brilliantly melodic Sea Shanty, with hints of Joni Mitchell. Again, it is superbly heartfelt and perfect early Spring/Summer listening.

A lovely EP full of unique, timeless Folk songs. Highly recommended.

Saturday, 2 April 2022

Sam Kogon - Sam Kogon EP

Released: 1 Apr 2022
Label: _
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Sam Kogon, from New York, is a recent discovery for me. His new EP has 50s/early 60s vibes and is full of memorable songs with great pop hooks and melodies.   

It opens with the superb 'Barbed Wire', which brought to mind The Everly Brothers and Adam Faith. It is vaguely Americana sounding too.

My favourite here is 'Find Out' which is brilliantly catchy 2 minute pop to enjoy on repeat. It had hints of The Traveling Wilburys.

'All I Wanna Do' is a wonderfully melodic love song and you can especially hear the Tom Petty influence. It ends on 'City Kidz' which has a slightly heavier edge with some raw lyrics. It is about the dark side of city life, drugs e.t.c.

A highly recommended EP, and it is well worth checking out his earlier albums too. 

Tuesday, 29 March 2022

Love Burns - It Should Have Been Tomorrow

Released: 4 Feb 2022
Label: Jigsaw Records
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Love, Burns is the new project of Phil Sutton, from New York, who is also in the band Pale Lights. His latest album is a superb listen and I felt it was a little overlooked, which is why the late review.   

The album opens with 'Dear Claire' which is melodic indie pop with Velvet Underground vibes. It is a heartfelt love song and instantly memorable.

Other highlights include 'Stormy Waters' which is upbeat and brilliantly catchy. 'Wired Eyes' has Summery vibes and again, there are superb pop hooks, like many of the songs here. You will want to play it on repeat!

My favourite here is 'Something Good' which has 60s Psych vibes and Surf-sounding guitars. It has a big chorus which will stay in your head, from first listen.

A hugely enjoyable album, especially for fans of lo-fi 60s guitar pop. Highly recommended.

Tuesday, 22 March 2022

The Warmbabies - Lets Live Underground

Released: 13 Nov 2021/Re-release Apr 2022
Label: Snap Records/Kool Kat
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French guitar pop band - The Warmbabies, are a recent discovery for me. Their album is full of wonderful Beatles inspired pop gems.   

The album opens with 'Its Not Her' which has plenty of great hooks and is perfect early Springtime listening.

My favourite here is 'You Should Never Have Crossed My Way' which is pure Powerpop brilliance. It is reminiscent of early Beatles so of course it is straight to the point, and instantly memorable.

Other highlights include 'Last Days of Summer' which is very upbeat and catchy. It is a lot of fun and there are some superb guitar solos. 'Lucille' is another standout and is 2 minute pop at its finest.

A hugely enjoyable listen, especially for fans of 60s guitar pop. Highly recommended.

Thursday, 17 March 2022

Cassette 50 - Solar Ship

Released: 7 Mar 2022
Label: _
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Cassette 50 is the new project of Nick Worrall from The Late Pioneers. His sound is an interesting mix of Folk and guitar pop, and his new album is a superb listen.   

The album opens with 'Happy Haunting Ground', which has 70s Folk vibes and vocal harmonies at the beginning, reminiscent of Crosby Stills and Nash. The lyrics are quite philosophical and thought-provoking - "Take your chances as they come, you'll never know when its the final one." 

'You're The One For Me' is a love song with quirky lyrics and a humorous tone. It is superbly melodic with great pop hooks.  

My favourite here is 'Something Missing' an acoustic ballad with some heartbreaking lyrics. The heartfelt simplicity and emotion in the vocals made it a very moving listen.

Other highlights include 'All For Nothing' which is more upbeat guitar pop with hints of later Teenage Fanclub, Cosmic Rough Riders e.t.c. 'The Lights Of Aberfan' is a beautiful yet sad song in memory of the Aberfan disaster. 

A superb album, full of heartfelt, memorable songs. Highly recommended.

Sunday, 13 March 2022

Under The Bridge - Compilation for fans of Sarah Records

Released: 18 Mar 2022
Label: Skepwax Records
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This is a superb compilation, featuring the new music of bands from the legendary indie pop label - Sarah Records. The Catenary Wires are amongst the many artists to feature here, whose album - Birling Gap was a highlight of last year.   

It opens with The Luxembourg Signal, who I'm not overly familiar with (something I should amend). The song has very chilled, laid back vibes and hints of C86 and Dreampop.  

My favourite here is Even As We Speak - Begins Goodbye. The band are from Sydney and have been making indie pop records since the 80s. The song is very upbeat and catchy, and one to enjoy on repeat.  

Other highlights include St Christopher - Stornaway, which is superb 80s sounding jangle with memorable hooks. There were hints of Aztec Camera, Orange Juice e.t.c. 

Jetstream Pony - Strood McD F.C. is very Summery and anthemic 3 minute pop. It features the vocals of Beth Arzy who is also in the Luxembourg Signal. Sepiasound - Arcadian is a beautifully orchestral, and very moving instrumental. The Catenary Wires - Wall of Sound is indie pop of the highest standard and a lot of fun.

A really enjoyable compilation with a superb selection of artists and a variety of sounds.  Highly recommended for fans of 80s indie pop/jangle.

Sunday, 6 March 2022

Cowgirl - Cowgirl

Released: 4 Mar 2022
Label: Safe Suburban Home
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Cowgirl, from York, are a recent discovery for me. If you like straight to the point, melodic songs full of great hooks and energy, this is for you.   

They remind me of one of my favourite new artists of last year (Rural France) and it was actually them who recommended the band on Twitter. 

The album opens with 'Better With You' which is superbly catchy 2 minute pop. Their sound has a slightly heavier edge and brought to mind late 80s/early 90s alternative of The Jesus and Mary Chain and Dinosaur Jr.  

Other highlights include 'Time Moves Along' which is Summery and anthemic, recalling early Teenage Fanclub. 'Is What it Is' has fast guitars and hints of Punk.

My favourite here is 'Figure it Out' which is more superb guitar pop with memorable hooks. 

A really enjoyable album, full of melodic gems which instantly stick with you. Highly recommended.

Friday, 25 February 2022

The Pierce Kingans - May I Pierce Upon You

Released: 25 Feb 2022
Label: Subjangle
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The Pierce Kingans, from Vancouver, are back with another wonderful compilation cd on the Subjangle label. It follows on from the previous one - Pierce and Love to All The World (2020). It is an epic two disc collection of songs from a number of EPs released last year.   

They have a unique lo-fi sound. I still find it hard to find comparable bands, but amongst the closest are outsider artist - Daniel Johnston. It also brought to mind The Strokes, especially vocally. 

The first disc opens with 'Giving it Up' which is ultra melodic and catchy guitar pop. The hooks are superb and it is instantly memorable, like many of the songs here. The layered vocal harmonies are used effectively.   

There are an impressive 30 songs here, each one sounding entirely different. Other highlights include 'Validation' which is quirky and a lot of fun, with more uplifting melodies. 'Thinking about Someone Else' has Kinks vibes and is an insanely simple but captivating song about a relationship going wrong!

My favourite here is 'To Lose', which is under 2 minute pop at its finest. It will have you reaching for the repeat button straight away. The second disc ends on 'Don't Love The Ones You Trust', which is more of a gentle love song. It is upbeat in melody but with melancholic, heartbreaking lyrics. 

A superb compilation, full of lost gems, perfect if you want to hear something a bit different. Highly recommended.

Thursday, 27 January 2022

Ghost Dance Collective - Dream Yourself Into The Real World

Released: 1 May 2021
Label: _
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Ghost Dance Collective, from Edinburgh, are a recent discovery for me. Their album, from last year, passed me by at the time. It was quite overlooked which is why I am reviewing it now. The record is a lost Psych gem and managed to make my top ten of 2021   

The opening song 'Tears in her Eyes' is very 60s sounding, recalling The Byrds. It has a wonderfully uplifting chorus with Summery vibes.  'Means That Much To Me' is a heartfelt ballad with hints of Americana, which brought to mind Crosby Stills and Nash.   

Other highlights include 'Here Comes The Rain' which is more Summery jangle with strong pop hooks. 'Green is The Colour' is reminiscent of The Velvet Underground and gloriously melodic. 'New Worlds' is another standout and instantly memorable guitar pop. 'Kaleidoscope' is moody and atmospheric with some impressive guitar work towards the end.

A hugely enjoyable listen, especially if you love The Byrds/60s Psych. Highly recommended.

Friday, 21 January 2022

Armstrong - Happy Graffiti

Released: 11 Jan 2022
Label: Country Mile/The Beautiful Music
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Armstrong (Welsh Songwriter - Julian Pitt) was the first ever Artist to be reviewed here, back in 2019. He returns with a new album, after the sublime 'Under Blue Skies', which is also well worth a listen if you haven't already!  

The new album demonstrates more superbly melodic and sophisticated guitar pop. Opening song 'Disinformation' is heartfelt, with a soaring chorus. The sound vaguely recalls The Beach Boys, with the harmonies. There are also hints of 80s with The Pale Fountains and Aztec Camera.  

Other highlights include 'Songbird' which is a beautifully moving ballad, which brought to mind some of the quieter moments on Teenage Fanclub's Grand Prix. 

'Wondering Where The Time Goes' is wonderfully melancholic, with wistful lyrics - "I'm dreaming 'bout the old Cafe. Thinking how the times have changed. Friends whose lives were once entwined. Who'd have thought those days would end."    

'Happy Someone' is more upbeat and catchy, with some lovely melodies. 'Rock Star Rock Star' is jangle pop at its finest and instantly memorable.

A superb album of well-crafted songs, full of melancholy. Highly recommended.

Thursday, 13 January 2022

The Small Breed - Remember A Dream

Released: 1 Oct 2021
Label: Bickerton Records
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Dutch Psych band - The Small Breed are a recent discovery for me. Their new album is full of wonderfully melodic and catchy guitar pop gems.   

The opening song 'Remember A Dream' is reminiscent of early Pink Floyd/Syd Barrett, with some surreal lyrics. It is superbly produced, sounding like typical Baroque pop of the 60s.  

My favourite here is 'Wanda Your Angel', a heartfelt folk song which for me was an emotional listen. It is very stripped back with some lovely vocal harmonies and flute playing. There is a child-like innocence to it too, which I love so much in music.   

Other highlights include 'She's So Lovely' which is more upbeat and brought to mind Sgt Peppers era Beatles. The sublime 'To Another Land' has more memorable melodies with Summery vibes. It ends on the brilliantly surreal 'The Man Who Lost his Consciousness of Time' which demonstrates some superb storytelling.

A hugely enjoyable listen, especially if you love 60s Psych/Baroque pop. Highly recommended.