Last week we were all about gigs or cancelled gigs and this week seems to be all about new albums. So, it’s a case of listening in the comfort of your own home with your cat nestled in your lap or standing shoulder to shoulder with strangers in a dark room supping crap beer.
Seeing as you put it that way… I’ll go for the comfy cat option. So, this week I have mostly been listening to The fabulous Soundcarriers, The saucy Sylvie, the folk legend that is Bert Jansch (more anon) and my good pal Andy Morten aka The Campbell Stokes Sunshine Recorder.
Andy was the drummer in Bronco Bullfrog who were playing London and thereabouts (they were big in Spain) in the mid to late 90s with a melodic sound built around a mutual love of Badfinger, The Raspberries, The Move, The Hollies etc. Well, unlike most other drummers (mentioning no names) this cat can do other things. In fact he’s a bit of a Brian Jones when it comes to picking up an instrument, so he’s gone and cut his own album.
The result is Makes Your Ears Smile, which combines 60s/early 70s melodic British pop with a little pinch of 1979 new wave power-pop. Sure, it’s no Odessey & Oracle, but as one who’s partial to The Kinks, The Byrds, The Turtles and XTC I’m digging it very much. Particularly outstanding are She Looks Good in the Sun (with a fab one-note guitar solo towards the end borrowed from the Supremes You Keep me Hanging On), Feel the Sunshine and the psychedelic Everybody Loves the Good Times.
This isn’t a download-only project, it’s a real digipak (alas no vinyl), but at around six quid, if you enjoy your late 60s pop filtered through a sunblessed cornfield then go for it. There are links to several suppliers on the myspace.
Whilst we’re at it, I may as well plug Leonardo’s Bicycle, which sees Andy teaming up with his Bronco Bullfrog buddy Mike Poulson. They’re both based in Frome, Somerset these days and play regularly with their acoustic guitars in the area. They too have a similarly priced album available called, wait for it, In Tandem with… Leonardo’s Bicycle. Similar stuff, a little more Byrdsy/Simon & G, it contains one absolute killer track called Cley Hill which is worth the price alone. Try to imagine Waterloo Sunset played by the Quo in their Pictures of Matchstick Men phase. If I haven’t just put you right off then check ’em out (I’ll try to youtube the track at some point – it’s not on there at the moment). They are playing Glastonbury if you’re going there for the festival – The Avalon Cafe on June 27th and 28th.