A musician, songwriter and producer, Phil Thornalley will be familiar to most for his brief stint with The Cure in 1983. His other credits include production work for Natalie Imbruglia and Bryan Adams. While not one of the music world’s most obvious faces, he’s worked within the industry since the late 70s. Taking the idea to create “a lost seventies classic”, his Astral Drive project is a world away from many of the musicians he’s been associated with previously. The material within is rich and densely layered; a work completely immersed in studio techniques. Its eleven songs draw influence from a lot of great long players released in the decade of brown and orange, and occasionally, influence crosses a line into…loving plagiarism, but the results are guaranteed to thrill fans of the style.
Louis Waxman is a Brooklyn based musician, sometime member of bands The Mayberries and Future Heart. His 2018 solo EP ‘Songs From The Truck’, as its title suggests, has an “of the moment” feel; a naturalistic set of sounds that would be a great soundtrack for a road trip. Mixing indie pop, electronica and funk it’s a bit of a mixed bag, but like similarly retro Norwegians Mats Wawa, there’s something in his sound that has the ability to lift the listeners’ spirits in just about…thirty seconds.
Let’s not mince words: David Myhr’s solo debut ‘Soundshine’ is a classic album. Not just for the time of its release, but a genuine classic. Its retro pop style places it on a par with 10cc’s ‘How Dare You’, with Wings’ ‘London Town’ and Badfinger’s ‘No Dice’. In terms of more contemporary recordings, it rivals the Oranjuly debut and Jellyfish’s ‘Spilt Milk’ for sheer pop wonderment.
A follow up had a hard act to follow and perhaps knowing he had a big job in hand, Myhr rallied around the troops. As a result, 2018’s ‘Lucky Day’ features co-writes with Linus of Hollywood, Bleu, Bill DeMain and Young Hines – names which should be familiar to most power pop aficionados – and songwriter/producer Brad Jones, a man whose credits involve working with Matthew Sweet, Jill Sobule and Josh Rouse. It’s fair to say it’s got some solid foundations.
Over the first ten years of his solo career, singer-songwriter Frank Turner recorded some fantastic material. His deeply personal songs touched on many subjects, from death, love, travel, friendship, lost weekends and politics. In short, in that time, he’s acted as a friend who’s been there, seen it all and is able to lend a lyrical tale of empathy whatever your personal situation. This time, though, he’s really not messing about: the commentary of ‘Be More Kind’ is a world away from the songs of youth, parties and camaraderie that peppered his early releases. It’s also musically far broader. A restless album, even; one that refuses to settle into any one style, sometimes with only Turner’s honest and personal lyrical concerns as an obvious link to the past. And while it isn’t a concept album, more than a few of its songs are connected to the universal themes of time and mortality.
Likened by Rolling Stone to sounding “somewhere between Red House Painters and The Beach Boys”, Germany’s Green Apple Sea make wondrously timeless pop music.
The Green Apple Sea release a new album entitled ‘Directions’ on May 18th. In the meantime, you can watch the video for a new track, ‘Doc Watson Dream’.