The first album from Big Stir that I reviewed for this Website was Big Stir Singles: The Third Wave, so it’s fitting that we head into the home stretch of 2019 with a look at their newest collection. Big Stir Digital Singles are released every Friday, and they gloriously run the gamut of all genres, offering many surprises along the way, and provide a bargain price for people seeking to discover the best and brightest in the modern music scene. This collection includes 25 tracks from 13 artists whose work has been previously released as a Digital Single:
sparkle*jets UK (The Ballad of El Goodo, You and Your Sister): “The Ballad of El Goodo” is a nice, gentle. elegiac, harmony-filled ballad laced with a bit of mid-period Beatles flavor. “You and Your Sister” follows in the same spirit…“All I want to do, is spend some time with you, so I can hold you…hold you…”
Broken Arrows (Behind the Eight Ball, Shroomitized): “Behind The Eight Ball” drops the first depth charge of the album, with a riff reminiscent of The Velvet Underground’s “Sweet Jane”…and COWBELL! Just the right amount, too. The instrumental “Shroomitized” is throbbing, feedback-laced garage rock, a churning mix of feedback-laden lead guitar behind a steady drone of rhythm. One word: magnificent.
The Reflectors (Teenage Hearts, Desert Crusaders): “Teenage Hearts” races along at a steady power pop clip, while “Desert Crusader” is reminiscent of The Remains’ garage classic “Why Do I Cry,” for all of you Nuggets box set aficionados.
Carol Pacey & The Honey Shakers (Crumb, Add It Up): “Crumb” begins as a alt-country stomper before adding a little punk flavor a la Exene Cervenka. There’s also a hint of Grace Slick in the vocal delivery. “Add It Up” starts with a haunting, processed a capella vocal, with more punk flavor as the band comes in.
Shpang (Spanish Galleons, Pickles Are Fun): “Spanish Galleons” is also part of Shplang’s new compilation from Big Stir, reviewed on this site, while “Pickles Are Fun” is an acoustic-based track with little swirls of Donovan-esque psychedelia.
Dolph Chaney (It’s OK, I Am The B Side): “It’s OK” is a ballad with a psychedelic freak-out midsection…“If you see me walking down the street, tell me it’s OK…” It’s brilliantly arranged, as the psychedelia persists through the second half of the song. “I Am The B Side” is a fun take on the concept of the B Side being unceremoniously assigned a minor and/or forgotten role…just like some people. Wonderful use of a metaphor as something more universal. “I’m the B Side of your favorite single…you never listen to me…”
The Vapour Trails (Sonic Wave, Drowning As I Fall In (Home Demo)): “Sonic Wave” is twangy, jangly “Revolver”-era Brit Pop-flavored psychedelia. “Drowning As I Fall (Home Demo)” has a Byrds vibe, a pleasant folk-pop tune.
Armstrong: (Love Hate Passion and War, September Skies): “Love Hate Passion and War” has a melancholy yet hopeful feel, like many of Armstrong’s songs. “September Skies” is wistful, a filled-with-wonder gem reminiscent of mid-to-late sixties Brian Wilson compositions.
The Hangabouts (Who Wants Cilla?, Mrs. Greene): “Who Wants Cilla?” was another memorable single for Big Stir, a sweet pop anthem that answers the question with “Well, maybe I do…” Instantly catchy, great guitar solos, perfect pop. “Mrs. Greene” is an engaging pop ramble, with accents of The Hollies and Herman’s Hermits. I’ve also previously reviewed this one on There Once Was A Note, and it’s a fine addition to your collection.
Blake Jones & The Trike Shop (My Soft Rock Girlfriend, Disentangled): “My Soft Rock Grilfriend” is a high-energy, hyperactive love letter to a girl who “wants to go to a chain restaurant, wants to go to a blockbuster movie.” “Disentangled” is a full-blown Beach Boys homage, walking the high wire between Brian Wilson’s more commercial efforts and his celebrated eccentricities, in a track filled with “good vibrations…”
The Persian Leaps (Catnip for Cupid, Sweet Nothings): “Electrical Living” was another winning album release in 2019…you’ll find our review for it on this site. “Sweet Nothings” became one of the highlights of the There Once Was A Note radio show. “Catnip For Cupid” is blissful, hard-charging “wall of sound” power pop.
The Walker Brigade (Tower, I’m Tired): “Tower” is power pop with the accent on power…melodic and hard-charging. “I’m Tired” is a gleeful romp through the song you’ll remember as the Madeline Kahn classic from Mel Brooks’ “Blazing Saddles.
Joe Normal & The Anytown’rs (Even Now): A remarkable single, issued for Giving Tuesday, with all proceeds benefiting the Ed Asner Center. From the Big Stir Website: “Even Now” is a song that carries a universal message of faith and encouragement to anyone in the midst of life’s struggles, that no matter how tough things are, everything will work out.”
From the Big Stir Website:
BIG STIR RECORDS is extraordinarily proud to wrap up its banner year with a very special CD and digital release. BIG STIR SINGLES: THE FOURTH WAVE arrives on Giving Tuesday, December 3 2019. With five dollars from each CD or download being donated to THE ED ASNER FAMILY CENTER and a generous helping of the exciting and often-exclusive pop rock jewels audiences have come to expect from the series, THE FOURTH WAVE sums up the BSR’s generous and community-based ethos in grand style while making a difference in the lives of those with special needs and their families.